Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Grassy Mole

Party Line

It seems all the corporate media conglomerates are in lockstep over the “Dubai Affair” and every op-ed seems to be parroting the party line in regards to Mossads guilt.

I have to admit, I do derive some satisfaction out of seeing Netanyahu and Meir Dagan squirm under the public scrutiny, as Israel’s habit for launching murderous missions on foreign soil with extreme arrogance and impunity should be treated as terrorism but never is (even in this case).

Mossad even killed a Canadian for gods sake! Now that’s crossing the line in my opinion. We should send the Mounties to Tel Aviv over that one.

The only problem with all this Mossad bashing (or praising) in the media, boils down to one thing; no one knows in the press if Mossad really did this because no one in the press has presented any proof beyond convenient and circumstantial evidence provided by some questionable regime, the nature of which raises more questions than it does answers.

Such as: did Mossad actually kill the senior Hamas militant Mr. Mabhouh? If so, was any other group complicit in this brazen crime? If Mossad was not involved, then what other organization had the motive and wherewithal to carry this out?

Bank of Israel

Investigators now believe the alleged assassin team used prepaid credit cards purchased in the US through a company with ties to Israel. This seems suspicious to me.

Why go to the trouble of using “untraceable” prepaid credit cards when they can be connected to a US firm linked to Israel? If secrecy wasn’t a factor, as the use of these cards might suggest, than why not use cards from “Bank Yahav for Government Employees” instead? I’m sure the rates would be better.

It’s just like the passport issue: If cloning identities from passenger manifests and other obtainable information is not difficult for any spy agency, why would Mossad clone passports belonging to Israeli dual nationals right alongside the other non-Israeli identities? If conventional secrecy and plausible deniability was the aim, why not clone ID’s from Iceland or somewhere else equally insignificant?

I wish Mossad had a sense of humour; they could really have some fun with this the next time they send a circus troupe to kill someone!

I can see the headlines now: Hit Squad from Greenland descends on Cairo!

Unless you believe all this was a clever ruse made to look like a false flag, which just seems triple silly, I guess the only media friendly answer we have for these perplexing enigmas would be that Israel either underestimated Dubai’s investigative prowess and/or they overestimated their own influence in Dubai to keep things quiet, while taking for granted the support or at least acquiescence of the passport “donor” nations out of pure hubris.

God knows, Arabs aren’t smart enough to conduct a false flag operation with any sophistication, the Axis of Good crowd would never resort to such skull duggery and Iranians would never assassinate anyone. So what other options are left?

It has to be Israel then...right?

Super Killers or Nervous Nellie's?

The German newspaper Der Speigal published a very thorough play by play of the assassination and they report that two agents apparently felt comfortable enough with their fake identities to fly into Iran after a full dress rehearsal in Dubai. Funny, you would think that members of a Jewish death squad would choose a safer place to go on R & R than Tehran, especially while planning to kill a man who was in the market to purchase significant quantities of Iranian weapons.

Der Speigal also reports that 4 men who are thought to have actually carried out the murder were caught on CCTV waiting near the elevator and one of the agents was still wearing a plastic glove, while the other three “were shifting their weight back and forth like boxers” and looking visibly edgy.

In the army reserves we had a phrase to describe such post-performance anxiety and it appears these elite Mossad Kidon members were a little “nervous in the service” after their job was over. I imagine suffocating someone to death produces an adrenaline dump and under those conditions people do weird things, but I thought secret direct action or “wet job” types trained liked superman so they could act “normal” while carrying out covert operations on foreign soil, where maintaining a cover identity (in this case, western tourists on a shopping holiday) can be the difference between life and death.

I mean, even the hotel maid thought that these guys were strange and looked out of place. Maybe Mossad should hire her to conduct training evaluations on new recruits. If Mossad really did do this, than they should have dumped a battalion of paratroopers over a drop zone near an Al Jazeera press scrum and ordered them to storm the hotel; it would hardly have been more outlandish or provocative than the reality show version which was chosen instead.

It’s quite possible I’m giving Mossad more credit than it deserves, but this does seem pretty stupid to me. Who knows, maybe after three attempts at killing this guy, Mossad decided on an “overkill” strategy and perhaps ignored some important operational security details.

The Bonehead Identity

If Mr. Mabhouh believed intelligence agents from Egypt and Jordan (not to mentioned Mossad and Fatah) were following him around and monitoring his communications, why would he use his real name to purchase a plane ticket over the internet, fly into Dubai without bodyguards and book himself into the finest hotel in town while waiting to travel on to China (which the Dubai police chief has claimed)? And why would the leader of Hamas be so quick to publicly ask how Mabhouh (who Hamas had originally claimed had died of cancer) could be so stupid for doing so, even as his family and mourners still grieve?

Of course it was dumb, if that’s really what happen, but should the leader of Hamas be insulting one of their “martyrs”? Seems a little odd, because I thought the PR game plan was to make dead militants look like fearless and tough Einsteins who unfortunately float to paradise a little early thanks to blind Israeli luck.

I suppose its a fair (a touch indelicate, but fair) question for him to ask though. For a guy who made it onto Mossads “must die” list and who is in the business of buying arms from the Axis of Bad crowd on behalf of holy warriors, you would think he’d bring along some muscle or at the very least be a little more “situationally aware” when being trailed to his room by strange men wearing tennis shorts.

I guess Mabhouh was no Jason Bourne, who was able to spot a man driving a fancy car and sporting Goa friendly hippie clothes, and instantly recognize him as a fellow spy/assassin!

I betcha no one said of Mabhouh, “You have no idea who you are dealing with here”.

The Enemy of my Enemy

I also wonder if the super efficient Dubai security service placed any surveillance assets on Mr. Mabhouh as he went about his activities? Surely the Dubai customs station would have a system of red flagging any significant names arriving into the country.

I thought leaders of militant groups always “popped up” on some “grid” somewhere whenever they passed through a checkpoint using real names or discovered aliases. Maybe that’s just in the movies I guess or perhaps the Dubai station was too busy scanning Iris’s looking for Jews and they didn’t have time to worry so much about visiting terrorists.

On Wednesday, representatives of the Arab League announced they were supporting the American initiative for negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Seems pretty weird that Hamas keeps losing its members to informants (one of whom was the founders own son), two Fatah members are sitting in a Dubai jail cell suspected of helping murder the latest Hamas victim, Mr. Mabhouh’s right hand man reports that Mabhouh was paranoid of being targeted by Arabs, and now Israel, Fatah and the Arab League are suddenly playing nice with each other under the warm bosom of American diplomacy.

I heard once that coincidences do happen, but when they start turning into phenomenon, you have to take notice. So does any of this disjointed mishmash fit together into a larger narrative that makes sense and if so, what does it suggest about the future of politics in that region?

In the grand scheme of things, Mr. Mabhouh’s death is probably not that important, but the impact of his very public demise and the crooked trail of crumbs left by his killers may create some long lasting effects (beyond hypocritical and short term political theatrics about passport integrity aimed more at domestic audiences than Israel's leadership) before any semblance of normalcy is restored to that area, which makes me wonder who’s really calling the shots.

Where’s My Tin Foil?

With all these loose ends and puzzling clues, I can’t help but think of the many outlandish conspiracy theories like the JFK assassination or 911 truth movement that has captured the attention of so many otherwise normal people.

The attacks on New York shocked people senseless and nearly 9 years and two brutal occupations later, that tragedy is still reverberating around the world.

Before that, the JFK assassination defined an era and as a result of his death, Lyndon B. Johnson became president and escalated the war in Vietnam, which used B-52 sorties to bomb an agrarian based society back into the stone age and gave rise to the peace movement within that turbulent decade known as the sixties.

Whether 911 was a false flag or JFK was a victim of a wider plot is hard to say, I don’t spend any time thinking about either scenario, but many people do and this questioning of the “party line” is actually a healthy sign that people are thinking for themselves, however erroneous that thinking may sometimes prove to be.

Before dismissing these folks as "crackpots", I think its relevant to remember that the concept of "criminal conspiracy" is fully enshrined and accepted by law in most court systems, the absence of which would make police powerless to tackle organized crime or terrorism. Historically, such arrangements have been proven to exist in political and other social contexts, so like it or not, conspiracy theories can be correct on occasion.

Personally, I like to look at the official version of things and ask reasonable questions based on common sense, critical thinking, investigative procedure, and the rule of domestic or international law, thereby deciding for myself if the story sounds plausible (and non-hypocritical, honest, legal, etc.) or not. Other folks like to go beyond that and imagine possible scenarios to be true or even endorse ones already expressed, which is fine, because dissenting opinion is good for a thriving and democratic society.

The Spy who came in from the cold

The point is, there may never be a "grassy knoll" or any credible "loose change" style reporting in the Dubai case, so if Mossad is innocent (strange combination of words I admit) and the truth remains buried, while nothing fantastic comes along to uncover it, few people will look beyond the official story and the general public may never learn the truth.

Perhaps in the future, when this perplexing caper in the desert has long since receded from collective memory, some former “mole”, enjoying retirement in a faraway sun drenched villa along the Mediterranean, will write a book about these secret shenanigans. By joining the ranks of other notable spies made famous by their scandalous memoirs, this insider may blow the whistle on the “Dubai Affair”.

For the sake of satisfying my burning curiosity, I hope we don’t wait too long before this little tome hits the press.

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