Friday, December 31, 2010

Why the Khodorkovsky sentence is good news for Russia

The latest sentence given to Khorokovsky has been the pretext for yet another immense outpouring of Western hypocrisy.  Just to quote a recent BBC article:

US state department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington was concerned by the apparent "abusive use of the legal system for improper ends, particularly now that Khodorkovsky and [former business partner Platon] Lebedev have been sentenced to the maximum penalty". Later an unnamed senior US administration official, quoted by Reuters news agency, said the sentencing might complicate Russia's expected entry to the World Trade Organisation in 2011.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "disappointed" by the sentence. "The impression remains that political motives played a role in the trial," she said in a statement.


And UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was deeply concerned and urged Russia "to respect the principles of justice and apply the rule of law in a non-discriminatory and proportional way". "In the absence of this the UK and much of the international community will regard such a trial as a retrograde step," Mr Hague added.

What the hell is going on here?!  Khodorkosky is just one of many so-called 'oligarchs' who stole money from the Russian nation like all of them did.  And like most of them, he is a Jew.  And like most of them, he tried to mess with Putin and his power base.  So?  Why is he deserving of so much crocodile tears?

The European Court of Human Rights does not see a problem, neither does Amnesty International, or HWR, or anybody in Israel for that matter (at least that I am aware of).  Yet the West is whining and whining about Khodorkovsky...

Gone and forgotten are the accusations about 'Putin' ordering the poisoning of Yushchenko, the poisoning of Litvinenko, the killing of Politkovskaia and all the rest of the idiotic "Putin the KGB murderer" narrative.  Now its "Putin is crushing his political opponents".  Fine. But is that big news?  Let's look at the record here:

1) General Lev Rokhlin, one of the best Russian military commanders who single handedly rescued Eltsin's regime for total failure in Chechnya: killed by his "insane wife" as soon as he openly opposed the "United Russia" Party.

2) General Gennady Troshev, another of the very best Russian military commanders, credited with winning the 2nd Chechen war.  Conveniently dies in a rather bizarre air crash as soon as he became too popular.

3) General Alexander Lebed, not a favorite of mine for sure, but popular for a while in Russia for saving the Trans-Dniester Republic from a Moldavian assault and for stopping the 1st Chechen war (a disastrous decision in my opinion).

4) General Vladimir Shamanov, became extremely popular for his capable performance in Chechnia and for protecting the Russian Airborne Forces from the so-called "reforms".  Miraculously survives a more than bizarre traffic accident.

5) Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov: former Spetsnaz Brigade commander.  Charged twice (!) with attempting to murder Anatoly Chubais, acquitted in a jury trial twice (!) and now charged with no less than armed insurrection.  Conveniently for the Kremlin, this accusation is not tried in a jury trial, but by professional judges.

I will end my list here (and before I continue, please note that I put the Wikipedia links only for your general info, not because I consider the Wikipedia entries about these generals are remotely trustworthy.  In fact, all of Wikipedia is hopelessly biased and has a clear political slant - in this case, against the aforementioned generals).  My point is that a long list of Russian generals die or are otherwise clearly crushed by the Kremlin but nobody shows any concern about them.  Could it be because, unlike Khodorkovsky, they were trying to make Russia stronger?

All these military men had one thing in common: they were perceived as a threat to the Kremlin and they were simply (but very skillfully) murdered (or jailed, or seriously injured).  This is how Putin and his clique of ex-KGB and "nouveau Mafia" thugs deal with their political opponents - ruthlessly.  Yet, in this case, nobody whines.  But when an undisputed thief and crook like Khodorkovsky gets slapped with a medium prison sentence the West is whining to high heaven.  Why?

The answer is simple: like Berezovsky, Politkovskaya or Yushchenko, Khorodkovsky was a de-facto agent of Western political and oil interests.  What he did besides embezzling money was actively assist the West in the plunder of Russian natural resources.  In this sense, Khodorkovsky committed the same mistake as another notorious thief, Dzhokhar Dudaev, who was the Kremlin's darling until he dared to defy Moscow and seek to keep Chechnya's resources for himself.  Then the Kremlin started a full-scale war to get rid of him.

The fact is that Putin, Medvedev & Co. are ruthless politicians who do crush their enemies in one way or another.  When Eltsin his Jewish oligarch bosses were in power they were even more ruthless, much to the West's delight.  Remember how Eltsin's tanks shot at the Russian Parliament building?  Over 5'000 people died in this 'democratic coup',  way more than on 9-11, yet the West applauded with both hands.  And how many people died in the Chechen war?

Under Putin and Medvedev the oligarchs  were finally given the boot by the ex-KBG officer and ex-Gazprom boss who, unlike Eltsin and the oligarchs, at least managed to return Russia into a semi-powerful position in just one decade.  This is why the West is really whining: Khodorkovsky is not only a Jewish oligarch, he is the last vestige of a bygone era when Russia was a Western colony open to pillage, political manipulation and utterly incapable of standing up for itself.

This is why the sentencing of Khodorkovsky is great news for Russia - it sends a very simple message to the West: Russia is no longer your colony.

The Saker

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Serves them well

Indeed, serves them well for using a) Skype and b) Windows. The two put together gave them this.  Hopefully, some people will begin learning their lessons.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


”Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”

- -Lewis H. Lapham

The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the U.S. government of U.S. law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.

2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.

If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the U.S. government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.” Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.

In Gag Rule, a masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy, Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, “scare people with phantoms of lost liberty,” “aid terrorists,” diminish our resolve,” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”

As the Department of Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus it is defending the ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the necessary scaffolding for the government’s pretense that it is doing God’s will while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.

Neither is candor a trait in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions as propaganda ministry for hegemonic American empire, and the “liberal” New York Times serves the same master. It was the New York Times that gave credence to the Bush regime’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush’s re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. Conservatives rant about the “liberal media” as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars and cover-ups of the Bush regime’s crimes to the New York Times.

With truth the declared enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside, the nation has turned on whistleblowers. Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by U.S. troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known. If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.

The lawlessness of the U.S. government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes. Today the government operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the democratic government in Venezuela.

As 2011 dawns, public discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship.The situation will be worse by 2012. The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths. The vicious mendacity of the U.S. government knows no restraint. Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy.

America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.

BDS 2010: More powerful than the sword

Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is a two-edged sword, bringing relief to starving Gazans, and starvation to the occupier, discovers Eric Walberg

It was two years ago today, 27 December, that Israel launched its invasion of Gaza, carrying out 22 days of murder and mayhem, killing 1400 and leaving 5400 civilians crippled for life. Since then it has continued to besiege the 1.5 million Gazans, causing hundreds more unnecessary deaths. Its actions were deemed war crimes by the UN Goldstone Report.

Israel remains unpunished, hiding behind the skirts of its US lobbyists, who put unremitting pressure on every single congressman, senator and the president to prevent any condemnation of its crimes.

But its attempt to cow the Palestinians have failed. What Israel has succeeding in doing is to confirm beyond a doubt, for millions around the world, its inhuman, racist agenda.

The past two years have witnessed an awakening of world citizens to the plight of the brave Gazans. There have been more than a dozen convoys and flotillas, including Free Gaza boats that broke the siege five times, the Gaza Freedom March, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla — people of all faiths and nationalities risking life and limb to bring Gazans emergency help.

The latest, the “Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan”, the first from south of the equator, represents 18 countries. It reached Turkey last week having started in India, and passing through Pakistan and Iran. It timed its peaceful “invasion” of Gaza to coincide with the anniversary of Israel’s day of infamy.

These efforts to bring relief to suffering Gazans are essential but far from enough. They can be conceived of the positive tactics in a peaceful war by the Palestinians and all people of good will against apartheid Israel. This war goes by the name Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). The war aims are to penalise Israel both politically and economically to end the siege and make a just peace with the Palestinians.

Politically BDS has coaxed more and more governments to legitimise Palestine, even going as far as to delegitimise an apartheid Israel. Important steps include:

-Venezuela and Bolivia cutting diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 after the invasion of Gaza, Nicaragua after the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010.
-Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay recognising a “free and independent” Palestine with 1967 borders in 2010, with Paraguay to follow suit in the spring.
-Norway and Britain upgrading their Palestinian Authority representative to consul, with the new year promising more European countries to follow suit.
-Edinburgh city council rejecting a bid by French company Veolia to take over public services due to its complicity with Israeli crimes.
-also in Scotland, Stirling city council approving a comprehensive boycott campaign against Israel’s “open aggression and disregard for international law.”
-Marrickville, Australia, a sister city to Bethlehem since 2007, recently voting to support a comprehensive BDS campaign.

Israel besieges Gaza. BDS calls on the world to “besiege the siege”, to starve Israel of its export and import markets and pressure it to make a just peace with its captives. There were many victories on this economic front in 2010 too. Examples include:

-Qatar cutting its trade relations with Israel.
-deals cancelled with Turkey, the UK, Egypt and Gulf States.
-a Turkish company demanding that Israeli companies sign a document condemning the Israeli massacre in Gaza to continue doing business. Israeli businessmen in Turkey now have to hide their identity.
-Japan’s MUJI abandoning plans to invest in Israel, facing immense pressure from citizens in Japan and South Korea.
- European Union guidelines requiring supermarkets to mark the origin of produce on labels to allow consumers to distinguish between Palestinian, Israeli and settlement produce.
-Dutch pension fund PFZW disposing of the Israeli companies in its portfolio. Major Swedish and Norwegian investment funds sold their shares in all Israeli companies involved in building settlements and the separation wall.
-the Chilean parliament’s decision to adopt a boycott of Israeli products made in settlements.
-the decision by companies such as Multilock to close their West Bank businesses because of human rights organisation pressure.

Dozens of BDS groups around the world, including in the US, are singing, dancing and otherwise demonstrating in front of and inside stores selling Israeli products, urging management and customers to join the boycott.

But the biggest impact on Israel, ironically, has come from the beleaguered Palestinians themselves. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has made it illegal for anything produced in settlements to be sold in Palestinian stores. The West Bank market is worth around $200 million a year to Israeli businesses, with some settlement factories selling up to 30 per cent of their output to the Palestinian market. Seventeen factories in Mishor Adumim, a large industrial estate between East Jerusalem and Jericho, closed as a direct result of the PA boycott.

As 22,000 Palestinians are employed by settlement businesses, the PA has established a $50 million fund to both discourage Palestinians from working in the settlements and help those who lose their jobs due to BDS successes.

While Israel’s economic media passes no judgment on Israel’s political and moral failings, BDS is forcing it to wake up. The Marker warned about the growing boycott of Israeli high-tech companies by European and US companies which find they cannot invest in Israel for moral reasons. Nehemia Strassler, Israel’s leading economic analyst, attacked Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai, for calling on the military to “destroy one hundred homes in Gaza for every rocket that falls in Israel”.

“The operation in Gaza hurts the economy. The horror sights on television and the words of politicians in Europe and Turkey change the behavior of consumers, businessmen and potential investors. Many European consumers boycott Israeli products in practice. Intellectuals call for an economic war against us and to enforce an official and full consumer boycott.”

The world is changing before our eyes. Five years ago the anti-Israel movement was limited to the far left or Arabs and Muslims. Now the campaign is entering the mainstream as a principled red and green -- leftwing and Muslim -- alliance

The boycott is an especially effective weapon against Israel because Israel is a small country, dependent on exports and imports. BDS was the key to ending the apartheid regime in South Africa and is fuelling world citizens with energy to do the same to Israeli apartheid.

And it is all thanks to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which let the world watch Israel pound Gaza with bombs on live television. Israeli-American artist Theordore Bikel, a recent convert to BDS, points to the legendary Pablo Casals, who refused to play in fascist Spain, saying, “My cello is my weapon; I choose where I play, when I play, and before whom I play.” There are many weapons mightier than the sword.
Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly You can reach him at

Daniel Ellsberg supports a new (real) 9-11 investigation

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Putin orders Russia to move to GNU/Linux

  • Original article here
  • Google translation of original article here
  • First commentary here
  • Discussion on slashdot here

Now, this is very good news indeed!  As far as I know, Russia is the last of the BRICS countries to take that decision (yes, I did put an 's' at BRICS since South Africa has now joined this group).  As far as I know, the first BRICS country to move to GNU/Linux was China which ordered all state organizations to make the move.  Brazil did something similar, but I am not sure about the details.  In the case of India, I remember that following a visit to India by Richard Stallman the Indian government also decided to favor a transition to GNU/Linux.  South Africa, the birthplace of Ubuntu GNU/Linux, has been using GNU/Linux for a while now, though I am not sure to what degree.  In the case of Russia, having a much more centralized regime than the rest of the BRICS with the exception of China, I expect that transition to be undertaken very fast.  In fact, according to Putin's decree, it should be completed by 2015.

Fantastic news indeed!

The Saker

Saturday, December 25, 2010

“Israeli” Espionage Saga - Discoveries are actually evidence that "Israel" has gone to the extent of building an autonomous network on Lebanese territory

Exclusive to By Mariam Saleh

Lebanon has been under the outrage of continued reports of "Israeli" spying equipment and agents being found on its land. Lately, the Lebanese Army uncovered that it spotted and dismantled two long-range spying devices crediting the Resistance with providing information that enabled the discoveries. The two pieces of equipment were camouflaged with artificial mountain rocks and were found simultaneously in a period of two days. 

The first on Sannine Mountain in the upper Metn area, which overlooks Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley, and the second, was found on Barouk Mountain in the Shouf area, southeast of the capital.

People in Lebanon had previously heard that "Israel" had the capabilities to intercept Lebanese cell phone transmissions, yet the discovery of these two devices have brought to light new conclusions related to the "Israeli" infiltration of Lebanon's telecommunications system.

Vice- Chairman of the board of South Asia & Middle East North Africa Telecom Council (SAMENA), Riad Bahsoun tells us that these discoveries are actually evidence that "Israel" has gone to the extent of building an autonomous network on Lebanese territory. "The devices are not only spying equipment with optical laser photography characteristic and military features for interception and localization, but are communication stations on their own. The equipment found on Sannine Mountain proved to have BTS cellular features" Bahsoun tells us.

BTS is short for Base Transceiver Station. In mobile communications the BTS is the networking component of a mobile communications system from which all signals are sent and received. A BTS is controlled by a base station controller. A BTS is also called a base station (BS) and is commonly referred to as a "cell phone tower."

The base station controller in this case is an "Israeli" tower which also transmits to its "mother station". People living in the vicinity of Zahleh had complained that their mobiles had shifted at certain times to an "Israeli" roaming network. Lebanon has no common cellular coverage with "Israel".

"Israel's" efforts before and after the 2006 war on Lebanon which focused on interception and localization through various devices and the use of agents planted on Lebanese land had proven insufficient. "Israel" had concluded this after it realized that it was not able to locate and assassinate any of the Resistance leaders. Despite "Israeli" claims early on in the war that it had exterminated Hizbullah's rocket launchers and even underground arsenal; the rockets kept going during the 33 day war. The Sannine and Barouk stations are considered part of its efforts to complete their objective to target the resistance.

The equipment, we are told by Bahsoun is very much modern and capable, yet dismantling it is an enormous strategic blow to "Israel's" advanced capabilities.

Add to this the fact that Hizbullah's Resistance had provided the national army with the intelligence to locate the devices. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman praised the cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hizbullah that led to the discovery of the stations, and called for filing a complaint with the U.N. Security Council in addition to other complaints against "attacks on Lebanon's telecommunications system."

In October of 2010, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) condemned "Israel's" violation of Lebanese sovereignty, and demanded it ceases its threats to Lebanon's security, and compensates Lebanon for the harm it inflicted on Lebanon's telecommunications network.

Infiltration of Lebanon's Telecoms network has been considered by international observers as a serious a crime. Yet, can Lebanon take more decisive action against the building of an independent telecoms station on its territory by the enemy of modern times. Hizbullah leaders have declared that such a massive violation of Lebanon's absolute indisputable sovereignty will need more than just words of condemnation.

3 part interview with Dr. Gabor Mate on Democracy Now

Listening to Dr Mate speak, I can only say that my experience with homeschooling three kids and comparing them with most of the kids out there, fully confirms everything he says. If you have kids, or hope to have kids in the future, I urge you to listen to this guy.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Al-Akhbar Daily Publishes Tareq Al Rabaa’s Recruitment Story with the “Israeli” Mossad

Al-Akhbar Lebanese daily published the nature of affairs of "Israeli" agent Tareq Al Rabaa for nine years, during his employment as a telecommunication engineer in the Lebanese Alfa GSM company, and how he was recruited by the "Israeli" enemy.

The newspaper mentioned the following:

The "Israeli" intelligence's relation with its agent Tareq Al Rabaa exceeded locating the resistance positions or taking pictures of bridges, where Al Rabaa conducted telecoms network schemes, planned by the enemy.

In May 2009, "Israeli" intelligence officer, Leonel Martinez, and an "Israeli" telecoms engineer, requested from agent Al Rabaa during a meeting with him in France, to conduct a big project in Lebanon.

This project includes installing a tower, known as a "back bone", on top of one of the buildings in the Mar Taqla area in the Lebanese Hazmiyeh region.

The condition was that old devices should be installed over that tower, which should be connected to the telecommunication headquarters in Alfa, Sin Al Fiel area, and in another third location, and in return, Al Rabaa will be granted $100 thousand.

In the beginning, Tareq said that it is hard to purchase and equip a tower with old tools and devices, but the "Israeli" engineer insisted on Al Rabaa, so the latter promised to do what he could.

When Al Rabaa came back to Beirut, Mar Taqla area, he tried to convince some of the building owners in the area to install a tower on top of their building, yet his requests were refused.

Al Rabaa informed his "Israeli" employers of the result.

After that, Tareq Al Rabaa went to an area in Hazmiyeh, 800 meters away from the first location in Mar Taqla, and there he found an owner who accepted his request to install a tower on top of the building.

In 2010, Al Rabaa was asked to look for a "back bone" that would connect him to the location of the mobile phone transmitter station, which connects Dahr Al Baydar and Beirut, in order to wiretap phones in the Bikaa region.

Al Rabaa was incapable of starting with this project, because Leonel retired, and before he was able to meet Leonel's successor, the Lebanese army intelligence arrested Charbel Kazzi on 24-6-2010.

After Kazzi's arrest, Tarq Al Rabaa was afraid he would meet the same fate, which pushed him to destroy all communication devices which used to keep him in touch with his "Israeli" employers, before the army arrested him.

His Recruitment

In 2001, Tareq Al Rabaa received a phone call from someone abroad, someone who introduced himself as "Michel Manio", saying that he is talking on behalf of an employment company and works for a major international company.

Manio told Al Rabaa that he wants to recruit him in a very important company, adding that head of employee affairs will be contacting him to talk to him about details.

After a short while, a lady called Al Rabaa and explained that she is talking from a Finish telecoms company, and wants his help in planning and drawing networks. Manio called Tareq after a while, and invited him for a meeting in Cyprus.

During the meeting, Manio asked Tareq about the nature of his work in Cellis (which is now known as Alfa telecoms. Company), then introduced him to his manager, "Miguel Aydo", who interviewed him.

Aydo then gave Al Rabaa the company's website, and asked him to conduct a study about a specific type of telecoms network.

After returning to Lebanon, Tareq worked on completing the study, working on it two hours a day for two months. When he was done with it, he emailed Miguel Aydo, who asked Tareq to meet him in France, in 2002.

Tareq handed his study to Aydo in return for $1500, in addition to travel and resident expenses. Tareq expressed resentment to the low price he received in return for his study, and then returned to Beirut.

Couple of days later, Manio called Al Rabaa and told him that Aydo was satisfied with his work, but Al Rabaa refused to work for them.

Aydo then called Al Rabaa and asked to meet him in Holland to settle the misunderstanding concerning the money given to Tareq in return of his work.

In their meeting, which took place by end of 2002 in Amsterdam, Tareq met with his "manager" who then gave Tareq $5000 for the study, and both sides agreed on constant communication.

The following meeting took place in Thailand, and as usual, Aydo took care of the expenses of the hotel reservations and the flight ticket.

When they met, they went on a public bus, and then Aydo started asking Al Rabaa about the Cellis Company, with further requests on details about his work.

Tareq complained that he does not receive any promotions, and that he wants to quit his job, but Aydo urged Tarq to stay in Cellis, gave him $2000, and then asked him not to tell anyone they are meeting.

Although Tareq did not understand the reason behind this request, he didn't feel suspicious to the extent to break up the relation.

In the testimony he presented before the intelligence investigators in the army, Tareq always mentioned the meeting in which Aydo did not request anything, although he gave him some big amounts of money.

For example, Aydo requested a meeting with Tareq in Turkey in 2003, and then gave him an amount of $6000. Al Rabaa confirmed that in their meeting, they did not talk about anything serious.

The following year, both sides met in France, but this time, in a more serious atmosphere, where Aydo introduced Tareq to Leonel Martinez, and claimed the latter to be the auditor of the company.

The year after, another meeting took place in France, but this time only with Martinez, who informed Al Rabaa that Aydo has passed away in a motorcycle accident, and from then on, Martinez will be following up with Tareq.

Tareq was subject to a polygraph machine test during that meeting, and was asked several questions, including whether he has told anyone about his meetings with Aydo, and whether he dealt with Lebanese security firms or with the resistance.

By the end of the test, Leonel told Tareq that he had failed in the test, saying that he was from the NATO intelligence, and wanted him to work for them, but they don't need him anymore.

Communication stopped between Tareq and Martinez until March 2005, where Leonel once again called Tareq and asked him to meet in Athens.

The meeting aimed at restoring relations with Al Rabaa.

Martinez, along with another engineer, asked Tareq about the status of the Alfa Company (previously known for Cellis), and about the bids it's conducting to buy new devices and equipments.

Tareq answered the questions, and then referred that he will do his best so that the bid will adopt Alcatel.

Three meetings were held between both sides before Leonel gave Tareq an amount of $ 10 thousand, and scheduled another meeting within 2 months in Copenhagen, hoping that Al Rabaa will bring more information.

In August 2005, Tareq met Leonel in the Danish capital, and a meeting was scheduled with head of the intelligence agency, a man in his sixties, who goes by the name of "Patrick Antonelli".

Tareq complained to Antonelli about the polygraph test he was subject to, requesting an increase in the money he was receiving. Patrick promised that the amount of money will be increased, affirming to Tareq that his career future is with them.

Tareq told Leonel and the engineer that when he went back to Beirut from Athens, he was surprised that the Alfa Company was deciding on signing a deal with the Siemens Company, which has presented a better deal than Alcatel.

Tareq said that he argued with his Alfa manger, Felix Wass, and asked him to check all Siemens devices to know whether they meet the company's needs.

Leonel then stressed on Tareq not to get into any dispute with the Alfa Company, and should do whatever he is requested. Leonel afterwards gave Tareq an amount of $10 thousand.

Meetings between both sides continued on being held each two months, in which Tareq gave out all information he could gather about the Alfa Company, and in each meeting, Tareq used to be given an amount of money not less than $8000.

In May 2006, Al Rabaa presented a detailed explanation for his employer about the back bone of the Alfa Company, in addition to a detailed map for all stations and all available information.

During the July 2006 war, Leonel called Al Rabaa, and asked him to go to the Alfa Company so that the administration would not think that he doesn't care.

After war, Leonel Martinez asked Tareq to locate the damages that affected the telecoms network, and the locations which were bombed, in addition to Tareq's car register number, which he uses in Lebanon.

Tareq did what he was asked to, and in the following meeting, he was asked to give the names of all working employers in the Alfa Company, and all information he could purchase about them.

Tareq Al Rabaa gathered the requested information after he came to Beirut, and then presented them in a USB device in the next meeting.

In 2007, Tareq set a plan to expand the Alfa Company, and gave his outline to Leonel.

Tareq also presented a study to the Alfa Company, to spread the Company's towers in the south, where he proposed to adopt Alcatel devices.

In January 2009, Leonel brought along to Turkey a new engineer called "Collin", who on his part requested from Tareq details related to the company's operating systems.

Al Rabaa informed Collin of the new bid to install new devices in south Lebanon, adding that his company had two choices: either adopting Alcatel company for equipping, or to get the equipments from the Chinese Hawawi Company.

In this level, Leonel stressed that the Chinese company's request should be rejected, and the old equipments in the south should remain, and if wanted to be renewed, it should be with Alcatel equipments.

The "Israelis" achieved what they wanted, for the stations in south Lebanon were equipped with Alcatel devices, the company which also equipped Alfa with devices for tens of stations in Beirut and its suburbs.

During one of the meetings, Leonel Martinez stressed that the southern network shouldn't be subject to extra protective systems, in order to maintain the ability of wiretapping.

Tareq on this level told Leonel that Hizbullah does not use the mobile network, or the landline, adding that it has its own network. Leonel then said, "We have recruits all over the south, and we want to protect them".

In May 2009, Tareq was requested to install a back bone in Mar Taqla, and when he failed to install it in the requested location, they insisted on knowing the reasons, which they did not believe any of.

In further meeting, Al Rabaa was subject to many polygraph tests, and was informed that he hadn't passed any of them.

In April 2010, Leonel called Tareq and asked to meet him, along with another engineer, who asked Al Rabaa to look for a back bone that would connect him to the location of the mobile phone transmitter station, which connects Dahr Al Baydar with Beirut, in order to wiretap phones in the Bikaa region.

Tareq said that this request was hard, but he will do his best to achieve what they needed.

The following day, a meeting was held between Tareq and Leonel, during which the latter informed Al Rabaa that he will retire and that someone else will communicate with him via internet, and then Leonel gave Tareq $20 thousand.

Tareq Al Rabaa came back to Beirut, at the time when the Lebanese army intelligence arrested his colleague Cahrbel Kazzi, for the charge of dealing with the "Israeli" intelligence.

Tareq felt terrified, and then destroyed all devices given to him by Leonel Martinez.

Eighteen days later, Tareq Al Rabaa was arrested.

Tareq told the army intelligence, that he doubted that his employers were not part of the NATO, but rather were from the "Israeli" Mossad.

He said that he searched their named on the internet but couldn't find any of them, but these doubts did not lead him to break up his relations with them.

The "five pillars" of Israel's strategy towards Iran

DE RUEHTV #2652/01 2431245
P 311245Z AUG 07
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 TEL AVIV 002652 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/2017 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard H. Jones.  Reasons: 1.4 (b)(d). 
1. (S) In an August 17 meeting, Israeli Mossad Chief Meir 
Dagan thanked Under Secretary Burns for America's support of 
Israel as evidenced by the previous day's signing of an MOU 
that provides Israel with USD 30 billion in security 
assistance from 2008-2018.  Dagan provided his assessment of 
the Middle East region, Pakistan and Turkey, stressing 
Israel's (a) concern for President Musharraf's well-being, 
(b) view that Iran can be forced to change its behavior, and 
(c) sense that Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are 
unstable with unclear futures ahead of them.  Dagan probed 
for more detail about XXXXXXXXXXXX U.S. military assistance
to the Gulf  states, and -- while signaling agreement with the
U.S.  approach to the Gulf states vis-a-vis Iran -- cautioned that 
they may not be able to absorb significant military  assistance.
Dagan reviewed Israel's five-pillar strategy  concerning
Iran's nuclear program, stressed that Iran is  economicall
 vulnerable, and pressed for more activity with  Iran's
minority groups aimed at regime change.  Dagan urged 
caution in providing assistance to the Siniora government in 
Lebanon, noting Syrian and Iranian efforts to topple the GOL. 
2. (S) Under Secretary Burns cited the MOU as tangible 
evidence of the USG's commitment to Israel, and stressed that 
the U.S. would support all of its friends -- Arabs included 
-- in the Middle East, and will remain engaged in the region 
for the long term.  He described U.S. efforts to support the 
Musharraf and Karzai governments as they face opposition from 
Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and explained that the Gulf 
Security Dialogue is meant to bolster Gulf states facing 
threats from Iran.  The Under Secretary reviewed U.S. efforts 
to isolate Iran and increase pressure on it, stressing that 
the U.S. is currently focused on the diplomatic track.  He 
shared USG thinking about the Siniora government in Lebanon, 
and urged that the U.S. and Israel continue to consult on 
Lebanon.  END SUMMARY. 
3. (S)  Dagan observed that the signing of the MOU on 
security assistance could not have come at a better time, and 
stressed that Israel appreciated America's support.  The 
Under Secretary agreed about the timing, noting that the 
U.S., Israel and like-minded countries were facing multiple 
threats around the world, and that the Middle East is a very 
dangerous region.  He said that the MOU serves as a concrete 
reminder that the U.S. stands by its long-term security 
commitments to its friends, and is ready to help them with 
their needs.  The Under Secretary noted that the Middle East 
is now at the heart of American interests.  Because Egypt 
also plays a vital role in the region, the U.S. would also 
renew its security assistance commitment to that country. 
U.S. relations with the Gulf states were longstanding, and 
America would stay true to those friendships, as well.  The 
Under Secretary stressed that the USG is committed to 
Israel's QME.  He noted that the majority of systems and 
equipment that the U.S. would sell to Egypt and other Arab 
partners would replace items that had been sold to those 
countries in the past. 
4. (S) Assessing the region, Dagan said Israel sees itself in 
the middle of a rapidly changing environment, in which the 
fate of one Middle Eastern country is connected to another. 
Dagan then said he was concerned about how long Pakistani 
President Musharraf would survive:  "He is facing a serious 
problem with the militants.  Pakistan's nuclear capability 
could end up in the hands of an Islamic regime."  Turning to 
Iran, Dagan observed that it is in a transition period. 
There is debate among the leadership between Rafsanjani and 
Ahmadinejad and their respective supporters.  Instability in 
Iran is driven by inflation and tension among ethnic 
minorities.  This, Dagan said, presents unique opportunities, 
and Israelis and Americans might see a change in Iran in 
TEL AVIV 00002652  002 OF 005 
their lifetimes.  As for Iraq, it may end up a weak, federal 
state comprised of three cantons or entities, one each 
belonging to the Kurds, Sunnis and Shias. 
5. (S) Dagan said that the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia are 
concerned about the growing importance of Iran and its 
influence on them.  They are taking precautions, trying to 
increase their own military defensive capabilities. 
Referring to the Gulf Security Dialogue (GSD), Dagan warned 
that these countries would not be able to cope with the 
amount of weapons systems they intend to acquire:  "They do 
not use the weapons effectively." 
6. (S) Dagan said that Jordan has successfully faced down 
threats from the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and that Egypt 
is struggling with the question of who will replace President 
Mubarak.  He said he sees no hope for the Palestinians, and 
that Israel looks at Syria and Lebanon, and sees only 
instability.  Further afield, it looks at Turkey and sees 
Islamists gaining momentum there.  The question, he asked, is 
how long Turkey's military -- viewing itself as the defender 
of Turkey's secular identity -- will remain quiet. 
7. (S) If Israel's neighborhood were not unstable enough, 
Dagan observed, it did not help that Russia is playing a 
"very negative role" in the region.  He observed that all of 
these challenges have to be addressed globally -- they could 
not be dealt with individually.  Returning to Jordan as an 
example, he noted that the more than one million Iraqi 
refugees in Jordan were changing Jordanian society, and 
forcing it into a new relationship with Saudi Arabia.  This 
is evidenced by Saudi King Abdullah's recent visit to Jordan, 
which implies greater understanding between the Jordanians 
and the Saudis. 
8. (S) Turning to the Gulf Security Dialogue (GSD), Dagan 
said that enhancing the capabilities of the Gulf states "is 
the right direction to go," especially as they are afraid of 
Iran.  Such a U.S. commitment will be a stabilizing factor in 
the region.  Dagan clarified that he would not oppose U.S. 
security assistance to America's Arab partners.  He expressed 
concern, nevertheless, about the current policies of those 
partners -- especially with regards to Syria and Iran.  Dagan 
added that if those countries must choose between buying 
defensive systems from the U.S. or France, then he would 
prefer they buy systems from the U.S., as this would bring 
them closer to the U.S. 
9. (S) Dagan observed that the challenge facing the U.S. now 
is how to unite the Gulf states under a shared policy, and 
pointed to Qatar as the weakest link in the chain, trying to 
play all sides.  Under Secretary Burns replied that the U.S. 
is trying to get Qatar and its neighbors to look at issues 
from a regional perspective, and to focus on threats in a 
unified way.  Acting PM Assistant Secretary Mull expressed 
understanding for Israel's frustration with how the region 
looked, but stressed nevertheless that if America did not 
engage the Gulf states through the GSD, the situation would 
become much worse.  It is critical to get the Gulf states 
focused on the Iran threat, and to adopt a regional approach 
to countering it.  Encouraging and supporting their 
counterproliferation efforts would be crucial.  Dagan said he 
agreed with this approach, stressing that the threat of 
radical Islam is real. 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
10. (S) Dagan led discussion on Iran by pointing out that the 
U.S. and Israel have different timetables concerning when 
Iran is likely to acquire a nuclear capability.  He clarified 
that the Israel Atomic Energy Commission's (IAEC) timetable 
is purely technical in nature, while the Mossad's considers 
other factors, including the regime's determination to 
succeed.  While Dagan acknowledged that there is still time 
to "resolve" the Iran nuclear crisis, he stressed that Iran 
is making a great effort to achieve a nuclear capability: 
"The threat is obvious, even if we have a different 
timetable.  If we want to postpone their acquisition of a 
TEL AVIV 00002652  003 OF 005 
nuclear capability, then we have to invest time and effort 
11. (S) Dagan described how the Israeli strategy consists of 
five pillars: 
A) Political Approach: Dagan praised efforts to bring Iran 
before the UNSC, and signaled his agreement with the pursuit 
of a third sanctions resolution.  He acknowledged that 
pressure on Iran is building up, but said this approach alone 
will not resolve the crisis.  He stressed that the timetable 
for political action is different than the nuclear project's 
B) Covert Measures: Dagan and the Under Secretary agreed not 
to discuss this approach in the larger group setting. 
C) Counterproliferation: Dagan underscored the need to 
prevent know-how and technology from making their way to 
Iran, and said that more can be done in this area. 
D) Sanctions:  Dagan said that the biggest successes had so 
far been in this area.  Three Iranian banks are on the verge 
of collapse.  The financial sanctions are having a nationwide 
impact.  Iran's regime can no longer just deal with the 
bankers themselves. 
E) Force Regime Change:  Dagan said that more should be done 
to foment regime change in Iran, possibly with the support of 
student democracy movements, and ethnic groups (e.g., Azeris, 
Kurds, Baluchs) opposed to the ruling regime. 
12. (S) Dagan clarified that the U.S., Israel and like-minded 
countries must push on all five pillars at the same time. 
Some are bearing fruit now; others would bear fruit in due 
time, especially if more attention were placed on them. 
Dagan urged more attention on regime change, asserting that 
more could be done to develop the identities of ethnic 
minorities in Iran.  He said he was sure that Israel and the 
U.S. could "change the ruling regime in Iran, and its 
attitude towards backing terror regimes."  He added, "We 
could also get them to delay their nuclear project.  Iran 
could become a normal state." 
13. (S) Dagan stressed that Iran has weak spots that can be 
exploited.  According to his information, unemployment 
exceeds 30 percent nationwide, with some towns and villages 
experiencing 50 percent unemployment, especially among 17-30 
year olds.  Inflation averages more than 40 percent, and 
people are criticizing the government for investing in and 
sponsoring Hamas, saying that they government should invest 
in Iran itself.  "The economy is hurting," he said, "and this 
is provoking a real crisis among Iran's leaders."  He added 
that Iran's minorities are "raising their heads, and are 
tempted to resort to violence." 
14. (S) Dagan suggested that more could be done to get the 
Europeans to take a tougher stand against Iran.  Under 
Secretary Burns agreed, and suggested that Israel could help 
by reaching out to the Europeans.  Dagan said that Israel is 
already doing this, and would continue to do so.  Dagan 
reiterated the need to strike at Iran's heart by engaging 
with its people directly.  Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts 
are important, but more radio transmissions in Farsi are 
needed.  Coordination with the Gulf states is helpful, but 
the U.S. should also coordinate with Azerbaijan and countries 
to the north of Iran, to put pressure on Iran.  Russia, he 
said, would be annoyed, but it would be fitting, as Russia 
appears bent on showing the U.S. that it cannot act globally 
without considering Russia. 
15. (S) Under Secretary Burns stressed that the USG is 
focused on Iran not only because of its nuclear program, but 
also because it supports terrorism and Shiite militias in 
Iraq.  The U.S. approach is currently focused on the 
diplomatic track and increasing pressure on Iran through 
sanctions.  Work in the UNSC helps to define the Iranian 
nuclear threat as one that affects international security, 
and not just that of Israel.  While UNSC members Russia, 
China and Qatar will water down efforts to increase pressure 
on Iran, it is still worthwhile to push for a third sanctions 
resolution.  In the meantime, the U.S. will encourage the 
Europeans, Japan and South Korea to implement unilateral 
sanctions against Iran outside the UNSC framework.  The U.S. 
TEL AVIV 00002652  004 OF 005 
will continue to encourage banks and financial institutions 
to slow down their operations in Iran and financially isolate 
it.  Regarding military pressure, the Under Secretary noted 
that the U.S. has deployed 1-2 carrier battle groups in the 
Gulf over the last six months, and that President Bush has 
stated that he will interrupt Iran's activity in Iraq.  As 
for outreach to the Iranian people, the VOA is now 
broadcasting programs in Farsi, and the USG is trying to get 
more Iranian students to visit the U.S. to promote 
people-to-people relations. 
16. (S) On Pakistan, Dagan said that President Musharraf is 
losing control, and that some of his coalition partners could 
threaten him in the future.  The key question, Dagan said, is 
whether Musharraf retains his commander-in-chief role in 
addition to his role as president.  If not, he will have 
problems.  Dagan observed that there has been an increase in 
the number of attempts on Musharraf's life, and wondered 
whether he will survive the next few years.  Under Secretary 
Burns replied that South Asia has assumed vital importance in 
American foreign policy since September 11.  The U.S. is 
committed to denying Afghanistan as a safe-haven for Taliban 
and Al-Qaeda activity.  The USG will continue to support 
Pakistani President Musharraf, and is seeking to boost his 
military defensive capabilities.  At the same time, the U.S. 
is encouraging Pakistan and Afghanistan to work with each 
other militarily.  Turning to India, Under Secretary Burns 
noted that U.S.-Indian economic cooperation is growing, and 
that the USG is working effectively to reduce tensions 
between India and Pakistan. 
17. (S) Dagan urged caution with respect to Lebanon, noting 
that the results of efforts there to bolster the Siniora 
government would impact Syria and Iraq.  The U.S. and Israel, 
he said, are on the edge of achieving something in Lebanon, 
and so cannot afford to drop their guard.  What is necessary 
is finding the right way to support PM Siniora.  "He is a 
courageous man," Dagan said.  Syria, Iran and Hizballah are 
working hard against him.  Dagan noted that much of what is 
animating the leadership of Lebanon to take on Syria is 
personal:  "Hariri, Jumblat and others had their parents 
executed by the Syrians."  This anti-Syrian sentiment has 
forged an alliance based on personal and national interests. 
Siniora has worked well with the situation, but Dagan 
suggested that the odds are against him.  Under Secretary 
Burns replied that the U.S. is trying to give PM Siniora as 
much support as possible, and that we would continue to 
consult closely with Israel on Lebanon.  He noted that he 
would return to Israel in October. 
18, (SBU) Accompanying Under Secretary Burns in the meeting 
-- Ambassador Richard H. Jones 
-- Acting PM Assistant Secretary Stephen Mull 
-- Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International 
Security Affairs Mary Beth Long 
-- NEA/IPA Deputy Director Nicole Shampaine 
-- Embassy Tel Aviv Counselor for Political Research 
-- Embassy Tel Aviv Political-Military Officer (notetaker) 
19. (SBU) Accompanying Mossad Chief Meir Dagan in the meeting 
-- Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Salai Meridor 
-- Advisor to Foreign Minister Livni Omer Caspi 
-- Two unidentified Mossad officials 
20. (U) Under Secretary R. Nicholas Burns cleared on this 
********************************************* ******************** 
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website: 
TEL AVIV 00002652  005 OF 005 
You can also access this site through the State Department's 
Classified SIPRNET website. 
********************************************* ******************** 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

WikiLeaks to release Israel documents in six months

The Peninsula reports:

DOHA: WikiLeaks will release top secret American files concerning Israel in the next six months, its founder Julian Assange disclosed yesterday.

In an excusive interview with Al Jazeera, Assange said only a meagre number of files related to Israel had been published so far, because the newspapers in the West that were given exclusive rights to publish the secret documents were reluctant to publish many sensitive information about Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel. In the next six months we intend to publish more files depending on our sources,” said Assange in the nearly one-hour interview telecast live from the UK.

Asked if Israel had tried to contact him though mediators, Assange said, “No, no contacts with Israel but I am sure Mossad is following our activities closely like Australia, Sweden and the CIA.

“The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US,” he added.

Excerpts from the interview:

An Arabic newspaper called Al Haqeeq conducted an interview with one of your former colleagues who said you have a deal with Israel not to publish these secret files.

This is not true. We have been accused as agents of Iran and CIA by this former colleague who was working for Germany in the past and was dismissed from his job after we published American military documents related to Germany.

We were the biggest institution receiving official funding from the US but after we released a video tape about killing people in cold blood in Iraq in 2007, the funding stopped and we had to depend on individuals for finance.

When will you publish the files related to Israel on your website?

We will publish 3700 files and the source is the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Netanyahu was traveling to Paris to talk to the US ambassador there. You will see more information about that in six months.

Do these Israeli files speak about the July 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon?

Yes there is some information about that and these files were classified as top secret.

Is there any relation with these files and the assassination of Hamas military leader Al Mabhoh in Dubai?

Yes there are some indication to this and may be some special reports published by newspapers. Mossad agents used Australian, British and European passports to travel to Dubai and there are diplomatic files about that.

Are there any security service companies providing information to international airports and monitoring passengers even in the Arab countries?

There are some files about American and Israeli security companies that tried to intervene in certain areas. For example, in Brazil, the American embassy put some Israeli security companies during the Olympic Games.

Are there any files about agencies providing intelligence information about famous personalities in the Arab world?

I am not sure about that but there are files about Hezbollah in Lebanon. In one of these files Lebanon government complained against cables passing near the French embassy. American are always very much worried about the telecommunications network.

Are there any files about Israeli agents in the Arab world including some Arab royal palaces.

Most of the files related to Mossad are classified as top secret but there may be some files related to the role of Mossad in killing Lebanese military leader in Damascus by sniper bullets.

There 2,500 files related to Mossad and I have read only 1000. So I don’t know about everythiong, I need more journalists including Arabs to read and analyse and put everything in the context for the benefit of the readers.

We have 17,000 files where the word Qatar has been mentioned, the source of 3,000 of these files is the American embassy in Doha.

What is the most interesting file about Qatar that was not published?

There is a lot to be read. The name of Waddah Khanfar has been mentioned in 504 files. Some of these files have been published by The Guardian.

How do the Americans view Al Jazeera in these files?

There were some meetings between people from Al Jazeera and the US embassy where the latter suggested coverage of certain things in a certain way.

There are files about a TV channel in Dubai which the Americans said can be used against Al Jazeera and when this channel tried to move in the American direction, people stopped watching it.

The Americans despite having a base here were angry about the presence of an Iranian bank in Qatar but Qatar said it would not close it but would not open new banks. Despite that this bank established many more branches in Doha. Qatar is trying to create a balance between the Arab world and the America.

The Americans appreciate having their largest base in Doha but Qatar does not agree with all American requirements and Al Jazeera is a good example for that.

Very interesting interview of Julian Assange by David Forst on al-Jazeera

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Russia to support India's accession to SCO

Russia fully supports India's intention to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). According to the statement signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India's accession to the organization will significantly strengthen the SCO's political role and provide a new standard of operation for it. "Russia has agreed to take steps along with other SCO members to expedite the process of India's induction to the organization," the statement reads.

At the moment, the SCO consists of Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

New Zealand accused of Israel 'flap' to boost Arab trade

US diplomats  accused the New Zealand government of overreacting to Israeli agents trying to get NZ passports fraudulently so Wellington could sell more lamb to Arab countries, according to leaked cables.

The arrest and conviction in 2004 of two Israeli citizens who were caught using the identity of a cerebral palsy sufferer to apply for a NZ passport caused a rift between NZ and Israel, with allegations that the two men and others involved were Mossad agents.

But American diplomats disparaged NZ's reaction as a ''flap'' and accused the then government of prime minister Helen Clark of grandstanding to boost trade to Arab states.

''The New Zealand government views the act carried out by the Israeli intelligence agents as not only utterly unacceptable but also a breach of New Zealand sovereignty and international law,'' Ms Clark said after the arrests.

US officials in Wellington told colleagues in Washington that NZ had ''little to lose'' from the breakdown in diplomatic relations with Israel and was instead trying to increase its exports to Arab states.

In cables released by WikiLeaks, former US ambassador to NZ Charles Swindells is disparaging about its stance over the theft and forgery of NZ passports by suspected Israeli spies.

Relations between Israel and NZ chilled after two reported Mossad agents, Eli Cara and Uriel Kelman, were caught and jailed for trying to illegally obtain passports in 2004.

A third suspected agent was a former Israeli diplomat based in Europe, Zev William Barkan, who stole the identity of a tetraplegic Aucklander to fraudulently obtain his passport.

Police also sought a fourth person.

Ms Clark said there was no doubt the men were Mossad operatives and suspended high-level diplomatic relations for more than a year until Israel apologised in 2005.

In the cables Mr Swindells talked about the case and how the offenders tried to use the birth certificate of a cerebral palsy sufferer.

In a cabled dated July 16, 2004, he details Ms Clark's reaction. Mr Swindells said the reaction was the NZ government's ''strongest diplomatic retaliation in 20 years'', since the Rainbow Warrior bombing.

''The GoNZ [the government of NZ] has little to lose by such stringent action, with limited contact and trade with Israel, and possibly something to gain in the Arab world, as the GoNZ is establishing an embassy in Egypt and actively pursuing trade with Arab states.

''With Israeli government officials eager to repair the relationship, and no time limit on the GoNZ's restrictions, it is possible the issue may be resolved in six months, when Cara and Kelman have served their time, and leave the country.''

In another cable, on July 19, 2004, he writes about praise from Hamas being an unwanted consequence of NZ's condemnation.

''New Zealand continues to voice its strong support of the Roadmap [the plan for Middle East peace], but is loathe [sic] to take actions that would identify it as a supporter of Israel and, by proxy, the United States. The GoNZ prides itself on its multi-lateral credentials (ref B) but has been increasingly trying to stand alongside 'Non-Aligned' countries.

''Its overly strong reaction to Israel over this issue suggests the GoNZ sees this flap as an opportunity to bolster its credibility with the Arab community, and by doing so, perhaps, help NZ lamb and other products gain greater access to a larger and more lucrative market.'' 
Commentary: this is an interesting peace not so much because it reveals something we did not know about the US, Israel, New Zealand or any other country, but because it perfectly illustrates the kind of "show of loyalty" to Israel and its policies which US diplomats churn out day after day after day during their entire careers.  What we see here is the creation of an organizational culture which constantly self-selects the kind of people it will attract, co-opt and promote within its ranks.  Just as we know that every US Senator has to pledge his/her allegiance to "Jerusalem As The Eternal And United Capital Of The Jewish State Of Israel", every US diplomat has to constantly maintain his/her status by indicating at every opportunity his/her "Israel friendly" attitude.  Frankly, this is a tedious and energy and time consuming ritual.  It would be far simpler to follow the North Korean example and have every US government official wear a star of David on his/her lapel.  I suspect that the reason why this has not been implemented is that, just like in the case of North Korea, that would not be proof enough.  After all, what is more convincing, leaving a small flag on a lapel, or genuflecting for 8 hours a day?

Seriously, having known many US diplomats in my career, I can attest that they are mostly rather mediocre apparatchiks who will fully buy into whatever ideology the US Establishment and its corporate media happens to promote at any point in time.  There are, of course,  also some smart diplomats at Foggy Bottom, but they keep quiet until they retire.  Then they often speak out on the Israel topic quite openly, at least amongst friends or small groups of people.

Bottom line: any deviation from the official pro-Zionist ideology is an immediate career-ending crime for any US government official.  Ditto for any questioning of the official 9-11 narrative, I would add. 

The Saker

CIA Launches W.T.F. to Assess Cablegate Damage

The CIA has launched a new task force to assess the impact of Cablegate. The Wikileaks Task Force, apparently termed W.T.F., will focus on media exposure and the repercussions of the newest cable releases.

After Wikileaks published its first batch of classified documents, CIA spokesperson George Little had claimed that the CIA was "unconcerned" about the Wikileaks disclosures. Conversely, on November 8, the following press release emerged:
When information about our intelligence, our people, or our operations appears in the media, it does incredible damage to our nation’s security and our ability to do our job of protecting the nation.
It seems it was only a matter of time before Little would announce the emergence of a team devoted entirely to the leaks. At present, WTF is taking inventory of all CIA-related information categorized as "classified" but its focus will be that of ascertaining the potential damage to foreign relations that may have been caused by Cablegate leaks.

Did WikiLeaks reach a secret deal with Israel?

Absence of cables from US embassies in Tel Aviv is surprising, especially on the Lebanon war and Gaza massacre

The current deluge of WikiLeaks' pirated US diplomatic cables has been a triumph for press freedom and the democratic ideal of open and accountable government, but has mostly served to confirm rather than reveal.

Unlike WikiLeaks' previous scoops (the Afghan and Iraq War Logs), the cables released so far tell us little — in political or military terms — that we did not already know or suspect.

As one would expect, coming from America's diplomatic corps, the cables project a US-centric global vision. Twenty-two-year-old Bradley Manning — who originally downloaded the cache of cables — is already in jail and there are calls to extradite WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange to the US and charge him with treason.

Is the US — as several colleagues in the British press have suggested — in danger of over-reacting?

The world of the embassy cables is actually something of a public relations dreamscape, a scripted universe where Iranian President Ahmadinejad is ‘like Hitler', Libyan leader Colonel [Muammar] Gaddafi is phobic and hot-tempered and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sends ‘suitcases full of money' to that other scourge of imperialism, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.

What makes the cables mostly interesting is the human dimension, the gossipy detail, the off-the-record frankness, the unguarded passing of judgment. Sometimes it seems that Julian Assange has unpackaged a Hello! magazine version of global news and international diplomacy.

There are sinister moments, certainly — for example Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's instruction to UN diplomats to undertake acts of espionage; or the collusion between the US and China to ensure the failure of last year's Copenhagen climate summit; or Britain's promise to protect US interests during its enquiry into the invasion of Iraq.

A shocking moral bankruptcy sometimes emerges too: Shell's vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa is happy to report that the multinational's representatives have infiltrated every ministry in the Nigerian government; another diplomat languidly notes that Asif Rahimi "appears to be the only [Afghan] minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist".

But there is also much to amuse as the sober masks of statesmen and women are torn off to reveal ‘a numbskull' (Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari as described by Sir Jock Stirrup, Britain's then chief of staff) or ‘a practised liar' (Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, according to a US diplomat).

Russia's de facto leader Vladimir Putin and its real, elected President, Dmitry Medvedev, are described as ‘Batman and Robin' by one diplomat, while another relates how a ‘too relaxed' French president Sarkozy, on a visit to Rabat, was photographed "crossing his legs and pointing the sole of his shoe at the King — a taboo gesture in the Islamic world".

Naturally, I was most interested in what the cables would reveal about recent events in the Middle East. Of those published to date, a disproportionate 40 per cent deal with the region.

Colourful scandals

There are some colourful scandals and a litany of nefarious intrigues starring the usual suspects. One leaked cable from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton manages the challenging feat of incorporating the entire ‘Axis of Evil' in one report, with North Korea providing missile technology to Iran and Syria who in turn pass it on to Hamas and Hezbollah.

The cables clearly demonstrate how American interests dovetail with those of Israel: Arab leaders urge an attack on Iran, Pakistan's nuclear capability is of great concern and allegations of the Turkish government's involvement with Al Qaida are made repeatedly.

Yet it is the absence of cables from US embassies inside Israel that is most telling. Despite the intense world focus on Israel's invasion of southern Lebanon in 2006, there is nothing from the US Embassy in Beirut during that period. Similarly, the Embassy in Tel Aviv and the consulate in Occupied Jerusalem apparently fell silent during the 2008-09 onslaught on Gaza.

Rumours are circulating on the internet that Assange made a deal with Israel allowing it to censor and ‘cherry pick' the cables prior to publication, repackaging them to serve its own regional interests. Israeli premier Netanyahu confirmed, in a November 30 Haaretz article, that his government had ‘worked in advance to limit any damage from leaks'. WikiLeaks' second-in-command, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, was among several disenchanted former members who recently left the group to set up OpenLeaks. Among their complaints were "concerns about its [WikiLeaks] neutrality" and the increasing propensity for Assange to take ‘solitary decisions'.

There are other, credible, explanations for the missing cables about Israel. In a recent post on Facebook, Ed Abington, former US consul-general in Occupied Jerusalem, mentions ‘a special channel US embassies use for very sensitive information' which WikiLeaks has not had access to; Remy Ourdon of Le Monde (one of the five international newspapers that were given advance copies of the cables by Assange) says there are "tens of thousands of cables and many surprises still coming". It is also possible that the so-called ‘Insurance Files' — which will be released if Assange is ‘incapacitated' — contain embarrassing revelations for Israel.

Israeli politicians and cheerleaders have seized on the PR opportunities the present situation affords. In the wake of the flotilla massacre earlier this year and the 2008 invasion of Gaza, Israel's reputation on the world stage was undoubtedly tarnished. Now website Israelly Cool can boast "WikiLeaks show that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with an open and honest foreign policy".

Yet, I prefer the vision of Assange as a doughty fighter for freedom of information and global justice. It seems inconceivable that he would protect Israel from censure when the WikiLeaks website categorically states that its "primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes... and unethical behaviour [by] governments and corporations".

Abdel Bari Atwan is editor of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi.