Jan. 23rd, 2015 03:04 am

Saudi Arabia's new king funded al-Qaeda in the 1990s and has told us all the problems in the Middle East would go away if we'd kill all the Jews. Expect less cooperation.

Edit: this may become a moot issue since the guy is 79 years old.

A 1995 State Department cable details an attempt by Marc Rich's Israeli friends to get his international arrest warrants revoked. The way that it would work is that Rich would make a large bribe *ahem* investment with the PLO, and the US State Department would declare Rich to be too important to the Arab-Israeli peace process to arrest. Questions that this raises include: Why would the Americans consider this to be a beneficial arrangement? What would the Israelis get from it besides fucked?

Rich's case was promoted by two people. One of them was a US intelligence asset (which you can tell because the name is still classified) who represented the Israeli government (which you can tell because the proposal was forwarded as being from the GOI). It was this spook who raised the issue during an August 29, 1995 meeting with Dennis Ross and Martin Indy. Mr. Spooky also "approached Rich to take the lead in promoting an 'economic solution'" of "promoting industrial zones in the West Bank and Gaza". State was expected to declare Rich persona est grata because Bill Clinton had made general statements about promoting economic development in the West Bank and Gaza.

The second of Mark Rich's supporters was his lawyer Isaac Herzog, who is the current leader of the Israeli Labour Party. Interesting. From what I can tell, Herzog was not in government at this time and was still a lawyer in private practice.

For some baseless speculation as to Mr. Spooky's possible identity, I will note that "Shimon Peres" fits in the blank space for his name, Peres was Israel's Foreign Affairs minister at the time, and his son Chemi Peres runs a large investment firm that would have an interest in finding new sources of money. Another name that fits is Daniel Yatom who was between jobs at the time, previously head of the Israeli army central command and soon to be head of Mossad. There are certainly many more Israelis who I haven't heard of whose names would fit.

For some fun reading, Deep Capture connects Marc Rich to the Genovese mafia.

State Department cable 02HARARE786 of 2002-03-26 opens by discussing a meeting with Zimbabwe MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube who mentioned a "Canadian company at the center of the alleged assassination plot" against Robert Mugabe. It gets to be an interesting story:

Ncube has been charged with treason along with MDC leader confidential confidential

Mr. Confidential Confidential appears in hindsight to have been Morgan Tsvangirai. The company, Dickens and Madson, approached the MDC with an offer to spy on the US and Canada for the MDC and call it lobbying, claiming to want in return only a small sum of money to meet a legal requirement. The director of this "Canadian" company was none other than Ari ben Menashe, an Israeli agent who gained a high profile by speaking on the Iran-Contra affair. The US ambassador advised Ncube that the MDC could avoid the future risk of doing business with unreputable persons by informing the US of everyone they choose to associate with. Heh.

Norm Dixon of Green Left Weekly claimed that the assassination plot was a con job arranged by Mugabe to discredit Morgan Tsvangirai. Dickens and Madsen recorded video of a meeting between ben Menashe and Tsvangirai in which they discussed plans to 'eliminate' Mugabe, and then released the video. They may have been working for Mugabe all along. The event is not currently mentioned on Wikipedia's biography of Tsvangirai. There's a likelihood that ben Menashe was freelancing by 2002.

News item: Israel accuses Syria of using chemical weapons. Quote:

American intelligence agencies had yet to uncover convincing evidence that an attack on March 19, and smaller subsequent attacks, used sarin gas ... General Brun’s statements were the most definitive to date by an Israeli official regarding evidence of possible chemical weapons attacks on March 19 near Aleppo, Syria, and Damascus, the capital. Another military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the evidence had been presented to the Obama administration but that it had not fully accepted the analysis.

What happened on March 19?

A Reuters photographer said victims he had visited in Aleppo hospitals were suffering breathing problems and that people had said they could smell chlorine after the attack ... He quoted victims at the University of Aleppo hospital and the al-Rajaa hospital as saying people were dying in the streets and in their houses

According to Google Earth, both hospitals are in the Syrian-controlled part of Aleppo, a divided city. This means the victims likely came from the Syrian-controlled part of Aleppo, meaning that the Syrian-controlled zone was the target of the attack. This naturally means that the attack came from the other side.

So let's imagine some possibilities for why the Israelis are coming with this Colin Powell-quality information:

1. They have better intel than me.

We always have to consider this possibility.

If the Israeli report is false, this leaves us with other possibilities:

2. They really, really want to get rid of Assad

In this scenario, Israel's leaders gave the order that toppling the Assad regime would be their strategic objective and they haven't yet noticed that the alternative is worse. It's a simple case of wartime deception to get an ally to accomplish their objective for them.

3. They're following American orders

In this scenario, it is elements in the US government that want to remove Assad while Israel's leadership still thinks the Americans are on their side and will do whatever the Americans tell them to. The Americans tell them to launder this information and send it to the rest of the American leadership that is not yet on board with the plan. It's a complicated case of wartime deception, but not unprecedented. I remember hearing rumours of Rumsfeld planting stories about Iraq in the English and Canadian press so that the planted information would eventually reach politicians who were not yet in favour of the war, to get around a law against propagandizing the US public.

That's a short list of scenarios but it's all I can think of at the moment.

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