May 22, 2024

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09-Dec-16: Espionage and indignation
The on-line version of the
Le Monde revelations [Source]
We’re not proposing any value judgements here. Simply alerting readers to things they might keep in mind the next time a spokesperson for one of the world’s major powers expresses official public indignation at some alleged deed or ommission of Israel’s government.

The UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ carried out surveillance on the Israeli military, defence firms and diplomatic missions, French newspaper Le Monde has reported, based on leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“The Israelis constitute a true threat to regional security, in particular because of the position of this country with respect to the Iranian dossier,” a top secret file from Britain’s intelligence-gathering unit reportedly read, despite the UK’s professed support for Israel and the closeness between the two countries…  Among those spied on were an unnamed person described as the “second-highest ranking official in the Israeli foreign ministry”, the Israeli ambassadors to Nigeria and Kenya, and a fibre optics firm called Ophir Optronics which has contracts with the Israel Defence Forces, and the research departments at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Racah Institute of Physics… [Britain called Israel a ‘threat to the Middle East’, leak shows“, The Independent UK, December 8, 2016]

And this

Previous reports by the Wall Street Journal and German magazine Der Spiegel have already revealed how US spies monitored the communications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his predecessor Ehud Olmert. These new revelations show how Israel’s closest political allies – Britain and the United States – are clearly keeping tabs on all areas of Israeli politics, including government departments, civil servants, and diplomats. Le Monde also names defense company Ophir Optronics and research centers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as institutions that have been hacked by GCHQ. Ophir Optronics is known for developing, manufacturing, and dealing in infrared optics and laser measurement equipment – pivotal elements in modern armaments. It is believed that GCHQ and the NSA have collected 18 years’ worth of drone transmissions between Israeli army drones, fighter jets, and army bases. The operations of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in the Gaza Strip were also carefully monitored, amid suspicions that Israel might carry out a strike on Iran. [British spies monitor Israeli diplomats, with help from US and Jordan – Snowden docs reveal“, RT (formerly called Russia Today), December 7, 2016]

Spy vs Spy

(See this link for more background about the nearly two decades of British and US espionage activity  – code-named “Anarchist” – directed at Israeli drone operations and reportedly done from a Royal Air Force facility in the Troodos Mountains, near Mount Olympus, the highest point in Cyprus.)

When we mention “public indignation”, readers might want to think back to instances like these:

And this: “Next Time Someone Gets Indignant about Israeli Spying on the United States” [Daniel Pipes website, June 5, 2005]

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