Archive for assassination

Retired U.S. diplomat tells of Mossad hit jobs in Lebanon, Pakistan

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , on April 4, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

The M24 Israeli issue carbine

The M24 Israeli issue carbine

U.S. envoy writes of Israeli threats
The Nation (U.S.)

March 31, 2009

In the wake of the accusation by Chas Freeman that his nomination to lead the National Intelligence Council was derailed by an “Israeli lobby,” [LINK] a forthcoming memoir by another distinguished ambassador adds stunning new charges to the debate.

The ambassador, John Gunther Dean, writes that over the years he not only came under pressure from pro-Israeli groups and officials in Washington but also was the target of an Israeli-inspired assassination attempt in 1980 in Lebanon, where he had opened links to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

[Thanks to DBS at The French Connection for this one]

Dean’s suspicions that Israeli agents may have also been involved in the mysterious plane crash in 1988 that killed Pakistan’s president, General Mohammed Zia ul Haq, led finally to a decision in Washington to declare him mentally unfit, which forced his resignation from the foreign service after a thirty-year career. After he left public service, he was rehabilitated by the State Department, given a distinguished service medal and eventually encouraged to write his memoirs. Now 82, Dean sees the subsequent positive attention he has received as proof that the insanity charge (he calls it Stalinist) was phony, a supposition later confirmed by a former head of the department’s medical service.

Dean, whose memoir is titled “Danger Zones: A Diplomat’s Fight for America’s Interests,” was American ambassador in Lebanon in August 1980 when a three-car convoy carrying him and his family was attacked near Beirut.

“I was the target of an assassination attempt by terrorists using automatic rifles and antitank weapons that had been made in the United States and shipped to Israel,” he wrote. “Weapons financed and given by the United States to Israel were used in an attempt to kill an American diplomat!” After the event, conspiracy theories abounded in the Middle East about who could have planned the attack, and why. Lebanon was a dangerously factionalized country.

The State Department investigated, Dean said, but he was never told what the conclusion was. He wrote that he “worked the telephone for three weeks” and met only official silence in Washington. By then Dean had learned from weapons experts in the United States and Lebanon that the guns and ammunition used in the attack had been given by Israelis to a Christian militia allied with them.

“I know as surely as I know anything that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was somehow involved in the attack,” Dean wrote, describing how he had been under sharp criticism from Israeli politicians and media for his contacts with Palestinians. “Undoubtedly using a proxy, our ally Israel had tried to kill me.”

Dean’s memoir, to be published in May for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Memoir Series by New Academia Publishing under its Vellum imprint, has been read and approved for publication by the State Department with only very minor changes, none affecting Dean’s major points. Its underlying theme is that American diplomacy should be pursued in American interests, not those of another country, however friendly. A Jew whose family fled the Holocaust, Dean resented what he saw as an assumption, including by some in Congress, that he would promote Israel’s interests in his ambassadorial work.

Dean, a fluent French speaker who began his long diplomatic career opening American missions in newly independent West African nations in the early 1960s, served later in Vietnam (where he described himself as a “loyal dissenter”) and was ambassador in Cambodia (where he carried out the American flag as the Khmer Rouge advanced), Denmark, Lebanon, Thailand (where Chas Freeman was his deputy) and India. He takes credit for averting bloodshed in Laos in the 1970s by negotiating a coalition government shared by communist and noncommunist parties.

He was sometimes a disputatious diplomat not afraid to contradict superiors, and he often took — and still holds — contrarian views. He always believed, for example, that the United States should have attempted to negotiate with the Khmer Rouge rather than let the country be overrun by their brutal horror.

As ambassador in India in the 1980s he supported then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s policy of seeking some kind of neutral coalition in Afghanistan that would keep the American- and Pakistani-armed mujahedeen from establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. For several years after the Soviet withdrawal, India continued to back Najibullah, a thuggish communist security chief whom the retreating Soviet troops left behind. After the mujahedeen moved toward Kabul, Najibullah refused a United Nations offer of safe passage to India. He was slaughtered and left hanging on a lamppost.

It was in the midst of this Soviet endgame in Afghanistan that Dean fell afoul of the State Department for the last time. After the death of General Zia in August 1988, in a plane crash that also killed the American ambassador in Pakistan, Arnold Raphel, Dean was told in New Delhi by high-ranking officials that Mossad was a possible instigator of the accident, in which the plane’s pilot and co-pilot were apparently disabled or otherwise lost control. There was also some suspicion that elements of India’s Research and Analysis Wing, its equivalent of the CIA, may have played a part. India and Israel were alarmed by Pakistan’s work on a nuclear weapon–the “Islamic bomb.”

Dean was so concerned about these reports, and the attempt by the State Department to block a full FBI investigation of the crash in Pakistan, that he decided to return to Washington for direct consultations. Instead of the meetings he was promised, he was told his service in India was over. He was sent into virtual house arrest in Switzerland at a home belonging to the family of his French wife, Martine Duphenieux. Six weeks later, he was allowed to return to New Delhi to pack his belongings and return to Washington, where he resigned.

Suddenly his health record was cleared and his security clearance restored. He was presented with the Distinguished Service Award and received a warm letter of praise from Secretary of State George Shultz. “Years later,” he wrote in his memoir, “I learned who had ordered the bogus diagnosis of mental incapacity against me. It was the same man who had so effusively praised me once I was gone — George Shultz.”

Asked in a telephone conversation last week from his home in Paris why Shultz had done this to him, Dean would say only, “He was forced to.”

The above article can be found at: US Envoy Writes of Israeli Threats

Retired U.S. diplomat tells of Mossad hit jobs in Lebanon, Pakistan

9/11 activist killed in Buffalo plane crash; Israelis suspected onboard

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , , , on February 18, 2009 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

20090218014616495_1Sept. 11 widow, activist killed in Buffalo plane crash
The Associated Press

February 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — Up until the very last moments of her life, Sept. 11 widow Beverly Eckert poured her grief into action — pushing presidents, lawmakers and even herself to do more to make the country safer.

Eckert was on a commuter plane approaching the Buffalo airport Thursday night when it nose-dived into the ground, killing all aboard and one person on the ground.

President Barack Obama, speaking in the White House’s East Room Friday, said Eckert “was an inspiration to me and to so many others, and I pray that her family finds peace and comfort in the hard days ahead.”

Just a week before her death, Eckert met with Obama at the White House as part of a group of 9/11 families and relatives of those killed in the bombing of the USS Cole, discussing how the new administration would handle terror suspects.

Eckert was traveling to Buffalo to celebrate what would have been her late husband Sean Rooney’s 58th birthday.

Former 9/11 Commissioner Tim Roemer said her passing was “a profound loss for the country.”

The grim circumstances of her death were hard to accept, particularly for those who lost loved ones in the 2001 terror attacks.

“The fact that it was a plane crash, it was fire, it was reminiscent of 9/11 that way, that’s just very difficult,” said Carol Ashley, a retired schoolteacher from Long Island whose daughter died at the World Trade Center.

The women met after the 2001 attacks, and became active together on 9/11 family issues. Eckert’s husband — who was also her high school sweetheart — had been at work on the 98th floor of the south tower.

Eckert, 57, cried often when telling others about how her husband called her that morning from the burning building and said he loved her.

All of the women were grieving, but Eckert seemed unable or uninterested in holding back her tears.

She carried that grief to Congress as she advocated for better anti-terror efforts, part of a small group of widows, mothers, and children who played the roles of lobbyists.

She pushed for a 9/11 Commission. She pushed the Bush administration to provide more information to the commission. And when the commission’s work was over, she pushed Congress to adopt their recommendations.

Together, they forced lawmakers in 2004 to pass sweeping reforms of the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

“I did all of this for Sean’s memory, I did it for him,” she said, crying once more. “There is a euphoria in knowing that we reached the top of the hill. … I just wanted Sean to come home from work. Maybe now, someone else’s Sean will get to come home.”

For Eckert, the public role was not easy.

One night after a long day at Congress, she found herself stuck in the New York City, without a connecting train to her home in Stamford, Connecticut.

“We slept in the train station,” she told The Associated Press in 2004. “We had no place else to go. That’s when you look at yourself and say, ‘What am I doing? How can we possibly get this done?'”

As Congress hemmed and hawed on the reform bill, Eckert said she’d sleep there, too, if necessary.

After the law passed, she turned her energies to Habitat for Humanity, helping build homes for low-income families.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, one of Eckert’s allies in Congress, called her “one of the most wonderful people I have ever known.”

The above article can be found at: http://www.abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=6870225
Also note the following article, published on the same day:


50 killed in NY plane crash; 2 Israelis suspected onboard
Ynet (Israel), The Associated Press

February 13, 2009

Foreign Ministry inquires on whereabouts of two Israeli nationals suspected to have been on flight that crashed in Buffalo, leaving all passengers dead. Continental Airlines says no knowledge of Israelis aboard flight

Foreign Ministry sources following the plane crash in Buffalo, New York, which left 50 people dead, expressed concerns on Friday for the lives of two Israeli citizens who may have been onboard the aircraft.

The concerns arose after two families contacted the ministry after being unable to contact their loved ones.

The Israeli Consulate in New York is also involved in an effort to inquire for more details on the victims of the crash.

A Continental Airlines spokesperson said, “At this point, we have no knowledge of any Israelis onboard the plane.” However the Foreign Ministry stated that the airline had contacted the two Israelis’ families.

Continental Connection Flight 3407 flying from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey headed for Buffalo Niagara International Airport crashed into a house while coming in to land Thursday night.

The above article can be found at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3671312,00.html

9/11 activist killed in Buffalo plane crash; Israelis suspected onboard

Khalid Abdel Nasser

Posted in Media Watch with tags , , on September 14, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Khalid Abdel Nasser خالد عبد الناصر, eldest son of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, accused in 1988 of being part of a secret leftist organization, Egypt Revolution, a Nasserist group that violently opposed the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The Egyptian state sought the death penalty in a case which accused Nasser’s son of trying to overthrow the government and involvement in assassinations of Israeli diplomats (Mossad) and bombings. The case eventually became a test of strength between the judiciary and the executive when judges threw out much of the case, accusing police and prosecutors of collusion in torturing the defendants.

Egypt Puts Nasser Kin and 17 Others on Trial

By ALAN COWELL, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: November 2, 1988

LEAD: To the chanting of anti-Israeli slogans, 20 Egyptians, including members of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s family, went on trial here today on charges of assassinating Israeli diplomats, wounding others and attacking United States Embassy officials.

To the chanting of anti-Israeli slogans, 20 Egyptians, including members of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s family, went on trial here today on charges of assassinating Israeli diplomats, wounding others and attacking United States Embassy officials.

The hearings started without the presence of Khaled Abdel Nasser, one of Nasser’s sons, who is in exile in Yugoslavia and who is accused of helping finance the group, called Egypt’s Revolution. A cousin of President Nasser, Gamal Shawki Abdel Nasser, accused of belonging to the group, is also believed to be in exile.

State prosecutors accuse the organization of seeking both the overthrow of the Cairo Government and the destruction of Egypt’s peace with Israel. The prosecutors have demanded the death sentence for 11 of the accused, including Khaled Nasser, and lesser penalties for nine others, including Gamal Shawki Abdel Nasser.

The indictment of the son of a national hero and emblem of Arab nationalism has stirred deep passions among opposition groups.

Critics of the Government have questioned why such a figure should be treated as a criminal for purported involvement in attacks on Israelis when Israeli soldiers are killing Palestinians in a 10-month uprising.

The indictment has also renewed opposition criticism of the 1979 treaty that made Egypt the only Arab country to have made peace with Israel.

The hearings started with the accused leader of Egypt’s Revolution, Mahmoud Nureddin Soliman, holding an impromptu discussion from a steel cage in the courtroom.

The 17 defendants – both Nasser family members and a third person were absent – were held in steel cages, one of them containing only Ahmed Nureddin, an accused conspirator said to have denounced the others to the American Embassy in 1987.

Mahmoud Nureddin Soliman, a 47-year-old former intelligence officer and diplomat, reaffirmed the group’s opposition to the peace accord.

He said the group had acted only against agents of the American Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s secret service, Mossad, and denied the charges against Nasser’s son.

They are accused of attacking and slightly wounding two American Embassy staff members, Dennis Williams and John Hucke, in May 1987 and of killing two Israelis, Albert Atraghji in August 1985 and Etti Tal-or in March 1986. They are also accused of wounding a third Israeli, Zvi Kadar, in 1984.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

Correction: November 3, 1988, Thursday, Late City Final Edition

A headline in some editions yesterday about a trial arising from attacks on Israeli and American diplomats in Egypt misstated the number of defendants. In addition to two relatives of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser, 18 people are charged.

Khalid Abdel Nasser