Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mossad? Well, I Certainly Hope So.

Here's a story I heard long ago, as a graduate student. A famous historian approaches the archivist at the Public Record Office (that's what they used to call the British National Archives) and asks to see some files about MI5 (or was it MI6?). The scandalized archivist glares at him, and says that MI5 is a fictitious agency, it doesn't really exist and certainly has no documents in the PRO. Ah, says the professor, That's interesting. You see, I've got this document from the American National Archives in Washington, in which the OSS (the predecessor of the CIA) is corresponding with MI5 (or was it MI6?), and I thought I'd like to see the full context from the British perspective, too.

In the meantime the Brits have fessed up that there actually is an MI5 (and also an MI6). If you think we now know all about their escapades, well, I certainly hope not.

Lots of media outlets are all in a tizzy this week about the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh recently in a hotel room in Dubai (Times, Guardian, BBC, NYT). Haaretz is in the same tizzy, with two opposing op-eds this morning. Amir Oren effectively says he know the Mossad did it, and calls for the resignation of Mossad chief Meir Dagan for screwing up the aftermath of the otherwise successful operation. Yossi Melman keeps his cool, and expects no governments will do anything about it that might effect Israel; it's not as if Hamas is real popular.

If you expect to learn anything new about the case here, you're way off. I know nothing more than the rest of you, which means, almost nothing. There seems no way to spin the dead man into a saintly character who gave candy to street urchins in Bombay, and the world is probably a teeny bit better for his departure, no matter who made it happen. If the Mossad doesn't do this sort of thing from time to time, their chief really ought to resign. We're at war, and an enemy has been killed; no civilians were even scratched. Good. If someone else did it, but the Mossad's reputation for lethality has been enhanced because of past cases, even better. In that case, the BBC and Guardian are doing Israel's work for it. Heh.


Fabián said...

Re: using olim names for the spies.

I would have been flattered, actually, had they used mine.


Gavin said...

Well if your Mossad did do it then I agree someone should be fired.... for incompetence. The evidence being touted by the pommy rags suggests strongly that Israel didn't do it, I really can't see your Mossad being so stupid as to use passports that link back to Israel in any way. If they were that dumb then someone is for the chop.

A couple of your Mossad lads were busted here a few years back, trying to get Kiwi passports. Our leftie Labour govt of the time were most put out.

Cheers, Gavin

Anonymous said...

I vote for the Turkish Mafia having done it (h/t comment at the Times) and trying to pass it off as a Mossad action ...
and of course Israel can't call their bluff not wanting to lose more of Mr. Erdogan's love ...


Anonymous said...

It really does seem as if someone wants this pinned on Israel.

It is sloppy and the connection to so many Israelis is quite suspicious.


Anonymous said...

It's fascinating to see the degree of outrage on the part of those who have simply assumed that it must have been a Mossad job.

If it turns out to have been someone else — Palestinian or other Arab actors, the CIA, who knows — do you suppose they'll be making the same hysterical demands for sanctions, UN motions, even invasion, of that guilty party that they now are of Israel? Neither do I.

Sylvia said...

The ones who would handle the British passports of Israeli residents are the British consulates and Embassies in Israelm not the Foreign Ministry. You take your passport to the consulate to register a new baby, a marriage, ask for a visa for a wife if she is not British, etc.
To me, everything points to the British Consulate in Jerusalem and therefore to the Palestinian authority (Fath). They have a lot more reasons than Israel to terminate him.
Furthermore, the only ones who would know all the necessary details pertaining to Mabhouh are the PA - hey, he used to work for them before he turned coat.

Sylvia said...

"UK in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
The official website for the British Consulate General in Jerusalem"

Anonymous said...

isn't it nice to read this in the London Times who seems to have a still derring-do-loving-readership while I found the Telegraph yesterday to do the usual disapproving

"Maybe, as the West becomes increasingly gentle and polite, and pays those monthly direct debits to Amnesty International,

we need the Israelis to remind us

that the world is not made according to our template. Maybe that is why we are drawn towards tales of uncompromising, ruthless derring-do."

Barry Meislin said...

Sylvia, here's one for you.

As for the Mossad, one must shudder at the incompetence, if it is, in fact, Mossad incompetence, at having an entire dozen(!)---(or dozen and a half(!!)---agents photographed and recorded in such a way.

Either Bibi is incorrigible, the Mossad is getting sloppy, or someone is trying rather hard to make Israel and Bibi look very, very bad.

(If the latter, ought one wonder very hard whom that someone might be?....)

P.S. And if it is not the Mossad, ought one wonder who has access to British citizens who are also Israeli citizens?....

Barry Meislin said...

And one ought to shudder at even needing that many people to be in on the effort....

Quite bizarre.

Anonymous said...

I fear that with CCTVs everywhere it will be increasingly hard if not impossible doing anything and not be filmed, at least while being in urban surroundings. Therefore I bet, if it was Mossad, not on their being incompetent but on their having to find new ways to operate and disguise themselves - hide in plain sight.

Currently though I am wondering more and more why there is so much yelling about it while at the same time there seems to be nothing about all the other states which are said to have been duped by the false passports.

Shouldn't there be some elaboration/explanation on that by now?

That makes me guess that the yellers - the Dubai ones? - are into erecting smoke screens for something - increasing financial troubles? - complicity? - elevator sabotage in their monster building?