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Analyst Gordon Thomas: Dubai was a Mossad operation

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Analyst Gordon Thomas: Dubai was a Mossad operation

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Gordon Thomas is a journalist who specialises in the world of espionage. The Welsh writer has sold 45 million books, all written at a desk that once belonged to T.E.Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia. He’s an expert in the most feared and respected secret service: Israel’s Mossad. His knowledge comes from conversations with former Mossad directors such as Rafael Eitan and Meir Amit. He is perhaps a man who knows too much. We talked with him about the death of
Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Mabhouh in Dubai.

euronews:
Mr Thomas, my first question will be direct. With your experience and knowledge of Mossad’s methods, do you think the assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, in Dubai last month, was an Israeli operation?

GORDON THOMAS:
Absolutely, it was another assassination by the Mossad. There’s no doubt about it. The operation has all the hallmarks of the Mossad. It shows in a number of ways. First, there is the choice of a bedroom in a hotel, which is their favourite place to assassinate. Secondly, the operation was planned so they just could go into a hotel, do it and be gone. That’s how they did it. What is interesting, about this particular assassination in Dubai, it’s that it falls on the watch of the Prime Minister again, Bibi Netanyahu. It’s the second time he’s been involved, had to give the order. When I said involved, it means that no assassination can take place in Israel without the written authority of the Prime Minister. He has to sign a document saying that he has authorised this assassination.

euronews:
On a recent visit to Brussels, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, told reporters: “journalists watch too many James Bond movies”.

GORDON THOMAS:
The fact is he is not telling the truth. Basically, the rule of the Mossad is: we admit nothing, we deny nothing. That was summarised to me in a slightly different way by David Kimche, when he was deputy director of Mossad and I asked him to summarise the role of Mossad in the world today. He said: “It’s very simple. Its Mossad first, last and always. And always for Israel.” So, that’s their attitude. This man in Dubai was a threat, a real threat. We know- and I’ve confirmed this separately- that he had gone to Dubai to meet an Iranian arms dealer and his intention was to bring arms into Gaza to be fired on Israel. And they knew that (the Mossad).

euronews:
Dubai police have identified at least 27 suspects. Is it unusual for so many agents to be used in such an operation?

GORDON THOMAS:
The number is incredible, I have to tell you. I can’t imagine Mossad ever sending 26 people to kill one person. The Kidon unit- Kidon in Hebrew means bayonet- and the assassination unit has a total of 48 people, of which six are women- they normally send on an execution mission four people. I think what’s happened, though, is that recently Mossad has expanded their informers system into Arab countries and I think this was an exercise. Part of this was an exercise that ran simultaneously with the assassination.

euronews:
But today, there’s no evidence linking Israel with the operation. But there are strange coincidences. On January 19th- the day of the murder- the Israeli embassy in London posted a message on Twitter that was removed the next day. The message read: “Israeli tennis player carries out hit on Dubai target.” That day, Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer won a match in the Dubai Tennis Championship, but images of the hotel Al Bustan Rotana show several suspects with tennis rackets monitoring the hallways. Does this message have a double meaning?

GORDON THOMAS:
The Mossad is extremely good at cover and also extremely good at using it to create terror. Examples: when they choose a target to attack they will often send the family, on the day they are going to kill him, a wreath. Condolences expressed that are sometimes published in Arab
newspapers, his death notice and so on, even before his death. Nothing can be more terrifying than to receive something like that, a death notice.
Psychological warfare is part of their game. What happened here- again- with the tennis rackets. There’s nothing more harmless than looking at a group of people turned up like tennis players to play a game for being unnoticed. They are just maybe more players in this tournament, it doesn’t matter. But they were not, they were Mossad agents.

euronews:
Some of the suspects had fake passports from Europe, but with real identities of Israeli citizens with dual nationality. Is this a common method used by Mossad?

GORDON THOMAS:
Yes it is. How this works is quite simple. They have a unit, a special team who are trained in lifting passports, from holidaymakers usually. The specialist areas are Malaga, Marbella- southern Spain- and Thailand, countries like that. Dubai has the most effective immigration passport control system, because it has been installed by the Americans for them. So, they (Mossad) wanted to test that system. Quite simple: you may send your extra people in, to do a separate job. They go in, check in and check out and obviously they’ve done this, but they’ve been picked up. There are a lot of unanswered questions about the Dubai mission.

euronews:
The investigation of the Dubai police has stated that al Mabhouh was sedated and later suffocated to simulate natural death. Is this how Mossad kills?

GORDON THOMAS:
Yes, standard way of killing. The poisons would be prepared by the Mossad chemists and they operate from their unit in the suburbs of Tel Aviv. They’ve used an anaesthetic used in surgery that has been doctored slightly, to make it more effective quickly. The drug used has to leave the body quickly.

euronews:
What political implications could this case have for Benjamin Netanyahu if Mossad is finally found to be responsible?

GORDON THOMAS:
The implications are serious and yet in a funny way, nothing is going to happen in terms of seriousness. People I’ve talked to within the Intelligence world- and that includes people in London, New York and Washington and so on- they all said: “good job, well done.” We wouldn’t or couldn’t do it, they’ve done it. One less to worry about.

euronews:
Hamas denounces the involvement- with logistics- of the PNA (Palestinian National Authority) and even some Arab regimes, like Egypt or Jordan, in the elimination of al Mabhouh. What do you think of these allegations?

GORDON THOMAS:
Maybe this could be the excuse they need to launch another war, again, another time. There are very powerful forces working in Damascus.

euronews:
Israel and Syria launched a new round of secret negotiations over the Golan Heights some months ago, with US mediation. May Syria have
helped in this operation to take advantage of the negotiations? There’s a fact that shouldn’t be forgotten, Mahmoud al Mabhouh was based in Damascus for more than a decade.

GORDON THOMAS:
Meir Dagan has had several meetings with Syrian Intelligence. He’s met their chiefs and has discussed the relationship. I think it’s possible that Syrian Intelligence has played an important role in keeping Mossad informed where he (al Mabhouh) was. Mossad was able to work an assassination- Mughnniyed- very successfully in Damascus. Nothing came of it; just a little protest from Syria but the relationship between Syria and Israel is very interesting. Neither want to confront each other any more; they would like to have a relationship to remove terrorism from their doorstep. Syria wants to come back off the table
into the West in the way that Libya has.