Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Photographing the Francop---Bad Cop, Bad Cop

A series of images posted below, taken by UPI photographer Debbie Hill at the Israeli port of Ashdot on November 4, 2009, after the unloading of an illicit military arms cargo, which was found hidden amidst civilian goods on the container ship Francop, bears many of the same hallmarks found on the photographic record of the false-flag September 11th attacks in the United States. However her work goes much further afield than just failing to tell a believable narrative version of reality to the public. Her highly stylized views project instead a sinister intimation of an alternate reality---a glimpse perhaps into some pending dehumanized universe that is awaiting our arrival.

Israeli soldiers stand by a display of Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

The orderly and sterile environment we see under guard has obviously been art directed with an eye not toward verisimilitude, but rather to warning. This is suggested to me not by the munitions themselves, as by the appearance that the Francop carried no other cargo beyond what was hiding beneath, behind, below and beyond the mass---nestled within a seemingly endless supply of snow-white bundles of pure polyethylene LLDPE, a petrochemical product that is the raw material for making plastic bags and films.
We can assume from the visuals the Francop carried nothing else on its official journey from Iran to Syria but a bill of lading filling hundreds of massive containers only with one-kilo bags of white chemical product. I mean, we are talking retail here Muslims!

Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos are displayed for the press at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied weapons bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

An Israeli soldier stands by a display of Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

These bags each bear several corporate markings, such as the National Petrochemical Company, which is a subsidiary to the Iranian Petroleum Ministry, which is owned by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran itself; the Amir Kabir Petrochemical Company, which is a subsidiary of NPC, and a company which IranWatch says was "listed by the British government in 2009 as an entity of potential concern for WMD," and the Arta Plastic Company, which the Iranian Yellow Pages suggests consumes the raw material. All these various companies have multiple web identities that are controlled out of English-speaking addresses in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States (See one's Whois page.) It's no wonder---the whole lot is under seal of a "BP Chemicals License," part of a revealed Muslim tithe to hell punchers British Petroleum, and hence, to the crown.

A flickr photostream, which links to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posts 250 further images that take pains to drive these points home. There is an almost cartoonish quality to what is passing for evidence here, in what may turn out to be the casus belli for an upcoming nuclear winter across much of the planet. Shells are marked in large block letters:
107mm Rocket
DATE 2007

lest anyone miss a subtler point. Instead of Farsi, we find Spanish: a "disparos," is a variant of "disparador," whose synonym becomes clear in detonador, the trigger, firer, release, releaser, or tripper of the business end. A "espoleta" is the fuse of a bomb or a handgrenade. We get repeated shots, tightly cropped and sharply focused, of these messages, and not much else by way of relief.

The whole "Ministry of Sepah Customs Tariff" controversy we've read about in the newspapers---whereby Iran has counterclaimed the whole game is a Jewish propaganda set up because that appellation hasn't been used for decades, is itself a misreading of the core message. But doesn't the word "Sepah" alone make you want to go out and smote ten thousand men with the jaw bone of an ass?
Some large, wooden missile crates have a look of actual age patina to them, which makes sense when SCUDS have an active scare-life of thirty years or more. Everything else to me looks like it's come straight out from Iraq on beer pallets, in the same way images of burned corpses, which were entered into evidence at the Zacarias Moussaoui trial in 2006, looked more Fallujah than Tidal Basin. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and at least the necrophiliacs in the Justice Department know where the bodies are buried.

The lack of any explanatory captioning offering descriptions of the armaments themselves, or of the markings on their packaging, is gruesomely familiar to any student of 9/11 imagery. It's both the awareness of lacking something vital, along with enduring the constant drumbeat of brainwashing "fact"
"The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria."
Now say that over and over and over again. It's the only way you'll ever come to believe it--believe it or not.
There are several overhead shots taken dockside at Ashdot--on a large expanse of asphalt work zone next to the giant lift cranes. A privacy screen has been set up here, in a Custer-style circle, using lines of containers to hide the dirty work of missile extraction. It just makes me think of Forward Operating Base Falcon, and not in a good way.
We've caught all the grunts and stiffs on another coffee break without cups in their hands, but the soldiers have mastered a more natural blank look in the years since they stood around on 9/11 without doing anything real. Then they not only looked like robots, they looked like uncomfortable robots.
But this work zone "activity" calls into question the discovery of the weapons aboard the ship the previous day. These containers are stacked asshole to elbow on the deck. I can't imagine how access was gained to even a sampling of units. Were the ones with contraband mixed all throughout, or were they only stacked buried in the middle? Could a pattern of deceit be divined by their displacement then?
Oh, I forgot. I've already have been told in the first 24 hours that the crew was absolved of all responsibility in the crime. So were the dock workers in Egypt who shuffled the deck. I'm sure the intelligence agencies who can electronically monitor from high above in a satellite that a postage stamp on a letter is two-cents short, can also read such a dense energetic material wafting skyward on their cotton ball beds in some corrugated tin sheds.

But if they are so smart then, why do they leave clumsy mistakes lying out and about on the surface? I'm speaking of an analysis of the above two pictures, where the number of containers aboard can be determined with some precision. Using the row with the pair of extra containers atop as our reference point, we can see eight bays from stem to stern, with an average of eight rows across from port to starboard, and stacked three high, filling that bay with 26 containers. The two bays at the stern are less clear, but I make them out to have six and then 14. Moving forward, I count a maximum of 24, 23, and 24 in the next three bays. The front bays are elevated, so I make out 16, and then nine, adding up to a total of 142---I'll round that off to 150 to be fair.

Israeli port workers stand beside the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The ship was seized by Israeli commandos in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

So why do various written news sources put the total number of containers aboard the Francop at over 300? Is it because 34 out of 142 doesn't sound needle-in-a-haystack enough to the ear? This is one more example of why I think the entire story of the Francop and Karine A smuggling of war goods across a sea route is ridiculous. Something that got cooked up out on the poop deck, and I can smell it from here.

Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos are displayed for the press at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied weapons bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

What is the picture above trying to say to me? "I've got beautiful eyes, but a great big Jewish honker of a nose?"

An Israeli soldier stands by a display of Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Yo dude. You're really packin', but I think the Mohel went too far!

Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos are displayed for the press at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied weapons bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Here is an amusing comparison of how several different influential writers described the appearance and physical origin of the missiles:
"The rockets and mortars were of Russian, Chinese, North Korean and Iranian origin." 'The peace process at sea: the Karine-A affair and the war on terrorism,' The National Interest, Spring 2002, by Robert Satloff

"Many of the weapons crates had inscriptions in Spanish, Chinese and English." 'Israel says it seized Iranian arms shipment for Hezbollah,' by David Buimovitch, Agence France Presse, November 4, 2009

"...though they had English-language markings, intelligence officials believe that most were manufactured in Iran," 'Israel seizes ship in Mediterranean carrying more than 3,000 rockets,' Haaretz.com, May 11, 2009, by Anshel Pfeffer

"Israel's claim that the weapons came from Iran were bolstered by Iranian markings on the sides of the containers and what it said was a document proving the ship had set off from an Iranian port." 'Hezbollah Denies Link To Arms Ship Seized By Israel,' Steven Gutkin, The Huffington Post, May 11, 2009

"The identifying markings on the munitions had been sanded off, but most of them are manufactured only in Iran, Israeli security officials said." 'A Secret Iran-Arafat Connection Is Seen Fueling the Mideast Fire,' New York Times, March 24, 2002, by Douglas Frantz and James Risen
Each writer is wrong in totally unique ways, but the New York Times piece by Frantz and Risen is especially heinous---both in the specific inanity of this information (what were they thinking? Car serial numbers?) and in the corrupt totality of their covert mission, which was as negative an influence at attempting to foment a war between Israel and Iran, as anything Judith Mitchell ever lied about to do the same in Iraq.

Israeli soldiers stand by a display of Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Israeli soldiers stand by a display of Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Israeli soldiers stand by a display of Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos are displayed for the press at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied weapons bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

The Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel carrying Iranian supplied arms is docked at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The ship was seized by Israeli commandos in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos are displayed for the press at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied weapons bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos are displayed for the press at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied weapons bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

An Israeli officer looks at Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos, displayed at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Israeli soldiers stand by a display of Iranian supplied arms seized by Israeli commandos at the Ashdod Port on November 4, 2009. The Israeli Navy intercepted the Antiqua-flagged Francop vessel in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian supplied arms bound for Syria. UPI/Debbie Hill

Monday, June 07, 2010

Both the Karin A and the Francop Were Israeli False Flag

The tragedy that befell the blockade-running Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, was just one in a line of similar world events that indicate to me a radical shift is underway in humanity's collective perception of morality and the meaning to life. For unlike the dire, end-of-the-world, millennial fantasies of monotheistic doomsayers, I see within this pattern of negativity an opening, and expansion into greater truth and justice for all---if not exactly love and light at this very moment.

By reexamining the accepted history and received wisdom of these stories, the version we are told is what is happening around us, we begin to see an inherent falsity, and with it, we can chose to disconnect from the source of the corrupt power, in which they appear to hold sway.

For instance, when Israel recently made the false claim that Syria was transferring Scud missile technology into Lebanon, I looked into the matter, and saw instead that the historical 1991 "Scud missile attack" on Israel, which Saddam Hussein unleashed, was really just a substandard playbook of media manipulation---a melodrama faked by Israel and the United States to garner sympathy for the existential victims of a war, in which had absolutely nothing to do.

Likewise, when impartial "acts of God" occur, like the disastrous plane crash that killed so many high-ranking Polish dignitaries, it called me to confront a submerged episode in the history of ethnic genocide, one which calls into question my understanding of the version told in granite-and-marble museums in cities all over the world.

So in the awe I felt in the face of the nine deaths of pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ship---with its underlying question of the deliberateness of the abuse of power it represented---I trusted somehow that the same insights into a new consciousness would be expressed through the tragedy, and boy did they ever come.

I figure the reason Israel has been having such a hard time dealing with the worldwide condemnation of their actions, is because Israel forgot the standard operating procedure in these cases, of appending a nifty English or Hebrew operational title to their endeavor, one which would sanctify their defensive planning with a righteous narrative outcome. In incidents past, no one would consider going without this basic tool of public relations etiquette---and I'm not talking cast lead dreidels here either.

Last November, Israeli Defense Force commandos from the navy’s elite Flotilla 13 division boarded the Francop, in an operation dubbed 'Operation Four Species.'1 The vessel was intercepted in international waters "near Cyprus," we are told, and it was found to be loaded down with war munitions meant for Israel's enemies
"36 shipping containers with 500 tons of weaponry were found on the ship disguised as civilian cargo, and hidden among hundreds of other containers onboard. This is a well-known Iranian technique, taking advantage of cargo ships flying different flags in order to smuggle containers loaded with large amounts of highly volatile weaponry to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah."2
Previously, in January, 2002, Israel seized the ship Karine A in the Red Sea, "between the coasts of Saudi Arabia and Sudan," which was 300 miles south of the nearest Israeli port, with special forces boarding at gunpoint, in an action code named "Operation Noah's Ark."5 However, the actual interception was preceded by months of intelligence activity, which had earned its own code name, "Operation Milk and Honey," or in Hebrew, 'khalav u-dvash.'30
"On Jan. 3, it was 300 miles south of Israel,in international waters, when the commandos swarmed aboard from helicopters and naval vessels. They took the Karine A without a shot, then, as they changed course toward the Israeli port of Eilat, began sifting its cargo."24

"The mission began at 04:45 of 3 January 2002 in the Red Sea, 300 miles from Israel."40

"Karine-A arrived in Eilat the evening of 4 Jan 02, the entire operation completed in less than 60 hours. The same day, at 14:00, the IDF held a press conference (Shaul Mofaz, Yedidia Yaari, IAF commander-in-chief Maj-Gen (Aluf) Dan Halutz, and IDF spokesman Brig-Gen (Tat-Aluf) Ron Kitrey participating) making public the Karine-A's takeover. The first photos (taken while the ship was still at sea) of the deadly cargo were released. Two days later, on 6 Jan 02 at 17:00, another press conference, this time with the Prime Minister and Defense Minister attending, was held at Eilat naval base. The captured armaments were made available for the inspection of foreign military attaches, diplomatic officials and reporters."30
Both of these operations went off without a hitch we are told. In a statement at the 2:00 PM press conference, the IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt-Gen Shaul Mofaz, said regarding the interception of the ship Karine A on the previous day
"This operation, executed about 500 kilometers from the shores of the State of Israel was professional, precise, coordinated, and a complete surprise done without a single casualty. On the Karine A, we found about 50 tons of varied warfare, most of it from Iranian origin. From the small part that we checked already, we can tell you that it includes: long range Katyusha rockets, Sagger and LAW anti-tank missiles, mortars, mines, advanced explosive equipment, weapons and sniper rifles, bullets and much more."35
But this press conference took place many hours in advance of the actual docking of the ship. How could a proper inventory and total assessment be made within the cramped confines of a vessel at sea? Photographs released at the January 4 press conference depict a sampling of munitions displayed on the ship's deck. The talking point figure of 50 tons of bulk weight for the illicit goods never varied in any of the subsequent news reports, although the monetary value placed on the goods did significantly---anywhere from $10 million to $100 million---of of which is evidence officials are simply telling a story, or in other words---telling lies.

IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz went on to describe the Karine A contraband:
"The haul included 700,000 rounds of small arms ammunition; 735 hand grenades; 311 anti-personnel mines and 211 anti-tank mines; 345 long- and short-range Katyusha rockets and 10 launchers; 29 mortar tubes and 1,545 shells; six Sagger wire-guided anti-tank missile launchers and 10 missiles; 51 RPG-7 anti-tank missiles and 328 rockets; 30 high-powered Dragonov telescopic rifles; 212 Kalashnikov assault rifles, over 2,000 kilograms of explosives, and two speedboats with powerful Yamaha engines and a range of diving equipment."21
So what differed between these three episodes of Israeli naval history? In cases of actual international crime involving the smuggling of war goods, the Israeli navy acts professionally and without incident, but when encountering unarmed welfare activists hellbent on a symbolic public relations coup, they can at best be said to have gone in unprepared for antagonism? What internal codename did they give the months of planning for this debacle?

The logical inference for me is that the first two incidents were staged by the Israelis as false-flag casus belli for further consolidations and aggression against the Palestinians, while in the third incident, it is evident that such media victories pale when compared to an actual confrontation with protagonists not on your payroll.

None of this is a failure of intelligence in the strictest sense---in the way it can be used as a scapegoat for allowing the attacks of September 11th, and in missing the (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Rather, it is an exposé of the fact that such intelligence does not serve the public good.

A blogger at TalkingPointsMemo named 'MSNY' said yesterday
"I believe that Israeli intelligence knew without doubt that there were no weapons of any consequence on those vessels. In addition to close cooperation with the decidedly anti-Islamist Turkish military, I venture that Mossad activity around this hugely publicized mission was very high. Just as Israeli intelligence knew about the weapons aboard the Iranian vessel Karine A, which was intercepted and seized using overwhelming force far from the shores of Gaza, I think that the manner in which the Israelis boarded the vessels of the flotilla indicated that they knew that there was not a significant military threat."51
But is that the only difference? If you study the media record available on Google, it becomes inescapably clear that both ship incidents are merely the false-flag figments of auteur Jewish propagandists. In every aspect and metric, the truth of the matter is utterly undeniable. In the timing, in the outcomes, in motivation---there are no bonafides in the cui bono. It is the big lie told on a vast scale here by Jewish Israelis. It will boggle your mind and leave you feeling very sad. It amounts to a horrible manipulation of the fundamentals of reality; lives lived without any moral compass or purpose, and it's left the populace of Israel ill-equipped to deal with what's ahead in their future.

As this story is being told about purported attempts by an underdog who seeking some parity in a game of power with impossibly mismatched masters and overlords, the most important fact drilled into our heads is a blaming of the PLO for its a relationship with figures in Iran.

That was the same dynamic in early 2002 that Americans experienced after 9/11. We were told Al Queda had "misjudged" our potential reaction to their provocation. But such an underlying energetic disconnect is to disavow consequences of our behavior and is either immature or insane. In fact, it is the signature of the agent provocateur and the hallmark of the false-flag actor.

was utilized as THE game changing and deal breaking event in whatever attempt at cooperation had preceded it. Only a handful of journalists, most notably Brian Whitaker writing in The Guardian in the United Kingdom, dared to question the basic assumptions, motivations and appreciation for consequences the players have on display.

'Sharon accuses Arafat of running terror network,' The Hindu, January 8, 2002, By Kesava Menon
"The Western media has not really bought the version of events put out by Mr. Sharon and the Palestinians continue to dismiss the whole affair as a pathetic drama. On top of everything else, BBC today reported that according to the Lloyd's Register of Shipping Karine A was owned by the Iraqi Government and not the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Sharon and his officials had put out that the Karine A was owned by the Authority and that the money for its purchase had been personally sanctioned by Mr. Arafat."49
"Most of the weapons were made in Iran, and they were loaded aboard the Karine A off the Iranian coast, according to Israeli officials, citing their interrogation of the ship's crew and other intelligence. The weapons were packed in cleverly designed, submersible canisters that Israel says were made in Iran."24

"The magnitude of the weapons cache notwithstanding, the strategic implication of the Karine-A lies less in the lethality of its cargo than in the identity of the unlikely partnership that implemented the smuggling scheme. As Israeli, American and even European officials confirmed,(1. The footnote here says, "Javier Solana, the EU official responsible for foreign and security policy, told European parliamentarians that the Karine-A was "the link between Iran and the PA." Haaretz, February 7, 2002.) the Karine-A was a joint undertaking of Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Islamic Republic of Iran, facilitated through the good offices of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hizballah."19

"Navy and air force units captured a Palestinian Authority-owned freighter loaded with 50 tons of weapons in the pre-dawn hours of January 3, 2002."20

"The exact route of the ship has not been confirmed but Israel's Haaretz newspaper said it originated in Iran and had docked in Yemen and Sudan before using the Suez Canal."1

"Proof of large-scale Iranian weapons shipments to its proxy forces on Israel's borders could reinforce Israeli demands for tough action---possibly even a pre-emptive strike---against Iran's nuclear facilities."1

"The United States informed Israel of a ship carrying tons of weapons allegedly en route from Iran to Hezbollah, but vetoed Israel's plans to attack,"5

"In its report on Friday, A-Sharq Al-Awset cited Israeli sources as saying that Israel had intended to attack the ship but had refrained at the insistence of the U.S. No other source could confirm the report."5

"The U.S. and Israel say that two top aides to Yasser Arafat met secretly with Iranian officials in Moscow in May 2001, and that Arafat himself had approved the dealings with Iran."7

"The Washington Post reported in early February that "the discovery of Iran's role in smuggling 50 tons of weapons to the Palestinians was a body blow to the State Department's initiative to engage Iran."7

"Arafat says he supports the "war on terrorism" and then---let us not kid ourselves---permits his acolytes to try a gun-running operation on the Karine A."8

“Iran is the major supplier of arms to Hezbollah, usually via Syria by air or over land,” Ephraim Kam, deputy director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security, said today in a telephone interview. “Maybe they used a sea route this time because of the types of weapons involved.” In 2002, Israel seized the ship Karine A, which it said was bringing arms fro Iran to the Gaza Strip. In January, Cyprus seized an Iranian ship that it said may have been taking arms to Gaza in violation of United Nations sanctions."9

"Israeli officials said yesterday that Hamas had tested a rocket with a range of 60 kilometers, enabling it to reach from Gaza to the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. This is the type of weapon that could not be made in Gaza, and had to be brought in from outside,” Kam said."9

"American and Israeli intelligence officials have concluded that Yasir Arafat has forged a new alliance with Iran that involves Iranian shipments of heavy weapons and millions of dollars to Palestinian groups that are waging guerrilla war against Israel."10

"The partnership, officials said, was arranged in a clandestine meeting in Moscow last May between two top aides to Mr. Arafat and Iranian government officials. The meeting took place while Mr. Arafat was visiting President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, according to senior Israeli security officials who declined to describe the precise nature of their information."10

"American officials said that Israeli intelligence reports about the Moscow meeting were at the heart of secret briefings that Israel provided to the Bush administration after the arms shipment was intercepted."10

"There's plenty of evidence to show that it wasn't a rogue operation," a senior State Department official said of the ship that Israel seized in early January."10

"The arrangement was completed in Moscow, where the Palestinian leader instructed two trusted aides to meet with Iranian government officials, Israeli intelligence officials said."
"The Israelis declined to identify the Iranians involved, but the Arafat aides were identified as Fuad Shobaki, the chief financial officer for military operations for the Palestine Liberation Organization and part of Mr. Arafat's inner circle, and Fathi al-Razem, deputy commander of the Palestinian naval police."10

"But the most visible evidence of the new strategic partnership between the Palestinian Authority and Iran came in the case of the Karine A."10

"The Karine A was a direct outgrowth of the secret meeting in Moscow last May between Mr. Arafat's representatives and Iranian intelligence officers, senior Israeli security officials said."10

"Thursday's seizure is larger than one last May in which a fishing boat containing 40 tons of arms, including anti-aircraft missiles, was intercepted off the northern Israeli coast. Four Lebanese crewmen were detained."11

"Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli army chief of staff, said he believes that the Karine A planed to sail north through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea and travel near Palestinian-controlled areas of the Gaza Strip. He described the arms seizure as one of the largest during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."11

"Mofaz said yesterday that the incident demonstrated that Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, was not ready for peace."11

"Mofaz said that soldiers have inventoried only 10 percent of the contents but had found thousands of rifles, ammunition, mortar shells, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, mines and Katyusha rockets."11

"The Israeli army has long been concerned that Palestinian militants would increase the range of their rockets. Most of their weapons are limited to makeshift mortars with a range of several hundred yards."11

"The Karine A affair (smuggling arms from Iran represents a gigantic miscalculation by Arafat and the Fatah leadership in view of the Israeli and American reaction."12

"Die Welt also reported that the Saudi intelligence service paid Iran $10 million to buy weapons for the Palestinian Authority. The weapons were confiscated in wake of the capture by Israel of the Karine-A freighter on Jan. 3 in the Red Sea."13

"In a related development, the United States has warned Egypt against disputing claims by Washington that the Karine-A was headed for the PA. Israeli diplomatic sources said that the Bush administration warned President Hosni Mubarak that Washington was ready to publicize its dispute with Cairo regarding strategic issues unless the leadership in Cairo halted public expressions of doubt regarding Palestinian smuggling of weaponry."13

The United States' reaction towards the "Karine A" weapons ship, seized in the Red Sea by Israeli commandos, has taken a switch.
"The State Department accepted as credible Israeli allegations that the Palestinian Authority was trying to smuggle weapons by sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday justified last week's capture by the Israeli Army of a ship carrying weapons in the Red Sea, saying that Israel had "very good intelligence" that the arms on board were to be used to attack it. Rumsfeld said "They clearly had very good intelligence that those weapons were going to be used against them and they intercepted the ship by pre-empting that ship from landing and unloading and then providing those weapons to be used against Israel."
"The United States has done a similar thing with respect to various ship interceptions...and it is something I think that is not unusual or not uncalled for when one thinks of the magnitude of the weapon stash that was on that ship," he added."14

"Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday, during a meeting with American Jewish Community representatives in Jerusalem, that the United States government knows with certainty that the Palestinian Authority was behind the attempt to smuggle weapons. "The government knew all the details. It was known to them that the Palestinian Authority paid millions of dollars. Payments of this nature are authorized only by Yasser Arafat," Sharon stressed clearly."14

"Sharon's comments followed immense criticism by Israeli government officials, who claimed the U.S. response to the capture of the Karin-A ship was lukewarm, due to Washington's fear the affair would damage the diplomatic process, aimed at reaching a peace settlement in the region."14

"Earlier Tuesday, Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh criticized the United States for saying it was not yet "clear" who had hired the captured weapons ship, and for whom the weapons were intended."14

"Earlier Tuesday, Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh strongly assured that it was obvious that the arms shipment was destined for the Palestinian Authority. "If you consider the possible destinations of the ship, the fact that the captain is a high-ranking official in the Palestinian Authority, and that there were Palestinian Authority people aboard the ship, anybody can figure out where it was headed."14

"Just a day before Rumsfeld's statement, the U.S. State Department said it did not know who had hired the vessel. "We don't know who hired it, who was the recipient. Those are the kind of pieces of information we're looking for," said department spokesman Richard Boucher on Monday."14

"Preliminary investigation of the team members arrested revealed that the Karine A ship was purchased by Adel Mughrabi in Lebanon, sailed to Sudan where it was loaded with regular cargo. The crew was then switched with the team members and in November 2001 sailed to Hodeida port in Yemen."15

"Since October 2000, Adel Mughrabi, a major buyer in the Palestinian weapons purchasing system (with the assistance of the Palestinian Naval Police Commander Juma'a Ghali and his executive Fathi Ghazem), has been in contact with the Iranians and Hizbullah regarding a vast weapons smuggling operation for the use of the Palestinian Authority."15

"Naval Intelligence Commander Admiral Yehezkel Mashita and head of research in Military Intelligence, Yossi Kuperwasser, both former military attaches are to arrive in Washington this morning. Mashita served as the naval attache and Kuperwasser was Military Intelligence's attache. Their current mission is to brief the American intelligence community about the Karine A affair and the connection between those responsible for it in Yasser Arafat's innermost circle and the Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards."16

"Security sources rejected Palestinian claims, based on the shipping records maintained by Lloyd's List, that the ship was purchased by an Iraqi businessman. The sources said that ships are often bought and sold through mediators and shell companies."16

"Sharon said Arafat was directly involved in the $100 million arms shipment. Israel's Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the shipment was worth $100 million."...In an exclusive jailhouse interview Monday,"17

"The Middle East is already seeing the fruits of the Iranian government's recent acceleration of terror sponsorship. At the conclusion of the conference, Hamas official Musa Abu Marzook declared in an interview with CBS's Sixty Minutes that Hamas was developing a missile with a range long enough to hit most Israeli cities."18

"The Kassam-1 rocket has a range of about three miles, while the Kassam-2 rocket, currently in development, will have a range double that, as well as an increased payload." "Abu Marzook's statements were not empty rhetoric. On February 10, Palestinians fired Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel.18

"Iranian-sponsored coordination of secular, nationalist, and Islamist terror groups is no longer merely a threat; it has become reality."18

"Perhaps most ominously, the boat held about 3,000 pounds of C4 explosive, enough for about 300 suicide bombs--three times more than all the suicide bombers Israel has faced in its entire history."19

"As Israeli, American and even European officials confirmed, the Karine-A was a joint undertaking of Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Islamic Republic of Iran, facilitated through the good offices of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hizballah."19

"Though the weapons were not an outright gift from the ayatollahs to Arafat, they were sold at steep discount--$30-50 million of goods for just $10 million. Evidently, the plan was to pass through the Suez Canal, with Palestinian agents poised to bribe canal inspectors to avoid detection, and then unload the weapons in floating containers off the coast of Gaza and el-Arish, where local fishing boats would pick them up for transshipment to the Palestinian authorities."19

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has had no military relations with Yasir Arafat and no steps have been taken by any Iranian organization for the shipment of arms to the mentioned lands", Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani told Iran's official news agency. Though Iranian leaders, both moderate and hard-line, publicly deny Israel's right to exist, they rejected accusations of cooperation with Arafat."19

"That Arafat would truck with the ayatollahs--and vice versa--was a strategic shock."
"In all these developments, Israel and the Palestinian Authority were both viewed as targets of Iranian-backed terrorism."19

"All these assumptions have been called into question by the Karine-A affair. The biggest unanswered question is "why?" Given the high likelihood of failure--Israel had foiled a previous seaborne smuggling effort by anti-Arafat groups last May and was on the lookout for other attempts--why would Arafat take the risk? Why risk the international and regional diplomatic gains he had earned from his participation in a peace process (even one that had, by autumn 2001, collapsed)? Why risk losing his relationship with Washington, so carefully cultivated since 1988, by colluding with a country so inimical to U.S. interests? Why risk legitimizing Ariel Sharon and driving the final stake into the heart of the Israeli peace camp by behaving as a warmonger committed to military escalation? No less important, why jeopardize the patronage of Arab leaders, especially Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who would not take kindly to an insolent Palestinian effort to give Iran entry into the eastern Mediterranean by sneaking weapons through the Suez Canal, endangering Egypt's security and key source of hard currency? A likely answer, given Arafat's modus operandi, is that he jumped at the opportunity to buy the weapons because they were cheap and available; i.e., he could do it, so he did."19

"When Israel announced the interception of the Karine-A, official U.S. reaction ranged between denial and disbelief, with unnamed U.S. intelligence officials suggesting that the boat was really heading to Lebanon to re-stock Hizballah. Within days, that pose was dropped when Israeli intelligence provided what U.S. officials accepted as "compelling evidence" that the weapons originated in Iran and were destined for the Palestinian Authority. Israeli intelligence also provided proof that Mughniyah was a key middleman for the operation. Of course, much of this Washington already knew, because its own agencies had tracked the Karine-A and had even assisted Israel with tactical intelligence about it."19

"One key element in this success has been the administration's renewed engagement in the peace process, manifested in the President's unprecedented public commitment to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, first uttered on October 2 but declared in full fashion--using the word "Palestine"--from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly on November 10. Secretary of State Colin Powell's November 19 Louisville speech on a "vision" for Middle East peace, and the subsequent dispatch of a new peace envoy, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni--immediate past commander of the U.S. Central Command, the regional military structure that includes virtually all the Middle East except Israel--rounded out the administration's new activism."19

"I am disappointed in Yasir Arafat", President Bush said on January 25, during a visit to the Coast Guard cutter Tahoma. Vice President Cheney was even more direct. When asked in a January 27, Fox News interview whether Arafat's role in the Karine-A constituted participating in a"terrorist mission", Cheney responded: "That's correct." He added: "In my mind and based on the intelligence we've seen, the people that were involved were so close to him it's hard to believe he wasn't."19

"As it happened, Zinni's trip was punctuated by a series of suicide bombs that caused no fewer than 26 Israeli deaths, attacks that Arafat did little to prevent."19

"The revelation of the Karine-A affair, with its strategic consequences for U.S. interests and those of America's Arab and Israeli regional allies, triggered a fundamental re-assessment of U.S. policy."19

"With patience, ingenuity and an uncanny ability to exploit tactical opportunity, Arafat knows from experience that, with time, U.S. yardsticks fall away and Washington's pique at his outrages dissipates."19

"While both positions make sense (for now), they also let Arafat know that despite his collusion with Iran to escalate the military confrontation to new heights, he himself is ultimately secure. The tanks that have encircled his compound in Ramallah do not really frighten him; he knows their utility as tools of intimidation diminish when the likelihood of their use is so low."19

"For the previous three months, Israeli intelligence had tracked the boat from its purchase in Lebanon to its current position in international waters between Saudi Arabia and Sudan, heading toward the Suez Canal."19

"The Karine A was purchased in Lebanon in October 2001 (after Arafat’s post-September 11 pledge to fight terror) for $400,000 by Adel Mughrabi, a senior PA figure close to Arafat. Another Arafat insider, Fouad Shubaki, chief procurement and finance officer of the PA, handled payment for the weapons."21

"Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the PA spent more then $100 million on the arms shipment."21

"Marum also agreed that the incident also illustrated Arafat’s intention to “cause many Israeli casualties. We found two tons of C-4 explosives---a material used by suicide bombers---on board. Why would the PA need C-4? To build roads?” It also crucially exposed the PA-Iran connection, Marum added, as many of the weapons on board were Iranian-made."21

"Arafat denied any connection with the ship."21

"On October 18, 2004, an Israeli military court sentence the captain of the Karine A, Omar Muhammad Hassan Akawi, to 25 years in prison. Two officers, Riad Salah Mustafa Abdullah and Ahmed Mahmud Abed al-Khadi Khiris, were sentenced to 17 years each for their role in the smuggling effort. A fourth suspect, Salem Mahmud Husseini el-Sankri, was set free in a Hizbullah prisoner swap after all the charges against him were dropped."21

"Omar Akawi flashes a victory sign as he's led from his Israeli prison cell. But his latest mission on behalf of the Palestinians was hardly a victory."22

"But in a further twist, Israeli claims that the ship belonged to the PA were thrown into doubt earlier this week by documents naming the owner as an Iraqi based in Yemen. Registration documents acquired by specialist shipping newspaper Lloyds List based in London show the former owner Diana K Shipping of Beirut had sold the freighter---then called Rim K---last August to Ali Mohamad Abas.23

"Longer term, it is laying a foundation for a central contention of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: that Israel must retain territory in the West Bank as a buffer against the enhanced threat it fears may arrive with a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."24

"It was Mr. Mughrabi, people who have seen the Israeli intelligence said, who bought the freighter on Aug. 31 in Lebanon for $400,000. On Sept. 12, it was registered with the Kingdom of Tonga, in the Pacific, and given a new name sloppily painted in white on her bow: Karine A."24

"By October, the Karine A was in Yemen, where it took on new crew members. Among them were four Palestinians including the new captain, Omar Akawi, a senior officer of the Palestinian naval police."24

"In interviews arranged by his Israeli captors this week, Captain Akawi said he had been instructed to steer the Karine A. to a point off the Iranian coast. Once the it was anchored in position, Captain Akawi told Israeli television, a smaller boat with two or three men aboard approached and exchanged a prearranged signal with him. The men began loading about 80 crates aboard the Karine A, storing them in the bottom of the forward hold."
"Inside the crates were canisters whose design indicates the sophistication of the operation. They appear to have been mass manufactured, with attention to quality control, for smuggling. About eight feet long and two feet in diameter, each was tightly packed with munitions inside waterproof plastic; each came with a tool kit with which to open it. Each canister was attached to two smaller tubes connected by a valve. One of the tubes was filled with oxygen. By manipulating the valve, a diver could set the buoyancy of the tubes so that the canister, painted sea green, would float suspended at a specific depth. Senior Israeli military officials, citing interrogation of the Karine A's crew, said one crew member had been trained by Hezbollah to set the submersible tubes. The canisters were to be placed in the water off the Gaza Strip Israeli official said, probably for retrieval by Palestinians posing as fishermen."24

"On Dec. 12, the Karine A sailed for Dubai, where it picked up a cargo of mattresses, sandals and sunglasses."24

"Mohamed Dahlan, the Palestinian Authority’s preventive security chief in the Gaza Strip and one of Arafat’s most senior lieutenants, was present in the emirate of Dubai when the Karine-A arrived and supervised the loading of the contraband munitions."25

"...the Palestinian tycoon who is Arafat’s personal financial aide, Muhamed Rashid."25

"Sources in Jerusalem say Sharon had had no intention of exposing the roles played by Dahlan and Rashid in setting up the arms-running operation, but changed his mind when U.S. State Department spokesmen cast doubts on the data Israel passed to Washington on the Karine-A affair."25

"The investigation that followed revealed that the shipment had been purchased by Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine---General Command (PFLP-GC). Its value, including the price of the contraband delivery, was estimated at $10 million. The smugglers, who departed with the cargo from Tripoli, Libya, were tasked with unloading the barrels-carefully sealed and waterproofed along with their contents-at a prearranged location off the Gaza coast, where they would be picked up by Palestinian Authority (PA) representatives."30

"The next day, 7 May 01, at 8:00 pm local time, a press conference was held on the matter in Haifa, with the participation of the Minister of Defense, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and commander-in-chief of the IDF Navy Maj-Gen.Yedidia Yaari. The latter denied any knowledge of recent attempts at smuggling contraband by sea. By the next day, however, the interrogation of the suspects revealed that they had made three such attempts in the past, two of which were successful."30

"The captain of the Karine-A was Omar Ashawi, a Fatah activist since 1976, Lt-Col in the PA's "Naval Police", and its adviser on maritime affairs. Several other members of the Karine-A's crew were "Naval Police" officers; the rest were Egyptian sailors, who may or may not have not known of the contraband aboard. Ashawi's interrogation revealed that the vessel had been purchased by Adal Mugrabi, a representative of the PA. According to Ashawi, the deputy commander of the "Naval Police", Fatkhi Gazem, and the PA's finance Fuad Shubaki, also participated in the operation, the latter charged with making payment for the cargo. The ship's last run took it from the Jordanian port of Aqaba (neighboring Eilat) on September 24, 2001, to an Iranian island in the Persian Gulf, where its cargo was loaded."30

"Further investigation revealed that the arms were purchased through Iran's so-called 'Export Committee of the Islamic Revolution' for $15 million. Payment was delivered via Lebanon through Hizballah middlemen. The civilian cargo used to smuggle the contraband was worth about $3 million, the ship itself about $400,000.30

"Propaganda by Israel?--Some, such as Guardian reporter Brian Whitaker, believe that Israel is using the incident to persuade the EU to stop funding the Palestinian Authority. And, Whitaker notes, Israeli lawmakers and pundits such as former President Benjamin Netanyahu are using the incident to argue that the idea of Palestinian statehood be permanently scrapped. Whatever the truth of the matter, the attempts suffer setbacks when documents show that an Iraqi, Ali Mohamed Abbas, purchased the ship, and other records disprove the Israelis’ claims about the ship’s cargo, which Israel says it picked up in Yemen. It seems clear that the freighter was indeed carrying weapons, but little of Israel’s other claims—they were Iranian in origin and intended for Palestinian use against Israel—are borne out by ascertainable facts."31

"Hezbollah Connection?---American intelligence sources later speculate that the weapons may have been intended for Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite militant organization with close ties to Iran, and not the Palestinians. Israel is initially resistant to the idea, but Israeli defense sources later tell Israeli reporters that it was “certainly possible that some of the arms were earmarked for Hizbullah,” though it is certain that most “were clearly bound for the Palestinian Authority.” Whitaker echoes skeptics’ disbelief about the Hezbollah claim, noting that there are easier and more secure methods of delivering arms to Lebanon than a risky sea voyage past Israeli patrol boats." [Guardian, 1/21/2002]31

"'[W]e do believe there's a compelling case to say that senior Palestinian officials, as well as officials from Fatah, were involved in this arms smuggling operation, and we do think that Chairman Arafat has a responsibility for senior officials of the Palestinian Authority,' Boucher said, briefing reporters at the State Department in Washington January 11."32

QUESTION: Double-edged question also. Has the Palestinian Authority asked for the US to participate in the investigation of the "ship of fools"--that is the ship? And secondly, the captain is now being reported in Jerusalem to have been on the staff of the security officer for the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank. Are you aware of any of the other backgrounds? He disappeared 15 months ago, according to the report out of Jerusalem.32

"Compelling evidence demonstrates that Yasser Arafat's inner circle was deeply involved in the planning and implementation of this arms deal. Akawi's primary contact for the mission---Adel Mughrabi, chief armaments procurer for the PA - purchased the ship in late September after receiving approval from the top echelon of Palestinian officials. Additionally, Fuad Shoubaki, director of finances for Arafat's general security forces, and Fathi Razem, deputy commander of the Palestinian naval police, both played key roles in the plot."33

"Preliminary investigation of the team members arrested revealed that the Karine A ship was purchased by Adel Mughrabi in Lebanon, sailed to Sudan where it was loaded with regular cargo. The crew was then switched with the team members and in November 2001 sailed to Hodeida port in Yemen. In December 2001 the ship sailed according to detailed instructions from Adel Mughrabi to the beaches of Iran near Qeshm Island. There a ferry approached it, most likely arriving from Iran, from which the weapons stored in 80 large wooden crates were transferred and loaded onto the ship. These weapons were stored in special waterproof containers produced only in Iran, which are floatable and are set with a special configurable system that determines how deep they are submerged, were prepared by Hizbullah personnel for smuggling to the Palestinian Authority. Included in the ferry team which transferred the weapons crates to the ship was also a Lebanese trainer, a Hizbullah operative who trained a diver from the ship's crew in configuring the flotation devices in Lebanon. The trainer was present for yet another refreshing training session prior to the sailing."34

"After completing the loading process of the weapons onto the ship, the ship had to divert to Hodeida port in Yemen due to technical problems. After crossing the canal, the ship was supposed to meet with three smaller ships that were purchased in advance and to unload the weapons onto them. According to the plan, the smaller ships were to leave the weapons near El Arish in Gaza, where the weapons were to be taken by the commander of the Palestinian Naval Police Juma'a Ghali and his executive Fathi Ghazem."34

"Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, said last week: 'The information we are receiving and developing on our own makes it clear that there are linkages to the Palestinian Authority.' But he added: 'I have yet to see information that links it directly to Chairman Arafat.'"36

"On the other hand, Mr Sharon's foreign policy adviser, Daniel Ayalon said: 'We have all the evidence, including the documents, that leads directly to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.'"36

"The Israeli army's chief of staff echoed this, saying: 'The link to the leaders of the Palestinian Authority is conclusive and undeniable.'"36

"The bill of sale states that he is an Iraqi national, passport number N173170."36

"Having acquired the vessel from Diana K Shipping in Beirut, the Iraqi buyer renamed it Karine A and on September 12 switched its port of registration from Lebanon to Nuku'alofa in the Pacific island kingdom of Tonga. The Tongan registration certificate gives the owner's name as Ali Mohamed Abbas."36

"The most puzzling question in the whole affair is what Iran hoped to achieve by supplying weapons to the Palestinian Authority (or elements within the Authority)---if that is what it really did."36

"Anyone deciding to supply weapons from the Gulf would have to take into account not only the effects of a successful delivery but also the very high probability of being caught. The area is constantly monitored, partly because of Iraqi oil smuggling but latterly also in the hunt for fugitive supporters of Osama bin Laden."36

"Although most of the Arab world dismisses the story as an Israeli fabrication from beginning to end."37

"Members of the smuggling team replaced the original crew...in November."37

"Given the stringency of Israeli security measures, this is the part that many people find most unconvincing. Would the Palestinian Authority really be so stupid as to imagine that it could successfully import the weapons in this way?"37

"Michael Jansen, writing in the Beirut newspaper, the Daily Star, questioned whether two of them were still connected with the authority. He quoted Palestinian sources as saying that Omar Akawi, the ship's captain, "left Gaza nearly two years ago with his family and has made no contact with the Palestinian Authority since then."37

"...the Americans---who formally outlawed Hizbullah last November(2008")37

  • The Karine A affair has already been invoked as grounds for the overthrow of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, and for not resuming the peace process.
  • Binyamin Netanyahu, former Israeli prime minister and probably a future contender for power, said last week that it means there cannot be a Palestinian state...ever.
  • Meanwhile, the Hizbullah connection can be used to push Hizbullah---and, by extension, Lebanon and Syria---to the top of America's anti-terrorism list.
  • And the Iranian connection, even if it does not really involve the Iranian state, can be used to stymie hopes of a rapprochement between Tehran and the west.37

"Court sentenced Fuad Shubaki to a reduced sentence, taking his advanced age into consideration,"38

"After an investigation by a Palestinian committee, Arafat dismissed Brig. Gen. Fouad al-Shoubaki, who was in charge of military financial affairs, and replaced him with Muhammad al-Batrawi. Al-Shoubaki already had been detained by the Palestinian Authority. Arafat also issued arrest warrants for Col. Fathi al-Razem, deputy chief of the Palestinian naval police, and official Adel Awadallah. Both men are traveling outside Israel, the Palestinian Authority said."39

"Arafat wrote Bush a letter January 19, said Saeb Erakat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, inviting Americans to join the Palestinians in investigating the incident, but the United States declined. Instead, the Palestinians were accused of arms smuggling, he said. 'We have said we are willing to exert every possible effort to know who's behind it because it's absolutely contradicting the policies of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to smuggle arms,' Erakat said."39

"The sixth holed up inmate, Fouad Shubaki, is considered the mastermind behind the Karin-A arms smuggling ship stopped by the Israelis on January 3, 2002."40

Another fishing vessel carrying weapons to the Palestinians was sunk off the Lebanese coast by Israel in May 2002.40...One area where the two countries were able to cooperate was Afghanistan, where both Washington and Tehran opposed the Taliban regime before and after the September 11 terrorist attacks. But Washington dramatically scaled back cooperation after Israel's January 2002 apprehension of the Karine-A, a ship carrying 50 tons of Iranian-supplied weapons to Arafat's Palestinian Authority. President Bush's inclusion of Iran in the "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address came just weeks after the Karine-A discovery. In May 2003, Washington reversed its willingness to cooperate with Iran after learning that it was harboring al Qaeda terrorists, including some who were implicated in a bombing in Saudi Arabia that month in which eight Americans were killed. In March, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, responding to European calls for a dialogue with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, announced that Washington would end its opposition to Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization and an array of other steps in an effort to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear weapons activities. Iran responded with defiance---and for good measure, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected last year, has made statements denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel's destruction a regular staple of his rhetoric."43

"According to Lloyd's List, which tracks worldwide shipping records, the ship belongs to Iraqi Ali Mohammed Abbas, who purchased it on August 31, 2001 from a Lebanese company. It was renamed from Rim K to Karine A when it was registered in Tonga on September 12. Tonga has confirmed that Abbas is still the owner of the ship."44

"Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz, chief of staff of the Israeli Army, announced in a Tel Aviv news conference on January 4 that the army had seized the ship while General Anthony Zinni was meeting with Yasser Arafat to promote negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority."44

Mustafa Zibri, who in July 2000 was elected to replace the ailing George Habash but who was assassinated in his Ramallah office on Aug. 27, 2001 by an Israeli aerial death squad. The Mustafa assassination was widely understood to be in direct response to what the Israeli military termed a qualitatively unprecedented Palestinian guerrilla attack on a Gaza Strip outpost several days earlier which left three Israeli soldiers dead and seven wounded."45

"Although the Gaza attack had been carried out by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and not the PFLP, this was neither the first nor last time Israel implemented its policy of making no distinctions between Palestinians who resist its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. By targeting a political rather than a military official for the first time since the beginning of the current Palestinian uprising—and, in the process, killing the head of the most influential PLO faction after Arafat’s Fatah movement—Sharon simultaneously sought to send a clear message—which his spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, termed “a signal”—to the rest of the Palestinian leadership, and to Arafat in particular."45

"The Mustafa assassination followed dozens of other so-called “targeted killings” carried out by Israel during the uprising, and resumed an Israeli tradition stretching back to the early 1970s of liquidating Palestinian leaders and emmissaries. Despite their occasional efforts to retaliate, Palestinian militants had yet to conduct a fatal attack against a prominent Israeli official."45

"Ze'evi was also one of Israel’s most visible and bellicose racists. The Moledet (“Homeland”) Party he founded during the 1980s was established for the exclusive purpose of advocating and promoting the mass expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (euphemistically termed “voluntary transfer” in party literature)."45

"On the basis of the available evidence—which is, to put it mildly, voluminous—it is for all intents and purposes inconceivable that Washington is serious about “sustained engagement” to foster peace in the Middle East. Israeli security concerns, which are formulated in a manner to preclude meaningful negotiations on a viable permanent settlement, will remain the cornerstone of U.S. involvement in the conflict."45

"In June 2002, upon recognizing Arafat's ongoing financing and abetting of terrorism, U.S. President Bush called for Arafat's removal from power. Progress toward peace required, according to Bush, 'a new and different Palestinian leadership...not compromised by terror.' Release of a U.S.-backed 'road map' for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was therefore delayed until such a new Palestinian leader emerged. On its part, the Israeli government chose to isolate Arafat in his Ramallah compound, the 'Muqata', where he would remain from early 2002 until his final days, and where his burial is expected to occur."47

"Deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai, meanwhile, told military radio that the crew apparently did not know about the weapons, which were sealed in cargo containers."48

"On Tuesday a senior Israeli general warned that Hamas had successfully test-fired a rocket out to sea, and that was capable of reaching Tel Aviv from Gaza.48

"The rocket, believed to be Iranian-made, has a range of about 60 kilometers (37 miles), putting Israel's major population centers in range, said Major General Amos Yadlin, head of military intelligence."48

"Hamas called the claim a "fabrication" designed to mobilize world opinion against the Islamist group before the UN General Assembly which was on Wednesday due to discuss a controversial report on the Gaza war."48

"This is a pre-emptive step by the Zionist enemy to influence international opinion," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said, adding that the report had put Israel in a state of "crisis."48

"In May 2001, the navy intercepted the Santorini, which was packed with 40 tonnes of arms sent to Gaza by a Palestinian faction based in Syria." Posted at 11/04/2009, 11:01 PM,48

"Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, backed by other hawks in his Cabinet and senior military officials, are citing the affair of the weapon-laden ship as justification for a change in strategy towards the Palestinian Authority. Accusing the Authority of escalating the confrontation with Israel, these Israeli leaders have hinted that they might consider labeling the Authority as an 'enemy' thereby laying the ground for further action aimed at obliterating it."49

"However Gen. Zinni left the region yesterday on an optimistic note, saying that he believed there were opportunities for progress to be made and thereby indicating that he did not believe that the Karine A episode would shipwreck the little progress that has been made."48

1 'Israelis 'seize Iran arms ship,' BBC News.com, November 4, 2009,

2 '500 Tons of Weapons for Hezbollah Intercepted by Israeli Navy,' November 4, 2009, Israel Defense Force Spokesperson

3 'Israel seizes ship in Mediterranean carrying more than 3,000 rockets,' Haaretz.com, May 11, 2009, by Anshel Pfeffer

4 'Hezbollah Denies Link To Arms Ship Seized By Israel,' Steven Gutkin, The Huffington Post, May 11, 2009

5 'Report: U.S. stopped Israel from attacking 'Hezbollah arms ship,' Haaretz.com,
November 6, 2009,

6 'Israel says it seized Iranian arms shipment for Hezbollah,' by David Buimovitch, (AFP November 4, 2009

7 'How Iran Entered the 'Axis' Frontline, PBS.org, January 29, 2002

8 'Arab Nations Lost in a Pit of Desperation,' February 16, 2002, by Robert Fisk, The Independent

9 'Israel Seizes 500 Tons of Hezbollah-Bound Iran Arms,' (Update2) Bloomberg.com, by Gwen Ackerman and Calev Ben-David, November 4, 2009,

10 'A Secret Iran-Arafat Connection Is Seen Fueling the Mideast Fire,' New York Times, March 24, 2002, by Douglas Frantz and James Risen

11 'Israel captures arms-laden cargo ship: Army says weapons tied to Palestinians,' Baltimore Sun, January 5, 2002, By Peter Hermann

12 'An Israeli View,' by Yossi Alpher, jerusalemites.org, January 7, 2004

13 'Report: Saudis financed escape of 4,000 Al Qaida to fight Israel,' World Tribune.com, January 28, 2002

14 'Sharon Threatens Arafat; United States Response to Weapons Ship Takes A Switch,' Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, January 09, 2002

15 'Information Regarding the Ship Karine A,' (Communicated by the IDF Spokesman) Israeli Embassy, Washington D.C.

16 'Proposal would trade five Egyptians on board `Karine A' for Azzam,' Haaretz.com, January 9, 2002

17 'Fox News Airs Revealing Interview With Captain of Karine A,' Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, January 7, 2002

19 'The peace process at sea: the Karine-A affair and the war on terrorism,' The National Interest, Spring 2002, by Robert Satloff

20 'IDF Seizes PA Weapons Ship: The Karine A Affair,' Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Jewish Virtual Library

22 'Prison interview with Palestinian ship captain smuggling 50 tons of weapons,' by Jennifer Griffin, Fox News, January 7, 2002

23 'Weapons ship mystery deepens,' BBC News.com, 10 January, 2002

24 'Seized Arms Would Have Vastly Extended Arafat Arsenal,' New York Times, January 12, 2002, by James Bennet

18 Iran and the Palestinian War against Israel: Implications of the Karine-A Affair,' by Michael Rubin, Blog, February 26, 2002

25 'Palestinian security chief supervised Karine-A loading: Israeli officials bringing evidence of Arafat complicity to Washington,' Debka Intelligence Files, January 9, 2002

26 Seized Weapons Ship Linked to Palestinian Authority -
U.S. State Department, Jan 10, 2002

27 Amos Harelm "Hezbollah paid for Karine A; PA paid for arms-army source." Ha'aretz. February 1, 2002.

28 "Hamas: 'We will use Kassam rockets.'" Jerusalem Post, January 25, 2002.

29 "Israel-Hamas improving rocket warhead," Periscope Daily Defense Capsules. January 24, 2002.

30 'Weapons Found on 'Karine-A' and 'Santorini,' July 20, 2002, WarOnline, Kirill, Oleg Granovskym, Noam Primak

31 'After: Israelis Claim Cargo of Seized Weapons Sent to Palestinians by Iran,' History Commons, January 3, 2002

32 'Excerpt: U.S. Seeks Explanation from Arafat about Arms Smuggling,' January 11, 2002, U.S. Embassy, Washington D.C.

33 'Palestinian Credibility Washed Away in the Red Sea,' Israeli Embassy, Washington D.C., As published in the Washington Times, January 23, 2002,

34 'Seizing of the Palestinian weapons ship Karine A,' January 4, 2002, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

35 Statement by IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt-Gen Shaul Mofaz regarding interception of ship Karine A, at www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org, January 4, 2002

36 'Voyage of the arms ship,' Guardian.co.uk, January 14, 2002, by Brian Whitaker

37 'The strange affair of Karine A,' January 21, 2002, Guardian.co.uk, by Brian Whitaker

38 'Man behind Karine A arms ship sentenced to 20 years in jail', Haaretz.com, August 8, 2009

39 'Arafat fires official over arms ship,' CNN.com, January 29, 2002,

40 'Palestinian prisoners surrender to Israeli troops,' CNN.com, March 15, 2006,

41 'Powell urges Arafat to head off attacks,' CNN.com, January 23, 2002,

42 Operation Noah's Ark, Second Intifada

43 'Talkinto Syria and Iran,' by Joel Himelfarb, The American Spectator, December 5, 2006

44 'Karine A,' WorldLingo.com,

45 'A Tale of Two Assassinations: Mustafa Zibri And Rehavam Ze’evi,' Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2002, pages 13-14, 81, By Mouin Rabbani,

46 'Arafat Backs "Karin A" Mastermind Shoubaki Continued Control of Security Funds,' March 13, 2002, Israeli Embassy, Washington D.C.

47 Biography of Yassir Arafat, Palestinianfacts.org

48 'Israel intercepts ship carrying weapons: military,' Agence France-Presse, abs-cbnnews.com

49 'Sharon accuses Arafat of running terror network,' The Hindu, January 8, 2002, By Kesava Menon

50 'The "Do More" Chorus in Washington,' Middle East Report Online, April 15, 2002 by Charles D. Smith,

51 'Flotilla Flashback and the Politics of Public Perception,' TalkingPointsMemo.com, June 4, 2010, by MSNY

52 'Expressing solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism,' 107TH CONGRESS 2D SESSION, H. RESOLUTION. 392, IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, April 18, 2002

53 'Sharon and Arafat: Two Failed Leaders,' From the January 21, 2002 edition of Al-Ittihad, By Geoffrey Kemp

54 'Weapons: The 9K132 “Grad-P” Rocket,' July 20, 2002, FeralJundi.com

55 'IDF worried Hamas may have Sagger anti-tank missiles,' Haaretz.com, February 21, 2007, By Amos Harel

56 'Excerpt: State's Boucher Calls Arafat's Letter to Powell "Positive," Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State,February 11, 2002

56 'Deep-Seated Entanglements: The Web of Iranian Leadership Can Be Negotiated, Not Unraveled' By David E. Thaler and Alireza Nader, Rand Organization, Spring 2010,

57 'Partisanship in the Guardian’s Middle East Coverage, The role of Brian Whitaker, Middle East editor and reporter for Guardian Unlimited and the Guardian newspaper,' January 23, 2006, by Steven Stotsky,

"Ambassadors, Military Attaches Witness Weapons Seized from Francop". IDF. 2009-11-05. http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/News/today/09/11/0505.htm

Sunday, June 06, 2010

James Bennet of the New York Times Misses the Jew

Will you be as appalled as I was when I noticed that Mr. James Bennet, writing in the New York Times in August 2003, 'Bombing Kills 18 And Hurts Scores on Jerusalem Bus,'---which covered one of the most horrific suicide terrorist bombings in Israel's history---an attack which became known as the "Shmuel HaNavi bus bombing," for the ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhood where it occurred, and the Haredi Jews who comprised 19 out of the 20 fatalities---had omitted a salient fact in the story.

Bennet wrote that the "Israeli police said the bomber was from Hamas," however, he added, this "Palestinian attack" was "claimed by members of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad" factions. In such a context it's odd for Bennet to fail to mention what other reports did note---the evidence the attacker had disguised himself by dressing up as an ultra-orthodox religious Jew.

Over the years, there have been other stories of suicide bombers in Israel who dressed up as Hasidic Jews in order to blow themselves up. On September 5 last year, Bennet's colleague at the New York Times, Clyde Haberman, published an article with a title, 'Man in Orthodox Jew's Garb Sets Off Blast in Jerusalem.'

Bennet's article was datelined August 19, while the attack itself only happened at nine that evening. He faced contradictory claims about the attacker's political allegiances. The police had quickly identified the responsible party based on an ID card found in the rubble---and apparently he was sufficiently known to the authorities they could safely vouchsafe his role in death, if not actually prevent it in life, even with Hamas' denials.

Chris McGreal, writing in The Guardian, 'Palestinian suicide bomber kills 20 and shatters peace process,' came to exactly the opposite conclusion as Bennet.
"Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility in a phone call to Associated Press. The organization had threatened retribution 'like an earthquake' for the Israeli army's killing of Ahmed Sidr, its commander, in Hebron last Thursday...Hamas said it was not involved. 'We are committed to the truce. I don't know who carried out this action,' said Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader. But Israel swiftly called off a plan to hand back four West Bank cities to Palestinian control."
It will only be a short while after this interview before Israel targets Rantisi with assassination.

Bennet gets it right---what's at stake for Palestinians by not courting peace, given the possible repercussions in the David and Goliath power dynamic---best expressed by the Palestinian leader,
"In Gaza City, the Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters, "I declare my strong condemnation of this horrible act that doesn't serve the interests of the Palestinian people." Mr. Abbas said he offered "my real sorrow" to the families of the victims
So why does Bennet accept uncritically a statement and video provided by the "Hamas cell in Hebron," which enthusiastically dishes up the facts of the matter?

If you take at face value a statement made in Arabic such as "we are proud to offer ourselves and our lives and our houses as a present to this religion," would it still be true if were delivered in Hebrew? Do Jews have more to live for?
"Breaking off security talks tonight, Israel froze all contacts with the Palestinian leadership after the bombing. A senior Israeli official said Israel would probably seal Palestinians into their cities and towns again on Wednesday, reimposing tight travel restrictions that had been loosened somewhat as the peace effort took hold in recent weeks."
Sometimes Bennet just sounds like a conduit for Israeli arrogance and bias
''Israel cannot be the perpetual testing ground for peace proposals that the Palestinians fail to implement," said Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon."

"Fireworks burst over Hebron tonight as Palestinians there celebrated the bombing."
I don't buy for a minute the video as legitimate; his pose with gun and Koran; the grandstanding language switch from Arabic into English; abandoning his young family and pregnant wife, while she stays on-message, avowing, "All his life he was saying, 'Oh God, I wish to be a martyr.'"

Aug. 19, 2003 - The attack takes place in the midst of a "cease-fire" declared by Palestinian terror groups and on the eve of a planned transfer of several West Bank cities to Palestinian Authority control.
A Palestinian suicide bomber, dressed as an Orthodox Jew, strikes on a Jerusalem bus.
23 murdered, including several children. More than 100 are injured.

June 11, 2003 - The attack comes a week after the "road map" peace process is launched at a summit in Aqaba, Jordan, with the leaders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United States. A Palestinian suicide bomber, dressed as an Orthodox Jew, blows himself up on a bus. 17 murdered.

Man in Orthodox Jew's Garb Sets Off Blast in Jerusalem By Clyde Haberman

More Jewish terror possible’ & ‘Vile act by terrorist’ army deserter Eden Natan Zada