I’m reading this 1990 book by ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky. There’s a debate about how much of it is true. Much of it has the ring of truth to me.
* They did in Sri Lanka, however. Amy Yaar made the connection,
then tied the country in militarily by supplying it with substantial
equipment, including PT boats for coastal patrol. At the same
time, Yaar and company were supplying the warring Tamils with
anti-PT boat equipment to use in fighting the government forces.
The Israelis also trained elite forces for both sides, without either side knowing about the other, and helped Sri Lanka cheat the World Bank and other investors out of millions of dollars to pay for all the arms they were buying from them.
The Sri Lankan government was worried about unrest among the
farmers — the country has a long history of economic problems —
so it wanted to split them up somewhat by moving them from one
side of the island to the other. But it needed an acceptable reason
to do this. That’s where Amy Yaar came in. He was the one who
dreamed up the great “Mahaweli Project,” a massive engineering
scheme to divert the Mahaweli River from its natural course to dry
areas on the other side of the country. The claim was that this
would double the country’s hydro-electric power and open up
750,000 acres of newly irrigated land. Besides the World Bank,
Sweden, Canada, Japan, Germany, the European Economic
Community, and the United States all invested in the $2.5 billion
From the beginning, it was an overly ambitious project, but the
World Bank and the other investors did not understand that, and
as far as they are concerned, it’s still going on. Originally a 30-year
project, it was suddenly escalated in 1977 when Sri Lanka’s
president, Junius Jayawardene, discovered that with a little help
from the Mossad, it could become most significant.
In order to convince the World Bank especially (with its $250
million commitment) that the project was feasible — and would
also serve as a convenient excuse for moving the farmers from
their land — the Mossad had two Israeli academics, one an
economist from Jerusalem University, the other a professor of
agriculture, write scholarly papers explaining its importance and
its cost. A major Israeli construction company, Solel Bonah, was
given a large contract for part of the job.
Periodically, World Bank representatives would go to Sri Lanka for
spot checks, but the locals had been taught how to fool these
inspectors by taking them on circuitous routes… (67-68)
* It got so that we couldn’t start any conversation without dropping our hooks. When you said hello, you were already planting those hooks. Normally, when recruiting, it is best to act wealthy, but you couldn’t be too specific; then again, you couldn’t be too vague or you might look like a crook.
The course in reality was a big school for scam — a school that
taught people to be con artists for their country. (79)
* These attitudes were engraved in our minds. We were to do what
was good for us and screw everybody else, because they wouldn’t
be helping us. The further to the right you go in Israel, the more
you hear that. In Israel, if you stay where you are politically, you’re
automatically shifting to the left, because now the whole country
seems to be rapidly heading right. You know what Israelis say: “If
they weren’t burning us in World War II, they were helping, or if
they weren’t helping, they were ignoring it.” Yet I don’t remember
anybody in Israel going out to demonstrate when all those people
were being murdered in Cambodia. So why expect everybody to
get involved just for us? Does the fact that Jews have suffered give
us the right to inflict pain and misery on others? (Pg. 81)
* So much of our training was based on forming relationships with
innocent people. You’d see a likely recruit and say to yourself: “I’ve
got to talk to him and get another meeting. He may be helpful.” It
built a strange sense of confidence. Suddenly everyone in the
street became a tool. You’d think, hey, I can push their buttons.
Suddenly it was all about telling lies; telling the truth became
irrelevant. What mattered was, okay, this is a nice piece of
equipment. How do I turn it on? How can I get it working for me —
I mean, for my country? (83)
* Alan told us he had many friends in U.S. intelligence. “But I always remember the most important thing,” he said, pausing for effect. “When I am sitting with my friend, he’s not sitting with his friend.” (86)
* Sayanim — assistants — must be 100 percent Jewish. They live abroad, and though they are not Israeli citizens, many are reached through
their relatives in Israel. An Israeli with a relative in England, for
example, might be asked to write a letter saying the person
bearing the letter represents an organization whose main goal is to
help save Jewish people in the diaspora. Could the British relative
help in any way?
There are thousands of sayanim around the world. In London
alone, there are about 2,000 who are active, and another 5,000 on
the list. They fulfill many different roles. A car sayan, for example,
running a rental agency, could help the Mossad rent a car without
having to complete the usual documentation. An apartment sayan would find accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank sayan could get you money if you needed it in the middle of the night, a doctor sayan would treat a bullet wound without reporting it to the police, and so on.
The idea is to have a pool of people available when needed who
can provide services but will keep quiet about them out of loyalty
to the cause. They are paid only costs. Often the loyalty of sayanim
is abused by katsas who take advantage of the available help for
their own personal use. There is no way for the sayan to check
One thing you know for sure is that even if a Jewish person knows
it is the Mossad, he might not agree to work with you — but he
won’t turn you in. You have at your disposal a nonrisk
recruitment system that actually gives you a pool of millions of
Jewish people to tap from outside your own borders. It’s much
easier to operate with what is available on the spot, and sayanim
offer incredible practical support everywhere. But they are never
put at risk — nor are they privy to classified information…
The one problem with the system is that the Mossad does not seem to care how devastating it could be to the status of the Jewish people in the diaspora if it was known. The answer you get if you ask is: “So what’s the worst that could happen to those Jews? They’d all come to Israel? Great.”
They don’t understand that the Mossad regards the whole world outside Israel as a target, including Europe and the United States. (86-88)
* …there are three major “hooks” for recruiting people: money; emotion, be it revenge or ideology; and sex. (91)
* If you have a guy who doesn’t drink, doesn’t want sex, doesn’t need money, has no political problems, and is happy with life, you can’t recruit him. What you’re doing is working with traitors. An agent is a traitor, no matter how much he rationalizes it. You’re dealing with the
worst kind of person. We used to say we didn’t blackmail people.
We didn’t have to. We manipulated them. (98)
* For a person with a Hebrew name to associate with foreign diplomats in Israel was very suspicious. All diplomats in this country are considered spies. That’s why an Israeli soldier who is hitchhiking can’t accept a ride from someone with diplomatic plates; he’d be court- martialed if he did. (102)
* There was one simple question asked when anything happened: “Is it good for the Jews or not?” Forget about policies, or anything else. That was the only thing that counted, and depending on the answer, people were called anti-Semites, whether deservedly or not. (122)
* They used to tell the story of the “kerplunk machine” to illustrate
some of the weird and useless things the Africans would spend
their money on. Someone asked an African leader if he had a kerplunk machine. He didn’t, so they offered to build him one for $25 million. When a huge arm, nearly 1,000 feet long and over 600 feet high, hovering over the water, was complete, its creator went back to the leader and said he’d need another $5 million to finish it. He then devised an elevator apparatus under the arm that held a huge stainless steel ball more than 60 feet in diameter. All the leader’s subjects and visiting dignitaries from other African countries gathered at the river bank on “launch” day to see the wonderful machine in action. When it
was turned on, the elevator moved slowly along to the end of the
arm, it opened, and the giant ball fell into the water and went
It’s just a joke, but it’s not so far from the truth. (131-132)
* We were now also learning about Tsafririm and the “frames” set
up as a defense mechanism by Jews around the world. In this
area we had a problem, or at least some of us did. I just couldn’t
agree with this concept of having guard groups everywhere. I
thought frames in England, for example, where kids learn how to
build slicks for their weapons to protect their synagogues, were
more dangerous than beneficial to the Jewish community. I
brought up the argument that even if a group of people had been
oppressed, with attempts made to exterminate them — as with the
Jews they had no right to act obstructively in democratic
countries. I could understand this happening in Chile or
Argentina, or any other country where people disappear off the
streets, but not in England or France or Belgium.
The fact that there are anti-Semitic groups, whether real or
imaginary, is definitely not an excuse, because if you look into
Israel’s own backyard, you’ll see anti-Palestinian groups. Did this
mean we thought the Palestinians therefore had the right to store
weapons and organize vigilante groups? Or would we call them
Of course, any talk of this sort within the Mossad was not
regarded as smart, especially within the context of the Holocaust. I
know the Holocaust was one of the gravest things ever to happen
to Jews: Bella’s father, for one, spent four years in Auschwitz and
most of her family was eliminated by the Germans. But remember that close to 50 million other people died, too. Germans tried to
eliminate Gypsies, various religious groups, Russians, and Poles.
The Holocaust could have been, and I think should have been, a
source for unity with other nations rather than a tool for
* There is an area along the beach north of Tel Aviv called Tel
Barbach, not far from the Country Club, where all the hookers
hang out waiting for men to come along in their cars, pick them
up, go behind the sand dunes, do their thing, and drive off. Pinhas
decided to take his night photography equipment and set up on a
hill by the sand dunes, photographing men in their cars with the
hookers, and thereby collecting some explicit photos, thanks to
the high-quality equipment and powerful telescopic lenses. We
had already been taught how to invade the police computer —
plugging into it without police knowledge or permission — so
Maidan simply ran the car license plates through the computer to
find the owners’ names and addresses, and began blackmailing
them. He’d phone, say he had some compromising photos, and
ask for money.
He boasted that he was making quite a bit. He didn’t say how
much, but eventually someone complained and he was
reprimanded. I thought he’d be kicked out. But apparently
somebody regarded this as showing initiative.
Of course, to the Mossad’s way of thinking, the production of such
photos could sometimes be a powerful persuader in recruiting —
and sometimes not. A story was told of one senior Saudi Arabian
official who was photographed in bed with a hooker who had been
given instructions to situate herself and her bedmate in such a
way that the camera recorded both his face and the actual
penetration. Later, the Mossad confronted him with the evidence
of his sexual escapades, spreading the photos on a table and
saying, “You might want to cooperate with us.” But instead of
recoiling in shock and horror, the Saudi was thrilled with the
photos. “This is wonderful,” he said. “I’ll take two of those, three of
that,” adding he wanted to show them to all his friends. Needless
to say, that particular recruiting effort failed. (149)
FROM PAGE 32 OF THE OTHER SIDE OF DECEPTION (sequel):
The American Jewish community was divided into a three-stage action team. First were the individual sayanim (if the situation had been reversed and the United States had convinced Americans working in Israel to work secretly on behalf of the United States, they would be treated as spies by the Israeli government). Then there was the large pro-Israeli lobby. It would mobilize the Jewish community in a forceful effort in whatever direction the Mossad pointed them. And last was B’nai Brith. Members of that organization could be relied on to make friends among non-Jews and tarnish as anti-Semitic whomever they couldn’t sway to the Israeli cause. With that sort of one-two-three tactic, there was no way we could strike out…
It was Uri who enlightened me regarding the Nes Siyyona facility. It was, he said, an ABC warfare laboratory — ABC standing for atomic, bacteriological, and chemical. It was where our top epidemiological scientists were developing various doomsday machines. …. The Palestinian infiltrators came in handy in this regard. As human guinea pigs, they could make sure the weapons the scientists were developing worked properly and could verify how fast they worked and make them even more efficient. What scares me today, looking back at that revelation, is not the fact that it was taking place but rather the calmness and understanding with which I accepted it…
Years later I met Uri again. This time he was in the Mossad, a veteran katsa in the A1 department, and I was a rookie. He had come back from an assignment in South Africa. I was then a temporary desk man in the Dardasim department in liaison, helping him prepare for a large shipment of medication to South Africa to accompany several Israeli doctors who were headed for some humanitarian work in Soweto, a black township outside Johannesburg. The doctors were to assist in treating patients at an outpatient clinic for the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, a few blocks away from the houses of Winnie Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu. The hospital and the clinic were supported by a hospital in Baltimore, which served as a cut-out for the Mossad. Uri was on a cooling-off period from the United States. “What is the Mossad doing giving humanitarian assistance to blacks in Soweto?” I remember asking him. There was no logic to it; no short-term political gain (which was the way the Mossad operated) or any visible monetary advantage. “Do you remember Nes Siyyona?” His question sent shivers up my spine. I nodded. “This is very much the same. We’re testing both new infectious diseases and new medication that can’t be tested on humans in Israel, for several of the Israeli medicine manufacturers. This will tell them whether they’re on the right track, saving them millions in research.”
When they first met, Jonathan Pollard was an American Jew who believed wholeheartedly that there was a holy alliance between the United States of America and the state of Israel. He did not see a conflict between total loyalty to the United States and total loyalty to the state of Israel; to him it was one and the same.
This ideology did not spring out of itself; it was a result of a long process of indoctrination many Jewish youths are put through with the generous help of the state of Israel in the form of shlichim, or, as they are known, messengers of Alia. These are people who work within the Jewish community to instill a love of Israel in the hearts of the Jewish youth. In Jonathan Pollard’s case, they were extremely successful.
The young man had volunteered in 1982 to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israeli lobby group, another link in the chain of organizations manacling the Jewish community to Israel in general and to the Israeli right wing in particular.
Pollard, already a member of the American intelligence community, had volunteered his services for the benefit of the state of Israel. As is the procedure, his name was passed to the security section in the Israeli embassy in
Washington and from there on to the Mossad as a potential sayan. After thorough checking, including using the Mossad’s connection in the Anti-Defamation League, the Mossad decided that he was a good candidate and would fit in well, since he was both a Zionist zealot and well placed in the American intelligence research community, with ample access to vital information about the Middle East and Africa. And since he was Jewish, there was no thought of making him a paid spy. In fact, he was perfect for Operation Reindeer, which was meant to reestablish the ties between the American intelligence establishment and that of South Africa. Not that the two didn’t have a link of their own, but this one would be monitored by the Mossad and would be much more secure and lucrative.
There was no hesitation on Pollard’s part once Uri made contact with him, bringing in a reference from a friend Pollard had in Israel. The AIPAC was notified that the Mossad was not interested in Pollard, and Pollard was instructed not to contact the Jewish organizations again. He was now a sayan for the Mossad or, as he was told, for the security organization of Israel.
At the time, Pollard was not getting any money for the work he was doing, since it is a clear Mossad policy not to pay Jewish helpers. That way it could never be said that what they’re doing is for any reason other than love and concern for Israel.
Uri had supplied the South Africans with photos (which the Mossad had received from the Danish intelligence) of the SSC-3 Soviet weapons system that the Americans were eager to get at the time. This was all part of Operation Reindeer, in which the South African intelligence was endeared to the Americans using Pollard’s school contacts. (Apparently, someone with whom Pollard had gone to school and remained friends with afterward had subsequently become a senior South African intelligence officer.)
For some time, Uri went on using Pollard for obtaining various pieces of information, never overstraining the relationship to the point where the man might be placed under suspicion. In his reports, Uri constantly warned – just for the record – that he was not sure if Pollard was telling him all of the truth all of the time. Uri thought that Pollard might be getting himself into trouble, trying to get information he wasn’t asked to get. If he was, Uri couldn’t help him, because Uri wouldn’t be aware of the danger.
Sometime in 1984, Uri had decided with the agreement of his bosses that Pollard was too volatile to handle, since he was always trying to do more than he was asked, taking unnecessary risks, and generally becoming more of a liability than an asset. Therefore, he was put on the dormant list as a sleeper. Pollard was informed that he’d been of great help to Israel and that for his own safety, the Israeli intelligence had decided he needed a cooling-off period. Should they decide at a later date that it was again safe for him to work, they’d contact him and revive the activity.
Pollard was not thrilled at the prospect, but according to Uri, he didn’t make a fuss. It must be remembered that up to that point, he hadn’t been paid one red cent and was doing it all because of sheer ideology.
Not long after the file was rendered dormant, Rafi Eitan got his hands on it. Even though he was no longer a Mossad officer at the time, as the saying goes, once a Mossad always a Mossad. He had access to Mossad files, both because of his past in the Mossad and because he was the adviser on terrorism to the prime minister and also the head of the LAKAM.
For him, finding the dormant Pollard file was like striking gold. Not bound by Mossad rules of conduct regarding Jewish helpers, he activated Pollard through his reviving code word and arranged to create a so-called natural setting for him to meet his new operator, Avian Sellah. Sellah, a decorated Israeli pilot who’d taken part in the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear plant in Osirak, was a natural for the job. He wanted to study in the United States and would be working for the LAKAM at the same time. He didn’t have to recruit Pollard, only activate him, and the meeting between the two was set up by Eitan to look like a coincidence brought about by a third party, a relative of Pollard’s who had attended a speech by Sellah. Sellah was chosen to be the operator because he was an expert in targeting and could talk shop with Pollard, who was an intelligence analysis expert. The fact that Sellah was not a trained intelligence man also contributed to the fall of Pollard, who, in this new phase, was now getting paid and was in fact almost running himself.
The Mossad had heard from sources in the CIA that they were closing in on Pollard, but the Mossad preferred to stay out of the picture, hoping the affair would be settled quietly, behind closed doors, putting the LAKAM out of the game. To buy time once things started to go haywire, the Israeli ambassador to the United States was sent on a lecture tour to France, and the running of the embassy was left in the hands of a lower-ranking diplomat, Eliyakim Rubinstein, who couldn’t make a policy decision on his own. Once all the LAKAM people had fled the United States, Pollard was left behind to fend for himself. He fled to the Israeli embassy in Washington. Once he was inside, the security people turned for instructions to Rubinstein, who then turned to the Shaback representative to see what he had to say. That man turned to the Mossad representative, who, without checking back with headquarters and assuming things hadn’t changed, told the Shaback man that Pollard was not Mossad and therefore was none of his business. The Shaback man then said that his people had no claim over Pollard, and since all the LAKAM people had left the country and were not to be found, it was up to Rubinstein. He also mentioned the fact that the embassy was surrounded by the FBI.
Rubinstein was not able to contact Israel on the secure channels that were controlled by the Mossad liaison, who said they were down. So Rubinstein decided to take the initiative. He had Pollard and his wife sent out of the embassy into the hands of the stunned FBI. Much later, I learned from FBI people involved in the Pollard investigation and capture that they were almost as surprised as he was that he was sent out; at that point, they’d been ready to negotiate some sort of compromise with Israel. It was also learned later that a large portion of the information that Pollard had handed over to Israel made its way to the Eastern Bloc in exchange for the release of Jews from those countries. That knowledge, and the fact that admitting it would verify the information that was now in the hands of the Soviets, was the reason Caspar Weinberger, the American secretary of defense, asked for the maximum sentence for Pollard and was not able to explain why publicly.
Uri was forced to leave the United States then, since the Mossad was worried that Pollard, to get a shorter sentence, would expose the Mossad connection. But Pollard, because he knew that doing so would open up a whole new can of worms that would make his situation worse, kept quiet about it. This was why the Justice Department did not feel obligated to fulfill its side of the plea bargain with Pollard, in which he was promised a reduced sentence and no jail time for his wife, who was sentenced as his accomplice, in exchange for a full disclosure of all the relevant facts. (188-191)
* But since we were not yet ready to set up the Israeli spy ring for the Jordanians as I’d promised, I couldn’t put Ephraim off much longer. He felt that there was a need to inoculate Egyptian intelligence against the Mossad. That had to be done before some incident occurred that would expose the Mossad’s assistance (mainly logistical) to the Muslim fundamentalists through contacts in Afghanistan.
The peace with Egypt was pressing hard on the Israeli right wing. In itself, the peace, so vigilantly kept by the Egyptians, was living proof that the Arabs are a people with whom peace is possible, and that they’re not at all what the Mossad and other elements of the right have portrayed them to be. Egypt has kept its peace with Israel, even though Israel became the aggressor in Lebanon in 1982 and despite the Mossad’s warnings that the Egyptians were in fact in the middle of a ten-year military buildup that would bring about a war with Israel in 1986-87 (a war that never materialized).
The Mossad realized that it had to come up with a new threat to the region, a threat of such magnitude that it would justify whatever action the Mossad might see fit to take.
The right-wing elements in the Mossad (and in the whole country, for that matter) had what they regarded as a sound philosophy: They believed (correctly, as it happened) that Israel was the strongest military presence in the Middle East. In fact, they believed that the military might of what had become known as “fortress Israel” was greater than that of all of the Arab armies combined, and was responsible for whatever security Israel possessed. The right wing believed then – and they still believe – that this strength arises from the need to answer the constant threat of war.
The corollary belief was that peace overtures would inevitably start a process of corrosion that would weaken the military and eventually bring about the demise of the state of Israel, since, the philosophy goes, its Arab neighbors are untrustworthy, and no treaty signed by them is worth the paper it’s written on.
Supporting the radical elements of Muslim fundamentalism sat well with the Mossad’s general plan for the region. An Arab world run by fundamentalists would not be a party to any negotiations with the West, thus leaving Israel again as the only democratic, rational country in the region. And if the Mossad could arrange for the Hamas (Palestinian fundamentalists) to take over the Palestinian streets from the PLO, then the picture would be complete.
Mossad activity in Egypt was extensive. Now that there was an Israeli embassy in Cairo, the walk-in traffic was heavy. Egypt was being used both as a source of information and as a jumping-off point to the rest of the Arab world. It would be much easier and much less suspicious to have an Egyptian who was recruited under a false flag in Cairo and had never set foot outside the Middle East carry out intelligence gathering in other Arab countries than Arabs who had been to Europe and therefore might be suspected.
That in itself was a “legitimate” part of the game, but once the Mossad began trying to undermine the fiber of Egyptian society by supporting the fundamentalists, also under false flags, it was something completely different. It was more like cutting off the branch on which you’re sitting…
“You have to get in there and point out the connection with the fundamentalists. I’m getting some bits of information from time to time, and I need a way to let them have that information from a source they will trust.”
“Are you going to plant information to make a point?” I had to know; if he was planning to use me as a tool for spreading disinformation, he could count me out. I had no special feelings for the Egyptians; it was just that I didn’t believe in the Mossad’s way of doing things. I didn’t think that what was bad for the goose was okay for the gander.
He assured me that this was not the case; the information that he had would lead to the arrest of several fundamentalists and the exposure of the armaments supply line from the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“That is a long way to carry arms,” I noted.
As it turned out, it was a complex pipeline, since a large portion of the Mujahideen’s weapons were American-made and were supplied to the Muslim Brotherhood directly from Israel, using as carriers the Bedouin nomads who roamed the demilitarized zones in the Sinai.
The Mossad could of course also supply Soviet-made equipment from the spoils of the PLO stores seized in the 1982 war on the PLO in Lebanon. Once it was on Egyptian territory, the materiel was passed to an intermediary who would make the final delivery. As payment for the armaments, the Mossad would contract targets to be hit inside Egypt.
“Destabilize, destabilize, destabilize,” Ephraim said. “That is all they’re doing, all the time. No matter what anyone says, all they can think about is creating a shambles. They don’t understand that this jungle they’re creating will one day swallow them too.”
* He then wanted to hear as much as I could tell him about Robert Maxwell, the British newspaper magnate. His reason was that they were aware of the constant Mossad interest in purchasing media so that it could both influence public opinion and use journalism as a cover for inserting agents into countries.
It seemed my host was as eager to show me how much he knew as he was to hear about things he didn’t know – not a good trait for an intelligence officer. He identified Maxwell as a Mossad agent and also reminded me of other occasions on which the Mossad had been behind the purchase of newspapers in England. As an example, he gave the Eastern African, which was bought with Mossad money by an Israeli businessman. The purchase was made, he said, to assist the South African propaganda machine in making apartheid more palatable in the West.
Suddenly, the sinister nature of what was being done with Maxwell became clear to me. In his zeal to cooperate with Israel, and even though he was not an agent himself (as the British had made clear when I had spoken to them in Washington), Maxwell was a sayan on the grand scale. The Mossad was financing many of its operations in Europe from moneys stolen from the man’s newspaper pension fund. They got their hands on the pension funds almost as soon as he’d made his purchases (initially with money lent to him by the Mossad and on expert advice he received from Mossad analyses). What was sinister about it, aside from the theft, was that anyone in his news organization, anywhere in the Middle East, was automatically suspected of working for Israel and was only one rumor away from the hangman’s noose.
I explained to my host, as I had to the British, that in the beginning the Mossad would help Maxwell purchase the newspapers by lending him money and causing labor disputes and other problems, making the target purchases more vulnerable. Later, the tactics changed; they would target in advance a paper that he was to purchase and start it on a collision course with bankruptcy using all available strategies, starting with workforce agitation and ending with pull-back of funds from the paper through bankers and advertisers sympathetic to the Mossad. Then, once the target was softened, they’d send Maxwell in for the kill.
* It was July 22 that Ali A1 Ahmed, a cartoonist for a Kuwaiti newspaper critical of the PLO leadership, was killed, supposedly by Abd-al-Rahaman and a large team of Palestinian assassins. There was uproar in the Palestinian community. The British woke up from their long sleep and kicked the entire Mossad station out of London. I always wondered after that if they would have made such a big show of anger if the fact that Sawan was a Mossad agent hadn’t made its way to the press as a result of his open trial in June 1988. One thing is sure, British intelligence is just as responsible as the Mossad is for the death of that cartoonist, because they could have prevented it. It reaffirmed what I already knew, that any organization that came into contact with the Mossad was affected in a way that was not to the benefit of the country it served.
After I met the British, I had a strong gut feeling that they were not going to be the source of anybody’s deliverance out of the darkness of the Mossad’s shadow. The task would eventually fall to those who really cared, individuals who would have to take a stand as good men should and expose the monster for what it was-expose it not to the Mossad’s rotating bed partners, but to the public. I had decided, conceited as it may sound, that I would go to the people.
At first, I assumed that the fastest way to do this was to make a movie. Let the public know the truth about the Mossad, and what better way to reach as many people as possible than through a movie?
I did a bit of research, not informing Ephraim of my plans, and eventually I had a meeting with a gentleman in Montreal called Robin Spry, who has a small motion picture company named Telecine. After checking his background, I thought that he was sufficiently far removed from the Jewish community that he could be regarded as relatively safe.
We met in his office in a renovated old building in Montreal. He was very courteous and extremely enthusiastic, but he made it clear from the start that he’d prefer to handle the story as fiction, because he wouldn’t be able to take the kind of heat this project might generate. I asked him to make me an offer and a proposal, and decided that if all else failed, I’d take this route.
My next stop was a publisher in Toronto. I arranged a meeting with two representatives of the publishing house in the Prince Hotel.
Having a temporary case of cold feet, I decided at the last minute to present the idea as fiction based on a real story. It was a bad idea, and the publisher turned me down. “Since you have not written anything before, we’d need to see a full manuscript,” they said, and they were quite right. I abandoned the effort for the time being and decided that I might just as well bring Ephraim in on my idea and take advantage of his vast wealth of knowledge and his well-placed connections.
Ephraim was not enthusiastic about my book idea and at first tried in every way he could to dissuade me. He told me that the Mossad was not going to take such an act lying down. Never before had anyone struck a blow of such proportions against them and succeeded. We had a long history to draw on, and it was full of examples of men who’d tried to go against the grain. Most of them are well planted six feet under, and others are in little bits littering some godforsaken piece of desert. The only person ever to have written a book on the Mossad and to have lived to tell about it was the ex-head of the Mossad, Isar Harel, who was universally regarded as senile. And the only reason he could tell his story was that he’d sterilized it until it became no more than a song of praise for the Mossad. What I was intending to do was completely unheard of.
“They’ll call you a traitor,” Ephraim said. “The name Ostrovsky will be synonymous with the name Benedict Arnold in the United States.”
“And what if they find out what I’ve been doing for the last two years, because of some screwup by you or one of the others? What do you think they’ll call me then?”
“But that won’t happen. You’re not at all at risk. Things are going just great at the moment.”
I looked at him, and I knew he could see the anger in my face. “Are they really so great? We spent over two years playing games your way, and we’ve achieved nothing. I think it’s time to get the real show on the road. Whatever you decide is okay with me. I just want you to know that no matter what you say, I’m going to attempt to do this. If you stick around, I’ll consult you as to what will go into the book and what will be left out, because we have, in the end, the same agenda.”
He sat silently for a moment, his cigarette slowly burning in the ashtray. Then he looked at me and smiled. “What the hell, let’s kick some butt.”
* “The information might come back to us from one of the Jewish organizations we’re tied in to, like B’nai Brith or the UJA. And then there are all the others that are handled by the schlichim [messengers]. I mean, the moment a member of the Jewish community anywhere in North America gets a whiff of this, they will run to their organization and tell them about it. They’ll be sure they are doing their Zionist duty. And Sherf is the one telling them what to do.”
* What the BND brass didn’t know was that these seminars that the Mossad was holding in the friendly environment of the country club were in fact well-oiled recruiting operations that had brought into the Mossad’s bank of manpower hundreds if not thousands of law enforcement personnel from the United States, where they were recruited by the B’nai Brith, and from the intelligence agencies of Denmark, Sweden, and many other countries.
In the intelligence field, what really counts for a possible promotion is the ability to prove that you’ve managed to thwart a terrorist attack. And so with that promise in hand, the Mossad went ahead and manipulated the mid-level of the BND into cooperating, letting them understand that the top brass wanted this to take place but could not sanction the operation officially. Also, the fact that the Mossad had the total cooperation of the local intelligence agencies (each state in West Germany has its own intelligence service usually attached to the state police and is totally separate from its federal counterpart) helped convince the BND mid-level personal that what the Mossad said was true.
The shipments were occurring as scheduled, and there were no problems with them for a long time. From Germany, the trucks would make their way to Denmark, where they’d be loaded onto Danish ships under the watchful eye of the Danish intelligence and their liaison to the Mossad, Paul Hensen Mozeh. From there, they’d be delivered to Iran. Emboldened by the success of these equipment transfers, the Iranians asked their BND connection to see what could be done with regard to training Iranian pilots, preferably outside the war zone. The BND contact then turned to the Mossad contact and asked the same question. At first, there was a proposal in Mossad to carry out the training in South America, in either Chile or Colombia, where the Mossad could obtain both the necessary airfields and the local approval for such an operation. But the proximity to American activity in that hemisphere caused the Mossad to have a change of heart.
After the Mossad and the STT conferred with experts from the Israeli air force and obtained more information from STT about the skill level of STT pilots, they decided that most of the training could be carried out in simulators and therefore could be done in Germany. The same abandoned airfield with the large empty hangars used for checking parts on their way from Israel to Iran could be used to house the five
simulators and all the related equipment needed. The Iranians were to purchase the simulators outright and pay for all the installation and other expenses, including the training itself.
A team of at least twenty Israelis would have to be on hand to train the Iranian pilots, and they would live independently in both Kiel and Hamburg while the Iranian pilots (whom the Germans were afraid would draw attention) would stay at the airfield for the duration of the training.
The BND contact man worked directly with the Mossad liaison in Bonn, who in turn passed the information to the Mossad clandestine station, also located in the Bonn embassy. At one point, the Germans suggested that, for security and the smooth running of the operation, the prime minister of Schleswig Holstein be brought in on the secret. This man’s name was Uwe Barschel, and he happened to be a close friend of Helmut Kohl’s. To guarantee his cooperation, the BND would use its influence to secure a commitment of federal moneys to save a faltering shipping company, which would be a feather in Barschel’s cap. Then there was the matter of a large new international airport in the area, which he was promised would be helped. The Germans also made several other promises that were not of any interest to the Mossad or to Ran H., who was now running the operation.
When I left the Mossad, the training of the pilots was in full swing. In addition to the simulators, several specially modified Cessna planes were being used to train the Iranian pilots at a second airfield some forty-five minutes from Kiel. I remember very well that as I was on my way out of the Mossad, Ran was becoming a star. Fluent in German, he’d been in charge of El A1 security in Germany and Austria before joining the Office.
At the Four Seasons suite, Ephraim filled me in on what had happened since. According to him (Uri added several details while Eli voiced his dissatisfaction), Ran had realized at some point in mid-1987 that trouble was on the horizon. There was growing dissatisfaction in the Mossad and in the right-wing elements of the Israeli government regarding the behavior of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who was defying direct Israeli warnings regarding his relationship with the Austrian leader Kurt Waldheim, who’d been branded a Nazi.
* It was important that we not include things in the book that might nurture anti-Semitism – at least, that was the way we saw it. We all agreed, for example, that the subject of testing medications on blacks in South Africa was too much and would strike too hard a blow against Israel, since the medical personnel who’d been sent to Africa would be associated with the state and not understood as being totally controlled by the Mossad.
The same treatment was given to the direct links the Mossad had with the Kahane people, the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai Brith, the AIPAC, and the UJA.
The only subject that we decided needed airing was the Frames  and the youth camps called Hets va-keshet (meaning “bow and arrow”) that the Mossad organizes to bring young Jewish kids to Israel for the summer. After filling the kids with a large dose of militant Zionism, the Mossad sends them back as the spies of the future.
* “If I had to choose one thing people will focus on, I’d say it will be the cooperation the Mossad gets all over the world from the Jewish community and the way it takes advantage of that trust.”
* Uri visited me several times and informed me that as far as the Mossad was concerned, I was occupied making T-shirts in Canada and that was all. They were extremely busy at the time preparing for what they called Operation Brush-Fire. This was an all-out LAP (Israeli psychological warfare) attack aimed at getting the United States involved militarily in the Middle East in general and the Gulf area in particular.
The Iran-Iraq war was over. It seemed that the Iranians had had enough and were happy to agree to end the war as the Iraqis wanted. The Mossad, for their part, pretended to the Americans that they wanted to topple Saddam Hussein, while at the same time passing on information to his Muchabarat from the Israeli embassy in Washington, warning him about various attempts on his life and on his regime.
The Mossad regarded Saddam Hussein as their biggest asset in the area, since he was totally irrational as far as international politics was concerned, and was therefore all the more likely to make a stupid move that the Mossad could take advantage of.
What the Mossad really feared was that Iraq’s gigantic army, which had survived the Iran-Iraq war and was being supplied by the West and financed by Saudi Arabia, would fall into the hands of a leader who might be more palatable to the West and still be a threat to Israel.
The first step was taken in November 1988, when the Mossad told the Israeli foreign office to stop all talks with the Iraqis regarding a peace front. At that time, secret negotiations were taking place between Israelis, Jordanians, and Iraqis under the auspices of the Egyptians and with the blessings of the French and the Americans. The Mossad manipulated it so that Iraq looked as if it were the only country unwilling to talk, thereby convincing the Americans that Iraq had a different agenda.
By January 1989, the Mossad LAP machine was busy portraying Saddam as a tyrant and a danger to the world. The Mossad activated every asset it had, in every place possible, from volunteer agents in Amnesty International to fully bought members of the U.S. Congress. Saddam had been killing his own people, the cry went; what could his enemies expect? The gruesome photos of dead Kurdish mothers clutching their dead babies after a gas attack by Saddam’s army were real, and the acts were horrendous.
But the Kurds were entangled in an all-out guerrilla war with the regime in Baghdad and had been supported for years by the Mossad, who sent arms and advisers to the mountain camps of the Barazany family; this attack by the Iraqis could hardly be called an attack on their own people. But, as Uri said to me, once the orchestra starts to play, all you can do is hum along.
The media was supplied with inside information and tips from reliable sources on how the crazed leader of Iraq killed people with his bare hands and used missiles to attack Iranian cities. What they neglected to tell the media was that most of the targeting for the missiles was done by the Mossad with the help of American satellites.
The Mossad was grooming Saddam for a fall, but not his own. They wanted the Americans to do the work of destroying that gigantic army in the Iraqi desert so that Israel would not have to face it one day on its own border. That in itself was a noble cause for an Israeli, but to endanger the world with the possibility of global war and the deaths of thousands of Americans was sheer madness.
Toward the end of January, the British called and wanted to talk to me. They said it was urgent and asked if they could come the following day. I agreed. I decided that I’d take advantage of the meeting to convey the information about Saddam I’d gotten from Uri, and request that they pass it on to the Americans.
We met in the dining room of the Chateau Laurier Hotel in downtown Ottawa. “What can I do for you?” I asked the man, whom I’d met once before.
“I have only one question for you, and even though you might think it’s off the wall, I was told to ask you.”
“Do you believe or think or know if the Mossad may have had any involvement in what happened to Flight 103 over Lockerbie?”
I was dumbfounded. It took me several seconds to realize what the man had asked me. I responded almost automatically. “No way.”
“No reason. Just no way, that’s all. Up to this point, every time Israel or the Mossad has been responsible for the downing of a plane, it’s been an accident, and related directly to the so-called security of the state, like the shooting down of the Libyan plane over the Sinai and the Italian plane (thought to carry uranium) in 1980, killing eighty-one people. There is no way that they’d do this.”
“Are you speaking out of knowledge or are you guessing?”
“Wait right here.” I said, leaving the table. “I’ll make a phone call, and we’ll talk after that.”
I made a collect call from the lobby of the hotel, and after a few minutes got Ephraim on the line. “Did we have anything to do with Pan Am 103?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Just tell me. I have to know, because if we did, this will be the end of the Mossad.”
“No,” he answered without hesitating. I knew he was telling me the truth. He wouldn’t pass up such an opportunity to taint the Mossad leadership.
“Thanks. I’ll call you later.”
I got back to the table and told the man what Ephraim had told me.
“So you’re still connected?” the Brit said, smiling.
“Which is probably why I’m still alive,” I said, smiling back. “Since we’re here, there’s something I think you should know about. It’s called Operation Brush-Fire.” I spent the next half-hour giving the man the rundown on what I knew, asking him to pass the information on to the Americans too. He made no promises but said that he would do his best. That was enough for me.
* On March 15, 1990, Farzad Bazoft, who’d been held in the Abu Ghraib prison some twenty kilometers west of Baghdad, met briefly with the British ambassador to Iraq. A few minutes after the meeting, he was hanged. His British girlfriend was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. His body was delivered to the British embassy in Baghdad, and the official spokesman noted that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher “wanted him alive and we have just delivered his dead body to her.”
Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction scam
The world was shocked, but the Mossad was not done yet. To fan the flames generated by this brutal hanging, a Mossad sayan in New York delivered a set of documents to ABC television with a story from a reliable Middle Eastern source telling of a plant Saddam had for the manufacturing of uranium. The information was convincing, and the photos and sketches were even more so. It was time to draw attention to Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.
Only three months before, on December 5, 1989, the Iraqis had launched the Al-Abid, a three-stage ballistic missile. The Iraqis claimed it was a satellite launcher that Gerald Bull, a Canadian scientist, was helping them develop. Israeli intelligence knew that the launch, although trumpeted as a great success, was in fact a total failure, and that the program would never reach its goals. But that secret was not shared with the media. On the contrary, the missile launch was exaggerated and blown out of proportion.
The message that Israeli intelligence sent out was this: Now all the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together. This maniac is developing a nuclear capability (remember the Israeli attack on the Iraqi reactor in 1981) and pursuing chemical warfare (as seen in his attacks on his own people, the Kurds). What’s more, he despises the Western media, regarding them as Israeli spies. Quite soon, he’s going to have the ability to launch a missile from anywhere in Iraq to anywhere he wants in the Middle East and beyond.
* Then there was the Larry King Show, by which time the gag order was lifted, where I received somewhat rougher treatment. To build some contentiousness into the hour, the show’s producers had invited Amos Perelmuter, a professor from the American University in Washington, D.C., to join King and me. From the start, it was clear that Perelmuter was an enthusiastic supporter of the state of Israel, and that what he’d heard about my book – he admitted he hadn’t read it – he didn’t like.
There was never enough time on such shows to put Perelmuter and other “designated champions of Israel” on the spot. How did they know that everything I was saying was lies? I was the one who’d served in the Mossad, not they. Why was it that these loyal Americans were willing to accept any mud thrown at the CIA without even giving it a second thought, but insisted on defending to the hilt an intelligence agency of a foreign country that had been known to spy on the United States (as in the Pollard case) and hadn’t refrained from attacking American interests (as in the case of the Lavon  affair in Egypt, among others)?
The first wave of fury the book caused was due to its revelation that the Mossad had advance knowledge of the notorious suicide bombing in Beirut (including the make and color of the car) but didn’t pass on that information to American intelligence. In October 1983, two hundred and forty-one U.S. marines were killed when the car, rigged with explosives, rammed their barracks in Beirut. In many instances, this story from the book was taken out of context and told as if I’d said that the Mossad knew Americans were the target, which was not the case.
This and numerous other headline-making revelations helped propel the book to the number one spot on the By Way of Deception made the best-seller list in almost every one of the twenty-odd countries where it was published. It was published in some fifteen different languages (although it’s still not available in Hebrew), and by the year’s end had sold well over a million copies worldwide.
* I knew I was about to hand the Mossad another painful punch on the nose-that is, if it didn’t get smart on me and pull out of whatever it was doing in Norway at the time. But as usual, the Mossad just went on doing what it did best, which was to abuse the friendship of a good ally and, when the time came, leave it holding the proverbial baby.
I told my new friend that the Mossad could be expected to have a close relationship with the local intelligence, mainly dealing at the intermediate level. He could find the links by obtaining the names of people from the police and intelligence communities who’d gone on various seminars to Israel. The second avenue I suggested was taking a closer look at Palestinian refugees who were seeking asylum in Norway. Just as in Denmark, and as I’d described in my book, the Mossad would offer the local intelligence agency a service that, in its words, would guarantee security and the weeding out of potential terrorists from the waves of incoming refugees.
The Mossad would offer to send experts to Norway, who, upon arrival, would receive Norwegian identity cards from the Norwegian secret service. These experts would interrogate the asylum seekers in a language they understood (meaning both Arabic and brute force). The Israelis would then translate the conversations and hand the Palestinians over to the Norwegians. This process would prevent the country from being infiltrated by troublemakers, and in a more general way, keep Norway out of the bloody Middle East game.
I also told him that there was no doubt in my mind that the police and intelligence service were sure they were doing the right thing. For the sake of protecting the safety of their Mossad friends, they’d have to keep it all secret from the politicians, who weren’t to be trusted in matters of security.
The story had exposed what could only be described as the Mossad’s intimate relations with the Norwegian secret service and police. The Norwegian secret service had provided Mossad personnel with Norwegian papers and brought them into the interrogation room to interrogate Palestinians who were seeking asylum in Norway.
The Mossad officers interrogated the Palestinians in Arabic, although most of the Palestinians were fluent in English, as were the Norwegian police. However, none of the Norwegian police spoke Arabic, and therefore they had no idea what was being said. The Mossad officers threatened the Palestinians with deportation if they wouldn’t cooperate with Israel – all this in the presence of Norwegian police, or in some cases without that presence, in which cases the interrogations took on a much more violent aspect.
As a result of the story, the Norwegian minister of justice, Kari Gjesteby, called for a full investigation of the matter. This was of course to appease the citizenry – some of whom saw the whole affair as Israel’s second violation of the sanctity of Norway (the first “violation” occurred in Lillehammer in 1974 and involved the Mossad’s killing of a Moroccan waiter whom they’d mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh…
* I had already realized for some time that I no longer shared that ideology, that for me the state of Israel was no longer the fulfillment of an ancient dream. For me, it was more a nightmare of prejudice, wallowing in racism and waving the white and blue flag as a banner of oppression. I wanted no part of it. What I was doing now was showing the carriers of the banner their vulnerability, so that they would stop and reappraise their own purpose. Maybe then they could join the family of nations on an equal footing.
* This love affair with a vice president was not a new thing; it had been almost standard procedure ever since the creation of the state of Israel. Any time a president was not on the best of terms with Israel, the Jewish organizations were instructed to cozy up to the vice president. That was the case with Dwight Eisenhower, whom Israel regarded as the worst president in history (although, ironically, the vice president they regarded as a friend, namely Richard Nixon, himself became an enemy once he was president). It was what lay behind the strong support Israel and the Jewish community gave to Lyndon Johnson, who almost doubled aid to Israel in his first year as president, after John Kennedy had come down hard on the Israeli nuclear program, believing it was a first and dangerous step in the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region.
That strategy was behind their hatred for Nixon and their admiration for Gerald Ford. And then there was Jimmy Carter, whose whole administration was regarded as a big mistake as far as Israel was concerned, a mistake that had cost Israel the whole of the Sinai in return for a lukewarm peace with Egypt.
* Ephraim called me on Tuesday, October 1. I could sense from the tone of his voice that he was extremely stressed. “They’re out to kill Bush,” he said. At first, I didn’t understand what he was talking about. I thought he meant that they were going to ruin the president. I’d already heard of several books that were in the making on the man, and there was a smear campaign regarding his alleged involvement in the Iran-Contra affair (which I knew personally to be fake).
“What’s new about that? They’ve been out to get him for a long time.”
“I mean really kill, as in assassinate.”
As it happened, I was invited to be a speaker at a luncheon held at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa for a group called the Middle East Discussion Group. It’s a loosely formed think tank supported by the National Council on Canadian-Arab Relations, headed by a former Liberal MP named Ian Watson. The aim of this group is to inform members of Parliament and the diplomatic community on issues that might not be freely accessed by the media and to promote dialog on the Middle East.
The luncheon was attended by some twenty members of the think tank and a few MPs. I made a short presentation in which I explained the goals of the Mossad and the danger it presented to any peace initiative in the region. I also said that in my opinion, as things stood, the only chance the Middle East had for peace would be the cutting off of financial aid to Israel by the United States. I emphasized that a large chunk of this aid finds its way to the West Bank and the settlements, which were probably the biggest stumbling block to the peace initiative. Then I opened the floor to questions.
I was asked what the Mossad would do to stop the process that was now taking place. I said that from sources I had, and based on my knowledge of the Mossad, I would not be at all surprised if there was a plot right at this moment to kill the president of the United States and to throw the blame on some extreme Palestinian group.
Later, I learned that one of the people at the luncheon had called an ex-congressman from California, Pete McCloskey. The substance of what I’d said was conveyed to him, and since McCloskey was an old and close friend of the president’s, the caller felt that he might want to take some action.
On October 15, McCloskey called me and introduced himself. He said that he’d heard from a friend what I’d said about the president and wanted to know if in my opinion there was a real threat, or was this only a metaphor of some kind, to make a point? I made it clear to him that there was no metaphor involved and that I was dead serious regarding the threat to the president. I also said that I believed that exposing this threat might be enough to eliminate it, since to carry it out would then become too risky.
* Robert Maxwell’s contact was not in the best of moods when he received a call on a special secure line at the Israeli embassy in Madrid. Maxwell was phoning from London, saying it was imperative that a meeting be set up. He was willing to come to Madrid.
The ties between Maxwell and the Mossad went back a long way. Elements within the Mossad had offered to finance Maxwell’s first big business ventures, and in later years Maxwell received inside information on global matters from the Office. Maxwell was originally code-named “the Little Czech,” and the sobriquet stuck. Only a handful of people in the Israeli intelligence community knew who the Little Czech was, yet he provided an unending supply of slush money for the organization whenever it ran low.
For years, Maxwell would hit financial lows whenever the Mossad was in the midst of expensive operations that could not be funded legitimately and when other less legitimate sources were unavailable, as was the case after the American invasion of Panama in 1990, which dried up the Mossad’s income from drug trafficking and forced Maxwell to dig deep into his corporate pockets.
But the Mossad had used its ace in the hole one time too many. Asking Maxwell to get involved in a matter of secondary importance (namely, the Vanunu affair) had been a big mistake, for which the media mogul would be made to pay the price.
That involvement caused suspicion in the British Parliament that there was no smoke without fire, particularly after the publication of a book by an American reporter claiming Maxwell was a Mossad agent. Maxwell retaliated in a lawsuit, but the ground was starting to burn under his feet. The Mossad was late in giving him back his money, and the usual last-minute rescue of his financial empire was looking less and less feasible.
For Maxwell, what was already bad was about to get worse. His call couldn’t have been more poorly timed. Israel was participating in a peace negotiation process that the Mossad top clique believed would be detrimental to the country’s security. At the same time, news was reaching the Office of a growing scandal caused by Mossad involvement in Germany. This scandal was a result of Uri’s having made a call to the Hamburg River Police informing them that a shipment of arms was about to be loaded onto an Israeli ship.
* What he was referring to (and in doing so, he sealed his fate) was a meeting that he’d helped arrange between the Mossad liaison and the former head of the KGB, Vladimir Kryuchkov, who was now jailed in Number Four Remand Center in Moscow for his role in the Soviet Union’s August coup to oust Mikhail Gorbachev.
At that meeting, which took place on Maxwell’s yacht at anchor in Yugoslav waters, Mossad support for the plot to oust Gorbachev was discussed. The Mossad promised to bring about, through its political connections, an early recognition of the new regime, as well as other logistical assistance for the coup. In exchange, it requested that all Soviet Jews be released, or rather expelled, which would create a massive exodus of people that would be too large to be absorbed by other countries and would therefore go to Israel.
Certain right-wingers within the government had believed this meeting with the coup plotters was a necessity. They knew that if the Soviet Union were to stop being the enemy, there’d no longer be a threat from the East, and the strategic value of Israel to its greatest ally, the United States, would diminish. Alliances between the United States and the Arab nations in the region would then be a realistic prospect.
It was Maxwell who’d helped create the ties with the now-defunct KGB. The right-wingers realized it would be a devastating blow to Israel’s standing in the West if the world were to learn that the Mossad had participated in any way, as minute as that participation might be, in the attempted coup to stop the democratization of the Soviet Union. It would be perceived as treason against the West. Maxwell was now using the Mossad’s participation as a threat, however veiled, to force an immediate burst of aid to his ailing empire. His contact asked him to call back in a few hours.
A small meeting of right-wingers at Mossad headquarters resulted in a consensus to terminate Maxwell. At first, the participants thought it would take several weeks to put together a plan, but then someone pointed out that the process could be accelerated if the Little Czech could be made to travel to a rendezvous where the Mossad would be waiting to strike.
Maxwell was asked to come to Spain the following day. His contact promised that things would be worked out and that there was no need to panic. The mogul was asked to sail on his yacht to Madeira and wait there for a message.
Maxwell arrived in Gibraltar on October 31, 1991, boarded his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, and set sail for Madeira, as instructed. There he waited for directions. Meanwhile, the Mossad was getting read to strike. On Friday, November 1, a special Mossad troubleshooting team that was in Spain to cover the peace talks was dispatched. The team flew to Morocco, where they were met by a confederate who’d
already taken care of all the necessary equipment and other arrangements.
At first, Maxwell was told that the meeting would take place in Madeira and that he’d receive as much money as he needed to calm the situation. Additional moneys would be advanced to him later. All this was to be kept completely quiet, since there was no point in providing more fodder for his enemies, who would have liked nothing better than to show his direct connection to the Mossad.
On November 2, the Mossad learned that Maxwell had called his son in England and scheduled a meeting with him on the island. Maxwell was told to cancel the meeting. He was also told that the meeting with the money people would now take place on the island of Tenerife.
When he reached Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife, he headed for a meeting in the Hotel Mency. As he dined alone in the hotel restaurant, someone walked over to him and gave him a message indicating that he should be in Los Cristos on the other side of the island the next morning. He was to make his way there in his yacht, sailing around the island of Grand Canary.
I learned all this in a phone conversation with Ephraim. He had no idea how the Kidon team had managed to get to Maxwell at sea while the yacht was cruising at fifteen knots, but making it look impossible was part of the Kidon magic. Some time during the night of November 4-5, the Mossad’s problem was laid to rest in the salty waters of the Atlantic.
After an autopsy that raised more questions than it answered, a second autopsy was held in Israel under the watchful eye of the security apparatus. Whatever was not detected then was buried forever on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the resting place for the nation’s most revered heroes.
“He had done more for Israel than can today be said,” Prime Minister Shamir eulogized at Maxwell’s burial.