Sunday, 14 February 2016

Russia's bad rap

Праведник спасается от беды, а вместо него попадает в нее нечестивый (Притчи 11:8)[1]

‘Susannah’ was the codename given to an ill-fated ‘false flag’ intelligence operation which took place in Egypt in July 1954. A team of agents provocateurs made up of locally-born Jews and Israeli nationals was assigned the task of planting bombs in Egyptian, US and British-owned cultural centres such as cinemas and libraries. While the danger to civilians was minimised (by ensuring the explosives detonated after the target premises had closed), the operational objective – to inflict damage on Cairo’s relations with Washington and London by creating a climate of violence and instability - was nonetheless malevolent and disreputable. Exposed by a double agent, several suspects were rounded up; two committed suicide in custody, two were executed, others received lengthy prison sentences. The plot caused significant political turmoil in Jerusalem, manifested by the resignation of Defence Minister Pinhas Lavon in February 1955, though official denials of responsibility continued for decades afterwards. Only in March 2005 were the surviving members of the spy ring finally accorded state recognition for their efforts, in a ceremony conducted by the now disgraced Israeli president, Moshe Katsav.[2]

Below are excerpts from the Wikipedia article on the ‘Hindawi affair’:

“On the morning of 17 April 1986, at Heathrow Airport in London, Israeli security guards working for El Al airlines found 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb) of Semtex explosives in the bag of Anne-Marie Murphy, a five-month pregnant Irishwoman attempting to fly on a flight with 375 fellow passengers to Tel Aviv. In addition, a functioning calculator in the bag was found to be a timed triggering device. She claimed to be unaware of the contents, and that she had been given the bag by her fiancé, Nezar Hindawi, a Jordanian. Murphy maintained that Hindawi had sent her on the flight for the purpose of meeting his parents before marriage. A manhunt ensued, resulting in Hindawi's arrest the following day after he surrendered to police. Hindawi was found guilty by a British court in the Old Bailey and received 45 years imprisonment, believed to be the longest determinate, or fixed, criminal sentence in British history.
During the trial [in October 1986] Hindawi retracted his confession and claimed that he was the victim of a conspiracy, probably by Israeli agents. He claimed that the police forced him to sign the statements attributed to him unread, threatened to hand him over to Mossad and told him that his parents were also arrested in London.
In attempting to construct a credible defence for his client, Hindawi's legal counsel proposed an alternative interpretation of events during the trial, suggesting that Hindawi was being manipulated by Israeli intelligence, which wished to damage and embarrass the Syrian government. The jury was unconvinced by this version of events, and subsequent appeal judges have dismissed such interpretations as entirely lacking in evidence.

After the court found Hindawi guilty, the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher broke off diplomatic relations with Syria. Following this the United States and Canada recalled their ambassadors from Syria.”

Until it was tampered with in September 2013, the section headed ‘Allegations of Mossad involvement’ read as follows:

“On 10 November 1986, the French prime minister Jacques Chirac said in interview with the Washington Times, that German chancellor Kohl and foreign minister Genscher both believed that "the Hindawi plot was a provocation designed to embarrass Syria and destabilize the Assad regime ... 'by' ... people probably connected to Israeli Mossad". Chirac added that he tended to believe it himself.[3]

In his interview with Time magazine on 20 October 1986, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad alleged that the Israeli intelligence agency planned the Hindawi operation.

Patrick Seale[4] writes that the Hindawi family (from the Jordanian village of Baqura) had a history of connection to Mossad. Hindawi's father was a cook for the Jordanian embassy in London, he was revealed by Jordanians as a Mossad agent, tried in absentia in Jordan, sentenced to death, but escaped his sentence by staying in Britain. Jordanian sources revealed to Seale that Hindawi himself worked for money for several foreign intelligence services, including Mossad.

According to Seale, sources in Syrian intelligence told him that they "had fallen into Israeli trap" and were penetrated and manipulated by Mossad to smear Syria with terrorism and isolate it internationally. Colonel Mufid Akkur, whom Hindawi named in court, was arrested in Damascus on suspicion of working for Israel.[5]

Speculation of Mossad involvement is however contradicted by considerable evidence of Syrian sponsorship, including Hindawi's statements on interrogation, correspondence intercepted by the authorities after his arrest, the testimony of other captured terrorists, and the support provided by Syrian Arab Airlines. The Syrian government's claim that the Mossad replaced originally innocent luggage with the bomb is refuted by the discovery of hair belonging to Hindawi trapped under the tape used to attach the explosive to the bag.”[6]

In the December 1986 edition of ‘Washington Report on Middle East Affairs’, in an article entitled ‘Hafez Al-Assad—Too Clever By Half’, Richard H. Curtiss asked:

“El Al Flight: What Were Syria's Motives?

There are a few Americans, many of whom have telephoned this publication in the past two weeks, who think Assad got a bad rap when a British court convicted Nezar Hindawi of trying to blow up an El Al airplane between London and Tel Aviv. The British Government said Hindawi was linked by intercepted messages to the chief of Syria's air force intelligence and the Syrian Ambassador in London. The evidence introduced in court, these skeptics point out, was a suitcase containing explosives and a timing device handed over to the British by an Israeli security agent. Mossad is capable of switching suitcases and, for that matter, of faking telephone calls and coded messages to and from Syria's London embassy that could be intercepted by the British, the skeptics note. They ask what possible benefit there would be to the Syrian government in blowing up 375 innocent civilians—200 of them US citizens—in mid-air, an action that would irretrievably disgrace Syria if it were caught, and which it therefore could never admit to, even if it were not.
The benefit, these skeptics say, is only to Israel, which is deeply concerned about Syrian ground-to-air and ground-to-ground missiles, and looking for western backing for an attack against them.”

All of which surely begs the question: if the 'Lavon affair' (as it became known), in conjunction with just a fraction of Mossad’s myriad other clandestine activities, had been common knowledge in Britain in 1986, isn’t it reasonable to assume that Nezar Hindawi’s defence case would have been taken more seriously?

[1] The righteous person is rescued from trouble, and it falls on the wicked instead (Proverbs 11:8)
[2] Convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 7 years in prison for rape, sexual harassment, committing an indecent act while using force, harassing a witness and obstruction of justice.
[3] Seale: ‘Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East’, 1993 p.249
[4] Patrick Abram Seale, b. May 1930, d. April 2014. Respected Belfast-born British journalist and author of ‘Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East’; ‘Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire’; and ‘The Struggle for Arab Independence: Riad el-Solh and the Makers of the Modern Middle East’.
[5] Seale 1993 pp.250-252
[6] "Terrorism: The Syrian Connection" by Daniel Pipes, originally published in The National Interest, Spring 1989

1 comment:

  1. An extended critique of Sir Robert Owen's report on the murder of Alexander Litvinenko follows if you click on 'Older Post' here and at the foot of subsequent pages.