Guardian text & image almost suggest Israeli culpability in Egypt bus bombing

Take a look at the following headline, strap line and photo in a Feb. 18 Guardian story:

headline failThe title, image and caption would leave many readers with the false impression that ‘Israeli agents’ may have played a role in the recent terror attack on a civilian bus in the Egyptian Sinai that killed four tourists.  In fact, you’d have to read pretty far into the report to determine that this isn’t of course the case.

Here are the first six paragraphs:

Egypt’s public prosecutor has charged two men said to be Israeli intelligence agents and two Egyptians with conspiring in Israel’s interests, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

“The public prosecutor ordered Ramzy Mohamed, Sahar Ibrahim, Samuel Ben Zeev and David Wisemen – two officers in the Israeli Mossad – to be sent to a Cairo criminal court for spying for the interests of the state of Israel,” the statement read.

The two Egyptians are already in jail pending investigation, the statement said. The public prosecutor ordered the arrest of the two Israeli officers. It was not clear from the statement if the Israelis were in Egypt. There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

The Egyptians are accused of providing information about Egypt to the Israeli officers with “the intent of damaging national interests in exchange for money and gifts and sex”.

The statement accuses Mohamed of sleeping with women who work in Israeli intelligence. He is also accused of recruiting the accused woman, Ibrahim, to work for Israeli intelligence.

The statement said the two Egyptians had admitted during investigations that they had spied for Israel.

Here are the subsequent paragraphs:

Earlier on Tuesday, a militant group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a Egyptian bus that killed three South Korean tourists and an Egyptian driver close to the border crossing into Israel in the volatile Sinai desert.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Arabic for Champions of Jerusalem, said in a statement posted on militant websites late on Monday that one of its “heroes” carried out Sunday’s bombing in Taba as part of an “economic war” against the army-backed government.

Egyptian officials have called it a suicide attack, but the Ansar statement did not use any language that would suggest the perpetrator was dead.

The al-Qaida-inspired group has claimed responsibility for previous attacks, but has previously targeted primarily police and the military.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified but it was posted on al-Qaida-affiliated websites.

As you can see, following the headline and image – which evoke the recent terror attack in the Sinai – we immediately learn that Israeli Mossad agents were arrested by Egyptian authorities.  Then, with no transitional text, we learn that “earlier in the [same] day”, there was an attack near the Israeli border.

So, we’re left with two completely different stories which almost seem connected based on the report.  

As you can see by opening these links to other news sites (including in the Arabic media), the Guardian seems to be the only major news site conflating the two events, and juxtaposing a photo the burned bus with the arrest of Israeli ‘agents’.  Indeed, if you want to get an idea of how egregiously misleading the Guardian headline and photo truly is, even the anti-Zionist conspiracy-minded ‘journalists’ at Iranian PressTV showed greater restraint in their report on the story:

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Though the Guardian report is attributed to news “Agencies”, someone at the paper had to review and approve the headline, photo and text – an editor who clearly failed to abide by basic journalistic standards requiring that the media “take care not to publish “misleading or distorted information”.

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What makes US-Israeli intelligence co-operation exceptional?

The following is the original (unedited) version of an essay written by Matthew RJ Brodsky and published at ‘Comment is Free’ on Sept. 13. It is published here with the author’s permission. See Brodsky’s bio below.

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Matthew RJ Brodsky

It didn’t take long for media outlets to single out Israel as a result of the cascade of secret documents released by Edward Snowden. The typical strategy is to conclude Israel’s guilt first and then shape the narrative to support that claim, conveniently leaving out any evidence against the theory while employing clever phraseology that most readers wouldn’t think to challenge. And so it is as The Guardian published another NSA document about a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the NSA and Israel’s SIGNIT agency, (ISNU). The accompanying article by Glenn Greenwald, “NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel,” takes a selective focus on Israel and obscures the truth rather than enlightens with facts.

The central argument put forth by Greenwald is that the NSA routinely shares raw intelligence data it gathers with Israel, without removing information about U.S. citizens.  While Israel is one of America’s closest allies, it is not a part of the “Five Eyes”—a term used for the core countries involved in surveillance sharing with the U.S.—Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. So what makes this case unique is the fact that the same unminimized raw data might be shared with Israel. This is a problem for Greenwald because “[t]he relationship between the U.S. and Israel has been strained at times, both diplomatically and in terms of intelligence.”

Greenwald writes, “[t]he agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.” That should not come as a surprise given that a MOU is not a legally binding document. Yet the MOU does not state that it specifically sends intelligence collections on Americans. Furthermore, one cannot tell from the document that if this kind of information is shared, how much, how regularly, and how broadly does it occur?

Absent from Greenwald’s article is the crucial fact that the MOU lays out the terms of the sharing agreement, recognizing the need for more procedures to minimize any information on American citizens. It obligates the NSA to perform routine checks on the program to measure the quality and fidelity of the information being shared and obligates the Israeli Signit National Unit to identify, exclude, and destroy any information it finds about U.S. citizens.

Also missing in the article is a mention of the fact that in June 2013The Guardian reported that the minimization procedures governing information on U.S. citizens were tightened dramatically in July 2009—a few months after Greenwald claims that this intelligence deal was reached in principle in March. We don’t know how these new rules may have changed the terms of this MOU.

Author and editor of “State of Play”, Joshua Foust, writes about how much we don’t know about this intelligence sharing program. According to his evaluation of the MOU, “We do not know:

  • What the final version of this MOU says;
  • Whether it changed after minimization rules strengthened later in 2009;
  • What those ‘additional procedures’ to minimize American citizen information are;
  • How much, if any, American information actually gets passed along;
  • What the periodic, annual reviews have said;
  • What the two biannual program reviews have said;
  • If the program is even ongoing; or
  • What the actual implementation of this program looks like”

Simply put, it takes a rather large journalistic leap to assert that the NSA is routinely sending unminimized information about U.S. citizens to Israel without any protection measures.

The fact remains that the U.S. is engaged in sober and even-handed intelligence gathering. Of course the United States should and does share intelligence with Israel as many of the same people and terrorist groups would target both countries. It is hard to get too concerned up about what Israel might do with any unminimized information that might come its way. They have very real threats along their borders and beyond. It is most likely that their resources are devoted to the terrorist groups and hostile governments in their own neighborhood, rather than the email I just sent my parents.

J.E. Dyer, a retired U.S. Naval officer who blogs as The Optimistic Conservative elaborates:

“It gives me no more heartburn to know that unminimized material may go to Israeli intelligence than to know that it may go to British intelligence.  The concerns I have with the NSA program are 4th amendment concerns as an American citizen. The issue is collecting data in the first place without probable cause.”

And that is the central issue here; not Israel as Greenwald suggests.

(Matthew RJ Brodsky is a Middle East expert and former Director of Policy for the Washington, DC-based think tank, the Jewish Policy Center  and the Editor of the JPC’s journal, inFOCUS Quarterly. Before joining the JPC, Mr. Brodsky was a Legacy Heritage Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. He has briefed and advised members of Congress, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, Special Operations Command, and the National Security Council.)

Guardian misrepresents Israel’s public security minister on ‘secret prisoners’

In February we commented on the Guardian’s obsessive coverage of the ‘Prisoner X’ case – a story concerning a Mossad agent, named Ben Zygier, facing lengthy prison sentence for leaking highly classified information who committed suicide in Israel’s Ayalon Prison.  

More recently, it was revealed that a second anonymous security prisoner was held at the same time that Zygier took his own life in the facility’s cell 15.

The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood opens her report on the new ‘revelation’ (Israel admits holding second secret prisoner, July 11th), thus:

“Israel is holding a second unidentified security prisoner in conditions of extreme secrecy, according to court documents released this week in relation to Prisoner X, the Australian-Israeli secret agent who hanged himself in jail in 2010 and whose case caused a sensation when it was exposed earlier this year.

The existence of another top-secret prisoner was acknowledged in the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, although no details were disclosed.

But former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman described it as “an exceptionally grave case”, and the lawyer for Ben Zygier, who was dubbed Prisoner X when details of his case were revealed in February, said the second prisoner’s alleged offences were “sensational”.

Israel insisted it was acting within the law in regard to secret prisoners held in isolation and whose identity is concealed even from prison guards.

The existence of “Prisoner X2″ was revealed in an appendix to a document released by the justice ministry on the circumstances of Zygier’s death.”

Sherwood then pivots to statements made earlier about such secret prisoners by Israel’s public security minister:

“The public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, denied that he had lied when he said in the aftermath of disclosures about Zygier that there were no other secret prisoners in Israeli jails.”

So, did Minister Aharonovitch in fact say that there were no other “secret prisoners” as Knell claims? 

Well, as Hadar Sela at BBC Watch noted in a post about similar claims made by the BBC’s Yolande Knell, Aharonovitch did not in fact say that there were no other “secret prisoners” in Israel.   The following is an English translation (by Sela) from a video embedded in this Hebrew article in which the Minister reads his own words verbatim from the minutes of the Knesset meeting of February 20th, 2013 to clarify what he said regarding such secret prisoners:

“In the State of Israel there are no nameless and disappeared prisoners. In the State of Israel there is no conduct in the shadows. In the State of Israel there is appropriate legal supervision and guidance and there is also concern for the security of the State of Israel: concern which in order to take care of it, sometimes it is [necessary] to operate in great secrecy.”

Aharonovitch clarifies the point:

“Indeed in the State of Israel there are no prisoners who disappear and their families do not know of their arrest. There are also no prisoners who disappear and the judicial authorities, the advocate and the courts do not take care of their affairs.”

Contrary to Sherwood’s claim, Aharonovitch did not say that there were no other “secret prisoners in Israeli jails”, but that there are no “nameless” and “disappeared” prisoners as there are in tyrannical countries without judicial checks and balances.  The personal information on some security prisoners is sometimes not released to the media, but such prisoners are not – as Aharonovitch noted – “hidden” from the judicial system or the courts, nor denied proper legal counsel.  Further, Israelis’ elected representatives – members of the Knesset committee for security and foreign affairs – are also fully informed about the details of such top security prisoners.

As much as the Guardian has tried to spin the initial row over such ‘secret’ prisoners as emblematic of the Jewish state’s illiberal nature, the evidence shows that even those Israeli prisoners guilty of gravest national security crimes are afforded the rights of due process to a degree fully consistent with democratic norms.

Peter Beaumont’s “unnamed source” affirms Guardian narrative about ‘Prisoner X’

Observer foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont just published his seventh report over the course of three days on Prisoner X – a man believed to have been an Australian-Israeli Mossad agent jailed by Israel because he was about to reveal state secrets to Australian authorities or the media, who committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

His latest piece, co-authored with Phoebe Greenwood, on Feb. 16 is titled ‘Israeli government to compensate family of Prisoner X‘, and is based on “an unnamed source” quoted in Haaretz, claiming a compensation deal was agreed to following the conclusion of an inquiry into the death of the prisoner (aka, Ben Zygier).

Beaumont’s latest post attempts to buttress the narrative, advanced in his other reports on Prisoner X, that Israel behaved in a manner inconsistent with democratic norms.  As we noted previously, one of Beaumont’s reports from Feb. 14 includes the following passage, citing the analysis of unnamed commentators:

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

In his latest report, he cites an “unnamed source“, thus:

“According to one unnamed source familiar with the Zygier case who spoke the YNet website: “When an Israeli is detained for security offences, a process begins, but no one knows how it will end. He disappears into interrogation rooms, and no one knows where he is. They do it using two tools: A gag order and an injunction that prevents the detainee from meeting with an attorney.”

However, contrary to the claims made by the source cited by Beaumont, not only did the detainee in this case meet with his attorney (Avigdor Feldman), but did so, according to an official at the State Prosecutor’s Office quoted in the same Feb 15. Ynet story Beaumont cited, “within days” of being incarcerated.

The official at the State Prosecutor’s Office added the following: 

 “…the picture painted by the media is far from reality. There are no ‘prisoners x’ in the State of Israel…It’s an expression taken from dictatorships where people were made to disappear without having seen a lawyer or family. There was no such thing here.”

In the past 25 years there were very few cases in which it was decided for security reasons to hold prisoners under pseudonyms.

In those cases, as in this particular case, the families were immediately made aware of the arrest and within a number of days the prisoner was given access to legal counsel. As in regular cases, there was due criminal process with the prisoner able to petition the court like any other inmate.”

Consistent with this Israeli official’s argument, a definitive study in ‘Homeland Security Affairs’ determined that, regarding issues “such as how long an individual can be detained without access to counsel for purposes of interrogation”, Israel “provides more overall due process and substantive rights to [security] detainees than America’s years of incommunicado and indefinite executive detention”.

To serious journalists, providing readers with relevant context and a comparative political or legal analysis of the issue matters.

Beaumont’s story, on the other hand, like so many other reports about Israel written by his fellow Guardian Group ‘journavists‘, cited only those “sources”  who confirmed his desired political narrative.

Peter Beaumont’s absurd political analogy regarding Israel and ‘Prisoner X’

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), has already authored, or co-authored, six separate reports (totaling over 5000 words) in less than two days at the Guardian on the row over ‘Prisoner X’.

part 1

part 2

Prisoner X is believed to have been a Mossad agent (reportedly an Australian Israeli dual citizen named Ben Zygier) jailed by Israel because he was about to reveal Mossad secrets to Australian authorities or the media.  He reportedly committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

Due to the secrecy involved in any alleged spy case, there is a relative dearth of verifiable facts regarding Prisoner X’s background and incarceration.  However the absence of such information hasn’t prevented Beaumont from advancing the desired Guardian narrative regarding alleged Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms.

Though the Observer is supposedly the more moderate of the two Guardian Group publications, Beaumont’s framing of the spy row has included one particularly hysterical political analogy, casually leveled without even an attempt to support its validity.

One of Beaumont’s reports from Feb. 14 includes the following passage:

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

Naturally, Beaumont doesn’t inform us who specifically is making such a comparison, and even a cursory look at the judicial process, and the rights afforded Prisoner X, makes a mockery of the charge.

First, the prisoner’s incarceration was supervised by the Israeli judiciary, the original arrest warrant was issued by the authorized court, and the proceedings were overseen by the most senior Justice Ministry officials. We also now know that Prisoner X was legally represented by a top Israeli lawyer who reported, after meeting with his client, that he was in good health, was considering a plea bargain and didn’t appear to have been mistreated.

After the prisoner was found dead in his cell roughly two years ago, the President of the Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court held a coroner’s inquest into the cause of death and, though it was determined that suicide was the cause, “the Presiding Judge sent the file to the State Attorney’s Office for an evaluation regarding issues of [possible] negligence” by prison authorities.  

Further, the prisoner’s family was notified during the course of his incarceration, and Australian officials knew of the proceedings.

Though Prisoner X likely represented a serious security risk for Israel, he was afforded due process in a manner which certainly seems consistent with democratic norms.

To evoke a comparison with the USSR – where, for instance, several million Soviet “enemies of the state” died (due to overwork, starvation, torture or summary executions) after being sent, without trial, to Gulag camps spread out across the entire country – is beyond parody.

Indeed, it’s likely that the true identity of Beaumont’s unnamed commentators comparing Israel’s handling of the spy case to that of the most repressive totalitarian regimes of the 20th century will prove to be far more elusive and mysterious than the identity of Prisoner X himself.

Richard Silverstein gets duped again by a ‘high level Israeli source’

When Richard Silverstein isn’t expressing support for the end of the Jewish statedefending terror groups like Hamas, or engaging in smears and reckless attacks against his opponents, he’s often busy peddling false scoops about Israel based on the flimsiest of evidence.

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Richard Silverstein

While CiF Watch’s exposes on his hateful rhetoric may have been partially responsible for his near disappearance, since Dec. 2009, from the pages of ‘Comment is Free’ (a possibility he openly acknowledged), his notoriety somehow hasn’t prevented him from being taken seriously, on one or two occasions, as a “journalist” by other media outlets.

Bibi’s Secret War Plan: 

bibi

In August, 2012, one “serious” news source was duped by a Silverstein “scoop” titled “Bibi’s Secret War Plan”.  

Silverstein’s post claimed to be based on information he received from a high-level Israeli source detailing the possible methods of an upcoming attack on Iran.  However, the “secret document” he had “obtained” was a near verbatim quote from a Hebrew forum which had appeared online days before his post, and which itself was based on mere speculation from open-source information.

Prisoner X:

Today, Feb. 13, Silverstein reported this about the identity of an unknown prisoner who was being held in solitary confinement in an Israeli jail – known as “Prisoner X” – who committed suicide in 2010.

“Back in 2010, I reported that Israel had arrested an unidentified individual, and imprisoned him in total secrecy in an Israeli jail.  …Even his jailers didn’t know who he was.  His jailers apparently did a lousy job of monitoring Prisoner X, as he was called and he hung himself from a bar in his cell.

Now Australia’s ABC network blows open the story.

He was a Mossad agent named  Ben Zygier”

However, the alleged (and completely unverified) identity of Prisoner X, which Silverstein is now reporting, totally contradicts his original Dec. 2010 “scoop”, where he first “revealed” the identity of the ‘secret’ prisoner.

Here’s Silverstein on Dec. 11, 2010:

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“Until today, we didn’t know [the identity of] “Prisoner X”…a story I broke [in] June (2010).

[But], through a confidential Israeli source I have exposed his identity.  He is a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard general and government minister under former President Khatami named Ali-Reza Asgari.  Western news outlets reported in 2007 that he either defected or was kidnapped by the Mossad, with the assistance of western intelligence agencies (either the CIA or British or German intelligence depending on the source) in Istanbul.  A conservative Iranian publication first reported last year that Asgari was in an Israeli prison and this wasreported by AP as well.”

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Photo and caption which accompanied Silverstein’s post

So, it seems as if Silverstein was again duped by his “high level” Israeli source.

In today’s post, however, Silverstein explained his “error”, thus:

“A word now about the error in my own reporting.  My source was told by an Israeli intelligence official that the dead man was Ali Reza Asgari.  In hindsight, it appears this was a ruse designed to throw the media off the scent of the real story.”

Whilst information on the true identity of the prisoner has not been definitively corroborated, as one Twitterer cheekily observed at the time of his ‘Bibi War’ post, about the credulity of those in the media who take Silverstein’s gossip  as serious “scoops”:  

They’re more likely to obtain incisive Middle East analysis from a man on the street corner with a sandwich board reading ‘The End is Nigh!’.

Guardian Live Blog on Middle East riots legitimizes Arab op-ed advancing conspiracy theory

The Guardian’s September 13th Live Blog on the current violence in Middle East – edited by  and Tom McCarthy – included this post at approximately 14:20 BST:

First, note that Guardian editors included a commentary implicitly advancing the original (now discredited) claim that the film incited the violence, when in fact evidence increasingly suggests that Islamist terrorists had planned the attack days or weeks ago.  

Shukrallah further suggests the film was part of a concerted effort to ignite a “clash of civilizations”, meant to “goad” Muslims into violent behavior which will darken the image of the Arab Spring.

But it gets worse. If you go to the full essayat Ahram Online, by Shukrallah (the managing editor of Ahram) you’ll find that the author acknowledges that he’s advancing a conspiracy theory, writing that he “strongly sense[s] conspiracy in the whole sordid “film maligning the Prophet” fracas…”.

He later adds this:

“Netanyahu’s Israel, of course, is the greatest beneficiary of all this.”

Yes, of course.  “Who benefits?”, the siren song for conspiracy theorists everywhere.

And, finally, the Mossad makes an appearance.

“Whether the film is a Mossad operation or not is beside the point, and such a claim cannot be made on the basis of conjecture, but tangible, solid information.” [emphasis added]

Later, Shukrallah writes:

“As for the image of Arabs and Muslims as fanatical, violent and irrational, that – it almost goes without saying – is a fundamental premise of Israel’s continuing enslavement and dispossession of the Palestinian people.”

While Shukrallah’s conspiracy theory suggesting the involvement of American Christians, Zionists, Israelis (and possibly the Mossad) is mild in comparison to the scare mongering about Jews and Israel typically found in the Middle East media, the Guardian’s decision to feature this commentary (in a blog largely consisting of straight news updates) is curious to say the least.

Anti-Zionist conspiracy theories, fed by the Arab world’s obsession with Israel, are indicative of an absence of reason and represent the sine qua non of continued despotism and underdevelopment. 

Those who sincerely wish to see the Arab Spring succeed must confront their socially crippling political vice.

Anti-Israeli paranoia in New Zealand

A guest post by AKUS

There seems to be no real news from Israel these days of any import. Oh, the Guardian will scratch up a little article about a tent city in Tel Aviv and try to connect it to the Arab disaster – I mean, Arab Spring – but otherwise – nothing of any importance.

You have to go to the end of the world, literally, to get a taste of the utter lunacy of anti-Israeli – not to mention clear indications of anti-Semitic – attitudes.   We’ve had Mossad sharks, Mossad vultures, Mossad hit teams in Dubai – now we have wild accusations worthy of any Arab country of a clandestine Mossad team operating in New Zealand to … do … well, none of the Hobbits down there seems to know exactly what.  

The New Zealand Herald is running column after column of “revelations”  (“nzherald.co.nz will keep across the latest developments” – whatever that means), and a running blog on “developments” (there are not any, of course – the story has broken months after the earthquake)  in true Guardian style, based on a breathless report by a local paper called “The Southland Times” (and I doubt one can get any more “southern” than that) that one of the Israelis killed in the Christchurch earthquake carried five (or four, or more than five) passports and three Israelis that survived shortly left the country. There is even a Guardian-style video clip of the NZ PM, John Keys, clumsily refusing to discuss the matter on the grounds of “national security”! 78% of the Herald’s readers seem to believe that Israeli is running spies in NZ for who knows what purpose!

The basis for the belief that the four were Mossad agents and there was some threat to New Zealand’s security (who knew that NZ has security issues?) appears to be derived from the following long set of conspiratorial leaps:

1.  The Israeli who was crushed to death in the earthquake, Binyamin Mizrahi, was found to have five (or maybe four or maybe more than five) passports on him. The fact that it is not illegal to have multiple passports seems to cut no ice with the NZ Herald and some of its readers who commented on the issue, or some politicians.

Green Party MP Keith Locke has called for the New Zealand Police and SIS to make public their assessment of whether Mossad agents have been operating in New Zealand and whether security has been compromised.
“We need to know why a young Israeli, Benyamin Mizrahi, killed in the Christchurch earthquake, was carrying five or more passports, and whether he was assessed to be a Mossad agent,” said Locke.

Even more suspiciously for the paranoid sheep herders of NZ, sometimes the papers refer to the dead Israeli as Binyamin Mizrahi, and sometime Ofer Mizrahi and sometime Ofer Binyamin Mizrahi – who needs more proof than THAT??

2.  The three Israelis traveling with Mizrahi who survived when the car they were in was crushed and Mizrahi was killed – left the country. Or, as the NZ Herald prefers to sensationalize it, “quickly fled the country within 12 hours of the quake.” Apparently what is really suspicious is they left soon after surviving the earthquake. One wonders what they were supposed to do – carry on with their trip and visit the sights?  If they had stayed on a week or so, shell-shocked from the earthquake, with all their possessions destroyed – would this have allayed the Kiwis’ suspicions and fears?

3.  Benjamin Netanyahu called the NZ PM several times to inquire after the fate of the then missing Israelis, and offer condolences. Apparently, had he only called once, or never, this would have been considered normal, but calling four times (only getting through to PM John Key once according to Key) and his concern for missing Israelis is a strong indication that the Israelis were Mossad agents. To allay the Hobbits’ fears Netanyahu should have exhibited the callousness of PMs and Presidents of other countries who apparently never bothered to try to find out what happened to their citizens.

4.  Israel swiftly sent in a team of trained search and rescue experts. This too, is considered to be a clear admission that the Israelis were Mossad agents, and the team was there for some nefarious purpose. It could not possibly be another example of Israeli’s willingness to provide speedy assistance even unto the ends of the earth when speed is of the essence to save lives. Had the team delayed for a few weeks till there was no hope of rescuing anyone, apparently this might have allayed the small-town fears of the New Zealand population . Or, as we have learned from Haiti, no good Israeli deed goes unpunished.

5.  Moreover, the team was not “accredited“ as it was sent by concerned Israeli parents and members were found risking their lives in the most dangerous area of Christchurch called the Red Zone. What could be clearer than that as an example of Israelis seeking to find missing Mossad agents in Christchurch? If they had stayed in the safe areas, perhaps we could assume that they would not have been searching for Mossad agents who, for all the NZ Herald seems to know, may have triggered the earthquake with a pocket-sized nuclear device in order to destroy Christchurch.

6.  The report initially claimed that the Israel search and rescue team was firmly evicted from the Red Zone by New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service when “the activities of several Israelis in the aftermath of the quake raised the suspicions of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS)”. Except that now the NZ Defence Force has denied the whole story:

 “The New Zealand Defence Force has denied that SAS troops were issued ammunition and deployed into the Christchurch Earthquake “red zone” in connection with an unaccredited Israeli rescue squad.”

Of course, like the denials that the Twin Towers were brought down by the Mossad, this will only reinforce the conspiracy nuts’ belief that in fact the Mossad was operating there, and that the NZDF is really nothing but a local branch of the IDF. All we are missing is for the NZ equivalent of Baroness Tonge to claim the Israeli teams was there to harvest Kiwi organs and the story will be complete.

7.  Next there is a claim that the Israelis infiltrated NZ police files for some unknown and therefore deeply suspicious purpose. Green Party MP Locke again:

“We also need more information as to why the SIS thought the Police computer may have been compromised.”

Clearly this lunatic believes that Israel has a deep interest the files of the NZ police force. But perhaps not everyone in New Zealand shares his belief. For example – the editor of the paper that who broke the story back-pedaled:

9.18am Fred Tulett, the editor of the Southland Times, told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report the SIS investigation was based on “suspicion, rather than certainty.”

“My information is that … the SIS later became suspicious that they could have had the opportunity to access the police national computer. So they organised an audit of the computer system to find out whether or not they could find anything embedded in that. Again, it’s suspicion, rather than certainty.”

But Mr. Tullet feels no need to stop the presses such for a “suspicion”. Sadly for him, shortly afterwards  we have:

10.55am New Zealand police have issued the following press release regarding reports the police national computer may have been accessed by Mossad:

NZ Police is confident its computer systems and the information stored in them are secure.
Acting Chief Information Officer Murray Mitchell says police systems are subject to regular security audits and intrusion checks.
…  we are confident that our data and network were not compromised during the Christchurch Earthquake response or subsequently,” Mr. Mitchell said.

8.  But the clincher is the clear belief expressed in the usual coded fashion in below-the-line comments of the global Jewish conspiracy and that PM John Key, whose mother was an Austrian Jew who fled to New Zealand, is in the pocket of the Israel and its stooge, the USA thanks to his Jewish heritage. The NZ Herald claims to moderate its BTL comments- but you be the judge of the following excerpts and clips:

“But he’s [John Keys]  in the States at the moment and doesn’t want to upset one of Israel’s staunchest allies. You’re meant to be New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Mr Key, not a puppet.

“Well said. It’s about time more New Zealnders realised that John Key is a puppet of those with connections and does not represent the honestly of the everyday kiwi.”

“So given these facts yes, I am concerned that there’s a likelihood of Israeli spies (Mossad agents) infiltrating New Zealand, thereby threatening our security as a sovereign nation, particularly as one Israeli killed in Christchurch in February, was found to have five passports in his possession!”

Since not all Kiwis are mad, in fairness let me end with this comment, which pretty much sums up the whole thing:

The “Mystery” of the Gaza Power Plant

A guest post by AKUS

Gaza is agog with the news that the only engineer capable of running Gaza’s power station has been kidnapped by the Mossad in the Ukraine.

Ynet, in an unguarded Guardian Moment, has reported that the UN accuses Israel of kidnapping Palestinian.

[Ukrainian] wife of engineer Dirar Abu Sisi who vanished in Ukraine three weeks ago tells AP ‘my husband was the heart of the only electric station in Gaza. It’s a strategic object and they wanted to disable it’ …. Abu Sisi’s Ukrainian wife, Veronika, 32, alleges the Israeli secret service Mossad carried out the abduction in order to sabotage a key electric power plant in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where he worked as a senior manager ……

[Veronika said]: My husband was the heart of the only electric station in Gaza, or rather its brain. It’s a strategic object and they wanted to disable it…. Gaza strip interior minister Fathi Hamad sent a message to his Ukrainian colleague demanding that immediate steps be taken to expose the reason of Abu Sisi’s disappearance and ensure his safe return to his family.

Maksim Butkevych, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine, said Abu Sisi has been in custody in Israel since shortly after his disappearance. The UN agency believes he was abducted and illegally transported by Israeli security forces, perhaps with the aid of Ukrainian counterparts….”

Well, the Mossad and its crowd of trained Ukrainian GPS-equipped vultures who picked him up and flew him out of the Ukraine to Israel seem to have slipped up badly.

You see, despite the disappearance of this incredibly important brainy person, possibly the only one able to keep the Gaza power station humming … it’s … umm  … still working perfectly well.

Breaking News: Israeli vulture accused of spying cleared of all charges!

You may recall our previous story about a vulture from Tel Aviv University (code-named R65), which strayed into rural Saudi Arabian territory at some point last week.  After residents told Saudi Arabia’s media and security services that it seemed to be linked to a “Zionist plot” the bird was placed under arrest on suspicion of spying.

Well, CiF Watch has now confirmed that R65 has been cleared of all charges and will be returned to Israel soon! (No, this isn’t satire.)

CiF Watch would like to thank all of our readers – especially those from the Avian community – who heeded our request and contacted Saudi authorities to plead for R65’s release.

Free Mossad Agent R65 Now!

When a tagged vulture from Tel Aviv University (code-named R65) strayed into rural Saudi Arabian territory at some point last week, residents told Saudi Arabia’s media that it seemed to be linked to a “Zionist plot” and alerted security services. The bird has since been placed under arrest. (Yes, really.)

The accusations went viral, according to Ha’aretz, with hundreds of posts on Arabic-language websites and forums claiming that the “Zionists” had trained the birds for espionage.

At first, I must admit, I was skeptical of the accusation.  But, coming on top of the Zionist shark attack that killed and maimed tourists on Egypt’s Red Sea, the notion that R65 is indeed an Israeli spy seems quite credible.

As such, I’d like to make a personal plea, on behalf of CiF Watch, to the Saudi government, on humanitarian grounds, to please free Mossad Agent R65, now.

Why was this story in the Guardian’s Israel section?

While it may seem intuitive to many that Israel is likely behind the Stuxnet worm that’s apparently attempting to wreak havoc on computers at Iranian nuclear plants – and, I, for one, certainly wouldn’t lose any sleep if it that was indeed the case – there hasn’t even been, to the best of my knowledge, anyone who has even suggested that they have proof regarding who exactly was behind the virus.

Indeed, the Guardian article on Nov. 16, titled, “Stuxnet worm aimed to Sabotage Iran’s nuclear ambition, new research shows,” by Josh Halliday, doesn’t even attempt to make the case for Israeli culpability.  They do cite “Security Experts” who claim that “the attack was likely a state-sponsored case of “modern espionage”.  Ok, that seems fair.  But, couldn’t the state sponsor just as likely be the United States?  The article doesn’t address the possibility.  Another story on the topic in the Guardian, which appeared on Sept. 30, titled “Stuxnet worm heralds a new era of global cyber war“, by Peter Beaumont, quotes another expert, who claims that three counties “…had the motivation and capability to mount the Stuxnet attack on Iran: the US, Israel and the UK.”

(You know that tracing the origin of such computer worms is a maddeningly complicated task when the best an expert witness can do is offer his or her best guess on who likely had the motive and capacity.)

Yet, note where the story appears:

When  you click on the link, it takes you to the “Technology” section.

Yet, when I go to the Technology section’s main page, the story is nowhere to be found.

Interestingly, the only time Israel is referenced at all in Halliday’s piece is in this throw away line at the end, citing another security expert, who says:

“I think we will see more and more attacks which will be blamed on state-sponsored cyber attacks. There have been numerous attacks in the past which could be said to have possible military, political or economic motives, but it is very difficult to prove that a hack was ordered by Mossad or instead dreamt up by a Macclesfield student.”

We’ll see if, in the interest of fairness, the next story on Stuxnet appears in the Guardian’s Cheshire section.