US, British intelligence agencies spied on Israelis and Palestinians, files show

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign AffairsDocuments accessed by a French newspaper show that American and British intelligence agencies worked together to spy on diplomats, academic researchers and defense contractors in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Last year, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel and the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported that the United States National Security Agency spied on senior Israeli politicians throughout the last decade, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his successor, Benjamin Netanyahu. Now French daily Le Monde has alleged that the NSA teamed up with its British equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters to spy on Israeli foreign service officials and diplomats, academic researchers and defense contractors. The newspaper also alleged that British and American spies targeted Palestinian government officials.

According to Le Monde, the information came from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former employee of the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency, who is currently living in Russia. Snowden defected there in June 2013, after initially fleeing to Hong Kong with millions of stolen US government documents in his possession. In a leading article on Wednesday, the newspaper claimed that British and American spy agencies have systematically targeted senior officials in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. Several Israeli foreign service officials stationed abroad have also been targeted, said Le Monde, including Israel’s ambassadors to Nigeria and Kenya. But the Anglo-American intelligence alliance has also targeted Palestinian government institutions, including the Office of the Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Senior Palestinian officials that have been spied on include Ahmed Qurei, a former prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, and Ahmad Tibi, a member of the Israeli Knesset who served as an advisor to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the 1990s.

Palestinian diplomats stationed around the world have also been targeted by the NSA and the GCHQ, said Le Monde, in cities such as Paris, Brussels, Lisbon, Islamabad, Pretoria, and Kuala Lumpur. The documents also show that the two intelligence agencies have spied on Israeli defense contractors, including a company named Ophir Optronics, which works in the areas of laser and fiber optic technologies. Finally, the French newspaper said that research centers throughout Israel had been targeted, including scientific laboratories located at the Jerusalem-based Hebrew University.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 08 December 2016 | Permalink

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News you may have missed #632 (Israel edition)

Ari Ben-Menashe

Ari Ben-Menashe

►►What are Mossad ex-chief’s business ties to Uganda? Former director of operations in the Israeli spy agency Mossad, Rafi Eitan, is now a private businessman. Yet he helped organize Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s recent visit to Israel. He is said to have been trying to establish business operations in Uganda and to set up a cattle ranch in the country.
►►Israel FM meets Mossad chief in bid to end row. Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met on Sunday with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, in a bid to end the crisis between the two men, which culminated last week, when Lieberman ordered the foreign ministry to boycott the Mossad, to stop sharing information and to refrain from inviting Mossad officials to discussions and meetings.
►►Canada’s spy watchdog’s in shady deal with Israeli businessman. Arthur Porter, the federally appointed chairman of Canada’s Security and Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), wired $200,000 in personal funds to Ari Ben-Menashe. A former Israeli government employee, Ben-Menashe was charged in the United States with illegally attempting to sell military planes to Iran. He said that he acted on orders from Israel. He then wrote a memoir called Profits of War, filled with accounts of international espionage and conspiracies he says he either participated in or was privy to.

Turf war between Mossad and Israel’s Foreign Ministry worsens

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israel’s foreign affairs minister has ordered his department’s employees to stop cooperating with the Mossad, according to media reports. Minister Avigdor Lieberman, one of Israel’s most hardline nationalist politicians, accuses the country’s covert operations agency of meddling in the tasks of Israel’s diplomatic community, while at the same time refusing to share its intelligence output with foreign affairs officials. According to The Washington Times, which cites the Hebrew-language edition of reputable Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot, Mr. Lieberman’s decision was prompted by the Israeli Prime Minister’s move to entrust the country’s relations with Turkey to a Mossad official. Media reports state that the spy agency’s David Meidan has been dispatched by Benjamin Netanyahu to Turkey, in order to patch up the Jewish state’s anemic relationship with its once close regional ally. This has enraged the foreign affairs ministry’s leadership, which was already upset over salary discrepancies between diplomats and Mossad spies, as well as the latter’s chronic refusal to share intelligence with foreign policy planners. The friction between the Mossad and Israel’s diplomatic community goes back decades, but Lieberman’s controversial ascendance to Foreign Affairs Minister in 2009 intensified the turf war. At the beginning, Lieberman made calculated friendly gestures toward the Mossad, in one instance going as far as appointing a former Mossad official as Israel’s first-ever ambassador to Turkmenistan. But such moves quickly gave way to direct bureaucratic confrontations, which included direct strikebreaking action by Mossad officers, who assumed the duties of Foreign Affairs officials when the latter went on strike demanding better pay and work conditions. Read more of this post

More Arabs want to work for Mossad, says Israeli Foreign Ministry

Ahmed Jamal Daif

Ahmed Jamal Daif

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The unprecedented political changes in the Arab world have generated a flurry of electronic correspondence between young Arabs and the Israeli government, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Israeli officials say that the lifting of Internet restrictions in much of the Arab world has allowed young people to access the Israeli government’s Arabic-language websites and social networking sites. This has facilitated “thousands of messages […] with words of praise, requests for asylum […], and even offers [by young Arabs] to serve in the [Israel Defense Forces] and Mossad”. In a carefully coordinated public relations campaign, the Ministry voluntarily released on Monday some anonymous messages —allegedly from Arabs and Iranians— to Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, which leans politically toward Israel’s center-right Kadima party. In one message, an Iraqi computer technician wrote to request political asylum, adding that Israel is the Middle East’s “only country that respects personal freedom”. In another released message, an Iranian Muslim expressed the will to resettle in Israel, because its population is “the strongest and most cultured in the region”. The story in Yedioth Ahronoth includes comments by the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson, who argues that the flood of electronic correspondence from the Muslim world “is illustrative of the fact that across the Middle East there are people who hold Israel in far higher regard than is presumed”. Hirschson added that some of the electronic messages have come from “from Arab politicians and officials”. Read more of this post

Israel used Facebook to stop European pro-Palestine activists

Facebook

Facebook

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israeli intelligence services managed to stop dozens of European pro-Palestine activists from flying to Israel, by gathering open-source intelligence about them on social media sites, such as Facebook. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, intelligence gathered on Facebook formed the basis of a blacklist containing over 300 names of European activists, who had signed up on an open-access Facebook page of a group planning nonviolent actions in Israel this summer. Israeli intelligence agencies forwarded the names on the lists to European airline carriers, asking them not to allow the activists onboard their flights, as they were not going to be allowed into the country. This action prompted airline carriers to prevent over 200 activists from boarding scheduled flights to Israel. Israeli security officers detained over 310 other activists, who arrived in Israel on several European flights last week. Of those, almost 70 were denied entry to the country, while more detentions are expected to take place later this week, according to Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad. Read more of this post

Mystery ‘spy devices’ found in Lebanon mountains

Surveillance device

Spy device

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A statement issued by the Lebanese armed forces last week details the discovery of at least two mysterious spy devices located in mountain ranges around the Lebanese capital Beirut. The discovery, which was apparently made early last week, concerns two allegedly Israeli-made electronic devices hidden under two fake boulders. According to the statement, the two devices were found carefully concealed in the mountain of Sannine, directly north of Beirut, and Barouk, which is adjacent to the city’s southern suburbs. There were also reports last Wednesday of a loud explosion in Sidon, a port in southern Lebanon, which some news media said was an operation by unknown assailants to destroy a third surveillance device before it was discovered by the Lebanese security forces. The two devices captured by the Lebanese forces consist of surveillance cameras, electronic transmitters, as well as satellite signal reception systems. One of them was even connected to a third fake boulder, containing long-lasting batteries, which powered the device. Read more of this post

Strike causes rift in Israeli diplomat-spy relations

Mossad seal

Mossad seal

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Members of Israel’s striking diplomatic community say they will refuse cooperation with Israeli spies, after the latter stepped in to take over some of the striking diplomats’ tasks. The ongoing strike by the Diplomatic Association of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to eliminate the notable income disparity between Israeli diplomats and civil servants in the country’s Ministry of Defense, who make almost double than their diplomatic colleagues. The impact of the strike on Israel’s worldwide diplomatic activity has been substantial, and has included cancellations of some state-level visits. One such visit is a trip by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Greece, which the Israeli leader is keen on undertaking, despite the strike. Read more of this post