Tag Archives: Mossad

Israel’s Mossad takes hunt for foreign spies and informants online

JERUSALEM: It is already common for intelligence agencies to recruit their officers online, but Israel’s Mossad has gone one further by touting for local agents and informants too. 

Israel, which has full diplomatic ties with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, lacks embassies elsewhere in the Middle East that would-be informants could turn to, leaving it in need of other local recruitment channels.

“All are welcome, regardless of religion, nationality or occupation, to contact our organisation — Mossad — to work for us or to be involved in activities which could bring great personal benefit,” reads the new “Contact us” section of the Mossad website, also available in Arabic, Farsi, French or Russian.

“Rest assured that total discretion and confidentiality is of the utmost priority and is the basis of our connection.”

Even in Egypt and Jordan, Israel’s embassies are under heavy scrutiny and, apparently heeding the risk that online offers of information or help may also be far from secure, Mossad adds:

“We suggest you consider whether the computer you are using and your location is secure enough. It would be safer to fill in the form using means that are not directly connected to you.”

The glossy Mossad website went up a decade ago to boost recruitment for officers and analysts amid increasingly fierce competition from Israel’s booming private high-tech sector. In one promotional video, a couple are shown racing from shadowy spy missions to family time at home.

Gad Shimron, a former Mossad field officer who now writes on intelligence and military affairs, said the new approach “seems to be an effort by the Mossad to attract the maximum number of interested parties”. 

“If some of them prove to be valuable sources of information or help, even if 90% get written off as useless, that could still be worthwhile.” — Reuters

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Israeli spy agency Mossad ‘Wiretapped John Kerry’s Phone During Peace Talks’

Intelligence sources claim Mossad intercepted John Kerry’s calls during peace talks earlier this year.

Israel wiretapped US Foreign Secretary John Kerry’s phone while he was brokering peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and the Jewish state, intelligence sources have claimed.

Israeli intelligence agencies intercepted Kerry’s phone calls and listened to his conversations via satellite while he was attempting to reach a peace deal between Israel and Palestine earlier this year, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

The Israeli government then used the information obtained from Kerry’s conversations in its negotiations. The US-led peace talks fell apart at the end of April.

The US State Department and Israel both declined Der Spiegel‘s request for comment on the matter.

Kerry used encrypted phone lines, but also discussed issues with Israel, Palestine and the Arab states on normal phones, allowing Israeli spies to intercept his unsecured conversations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting in Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting in Jerusalem.(Reuters)
In addition to Israel’s intelligence agencies, at least one other spy service monitored Kerry’s calls, Der Spiegel reported.

The revelations could further fracture US-Israeli relations, which are already strained following Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has killed almost 200 Palestinians since the latest ceasefire broke down.

UK Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said that the conflict in Gaza has become “intolerable”.

Some 1,740 Palestinians have died since Israel launched its military incursion “Operation Protective Edge” at the start of July. An estimated 65 Israelis have been killed.

On Sunday, it was reported that at least 10 people and a further 30 were injured when a school run by the United Nations in Rafah, southern Gaza was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

Robert Turner, director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said the attack could not have been an accident because the agency informs the Israeli Defence Force of all its sites and shelters daily.

At least six UN shelters have been hit by Israeli airstrikes since the conflict began, killing several people including many children.

Israeli spy allegedly infiltrated Hezbollah and passed information on terrorist group to Mossad

Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh on Feb. 13, 2008. Israel is also believed to have been involved in the assassination of Mughniyeh, who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008.

BEIRUT – An agent of Israel’s Mossad spy agency infiltrated the upper echelons of Hezbollah’s security apparatus and leaked information about the Lebanese-Shiite group for several years before being discovered and arrested recently, according to security officials and people in Lebanon familiar with the incident.

The espionage activities of the man, identified as Mohammed Shawraba, would represent one of the most significant security breaches of the highly secretive organization, which is a mortal enemy of Israel and classified as a terrorist organization by the United States.

The incident, which could not be independently verified, has been widely reported in the Lebanese and Arabic media as having helped Israel thwart numerous Hezbollah operations.

Hezbollah refuses to deny or confirm the reports that say Mr. Shawraba had fed the Mossad with intelligence on the Lebanese group’s foreign-operations unit, which he headed since 2008.

“Hezbollah uncovered and arrested Mohammed Shawraba, and they consider his arrest a significant achievement despite the blows that his activities dealt to their operations,” said one official familiar with the incident.

Mr. Shawraba was apprehended with assistance from Iranian intelligence, said the official, who added Hezbollah had become increasingly suspicious of a mole within its highest ranks. Iran, also an enemy of Israel, is the Shiite group’s foremost ally.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a devastating 34-day war in 2006, and they also have spent years countering each other through acts of espionage. That has involved activities such as Israel planting listening devices on Hezbollah’s telecommunication networks, including one that exploded and killed a member of the group in September who was attempting to dismantle it, the group said.

Israel is also believed to have been involved in the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah operative who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008.

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty ImagesA wrecked car sits at the site of a car bomb attack in Damascus late Feb.12, 2008 that killed one of Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah’s top commanders, Imad Mughnieh.

The Bulgarian government formally accused Hezbollah of bombing a bus carrying Israeli tourists two years ago in the resort city of Burgas. Hezbollah denies involvement in the attack, which killed six people.

Citing an unnamed security source, the Lebanese English-language Daily Star reported Mr. Shawraba was being tried in a Hezbollah court. He was arrested with four other people who worked for him in the foreign-operations unit, which works against Israeli interests in foreign countries.

Hezbollah had become suspicious of him after five attempted retaliations against Israel over the Mughniyeh killing had failed, the newspaper said.

Lebanon’s Elnashranews website also reported Mr. Shawraba, who is believed to come from a village in southern Lebanon, once even headed the security detail for Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah’s response is basically an admission that this happened

Hilal Khashan, professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, said Hezbollah appears to have been caught off-guard by the flurry of news reports about Mr. Shawraba. Its response indicates it wants to reassure supporters the problem has been resolved, he said.

“Hezbollah’s response to this is very deliberate, and it’s a response that was certainly decided on by the senior leaders, even Hassan Nasrallah himself,” he said.

“The public is now entirely aware of this, and Hezbollah’s response is basically an admission that this happened.”

Mark Heller, a research associate at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, expressed doubt Hezbollah would retaliate over the issue of an Israeli agent in its organization. The group is too focused on its military operations in Syria, which involve fighting the armed opposition to the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

“I doubt that at this point they’re interested in an escalation with Israel,” he said.

Hezbollah has previously said publicly it has been infiltrated by foreign intelligence agencies. In 2011, Mr. Nasrallah announced that two Hezbollah members had confessed to working as agents for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Israel’s legendary Mossad steps out of the shadows in recruitment drive

stuxnet.jpg

There was a time when the recruiting methods of the Mossad were as secretive as the spy work of Israel’s world-famous intelligence agency itself, but times have changed.

This week, the legendary agency stepped out from the shadows and launched a glossy, corporate-style promotional video in which agents give their perspective on working at one of the world’s top spy outfits, their motivations for joining, and a flavor of what the challenges are.

 

It’s a slick presentation, not dissimilar to other on-line spy agency recruitment campaigns of recent years launched by the likes of America’s CIA, Britain’s MI5, or Canada’s CSIS.

“My work isn’t exactly 9 to 5,” a male agent says, while a female agent confesses, “It’s not really child’s play. I never imagined this is what I’d do with my life.”

“My friend’s think I work in marketing,” the man admits. Both state, “I’ve learned things about myself that I never knew.” The video ends with the female agent saying, “This is my world; my calling. Maybe it’s yours as well?”

“My work isn’t exactly 9 to 5.” – Israeli spy in ad for the Mossad

The recruitment video sits on the homepage of the Mossad’s website which is presented in both English and Hebrew.

The ‘Careers’ section leads anyone thinking of applying for consideration as a Mossad agent to fill in an acceptance test, as well as being asked to give a significant amount of information about themselves.

“We must continue recruiting the best minds in the country so that we can deal with the big threats against the State of Israel at this time,” Tamir Pardo, the current director of the Mossad, told the Jerusalem Post.

“The human capital and the quality of the Mossad are the secrets to the organization’s success. The Mossad will continue to operate in every place and time in order to safeguard the State of Israel’s security.”

Traditionally, the Mossad has recruited agents following mandatory Israeli army service, a period during which military recruits have been through a range of experiences that might indicate their suitability for a role in intelligence.

Most 18-year-old Israelis, male and female, are conscripted into the military for three and two year periods respectively. Now though, the Mossad, well aware of the power of social media and video images, has embarked on a new recruitment drive, designed to appeal to a new generation of candidates.

The Mossad was created in 1949, within a year of the establishment of the modern State of Israel. Its activities have become the stuff of legend, pulling off many famous operations in all corners of the globe, and many more that, due to the nature of the work, will never be known. Some of the most notable operations include:

  • 1960 – The Mossad tracked notorious Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichman to Buenos Aires in Argentina. In an audacious operation, he was kidnapped and brought to Israel to stand trial. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity and in 1961 became the first and only person in Israel history on whom the death sentence was carried out.
  • 1965 – Latvian Nazi Herbert Cukurs, known as “The Butcher of Riga” and responsible for a host of massacres during World War II including the infamous 1941 torching of the Gogol Synagogue in Riga, was assassinated by a Mossad hit squad in Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • 1972 – The PLO’s assassination of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics triggered “Wrath of God,” one of the Mossad’s longest-running and storied operations. Led by  legendary agent Mike Harari, who died earlier this week at the age of 87, the Mossad spent two decades hunting down the killers, who died in a variety of different circumstances in operations in London, Paris, Rome, Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon. In one tragic case in Norway in 1973, the Mossad assassinated the wrong man, killing innocent waiter Ahmed Bouchiki, who they had mistakenly thought was leading Black September figure, Ali Hassan Salameh.
  • 1976 – It was the Mossad that provided the intelligence required by an Israel Defense Forces special commando unit to put together the famous raid on Entebbe airport, Uganda, where 106 passengers were being held hostage by PLO hijackers given safe haven by Ugandan President Idi Amin. All but four passengers were freed in an extraordinary operation, but the leader of the raid, Yoni Netanyahu, brother of current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was killed.
  • 1997 – An operation in Jordan to poison Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal backfired when the agents involved were caught. In order to secure their release, Israel had to provide an antidote which saved Meshaal’s life.
  • 2004 – Leading Hamas figure Izz Eldine Subhi Sheik Khalil died in Damascus when his car exploded. It has long been assumed Mossad was behind the operation.
  • 2008 – Top Hezbollah leader Imad Fayez Mughniyeh was killed instantly in Beirut when a car he was passing exploded. Once again, suspicion centered on the Mossad.
  • 2010 – Hamas military wing leader Mahmoud al Mabhookh was killed in his hotel room in Dubai. Authorities publicized security camera images of some 26 individuals they said were Mossad agents wanted in connection with the killing. None was ever caught.
  • 2010 – Mossad involvement has long been suspected in the Stuxnet computer worm that struck Iran’s nuclear weapons program, causing massive damage and setting the Islamic republic and sworn enemy of Israel’s nuclear enrichment program back years.

The shadowy world of spying is occupied by agents of virtually every nation state. Last year, U.S. intelligence agencies were deeply embarrassed by revelations they had listened in to the private phone calls of world leaders, many of them close allies. It is assumed they include Israel.

“I think it is almost a universal assumption that everyone tries to spy on everyone,” Mark Heller, of Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies told FoxNews.com at the time. “Since the U.S. – by virtue of its resources, if nothing else – is the most capable, then it is probably best to assume that it does [now] or has done in the past to Israel what it has apparently done to its other friends and allies.”

“It’s almost a given,” Heller added. “The whole story reminds me of the scene from Casablanca when the chief of police is shocked to find out that there is gambling going on in the casino.”

Former Cuba Leader Fidel Castro Says ‘Israel and US Fathered Isis’

Fidel Castro
Cuba’s President Fidel Castro addresses the audience during a political rally in Cardenas.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has claimed that Israel and the United States are behind the creation of the Isis (now known as the Islamic State) terror group, according to local media reports.

In a piece written for official Cuban state media, Castro accuses Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, and US Senator John McCain of conspiring to create the IS. His comments were translated into English by Russia Today.

In the article, Castro writes that John McCain is Israel’s “most unconditional ally” and has been in cahoots with Mossad to create IS.

The former Cuban leader alleges that the US Senator, “together with [Mossad, conspired] in the creation of the Islamic State, which today controls a considerable and vital portion of Iraq and reportedly one-third of Syria as well.”

Castro then turns to Nato and compares the alliances leaders to that of Nazi Germany’s SS corps.

“Many people are astonished when they hear the statements made by some European spokesmen for Nato when they speak with the style and face of the Nazi SS,” he writes.

“Adolf Hitler’s greed-based empire went down in history with no more glory than the encouragement provided to Nato’s aggressive and bourgeois governments, which makes them the laughing stock of Europe and the world.”

Responding to Castro’s comments, a western diplomat said “no-one believes anymore that Fidel has any real influence over day-to-day policy. But that doesn’t mean he is never consulted on big questions or that when he comes out it isn’t important.”

Castro, 88, passed the baton of power to his younger brother Raul in 2006 as his health continued to deteriorate. He is a fierce critic of Israel and last month compared their military operation in Gaza to a “disgusting form of fascism.”

Israel, Australia Sign Visa Deal

Uri Ariel and Australian Ambassador Dave Sharm

Apparently past their concern over the Ben Zygier affair, Australia inked a deal to allow more Israelis into the country.

 

More Israelis will be able to go to Australia to visit or work, after a new agreement between the two countries was signed Wednesday. Israel’s ambassador in Australia signed the deal with government officials there to allow up to 500 Israelis to enter the country annually on work/tourism visas.

 

The visas will be granted to individuals 18-30 without children. A similar number of Australians will be able to enter Israel annually under the same type of visa.

Australia’s laws on who can enter the country are among the toughest in the world, as the government has sought to ensure that the country is not overly inundated with illegal immigrants. It’s also a favorite location for Israelis taking a year off after the army, and many who would like to visit are unable to because they cannot get the longer-term visa required for that kind of trip.

Australians have also been loathe to allow more Israelis into the country because of the proliferation of mall kiosks where young Israelis sell Dead Sea products, mobile phone cases, and the like.

In addition, the Australian government has been much tougher on Israeli visitors since the the report several years ago that Ben Zygier, allegedly an Israeli Mossad agent, died under “suspicious circumstances” after allegedly providing Australian officials, as well as others – possibly Iran – with information about Mossad operations.

 

Zygier, a dual citizen of Australia and Israel, committed suicide in an Israeli prison after his arrest for espionage-related charges that have never been fully revealed.

Zygier was held in a high-security prison under an alias. Despite near-constant supervision, he managed to kill himself in late 2010. The affair was not revealed until 2013, and aroused considerable controversy when it went public.

There have been various rumors about Zygier’s alleged crimes. Among other things, the former Mossad agent is said to have revealed information toAustralia’s security services, to have leaked sensitive information to Hezbollah, to have unwittingly sabotaged a top-secret mission, and to have threatened to go public with Israel’s use of foreign passports for Mossad agents.

Intelligence Minister: CIA, Mossad, MI6 Seeking to Target, Sabotage Iran’s N., Defense Programs

Intelligence Minister: CIA, Mossad, MI6 Seeking to Target, Sabotage Iran's N., Defense Programs

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alawi warned that foreign spy agencies, including the CIA, Mossad and MI6, are seeking to target and carry out sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear and defense programs, yet he stressed that his forces know how to fool the foreign spies.

“Some (spying) services like Mossad, the MI6 and the CIA and the countries which are enemies of Iran are naturally in pursuit of negative objectives in the Islamic Republic or sometimes they act directly and leave negative effects in political, economic and social fields,” Alawi said in a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday afternoon.

“And sometimes they make use of other spying services for proxy jobs or use people’s internet pages,” he added.

“Our nuclear, defense and missile industries and advanced technologies are the arenas in which they seek to gain intelligence and carry out sabotage operations,” Alawi said.

He, meantime, stressed that the Iranian intelligence forces have kept vigilant, identified the hostile spy agencies’ weak and strong points and adopted the necessary actions to manage these spy agencies.

Senior Iranian officials have always reiterated Iran’s intelligence supremacy over the enemies’ moves and espionage operations in the region, saying that the Iranian intelligence forces’ successful operations against CIA and Mossad operatives in recent years prove the superiority of the Iranian side.

In June 2013, a senior Iranian legislator lauded the intelligence ministry for its vigilance and power in foiling enemies’ plots against Iran, and said the ministry has thwarted several Israeli and US plots across the country.

“Numerous events (plotted by the enemies) have happened in the country in the past few years which have been defused due to the desirable performance of the intelligence ministry and other Iranian intelligence and security bodies,” Chairman of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi told FNA.

“The intelligence ministry enjoys a very desirable dominance and control over intelligence issues both in and outside Iran,” he added.

Boroujerdi said that the Iranian intelligence bodies today are to confront Mossad, the CIA and their regional collaborators “and we have succeeded in defusing the operations of the US and Israeli intelligence bodies and showing the intelligence might and power of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the whole world”.

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