Israel police arrest Mossad agent planting car bomb in Tel Aviv
By: atheo on: 25.11.2009 [16:59 ] (268 reads) BBC News
November 24, 2009 23:29 CST
A trainee spy for Israel's secret service agency Mossad was arrested by Tel Aviv police while taking part in a training operation, media reports say.
The young trainee was spotted by a female passer-by as he planted a fake bomb under a vehicle in the city.
He was only able to persuade police he was a spy after being taken in by an officer for questioning on Monday.
The authorities have refused to comment on the story although Israeli media outlets have expressed their surprise.
'Just a drill'
Mossad does not tell local uniformed police about its training exercises.
The country's commercial Channel 10 said it hoped the agency's operatives were "more effective abroad", AFP news agency reported.
Niva Ben-Harush, the woman who reported the novice's suspicious behaviour to police, told Ynet News that 15 minutes after she made the call, Tel Aviv's port was closed and people evacuated.
She said police initially asked her to come with them and identify the suspect.
"But after a few minutes, they told me it was just a drill," she said..
Up to three agency employees were believed to have been suspended following the incident, Ynet reported.
It quoted the prime minister's office as saying it did "not respond to information about such activities undertaken by security agencies or attributed to them".
Klassischer Angriff unter Falscher Flagge auf die USS Liberty 1966
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The descriptor, "false flag", is derived from an old pirate's trick: flying another country's flag during a raid. This would shift the blame for the attack to someone who had nothing to do with it. Governments have used false flag attacks to manipulate their people into fear and hate that can lead to a dictatorship or war.
On June 8, 1967, using unmarked aircraft and attack boats, Israel attacked our proud naval ship -- the USS Liberty -- killing 34 American servicemen and wounding 172. Those men were then betrayed and left to die by our own government. Israel thought that Egypt would be blamed for their attack
"We had been surveilled all morning and part of the afternoon by Israeli forces. They knew who we were. We heard them reporting over radio who we were and how we were sailing and where we were sailing. They saw the flag and everything else. We were in international waters." - Statement by survivor John Hrankowski
The U.S. Government had posted the Liberty off the coast of Gaza, in international waters, to monitor developments in the region during the Six-Day War. (The Liberty's mission will be discussed in detail below.) At dawn 8 June, Israeli aircraft began reconnoitering the ship, some flying so close that the pilots could clearly be seen, and as low as masthead height, obviously photographing it. This extensive observation lasted seven hours and involved eight separate observations, at about 0600, 0900, 1000, 1030, 1100, and 1130, 1200 and 1215 p.m. U.S. intercept stations twice overheard Israeli pilots reporting that the ship was American. The visibility conditions were perfect; the ship's American flag was flying free and clear in a good breeze.
We had been surveilled all morning and part of the afternoon by Israeli forces. They knew who we were. We heard them reporting over radio who we were and how we were sailing and where we were sailing. They saw the flag and everything else. We were in international waters.
At 1400 a well coordinated attack by jet aircraft and torpedo boats began. Jets hammered the virtually unarmed ship with cannon and rockets, and napalmed it. Its forward machineguns were wiped out in the first firing pass, and whatever transmitting antennas survived that pass were disabled by the second. Nine minutes into the attack, crewmen jury-rigged a transmitter to an antenna. But the radiomen discovered that four out of five of the ship's radio frequencies, including the international distress frequency, were being jammed. Ironically, the only time Liberty could transmit was while the jets were firing their missiles. A frantic cry for help was sent to the Sixth Fleet, only 400 miles away and off Crete; despite the Israeli jamming, the Liberty's plea for assistance was received. The patchwork transmitting arrangement ceased functioning soon afterward.
At 2:00 the action started when we had just completed a general quarters drill. I had just come out or the engine room to get some fresh air when the firing started. That's when I took my shrapnel hit, nothing fantastic but pieces of shrapnel. I went back to the boiler room and prepared to start lighting off number one boiler to get steam to get out of there.
Torpedo boats soon arrived and continued the attack, firing five torpedoes, with one hitting and killing 25 men. They then leisurely circled the defenseless ship for 40 minutes, pumping hundreds of 40 mm, 20 mm, and 50 cal. rounds at wounded men on deck, stretcher bearers and fire fighters. Thinking the ship was about to sink, the crew threw life rafts over the side; the attackers machine-gunned those too. With increased radio activity from the U.S. Sixth Fleet indicating an impending U.S. response (many of the Fleet's messages bore "Flash" precedence), the Israelis suddenly contacted the U.S. embassy and informed it of this "accident." It was probably the longest "accidental" attack in the history of naval warfare an hour and 15 minutes.
This persisted for probably 25 or 35 minutes with the aircraft rocketing us and hitting us with everything they had, napalm and cannon fire and after that there was a comparatively small lull. We heard that they were getting hit all over the place and we could see the torpedo boats moving in and firing torpedoes at us, and then one hit and put a 40 foot hole in the side of the ship and knocked all power off.
By that time the ship's interior was blackened, you couldn't see anything except with battle lanterns. We were still in the process of lighting off the boiler and trying to head the ship out to see. The ship was listing and we got the word to prepare to abandon ship. We were ordered by Lieutenant Golden who was in charge in the engine room to exit, and the last one out of there was myself, and I had to cut off the boilers' fuel supply. I was the last one.
We got outside at the main battle dressing station where a lot of injuries were. We were just about to go topside when we heard a lot of shots and canon fire and machine gun fire. Evidently they were trying to pick off people who were fighting fires and trying to put life rafts in the water. They were picking these people off with machine guns. We were told, I didn't see them, but we were told that they were shooting up the life rafts that were in the water, so needless to say they weren't going to take survivors at all.
And so we headed back to our spaces and did not abandon ship. We stayed with it. And it continued probably for another 40 minutes with them shooting and finally after seeing that the ship was not going to sink they grabbed one of the life rafts and they exited the scene. And through that, the helicopters had come over loaded with Israeli troops.
This lasted almost two hours and finally we got the ship turned around and boilers lit off and headed out to sea.
Two separate flights of jets from the carriers America and Saratoga were recalled by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the first flight probably because Washington was not absolutely certain of the attackers' identity and was leery of starting a war with the Russians if they were the guilty party. The second flight was recalled after receipt of the Israeli explanation.
We also heard that nine minutes into the attack we had reached a message to the Sixth Fleet and they were on their way with aircraft to help us. Little did we know until afterwards that three sets of aircraft were turned back.
Israel officially states the attack on the USS Liberty was accidental. What was Israel's motive for this act? The scheduling of the Israeli assault on the Golan Heights for 8 June was a move to defeat an intense effort in the United Nations to halt the war, a ceasefire having been scheduled for 9 June. Such pressure was also being applied by the U.S. Government. The IDF leaders were under pressure to acquire the Golan before the ceasefire was imposed, preferably without being labeled the aggressor (as in 1956 when Israel had colluded with Britain and France to attack Egypt). But with all the pressure to attack Syria, and after all the hurried preparations to do so, the Golan attack was suddenly called off within hours of its scheduled commencement. Why? Obviously, someone in the IDF leadership feared the Liberty might intercept some of the many signals then filling the air that would expose Israel's preparations for invasion. They might then be forced into a ceasefire before they conquered the coveted territory.
As James Bamford says, based on what Israeli military sources indicate, the Israelis killed hundreds of Egyptian POWs, most of them with their hands tied behind their backs. The attack on USS Liberty survivors in life rafts was necessary to coverup the warcrimes of the Israeli Defense Force.
MORE EVIDENCE OF GUILT
The Israelis initially claimed they had "mistaken" the Liberty for the Egyptian ship El Quseir. But the El Quseir was only 40 percent the size of Liberty (4000 vs. 10,400 tons). The El Quseir was an old, rusted out horse transport that bore about as much resemblance to the Liberty as a rusty VW does to a new Cadillac. The Liberty was arrayed with numerous specialized antennas, and an ultramodern (for 1967) 16foot microwave dish, a device possessed by no other ship in the world except her sister ship Belmont. She bore standard U.S. Navy markings, which included a freshly painted 10-foot high hull number, and Liberty on the stern.
* The radio jamming is by itself damning evidence that the assailants knew exactly whom they were attacking. Such jamming requires intimate advance knowledge of the target being jammed, obtained by extended monitoring of its signals. And this was selective jamming; it struck Liberty's frequencies and no others.
Afterward, in one of their ever changing explanations, the Israelis claimed to have learned the ship's identity when they heard its distress signals. But the attack continued for sixty six minutes after the first distress signal, which the Israelis had jammed, was sent. Had this particular Israeli claim been true, they would have recalled the torpedo boats before they even reached the ship.
* The Israelis claimed that the ship's U.S. flag hung limp because there was no wind. Later, when presented with the fact that the flag had been perfectly visible, they claimed that they thought that the ship was an enemy vessel flying false colors. The extended radio monitoring, exposing considerable advance investigation of Liberty's communication facilities, refutes this claim.
* The Israelis claimed that the torpedo boats, after first sighting the ship, had called in the aircraft to attack after the ship refused to identify itself. This is an obvious lie, because the attack was clearly a preplanned and well coordinated one-two punch employing different branches of the Israeli Defense Forces. The jets were already intent on attacking the ship before the Liberty came into the torpedo boats' radar range. Directly contradicting themselves, the Israelis later claimed that their aircraft had called in the torpedo boats.
* The Israelis eventually admitted that before the attack, their commanders had compared reconnaissance photos of the Liberty with Jane's Fighting Ships. But they claimed that before the attack they twice telephoned the U.S. naval attaché in Tel Aviv inquiring whether the Liberty was a U.S. ship and were told that there were no U.S. Navy ships in the area. They claimed that having received a negative reply, they decided that the ship had to be the El Quseir. However, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, and later the naval attaché, emphatically stated that no such inquiries were made. The Israelis not only knew the ship's nationality and that she was an "ELINT" ship; they also knew she was the Liberty herself.
* Immediately preceding the attack, an Israeli pilot recognized Liberty as a U.S. ship and radioed this information to IDF headquarters. He was instructed to attack anyway. This dialogue was intercepted at the U.S. embassy in Beirut. Former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter revealed the existence of this intercept in 1991.
Finally, there is evidence, circumstantial but clear, of a relationship between the attack on the Liberty and a postponement of Israel's planned attack on the Golan Heights. The Golan attack was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on 8 June; the Liberty was spotted by 6 a.m. or earlier; lastminute orders delayed the Golan attack; the Liberty was put out of commission; and the Golan attack occurred shortly thereafter. The vaunted IDF made very few mistakes in that war.