Part I - Dollar Machine
excerpted from the book
Profits of War
Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli
by Ari Ben-Menashe
Sheridan Square Press, 1992, hardcover
As a result of the establishment of diplomatic relations in t
e late 1960s between Iran and Israel, the Iranians had a full
embassy in Ramat Gan with a SAVAK representative, a military attaché,
a commercial attaché, a consul, and an ambassador. But
it wasn't officially designated as an embassy and it did not have
a sign on the door or a flagpole. Officially, the Iranians had
an interests section in the Swiss Embassy in Tel Aviv, but it
didn't really exist, and callers to the Swiss Embassy who asked
for it would be referred to the unofficial Iranian Embassy in
Israel had the same unofficial status
in Tehran. The building on Kakh Avenue had no sign oh the door,
but everyone knew what it was. The reason for this elaborate charade
was the Shah's concern that his relationship with Arab nations
would be disrupted. They were fully aware of the unofficial arrangement,
but this ruse allowed the Arabs to turn a blind eye.
The intellectuals and the middle class in Teheran were fed up.
There was extreme corruption in higher circles, prices were skyrocketing,
and food production in Iran, which had been the bread basket of
the Middle East, had come to a halt as a result of the Shah's
White Revolution, breaking up the feudal system. He had distributed
land to the peasants to keep them happy, but he had destroyed
their life-support systems. In times past, the feudal lords had
provided villagers with seeds, a marketing system, transportation,
water, and so on, but after these lords had been dispossessed
and the land divided up, the peasants' infrastructure was destroyed.
Who was to take care of their marketing?
The Shah wasn't interested-his attention
was on the military, not food production. As a result, food production
in Iran came almost to a standstill, and by 1978 most supplies
were being imported. The peasants managed because they found ways
of providing for themselves. The rich were all right, too, because
they could afford to buy the high-priced imported foodstuffs.
The people who suffered were those caught in the middle, the intellectuals
and the middle class.
They were battling extremely high food
prices, and on top of that the infrastructure of the city of Tehran
was not capable of handling the traffic, which came to a standstill.
Even my superiors laughed at me when I wrote that the traffic
might be one of the reasons the Shah would be overthrown. But
it was true. It was quite clear that people were fed up with taking
hours to get to work and back.
The middle classes spearheaded the revolution,
but the Shi'lte fundamentalists quickly jumped on the bandwagon.
Despite the volatile situation in Iran, my controllers in the
External Relations Department decided they could use me in an
entirely different part of the world-Central and South America.
Apart from Iran, Israel's main military exports were going to
those two regions.
The leftwing movement [in Nicaragua] had not forgotten Somoza's
father's act of treachery in 1934 when, as head of the National
Guard, he had invited Augusto Sandino, the revolutionary patriot
after whom the movement is named, to a banquet and then murdered
him. But now, with 500,000 homeless, a death toll of more than
30,000 from the political fighting between the Somoza government
and the Sandinistas, and an economy that was in ruins, everyone
knew it would not be long before Somoza was overthrown.
FSLN representative Marie Fernanda
"I don't understand you people. You
Israelis and the Jews who have suffered so much are now helping
this Nazi Somoza. You don't care about what he has done to the
There wasn't much I could say. It was
true we were supplying Somoza.
She had not finished: "It's very
bad that your country that was created on a socialist-egalitarian
basis has turned into a fascist state which helps the Nazi dictators
of South America."
... My assignment was to find out what
the Sandinista policies might be when they came to power and try
to establish lines of communications.
"We identify with the Jewish plight
because we are facing the same type of Hitler in our country.
We have faced him for many years. It's too bad that your government
is aiding him and selling him arms."
Israel was selling arms to Somoza in a big way: artillery, machine
guns, mortars, and soon it would be helicopters. I could have
given him the usual spiel that Israel wasn't to blame, that independent
arms brokers were the real culprits. That was the accepted Israeli
line, but I suspected that my hosts knew better.
The Sandinistas are a very democratic
movement, from the social democrats down to supporters of Soviet
communism," the commander continued as we sipped sweet tea.
"When we take over, there will be democratic elections. We
are spearheading the revolution for the people of Nicaragua. We
are not against a free market, but we don't believe the peasants
should be starved out."
The commander was drawing a picture of
a socialist country with freedom of the press, freedom of speech,
free education, and good health and welfare system.
At 12:30 P.M. on January 16, 1979, four helicopters had lifted
off from the grounds of Tehran's Niavaran Palace, their rotors
sweeping aside the snow. There was nothing to indicate to a would-be
assassin which aircraft carried His Imperial Majesty Mohammad
Reza Pahlavi Aryamehr, Shahanshah of Iran, King of Kings, Shadow
of the Almighty, Center of the Universe.
The Shah's departure from Iran would bring
about a tumultuous upheaval in the Middle East. It would also
lead to a new threat to the existence of Israel, and ultimately
bring my country into fierce conflict with the United States.
As I studied the intelligence reports of the Shah's last minutes
in the country he had ruled for nearly 40 years, I could be sure
of one thing: When the Shah and his Empress stepped from their
helicopter at Mehrabad Airport and two officers of his Royal Guard
fell to their knees and tried to kiss his feet, it was the end.
He would never return.
Israel decided to act fast to protect its interests. On board
one the last flights that E A made into Tehran before the airport
was closed were 48 Israeli aircrews, all wearing civilian clothes.
A few days later, with the full cooperation
of the commander of the Iranian Air Force-who was later executed-48
F-14 jets were flown out of Iran to an air force base in northern
Sinai. (They were later sold by Israel to the Taiwanese.) As proof
of the Carter administration's blindness, the US. had delivered
these planes to the Shah in September 1978, even before the U.S.
Air Force was supplied with its own. The Shah, whose regime was
crumbling around him, had paid through the nose for them. The
U.S. was relieved that the F- 14s had not fallen into the "wrong
hands." The Israelis had corrected the situation.
On February 1, 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini arrived in Iran
from Paris... There was a complete breakdown in relations between
Israel and Iran, although the American Embassy in Tehran continued
operating... Khomeini won a landslide victory in a national referendum,
and on April 1, he declared Iran an Islamic republic.
As early as September 1979, Israeli intelligence reports from
Baghdad had warned that Iraq was preparing for a full-scale invasion
of southern Iran. Baghdad's aim was to annex the oil-rich Iranian
province of Khuzistan, which runs along the Persian Gulf to Iraq.
And Baghdad had reason to be confident - it saw the Iranian military
in a state of complete disintegration. Most of the generals and
admirals had either escaped Iran or been executed. For the time
being, all the American-trained pilots of the Iranian Air Force
were in jail-every single one of them. The charge: They had not
been diligent and had allowed the F-14 jets, commandeered by Israeli
pilots, to fly away from the Iranian base.
... When reports of Iraqi preparations
to invade Iran started arriving in Tel Aviv, we became extremely
concerned. We believed the Iranian military could not withstand
an Iraqi attack, and the idea of a Greater Iraq with the largest
known oil reserves in the world-bigger than those of the Soviet
Union and of Saudi Arabia-sent shivers through both the Israeli
intelligence community and the political leadership.
Prime Minister Begin personally relayed
our intelligence reports to President Carter, though he had little
faith it would do much good. Begin still loathed Carter for the
peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David. As Begin saw it,
the agreement took Sinai away from Israel, did not create a comprehensive
peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israel's back.
He had signed it only because of Carter's pressure and because
Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan,
both of whom wanted to ingratiate themselves with the Americans,
had urged him to. In addition, while Begin accepted that the downfall
of the Shah had been inevitable, he considered the disorderly
fall of Iran into the hands of Shi'ite extremists to be a direct
result of Carter's ineptitude. Begin had always been convinced
that a regime friendly to the West could have been established
As Israeli fears of an imminent Iraqi
attack on Iran grew, Begin made it clear to Carter that the U.S.
urgently needed to throw its support behind the government of
Mehdi Bazargan, who was up against Iran's extremist Shi'ite groups.
Bazargan was willing to negotiate with the Americans and was prepared
to accept help in reorganizing his military. But Carter and his
administration, in particular National Security Adviser Zbigniew
Brzezinski, dismissed outright Begin's suggestions that the U.S.
support Bazargan. While we were stressing the urgency of the situation,
the wrong-headed US. view, from the administration down to the
CIA and DIA analysts, was that Iran should be allowed to slowly
disintegrate from within until a real leader emerged, supported
by the Americans.
On November 4, 1979, the axe fell. The U.S. had not come to [Iranian
Prime Minister] Bazargan's aid, and the extremist faction in Iran
prevailed. ln a desperate attempt to draw attention to themselves,
the extremists unleashed a number of radical "students"
who took over the U.S. Embassy and held the staff hostage. In
exchange for the release of the hostages, they demanded the immediate
return of the Shah to Iran to face trial. The following day, Bazargan
Instead of trying to play down the issue,
Carter personally took responsibility for the negotiations over
the captives, leaving the radicals with no question as to the
hostages' high value as bargaining chips. It was his greatest
mistake. By making the hostages the biggest national and international
subject on his agenda, Carter had himself become a captive.
He immediately announced a full embargo
on trade with Iran. He froze all money belonging to the Iranian
government in US. banks, and he made a very public issue of the
crisis. His desperate actions humiliated his own country, fueled
the contempt the Iranians already felt for the U.S., and gave
them more ammunition against the Carter administration.
Carter's inept handling of the situation enraged some intelligence
experts outside the administration. In December 1979, a well-known
retired CIA officer, Miles Copeland, gathered a group of CIA-connected
officers and their associates who had been purged from the agency
by Adm. Turner and were very unhappy with the Carter administration
and the CIA leadership. Copeland had helped Kermit Roosevelt and
the Iranian military restore the Shah of Iran to power in 1953,
after the Shah had been overthrown by Mohammed Mossadegh during
the turmoil that followed the nationalization of Iranian oil.
After mobilizing the Iranian military against Mossadegh, CIA officers
had flown to Iran with bags full of $100 bills. They walked through
the bazaar handing out money to whoever shouted: "Long live
the Shah." A good friend of the late Egyptian President Gamal
Abdel Nasser, Copeland was known for his anti-Israel stand. Israeli
intelligence believed him to be the man responsible for the U.S.
pressure put on Israel, Britain, and France in 1956 to pull out
of the Suez Canal area. He was also thought to have been the man
behind the push for the Israelis to withdraw from the Sinai. While
the United States was pressuring the Israelis over the Sinai,
the Soviet Union invaded Hungary without U.S. reaction. Copeland
was criticized for this. Nevertheless, he was still highly regarded
for his analytical abilities.
Besides the purged group gathered around
Copeland, William Casey, a former intelligence officer and close
associate of Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan,
came into the fold. The group also included Robert McFarlane,
a former Marine colonel who had served in Vietnam, and a number
of others with CIA connections. They decided that the U.S. administration
under Carter was incapable of dealing with the Iran issue. They
also saw eye to eye with Israel on the strategic situation in
Iran. The Copeland group and the Israeli government both wanted
to make sure the Iranians were not defeated in the Khuzistan if
and when Iraq attacked, and to make sure that President Carter's
blunders were not repeated.
... The Israelis and the Copeland group
came up with a two-pronged plan to use quiet diplomacy with the
Iranians and to draw up a scheme for military action against Iran
that would not jeopardize the lives of the hostages, who, following
the release of 14, now numbered 52.
In March , the first meeting between the Iranian Supreme
Council's Mehdi Karrubi and Reagan associate William Casey had
taken place in Madrid's Ritz Hotel.
... [Robert] McFarlane reported that Casey
had met separately with [Israeli] opposition leader Shimon Peres
to discuss his willingness to provide military equipment to Iran.
... That first Madrid meeting, as reported
by Robert McFarlane to Rafi Eitan, was arranged to explore future
relations between the United States and Iran and to discuss supplying
arms to Iran against the imminent Iraqi threat. Also discussed
was the release of all Iranian monies frozen in U.S. banks and
the influence the Iranian government would exert over the radical
students to release the hostages. Iran, it was made clear, would
make moves to normalize its relations with the United States.
Karrubi emphasized how impossible it was to deal with the Carter
administration and indicated that he and the Supreme Council were
more than happy to deal quietly with the Republicans.
Khosro Fakhrieh, a close aide to Iran Supreme Council member Ayatollah
"It's quite clear to us, as it must
be to you, that the embarrassment Iran has caused him will cost
Carter the election later this year. With that in mind, we're
willing to make a secret deal with the Republicans - and the CIA."
I asked him what he had in mind, knowing
that what he told me would be the official Iranian line.
"America gets back their people,
our money is freed from U.S. banks, and we also get our arms from
Israel, with the blessing of your U.S. masters.
Israeli intelligence received reports on the second Madrid meeting
from Kashani, McFarlane, and Brian. At this meeting, as reported
to me by Kashani, it was made clear to the Americans that in return
for a promise that they would release frozen Iranian monies after
the Republicans took office in January 1981, and that Israel would
not be castigated by the Republicans or Congress for selling arms
to Iran, the hostages would be released right away.
"You want to know something, An?"
said Kashani. "These Americans don't want their people released
yet. They've now come up with another proposal that a very high
official of the future U.S. administration should meet with Hojjat
El-Islam Karubi and work out the details of the deal with Iran.
It's obvious these guys are procrastinating."
The reason was obvious, too. Even though
steps could be taken immediately to free the hostages, Carter,
as president, would get all the credit. Indeed, we also learned
that the Hashemi brothers, on behalf of the Carter administration,
had made contact with some Iranian officials at about the same
time. Since they could not promise major arms sales through the
Israelis, though, they got nowhere..
"Why don't they just come straight
out and say they don't want their people released before January?"
So we knew as early as May 1980 that the
Iranians were prepared to talk seriously about freeing the hostages.
If they could receive U.S.-made equipment through Israel, the
captives would be freed. Although they didn't want to deal directly
with Carter, they would be happy to use the CIA as an intermediary.
And yet Kashani and I had no doubt that the Republicans and their
unofficial CIA friends were going to keep Carter in the dark and
continue their negotiations at a pace that suited them.
About two weeks after Reagan and Bush officially won the Republican
nominations for president and vice president in mid-July 1980,
the third Madrid meeting took place. Parallel meetings between
the Iranians and the Hashemis, representing the Carter administration,
also occurred. The same issues were discussed, along with future
U.S.-Iranian relations under a Reagan-Bush administration. If
it was not clear beforehand, the cards were now on the table:
The Americans would not commit themselves to any deal regarding
the hostages before January 20, 1981, when the new president would
be sworn in. They said they could not let Israel sell arms to
the Iranians, despite the pleas from Tehran, until the Republicans
were in power.
"Fine. These guys want to be popular
with the American people," Kashani told me in a phone call
from Europe. "Why not get the prisoners released after the
"How do I know?" I said. "Ask
your American friends." But the answer was obvious. The Republicans
were going to wait until they could take all the credit.
The delay until after January 20, 1981, in getting U.S.-approved
military aid to Iran worried a great many people at the highest
levels of the Israeli government. If Iran was going to defend
itself against Iraq's invasion, it needed weapons immediately.
Saddam Hussein loomed as an expansionist presence in the Arab
world the single most dangerous threat to Israel's existence.
From Israel's point of view, he had to be stopped.
... The rationale for helping the Khomeini
government was straightforward. If the Iranians fought the Iraqis,
their soldiers would be killed instead of ours. Moreover, the
war not only diverted Arab attention away from Israel, but also
drained the Arab countries of money. From Likud's point of view,
since Camp David, Israel had lost its edge as a strategic asset
to the U.S. in the Middle East. The "moderate" Arab
countries-Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan-were still anti-Israel,
but they were accepted by the United States. Israel was becoming
increasingly isolated. So as we now saw it, the rise of Khomeini
was one of the best things that had happened to us in years. He
was radical, anti-American, and anti-Arab. He was doing our job,
and we believed it was in our national security interest to support
... In December 1980, I received an important
assignment. Sa] called me into his office. I guessed that the
urgent summons would have something to do with Israel's covert
dealings with Iran. But his first words surprised me: "An,
I'm giving you the enviable task of picking up $52 million."
Before I could say anything, he added:
"What I'm going to ask of you is not part of the committee
work-it's part of a deal we've arranged with the Americans over
the release of the hostages. In simple terms, $52 million has
to be delivered to the Iranians before the new president's inauguration
on January 20."
"That's fine," I said. 'And
which bank do I collect it from?"
Sagi paused and paced up and down the
office for a while. "It's actually not that simple. You're
going to have to take a trip to Guatemala. There, the Saudi ambassador
will hand over to you $56 million...
"No, $56 million. An extra payment
has to be made."
The extra $4 million, I was instructed,
was to be deposited in the Valley National Bank of Arizona at
its main branch in Phoenix on Camelback Road. I was given a bank
account number. The name of the account holder was Earl Brian.
The remainder of the money, $52 million, was to be handed over
to Kashani in Europe.
I couldn't help wondering: Why Guatemala?
... Why the Saudis? ... Why Earl Brian?
The director looked hard at me. "I
don't have to spell out for you how most of the payment has been
worked out," he answered. "You were present when the
Iranians made it clear that their radical leadership had to be
paid $52 million. Ayatollah Khomeini is not totally in control,
and they don't want a political confrontation in Iran. The Americans
cannot arrange the money from the U.S. budget because the Americans
we're dealing with are not in the government-yet. So they've asked
their Saudi friends to help them."
"Is this Saudi money?"
"No, it's CIA-connected. But the
Saudis helped arrange for the banking of it."
Pieces of the jigsaw began to fall into
place. I, like many others, was aware of a band of former Israeli
intelligence officers who were running a drug- and arms-smuggling
operation in Central America, backed by the CIA.
"Is this drug profit money from Central
Don't ask too many questions, my friend."
On January 20, 1981, the world turned on its TV sets to watch
the inauguration of Ronald Reagan and George Bush as president
and vice president of the United States. Just as Reagan was being
sworn in, there was a flash announcement from Associated Press.
I was one of the few who felt no emotion or surprise at the news
that the hostages in Tehran had been released.
Between 1975 and 1977, [Ariel] Sharon was a private citizen who
was trying to build a fortune dealing in arms in Central America.
... Sharon's network had been able to
provide military equipment from Israel to various Central American
countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica,
and even Mexico. This was never official Israeli government policy,
and it was owned upon by the cabinet itself, but Sharon was too
wild a goose for anybody to handle. So Sharon's private network
bought their weapons from Israeli government factories and got
their export licenses from the Israeli government.
... It was in 1981 that they started supplying
a secret army in Central America, the contras, who were trying
to destabilize and eventually bring about the downfall of the
Sandinista government of Nicaragua, which had come to power in
1979. Sharon, with all his power, could not force the prime minister
or the leaders of the Israeli intelligence community to pay for
weapons from the slush fund that had grown out of the Iran arms
sales. So, with the backing of Gates and the CIA, some members
of the group created their own fund. They did this by transporting
cocaine from South America to the United States via Central America.
A major player was Manuel Noriega, who had known George Bush since
he had been the CIA chief in the mid-1970s. Hundreds of tons of
cocaine poured into the United States, and another handy slush
fund was created.
To avoid placing all the golden eggs in one basket, 200 bank accounts
were opened in 27 reputable banks around the world, but at any
given time only about a quarter of these accounts were active.
Accountants in Vienna, London, Sydney, New York, and Tel Aviv
had the power to shift these monies from account to account once
every few months, but they had no power to draw money. This was
a safeguard to ensure that funds did not go astray and end up
in an account that nobody else knew about-it was insurance against
the individual accountants, who were changed within their firm
from time to time. Anyone on the track of the money would have
trouble keeping up.
By 1983 the slush fund was running like
a well-oiled machine. Once a year the 200 numbered accounts in
Europe would be changed, and the names of the paper companies
would be altered. The only name that was never changed was that
of the holding group, Ora.
The unwritten rule we operated under was
that Israel would not go directly to the arms manufacturers or
the weapons industries. Whenever we deemed it necessary to buy
American equipment from the United States, either from the manufacturers
or from stocks held by the U.S. military, we would approach the
designated CIA people. They in turn would purchase the arms and
place them at the ready for our collection in warehouses. These
were usually at Marana, a CIA airbase near Tucson, Arizona. The
first batch of weapons was flown out of there in October 1981.
If, on the other hand, we were buying U.S. materiel from NATO
stocks in Europe, the hand-over would be at Liege, Belgium. Israel
would fly in chartered cargo planes to pick up the materiel, and
then the aircraft would return to Tel Aviv. From there they would
either fly directly to Tehran or to a second country before carrying
the weapons on to Iran Sometimes a third country would be used.
In 1983, for example, to cover our tracks - and as a lesson learned
from the downing of one of our planes - aircraft loaded with arms
landed in Western Australia, en route to Tehran, with the permission
of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, which knew
what was on board.
Other favorite countries used in the smokescreen
were Guatemala, Peru, Kenya, Paraguay, and South Africa. If Paraguay
was used, the planes flew on to South Africa-the same route normally
taken by the CIA when shipping arms to South Africa. So Paraguayan
officials who were aware of the South African trade assumed that
an aircraft landing in Asunción and filled with weapons
was on its way to South Africa, when in fact its final destination
Britain was also involved, but Margaret Thatcher's government
had a slightly different way of carrying these things out. Unknown
to the British people, their government had been supplying military
equipment to the South Africans for years. Mossad files are full
of incidents of Liberian-registered ships leaving Southampton
loaded with artillery shells and electronics for South African
fighter aircraft. Prime Minister Thatcher allowed the use of the
same channels to supply materiel for Iran.
As far as the world was concerned, Israel-and the Americans-had
clean hands, but on the war front, the reality was that the Iranians
were blasting the Iraqis with U. S.-made TOWs. Once they got through
the first 4,000, another 4,000 were to come from NATO stocks in
Europe, followed by a further 4,000 from the US., coming through
Guatemala and Australia - 12,000 TOWs in all up to 1987.
While our slush funds grew steadily, unusual overhead costs diminished
the profits. True, we were selling weapons to the Iranians with
a 50 percent to 400 percent mark-up on the exfactory price, but
the actual cost of procuring and delivering them was high, too.
There was a huge network of arms brokers to be paid, money to
be handed over to those involved in "smokescreen" deals,
bribes to be paid to politicians and civil servants, campaign
"donations" to be made around the world, and other expenses.
The "donations" sometimes cost more than the weapons
Contributions were even made from the
slush fund, albeit indirectly, to U.S. politicians, including
Democrats on the IranContra panel. This may be one reason that
the full story behind the Iran-contra scandal never materialized.
Even though Israel leaked details about some of Oliver North's
activities, the Democrats, many of whom were well aware of what
was going on, kept quiet about the huge flood of arms that had
been running to Iran through Israel. Tel Aviv, not wanting its
own arms deals with Tehran to be exposed, had paid them off through
various, often convoluted, contributions to the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). I don't know who at AIPAC knew
the ultimate source of these contributions, but it was clear someone
In Britain our committee passed money
in the same fashion to the Jewish Reform Movement, confident that
this money would be channeled to the Conservative Party. Because
of the friendship with Britain, the Mossad European operations
headquarters was moved in 1982 from Paris to London and set up
in a building on Bayswater Road.
A further example of the very special
friendship that Israel established with Britain came when the
Falklands war erupted. Israel froze the sale of weapons to Argentina,
despite existing contracts for Kfir aircraft. As a result, the
British government, covertly but officially, reimbursed Israel
for its losses on the contracts. Of course it was known throughout
the intelligence community that Israel was also keeping British
politicians happy through the Jewish Reform Movement's Torah Fund.
The third and last main purpose for the slush-fund money was to
finance the housing projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for
Jewish settlers who had been taking over Palestinian land there.
Since many members of the U.S. Congress saw these housing projects
as a provocation that would impede peace in the Middle East, a
lot of US. aid to Israel prohibited the use of the money for building
in the West Bank. As part of the coalition, the Labor Party, keen
to participate in a peace conference, was also against a government
project for West Bank housing.
The answer, as far as Likud was concerned,
was to draw on the slush fund. Tens of millions of dollars were
used in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to help build the foundations
for new Jewish settlements and to buy the land from the Arabs.
Although much land was simply confiscated and more taken through
condemnation for government purposes, many Arabs, forbidden by
the PLO to sell land to the Jews in the West Bank, nevertheless
did so at inflated prices, even though they were putting their
lives at risk should they be caught.
What they did was sell to various foreign
Jewish front companies that were actually financed by the joint
Committee. Many West Bank Arabs became wealthy selling their land,
taking the money and emigrating to other countries. As far as
Likud was concerned, it was money well spent, because it was encouraging
the Arabs to emigrate, while leaving land for the Jews to move
onto. Their houses would also be subsidized by the slush fund.
Whenever money was to be disbursed in
a big way for the West Bank, the aid of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson,
the Lubavicher Rebbe, whose court is in Brooklyn, New York, was
enlisted. He gave his blessing, and through his financial institutions,
large amounts of money were funneled to Drexel Burnham, the now
bankrupt brokerage house where crooked stockbroker Michael Milken
built his junk-bond fortune. At times, billions of dollars paid
out by the Iranians for arms they were going to receive - along
with profits from earlier deals waiting to be disbursed - were
held at various interest rates by Drexel on behalf of our front
companies after they were funneled through American banks.
From March 1981 to the end of 1987 Iran spent the incredible sum
of more than $82 billion on equipment sent from the United States,
Israel, Europe, South America (especially Brazil and Argentina),
and South Africa. The Iranians gratefully received it all - old
tanks, aircraft (including old French Mirages from Argentina),
TOWs, electronics, radar systems, small arms, artillery, Hawk
air-to-ground missiles, Chinese Silkworm missiles, North Korean
Scud missiles, Katusha shells captured in Lebanon by Israel, cannons-hundreds
of thousands of tons of weaponry, whether it came straight from
the factory or was the remnant of some long-dead war. Vast profits
were made by the middlemen. Iran, maintaining an army of approximately
800,000 men, faced a formidable Iraqi military force which was
adding to its already well-equipped arsenal from the Soviet Union
and France. Iraq was soaking up sophisticated weapons - MiG fighters,
SU fighters, and French Mirage 2000s. Like the Iranians, they
too were spending a fortune. As arms suppliers, the Western world
and the Soviet Union could rub their hands together in glee. As
someone has pointed out, if a question had been put to a computer
about what needed to be done to: 1) get the Arabs off Israel's
back; 2) part the Arabs from their money; 3) keep the Iranians
contained-and part them from their money; 4) keep the oil flowing;
5) make sure the world recycled its old military equipment; 6)
keep the Soviets happy; and 7) make a lot of arms dealers and
defense contractors rich, it could not have come up with a better
solution than the Iraq-Iran war.
The frightening story of the Promis program begins in the United
States in the late 1960s when communications expert William Hamilton,
who had spent time in Vietnam during the war setting up listening
posts to monitor the communist forces, was assigned to a research
and development unit of the U.S. National Security Agency. Fluent
in Vietnamese, Hamilton helped create a computerized Vietnamese-English
dictionary for the intelligence agency. While working there, Hamilton
also started work on an extremely sophisticated database program
that could interface with data banks in other computers. By the
early 1970s, he was well on the way with his research and realized
he had a keg of dynamite in his hands.
The program he was developing would have
the ability to track the movements of vast numbers of people around
the world. Dissidents or citizens who needed to be kept under
watch would be hard put to move freely again without Big Brother
keeping an eye on their activities.
... It would work like this: A nation's
spy organization would buy Promis and have it installed in its
computers at headquarters. Using a modem, the spy network would
then tap into the computers of such services as the telephone
company, the water board, other utility commissions, credit card
companies, etc. Promis would then search for specific information.
For example, if a person suddenly started using more water and
more electricity and making more phone calls than usual, it might
be suspected he had guests staying with him. Promis would then
start searching for the records of his friends and associates,
and if it was found that one had stopped using electricity and
water, it might be assumed, based on other records stored in Promis,
that the missing person was staying with the subject of the investigation.
This would be enough to have him watched if, for example, he had
been involved in previous conspiracies. Promis would search through
its records and produce details of those conspiracies, even though
the person might have been operating under a different name in
the past-the program was sophisticated enough to find a detail
that would reveal his true identity.
This information might also be of interest
to Israel, which is where the trap door would come into play.
By dialing into the central computer of any foreign intelligence
agency using Promis, an Israeli agent with a modem need only type
in certain secret code words to gain access. Then he could ask
for information on the person and get it all on his computer screen.
According to computer experts I have spoken
to in Israel, the trap door is undetectable. Nations receiving
Promis might wonder if there was any trickery by Israel, but they
would not be able to find anything-especially as it was experts
provided by Israel who installed the program.
In 1985 Guatemala started to be used heavily as a drug transit
point to the United States from South America. MejIa, the Chief
of the Nation, was, in fact, a much bigger drug boss than Noriega.
Massive amounts of drugs were shipped into the United States,
and part of the revenue went back to Guatemala to help finance
the Promis operation. This would all have been impossible without
the wink and the nod that the CIA gave.
In Transkei, Degem was of immense help
to the white South African regime. Promis was trap-doored because
the Israelis were interested in a number of people in South Africa.
Promis, in effect, was a killing machine used against black revolutionary
groups, including the African National Congress. Almost 12,000
activists were affected by the beginning of 1986-picked up, disappeared,
or maimed in "black-on-black" violence. "Kushi
kills Kushi" became a well-known term in Israeli intelligence
circles with Chief Gatsha Buthelesi's black death squads doing
the dirty work.
It was a simple operation: As a result
of Maxwell buying Degem, Promis was installed in the Transkei.
It pulled in information on dissidents, and death lists were drawn
up and handed over to Buthelesi and his group, who went out on
the rampage to finish them off.
On November 3, 1986, a small Lebanese paper, Al Shiraa, published
an article detailing Oliver North's secret deals with Iran.
... In February 1987, while [Senator John]
Tower was investigating a minor part of the sales to Iran, the
Joint Israel-Iran Committee, together with Robert Gates, ran the
biggest-ever arms supply operation to Iran. The official inquiry
was better than any smokescreen we, with all our skills at such
things, could have dreamed up.
Under the noses of the American people,
4,000 TOW missiles were flown out of Marana Base in Arizona to
Guatemala and were shipped through Australia, where they were
temporarily parked in the western part of that country. But there
was a great deal more on the move. Apart from the TOWs, radar
and electronic materiel, and Hawk surface-to-air missiles from
the U.S., this is what was sent to Iran-while Congress and the
rest of the world remained ignorant:
* From Israel: 128 U.S. tanks; 200,000
Israeli-made Katusha rockets said to have been "captured"
from the PLO in Lebanon; 122mm artillery shells; 105mm artillery
shells; 61mm rockets; 51mm rockets; air-to-air missiles; small
arms; tens of millions of rounds of ammunition.
* Poland and Bulgaria: 8,000 SAM-7 surface-to-air
missiles; 100,000 AK-47s; millions of rounds of ammunition.
* China: Silkworm sea-to-sea missiles;
armored cars; amphibious personnel carriers. China helped Iran
because the Iraqis weren't happy with Chinese light tanks-which
suited Beijing because Saddam Hussein had developed a reputation
as an unreliable business partner.
* North Korea and Vietnam: artillery shells;
* Sweden: 105mm artillery barrels.
* Belgium: Air-to-air missiles.
Israel became very good at copying weapons
and alleging that they had been captured in Lebanon, while the
reality was they had come out of Tel Aviv factories. As for the
Silkworm sea-to-sea missiles from China, they were brokered for
Israel by Saul Eisenberg, who is not related to the Eisenbergs
arrested in the Bermuda sting.
One of the richest men in the world, Eisenberg
at present runs his private arms-dealing operation from an office
building at 4 Weizman Street, Tel Aviv-the same block on which
the CIA "cutout" company, GeoMiliTech, was housed. Eisenberg
was able to sell Chinese weapons because he was married to a South
Korean woman who had connections with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai
back in the 1950s. Because of his strong links, all Israel's business
relations with China have to be conducted through him. When a
member of the Joint Committee asked him to broker weapons for
Iran, he readily agreed and even helped arrange for "parking"
temporarily in a third country-Australia. Once again, although
certain government officials in Western Australia and members
of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization knew about
the operation, the general public was kept in dark.
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