[Marxism] Hamas to Show an Improved Hand
walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 5 03:52:19 MDT 2007
Underestimating people you don't agree with is a common human trait.
Some people have so much contempt for the people they've trampled on
through the years that they can't imagine these people -be they
Black, be they Arabs, be the undocumented immigrants, would stand up
and fight back. Naturally, exposing the dirty business of those who
claim to be the world champions of "democracy" all over the planet, a
"democracy" they plan to impose on the rest of the planet, can help
teach the people who really stands for democracy.
Of course, that's part of what Cuba did in 2003, exposing to the
world some - and I emphasize *some*, of what the U.S. intelligence
services were up to in their efforts to destabilize Cuba in hopes of
overthrowing the Revolution there. Washington held a series of SECRET
hearings as it prepared the reports of the so-called "transition"
commissions for a "free" Cuba. The reports even contain secret
sections not disclosed to the public.
Targeted groups, countries and movements can hardly be blamed for
bringing to public light what's being done to them, can they?
Lenin and the Bolsheviks exposed Tsarist secret treaties to
public scrutiny in the early years of the Russian Revolution.
Los Angeles, California
The Wall Street Journal
July 30, 2007
Hamas to Show an Improved Hand
Organization Aims to Capitalize
On Intelligence Gains From Gaza Takeover
By CAM SIMPSON in Jerusalem and NEIL KING JR. in Washington
July 30, 2007; Page A4
When the Islamist group Hamas conquered the Gaza Strip in June it
seized an intelligence-and-military infrastructure created with U.S.
help by the security chiefs of the Palestinian territory's former
According to current and former Israeli intelligence officials,
former U.S. intelligence personnel and Palestinian officials, Hamas
has increased its inventory of arms since the takeover of Gaza and
picked up technical expertise -- such as espionage techniques -- that
could assist the group in its fight against Israel or Washington's
Palestinian allies, the Fatah movement founded by Yasser Arafat.
Hamas leaders say they acquired thousands of paper files, computer
records, videos, photographs and audio recordings containing valuable
and potentially embarrassing intelligence information gathered by
Fatah. For more than a decade, Fatah operated a vast intelligence
network in Gaza established under the tutelage of the Central
o The Find: Palestinian group Hamas seized rival Fatah's
intelligence-and-military infrastructure, which was built with U.S.
o What's at Stake: Secrets, expertise and technology are now in the
hands of a group the U.S. calls a terrorist organization.
o The Damage: Though the ultimate impact is difficult to determine,
Hamas leaders say they will make some details public and share others
with Arab governments.
Hamas leaders are expected as early as tomorrow to go public with
some of the documents and the secrets they hold.
The exact nature of the threat posed by the intelligence grab in Gaza
-- including any damage to U.S. intelligence operations in the
Palestinian territories and the broader Middle East -- is difficult
to ascertain. U.S. and Israeli officials generally tried to play down
any losses, saying any intelligence damage is likely minimal.
But a number of former U.S. intelligence officials, including some
who have worked closely with the Palestinians, said there was ample
reason to worry that Hamas has acquired access to important spying
technology as well as intelligence information that could be helpful
to Hamas in countering Israeli and U.S. efforts against the group.
"People are worried, and reasonably so, about what kind of
intelligence losses we may have suffered," said one former U.S.
intelligence official with extensive experience in Gaza.
A U.S. government official said he doubted serious secrets were
compromised in the Gaza takeover. Other officials said they had no
reason to believe that U.S. spying operations elsewhere in the Arab
world had been compromised.
Close ties between Hamas and the governments of Iran and Syria also
mean that intelligence-and-spying techniques could be shared with the
main Middle East rivals of the Bush administration. As the White
House prepares to lead an international effort to bolster Fatah's
security apparatus in the West Bank, the losses in Gaza stand as an
example of how efforts to help Fatah can backfire.
The compromised intelligence Hamas says it now has ranges widely. The
group alleges it has videos used in a sexual-blackmail operation run
by Washington's allies inside Fatah's security apparatus. But the
group also says it has uncovered detailed evidence of
Fatah-controlled spying operations carried out in Arab and Muslim
countries for the benefit of the U.S. and other foreign governments.
Hamas also alleges that Fatah intelligence operatives cooperated with
Israeli intelligence officials to target Islamist leaders for
"What we have is good enough for us to completely reveal the
practices [of Fatah-controlled security services], both locally and
throughout the region," said Khalil al Hayya, a senior Hamas official
in Gaza, who has assumed a leading role on the intelligence issue for
the Islamist group.
Michael Scheuer, a former top CIA counterterrorism analyst who left
the agency in 2004, said the U.S. had provided the Fatah-controlled
Palestinian Authority with "substantial help" in training as well as
computers, other equipment and analytical tools. Other former
intelligence officials confirmed that the U.S. gave Fatah-controlled
services sophisticated intelligence-gathering equipment, including
eavesdropping technology, though these officials wouldn't provide
more precise details about the technology.
This kind of technology, along with the knowledge it yields, is
broadly known in intelligence circles as "Sigint," which is shorthand
for "signals intelligence." It can include eavesdropping equipment,
devices used for intercepting radio, microwave and telephone
communications and telemetry technology that allows the user to
pinpoint the location of someone holding a communication device, such
as a cellphone.
"The United States invested a lot of effort in setting up this system
in Gaza -- construction, equipment, training. filings, the logistics,
the transportation. It was a big operation, and it's now in the hands
of the other side," said Efraim Halevy, who formerly headed both the
Mossad, which is Israel's foreign-intelligence agency, and Israel's
National Security Council. Mr. Halevy said, however, that he didn't
want to overemphasize the value of Hamas's potential intelligence
Avi Dichter, Israel's public-security minister and the former head of
Shin Bet, the domestic intelligence-and-counterterrorism agency, also
said he didn't want to overemphasize the potential benefits to Hamas.
But he confirmed that the Islamist group seized Sigint technology and
expertise during its Gaza sweep. He declined to provide specifics,
but said it had been provided by the Americans, the British and the
Mr. Dichter, who left the Shin Bet when his five-year term as its
chief ended in 2005, also said the potential damage goes beyond
Hamas's ability to turn the technology against its enemies. Now, he
said, the militants could gain an understanding of how such
technology is used against them, allowing them to adopt more
sophisticated counter measures.
"It's not only the tools. It's also the philosophy that's behind
them," he said.
Hamas leaders are being vague about the equipment and technological
know-how they captured. Mr. Hayya said some important former Fatah
operatives in Gaza, all of whom were granted amnesty after Hamas took
over, were now cooperating with the group on intelligence matters.
Easier to assess is the threat posed by the military hardware Hamas
picked up after the takeover. The militant group seized an arsenal of
arms and munitions captured from U.S.-backed security forces loyal to
Fatah and its leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Mr. Dichter said Hamas gained roughly the same number of weapons
during a few days that it would have taken the group nearly a year to
amass from smuggling operations.
Hamas says it is using the armaments to build a popular army in Gaza.
Israeli intelligence and security officials estimate the Islamist
group has some 13,000 armed men in Gaza.
As for Fatah's secrets, Hamas leaders say they grabbed intelligence
stashes from three locations: the headquarters in Gaza City of the
Preventive Security Force; the Palestinian Authority intelligence
headquarters, which were housed in a Gaza City office known as "Il
Safina," or "the ship"; and a nearby satellite-intelligence office
dubbed, "Il Mashtal," or "the nursery."
As Hamas fighters moved in during their June sweep across Gaza, Fatah
officials burned some papers and stripped data from computers. But
the Hamas conquest was so quick that significant caches remained for
the taking, according to the militant group.
All three sites were long under the sway of Fatah strongman Mohammed
Dahlan, who first became an important CIA ally in Gaza in 1996. At
the time, then-CIA director George Tenet began working openly with
Mr. Dahlan and other Palestinian officials to build up security
services aimed at combating the rise of Hamas and like-minded
extremist groups that rejected the Oslo peace accords.
Through a spokesman, Mr. Tenet declined to comment on the CIA-Fatah
cooperation, his relationship with Mr. Dahlan or Hamas's gains. Mr.
Dahlan on Thursday formally resigned his Palestinian Authority post.
Mr. Dahlan hasn't commented publicly since resigning and he couldn't
be located for comment. Associates in the West Bank said he was
Mr. Hayya, the senior Hamas leader, said hundreds of the group's
Hamas's operatives have been culling through and analyzing the
intelligence troves since their seizure, with specialists in
security, forensic accounting and administration conducting detailed
assessments. Significant portions of these assessments are close to
completion, Mr. Hayya said.
Some of the most potentially explosive claims from Hamas center on
the alleged activities beyond the Gaza Strip of Palestinian agents
loyal to Fatah. Mr. Hayya alleged the CIA utilized Palestinian agents
for covert intelligence operations in other Middle Eastern countries.
Hamas, he said, now possesses a roadmap detailing the names and
actions of "those men whom thought were going to continue to be their
hand across the region."
Some former U.S. intelligence officials who worked closely with
the Palestinian Authority confirmed that such overseas spying
arrangements beyond Gaza existed with the Palestinians in the past
and said they likely continued, bolstering the credibility of Hamas's
Whitley Bruner, a longtime CIA officer in the Middle East, recalled
that "some of our first really good information on [Osama] bin Laden
in Sudan" in the early 1990s "came from Palestinian sources." Before
leaving the agency in 1997, Mr. Bruner participated in many of the
first cooperative sessions organized by Mr. Tenet between the CIA and
"It's not unlikely that continued to do things for the U.S. well
beyond the territories," Mr. Bruner said. "Palestinians are embedded
all over the place, so they have access to things that the U.S.
Others are more circumspect. Bruce Reidel, who worked for nearly 30
years as a U.S. Middle East specialist, both as a CIA intelligence
officer and as an adviser to Presidents Clinton and Bush, said there
is sure to be "quite a treasure trove of materials that would
document relationship with the CIA." Mr. Reidel said during his time
in government, which ended in 2005, "the Palestinians were always
trying to prove that they had unique access and information," but he
said he was skeptical of Hamas's claims that such operations ventured
far beyond Gaza and the West Bank.
Mr. Hayya alleges that while many officials from Arab and Muslim
nations knew Mr. Dahlan was cooperating with U.S. intelligence
agencies inside the Palestinian territories, many of those same
leaders "are going to be amazed and surprised when they discover had
actually worked against them for the Americans." He wouldn't directly
answer a question about which nations were allegedly being spied on,
but he said Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had the
most to be concerned about from potential disclosures.
Jabril Rajoub, a Fatah rival to Mr. Dahlan who was long his West Bank
counterpart and most recently served as Mr. Abbas's national security
adviser, said he was aware of the alleged outlines of these
operations, though he said he was unaware of their details. He called
the Gaza-based network a "for-hire" intelligence operation, adding
that it was active around the Middle East and provided information to
the Americans, the British and others.
Mr. Hayya also said there is a substantial amount of evidence
detailing cooperation between Fatah and Israel. There is evidence
several militant leaders were targeted as a result of such
cooperation, he alleged. This includes circumstantial evidence that
he was personally targeted in an Israeli assassination attempt after
he was fingered by Fatah intelligence officers as a top security
After taking over Gaza, Mr. Hayya said Hamas recovered notes from a
meeting of senior Palestinian Authority intelligence officials in
which they discussed Mr. Hayya's value to the Islamist group. On May
20, less than a week after the meeting, an Israeli missile was fired
into his home, killing eight people. Mr. Hayya was en route at the
time, but says the strike came about five minutes after his
35-year-old cousin, Ibrahim, entered the home. The Hamas leader
said he and his cousin look very similar.
"They thought it was me," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Shin Bet declined to comment.
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