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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘intelligence’

Hezbollah Spying on Golan Heights from Syria

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The IDF is forming a new division to operate in the Golan Heights, which faces a new threat of Hezbollah terrorists and weapons that had been limited to the Lebanese border before Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah sent his army to fight with Assad loyalists against Syrian rebels.

The new Golan division reflects the new situation in the Golan Heights, which now is on the border of clashes between Assad’s army and rebels and has been subject to frequent rifle fire and mortar shelling, usually accidental and sometimes intentional.

The military’s other four divisions are located along the border with Lebanon, in the Negev, next to Gaza and in Judea and Samaria.

Syrian President Bassar al-Assad has demanded for years that Israel surrender the strategic Golan Heights, but despite Syria’s being a declared enemy, Israel has enjoyed the advantage of a stable regime across the border. Stability usually is preferable to the unknown, especially if it is in the enemy’s court.

The rebellion in Syria more than two years ago created a nervous uncertainty in Israel, and Hezbollah’s recent move into the area has extended the area from which the terrorist organization can strike.

Nasrallah threatened earlier this year to turn the Golan Heights into a new front against Israel.

Israel has been preparing for a another attack from Lebanon ever since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Hezbollah has stockpiled tens of thousands of rockets and anti-tank missiles, most of them smuggled in from Syria, with Iranian and Russian trademarks.

Hezbollah is gathering intelligence on the IDF in the Golan Heights, according to Reuters, quoting an Israeli source. “It is not at an alarming level now but we understand their intentions,” he said.

Adding to Israel’s concerns are the heavy presence of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups fighting alongside the rebels. Whichever side wins, Israel loses, assuming that the same instability that replaced Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt will be the case in Syria.

“We know they are busy now but once it ends they will turn their guns on us,” the military source told Reuters. “We’re not waiting for an attack. We’re building the border fence; we have sent up tanks, more regiments, field intelligence … and increased observations.”

For what it’s worth, the United Security Council on Wednesday called on Hezbollah to end its involvement in Syria.

“The Security Council calls upon all Lebanese parties to recommit to Lebanon’s policy of disassociation, to stand united behind President Michel Suleiman in this regard and to step back from any involvement in the Syrian crisis,” the Council said.

The United Nations did not name Hezbollah, due to Russian objections, but Hezbollah clearly was intended.

Given the previous failures of the international body to live up to its commitment to disarm Hezbollah after the Second Lebanon War, Wednesday’s statement can safely be discarded.

Second ‘Prisoner X’ Identified as Palestinian Authority Arab

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

An Israel court partially lifted a gag order Wednesday on the case of a second “prisoner X,” held in secret in a high-security prison, and identified him as Wael Abu Reda of Gaza. He is charged with committing “crimes against the security of the country.”

Australian media earlier this year exposed the secret incarceration of a an immigrant from the country who worked for the Mossad and hanged himself in prison. Security officials arrested him after he carried out an unauthorized mission that crippled a Mossad attempt to return three dead bodies of Israelis killed in the First Lebanon War and also exposed one of the intelligence agency’s most important agents in Lebanon.

The Australian, Ben Zygier, was thrown into the highest security cell in Israel, in the same area of the cell of Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Like Zygier, Abu Reda disappeared mysteriously. He had last been seen in Egypt last month. The gag order on details and background of his arrest remains in effect for at least 10 more days.

His wife, Amani Abu Reda, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency last week that her husband disappeared during a visit to Egypt for medical treatment. The International Committee of the Red Cross informed the family that he was the in custody of Israel.

In Hebrew: ‘Intelligence Agency’

Friday, May 31st, 2013

סוֹכְנוּת בִּיּוּן Yesterday we saw some information about הַמּוֹסָד- the Mossad.

Today we’ll look at the general term for intelligence agencyסוֹכְנוּת בִּיּוּן.

The Hebrew word for agency is סוכנות, most recognizably in the Hebrew name of The Jewish Agencyהַסּוֹכְנוּת הַיְּהוּדִית, or simply הסוכנות- The Agency. A סוֹכֵן(male) or סוֹכֶנֶת(female) is an agent, so סוכנותmeans agency. This term comes from Biblical Hebrew.

The word for intelligence in the context of an intelligence agency is בִּיּוּן. This word comes from the Biblical root ב.ו.נ (b.w.n) or ב.י.נ (b.y.n), internalization.

You may recognize this root in the word for to understandלְהָבִין. But whereas in להבין, the root is plugged into the active-causative הִפְעִיל verb form, in ביון, the root is plugged into the active-intensive פִּעֵל form yielding the verb לְבַיֵּןand its noun form ביון.

So what do לבייןand ביון mean, specifically? In mathematics there is a concept called interpolation, which involves estimating the location of various data points within a range – a precise, sophisticated game of connect the dots. Which is exactly what an intelligence agency – a סוכנות ביון- does – it “connects the dots” in a real-life political, often international scenario to create a plan of action.

You may be familiar with the word מוֹדִיעִין, also referring to intelligence (as well as to a city situated between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem), as in חֵיל הַמּוֹדִיעִין- the IDF’s Intelligence Corps. In that phrase, intelligence refers to gathering information rather than interpoling, so מודיעין, of the root י.ד.ע meaning knowledge, is used.

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The New Strategic Environment

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

The way it looks now, it seems that the regime of al-Assad will not last more than a number of days or weeks. A coalition of Sunni jihad organizations will succeed in toppling the government of an Arab state despite the state having used every weapon in its arsenal – including scud missiles – in order to survive.

During the past two years all of the red lines have been crossed in Syria , and both sides are sunk deep in this dirty, ugly struggle, which is fought with no moral or legal constraints.  Tens of thousands of citizens, women, children and elderly, have been brutally murdered , hundreds of thousands of houses and apartments have been rendered uninhabitable; infrastructures of the country are collapsing; the economy is paralyzed and the organizational framework of the state is falling apart.

The success of the Sunni coalition (Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan) in eliminating the heretical Alawite regime, which is supported by a Shi’ite coalition (Iran, Iraq and Hizb’Allah) might trigger a wave of terror in Arab countries, especially in Iraq and Turkey, because oppressed groups in these countries – such as Sunnis in Iraq and the Kurds in Turkey – will be encouraged by the success of the jihad organizations that are fighting in Syria and by the methods that they used in their battle against the regime.

This filthy war taking place in Syria is not a battle of good versus evil, because the regime and the rebels have both used inhumane, illegal and immoral practices. Both sides have committed crimes against humanity by eliminating groups of citizens indiscriminately and both sides have resorted to repressive measures and degrading treatment of helpless citizens.

As soon as the violence began, for example, the rebels understood that every time they show up in an open area, the forces of the regime could easily destroy them with merciless determination, so they transferred their activity to the crowded urban and settled areas. As a result, they turned citizens into human shields, without their having any say in the matter, dragging the cities and the settled neighborhoods into a rebellion that they were not at all interested in.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT feature of the rebellion in Syria is that it has become a magnet for jihadists from all over the Arab and Muslim world who poured into Syria to take part in the jihad against the heretical ‘Alawites and their tyrannical regime. As of today there are hundreds of combat groups in Syria, and a few tens of them speak non-Syrian Arabic dialects such as Iraqi, Saudi and Moroccan. The linguistic diversity is even more complex because some of the jihadists speak non-Arabic Muslim languages – Turkish, Bosnian, Chechen, Pashtu (Afghanistan), Urdu (Pakistan) and languages from the Caucasus. The problem with having to deal with a multitude of dialects and languages is that the intelligence organizations get a significant amount of information by listening to various means of communication, but their work may have no value, because it is especially the most dangerous groups that speak dialects and languages not understood by the listeners of other countries that exist in the area.

Conventional forces too will have a great problem in dealing with jihadi communication methods. The jihadist organizations – contrary to a regular army- use the internet as a means of passing messages, reports and commands, and it is not easy to detect the communications channels they are using in the civilian network. There are organizations that pass coded messages via the internet, and it is difficult to identify, locate and decode them. Also the way the jihadist organizations use other civilian networks such as cellular telephones, makes it difficult to locate their communications and to keep track of their operatives.

The intelligence problem becomes even more complicated regarding visual intelligence, where the information is collected from observation points on the ground and in the air. Military intelligence gatherers undergo training on the various types of tanks, cannon, and the rest tools of destruction that a regular army has. But how are they supposed to identify jihadists? According to the type of jeans or T-shirt he’s wearing? According to the type of hiarcut or beard? The problem of identification becomes more difficult regarding vehicles in the service of jihadists, which are ordinary vehicles,indistinguishable from many others. How is a drone or someone who sees the material photographed by the drone supposed to identify the vehicle of a jihadist?

Hamas on Manhunt to Execute Israeli Collaborators

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

The Hamas regime in Gaza has launched an all-out manhunt to round up collaborators with Israel, most of whom usually end up executed.

Hamas interior ministry official Mohammed Lafi said, “We monitor the tools and techniques used by the Israeli occupation to recruit collaborators and we are working to dismantle them,” according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

He claimed that that the number of collaborators has decreased in recent years because of “rehabilitation programs,” which may partly true or may be a spooky euphemism  for simply sentencing them to death in courts or executing them without trial.

Hamas courts have handed down 30 death sentences in the past six years, mostly against collaborators, and Hamas executed at least eight men last November during the Pillar of Defense counterterrorist operation that ended the latest barrage of missile attacks on Israel.

The executions are brutal.

Last November, masked gunmen, possibly from the rival Salafist terrorist gang, grabbed six alleged informers out of their vehicle and shot them dead, one by one.

People screamed, “Spy! Spy!” and some onlookers spit on the corpses.

One of the bodies, as seen in the video below, was chained to a motorcycle that dragged it through Gaza City’s main streets.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33An6HotyuI]


Two other Gaza residents also were murdered the same week, one of them shot dead in public, while the body of the other was found in a garbage can. Human rights groups issued a condemnation of the executions and then dropped the matter.

Israeli intelligence is dependent on informers from Gaza, who have helped prevent hundreds of terrorist attacks and have passed on to Israel information on the location of rocket launching cells.

Intelligence information to counter Hamas terrorism goes far beyond Gaza. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabea reported this week that Hamas refused to accept a shipment of 28 advanced long-range missiles from Libya because of fears that Israeli agents placed tracking devices in the weapons.

Hamas Manhunt to Execute Israeli Collaborators

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

The Hamas regime in Gaza has launched an all-out manhunt to round up collaborators with Israel, most of whom usually end up being executed.

Hamas interior ministry official Mohammed Lafi said, “We monitor the tools and techniques used by the Israeli occupation to recruit collaborators and we are working to dismantle them,” according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

He claimed that that the number of collaborators has decreased in recent years because of “rehabilitation programs” although a large number simply are sentenced to death in courts or are executed without trial.

Alleged Secret Israeli-Saudi Alliance against Syria

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Israeli and Saudi-backed intelligence agencies are behind Syrian rebel suicide bombings, according to a Syrian website that is loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. The accusations are a new twist on Syrian government accusations that Israel and the United States are behind the suicide bombings.

Quoting “informed” sources in the Syrian opposition, Dam Press said a join operation room in northern Lebanon serves as headquarters for coordinating attacks on Assad’s security forces.

The website stated that “Ayman Abdel Nour, a well-known Zionist hireling,” provided logistical support for a recent suicide bombing in Damascus.

He supposed received explosive devices “from Mossad-affiliated Hungarian agents and delivered the Israeli and Hungarian made lethal materials to the Nusrah Front, which is backed by the Saudi intelligence service.”

Iran’s regime mouthpiece Press TV added its own re-writing of history, stating that six months after the Arab Spring uprising began, “Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means.

It added that the Palestinian al-Manar weekly reported that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been financing and supplying armed rebels in Syria with more explosive materials they have recently purchased from the US, Israel and Britain.

Weinberger Gave Judge Wrong Information Resulting in Pollard’s Life Sentence

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

I previously wrote about new documents declassified in the Jonathan Pollard case, which might help us understand his disproportionate life sentence and why he is still imprisoned after 27 years.

Pollard’s lawyers negotiated a plea agreement with the government: he agreed to plead guilty and gave up his right to a jury trial; in return, the prosecution agreed not to seek a life sentence. By the precedents set by other cases of espionage on behalf of allies, Pollard expected a much lighter sentence.

Instead, the Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, presented a memo to the court at the last minute accusing Pollard of doing massive damage to the U.S. The prosecution then reneged on its agreement and the judge sentenced Pollard to life imprisonment. Pollard’s lawyers were able to see the document for a few minutes, but were not given the opportunity to respond. The document has been released in a highly redacted form, so it is still not possible to know precisely what was in it.

Part of the content was probably assertions that information from Pollard found its way to the Soviet Union, exposing several American agents who were then murdered by the KGB. As I explained Friday, it appears that the agents were actually betrayed either by double agent Aldrich Ames or another ‘mole’ in the CIA who was being protected by Ames. Hershel Shanks explains,

In 1983 Ames was made chief of the CIA’s Soviet counterintelligence branch in the Soviet-East European Division. Ames was recruited by the Russians in 1984. Ames would, of course, have every reason to deflect suspicion from himself and blame someone else for what was happening in the Moscow bureau – and Ames was in a position to do so.

The information Pollard passed to Israel about Russian weaponry in Arab states was obtained, at least in part, from American agents in Russia.

In the intelligence community it was well known that in the past KGB moles had penetrated Israeli intelligence. Perhaps a still-undiscovered Soviet mole inside Israeli intelligence passed the secrets to the Soviets that Pollard had passed to Israel.

Pollard was not sentenced until March 1987. Ames was still in charge of Soviet counter-intelligence within the CIA. Based on what Ames told him, Weinberger drafted his affidavit to the court [my emphasis].

But the government apparently provided additional “facts” to the judge. When Pollard attempted (unsuccessfully) to withdraw his guilty plea in 1990, attorney Alan Dershowitz presented the following affidavit to the court:

  1. My name is ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ. I am a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. I serve as one of the lawyers for Jonathan J. Pollard. During the 1963 – 1964 Supreme Court term, I was a law clerk to Mr. Justice Arthur Goldberg. Between that time and his death, I remained a close friend and associate of Mr. Justice Goldberg. We worked together on many projects, spoke and met frequently, and jointly authored articles and proposals.
  2. Following the publication of the a letter to the Jerusalem Post, on September 12, 1989, I spoke to Justice Goldberg on the telephone about the sentence imposed on Jonathan Pollard. I promised to send him some comparative sentencing data. Justice Goldberg promised to make some inquiries on his own regarding the sentence.
  3. Subsequent to this conversation, Justice Goldberg called me to tell me that he had personally met with Judge Aubrey Robinson and discussed the Pollard sentence with him. Justice Goldberg told me that Judge Robinson had told him that he (Judge Robinson) had been provided by the government with evidence that Jonathan Pollard had given Israel American satellite photographs proving that Israel had tested Jericho missiles in South Africa and had provided South Africa with missile and nuclear technology. Justice Goldberg told me further that Judge Robinson was particularly outraged by the Israel-South Africa connection and Pollard’s role in providing Israel with evidence that the United States had satellite evidence of it. Justice Goldberg told me that he understood why Judge Robinson, as a Black man, would be particularly sensitive to this evidence. Justice Goldberg told me that Judge Robinson had told him that Pollard-South African connection had weighed heavily in his (Judge Robinson’s) decision to impose a life sentence. I told Justice Goldberg that I did not believe that Jonathan Pollard had provided Israel with any such satellite information, but that I would check.
  4. I immediately called Hamilton Fox and Nathan Dershowitz [Pollard's lawyers] and told them of my conversation with Justice Goldberg. Fox said he would check with Jonathan Pollard and his earlier attorney, Richard A. Hibey concerning the truth or falsity of the evidence provided to Judge Robinson.
  5. After being assured by Fox that there was no truth whatsoever in the claim that Jonathan Pollard had provided satellite photographs or information to Israel about South Africa, Jericho missiles or nuclear technology, I wrote Justice Goldberg the attached letter (Attachment A).
  6. On January 15, 1990 I spoke with Justice Goldberg on the phone. He was quite upset at the content of my letter and promised to get to the bottom of it. He told me that he would phone Attorney General Thornburgh for a meeting to discuss this issue and the sentence. He told me that if my facts were correct, then the Justice Department had improperly “pandered” (that was his precise word) to Judge Robinson’s racial sensitivities as a Black judge by providing him with false, inflammatory, ex parte information.
  7. On Friday morning January 19, 1990, I learned from Robert Goldberg that his father, Justice Arthur Goldberg, had died in his sleep during the night.

Was there a “South African connection?” It seems unlikely, considering the kind of information Israel sought from Pollard – information about its Arab enemies and their Soviet supporters.

But more important, even if there were such a connection, Judge Robinson’s outrage that Israel may have aided the hated South African regime is hardly a legitimate reason to doom Pollard to life in prison! After all, even if true, this wasn’t Pollard’s doing.

If indeed a combination of false accusations and an inappropriate emotional reaction by the judge resulted in Pollard’s life sentence, then a miscarriage of justice occurred.

The administration should either release Pollard or explain convincingly why he should remain in prison.

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