Documents: Mahmoud Abbas Former KGB, Syria

KGB document claims Mahmoud Abbas was an agent in Damascus

A KGB document that was revealed by Israel’s Channel 1 claims that in 1983, the Palestinian Authority President was an agent in Damascus. Senior level PA officials rejected the claims and accused Israel of attempting to damage the President’s image.

JerusalemOnline: According to a document that was released this evening (Wednesday) by Israel’s Channel 1, PA President Mahmoud Abbas was an undercover Soviet agent in Syria more than 30 years ago. The story was reported by Channel 1’s foreign news desk editor Oren Nahari.

According to the report, the details were revealed in documents that KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin brought with him to the West. Among the documents was a list from 1938 that included the names of Palestinian sources and agents in Damascus.

image descriptionPhoto Credit: The Mitrokhin Archives/Channel 2 News

In the list, it is clearly listed that Mahmoud Abbas, whose code name was Krotov (mole), was a KGB agent in Syria. Mitrokhin’s archives were made available to researchers recently and the list found its way to the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez.

It is unclear whether Abbas was an agent before or after 1983. In the document, the code name Krotov is listed as “Mahmoud Abbas, born in 1935 of Palestinian origin.”

The PA responded to the report by rejecting the claims. Senior level PA officials asserted that this was a joke and an Israeli attempt to damage Abbas’ name in light of the political deadlock.

Related reading: Mitrokhin’s KGB archive opens to public 

Mitrokhin Archive

The Mitrokhin Archive consists of summarized notes taken by Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to the United Kingdom after the fall of the Soviet Union. Primarily, this collection contains items from his “Chekist Anthology,” which covers activities of the secret Soviet organization Cheka in places such as Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, and Egypt. For more context, please read the “Note on Sources” and biography of Mitrokhin below, all of which should be read before any other documents. See also Intelligence Operations in the Cold War and the Vassiliev Notebooks. (Image, Mitrokhin) No image found.

Meanwhile:

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian authorities continue talks with the leadership of Israel and Palestine to organize a meeting of their presidents, but such meeting is not on the agenda yet, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.  

Earlier media reports suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were considering coming to Moscow for Russia-mediated talks in late September.  

“[This meeting] is not on the agenda at the moment,” Peskov told reporters.

“You know that the special presidential representative for the Middle East was in the region, he continues his work, he continues his contacts with the corresponding sides,” he added.

**** YNetNews: The report claims that information was taken from documents smuggled to the West by Vasili Mitrokhin who was a major and senior archivist for the KGB. Mitrokhin eventually became a defector against the Soviet regime and fled to the West in possession of many documents which he smuggled from Russia to London.

The Mitrokhin Archive was opened to public researchers just a few months ago. The relevant document reached researchers at the Truman Institute’s, Dr. Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, who previously worked for Israel’s Voice of Israel (Kol Yisrael).

Contained in the documents is, among other things, a list list of sources from 1983, aids and Palestinian agents of the KGB in Damascus. Listed among them is Mahmoud Abbas, born in 1935, under the codename of ‘Kortov’—mole—and marked as a KGB agent in Syria.

Mitrokhin’s documents reveal the identities of more than one thousand spies and collaborators who worked for the KGB. Indeed, investigators have emphasized that Mahmoud Abbas is listed not as a collaborator or someone who could be turned into a spy, but categorically as a KGB agent.

“The full archive of Mitrokhin was opened to researchers only last year and we ordered the entire file on the Middle East numbered 24. It was sent to us from Cambridge University and we read it point by point,” Remez said. “The source is extremely reliable when not all the details are known.”

 

According to the list, Abbas was an agent in 1983 but it is not yet known whether he also was before or after that year. A preliminary conclusion that has been drawn is that he was recruited to the KGB when he was a student in Moscow when he wrote a doctoral dissertation in which he grossly played down the crimes of the Holocaust.

 

$1.7 Billion to Iran to be Spent this Way?

Iran ‘is running covert war in Syria costing BILLIONS from top secret spymaster HQ near Damascus airport’, with 60000 fighters

Iran is shoring up the Syrian regime from a secret HQ in Damascus nicknamed ‘the Glasshouse’ – and commanding a huge covert army in support of Assad, according to leaked intelligence passed by activists to MailOnline.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran ( NCRI ) claims that the theocratic state’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has spent billions in hardware for its ally Bashar al-Assad in the last five years  – and runs operations on the ground from a five-floor monolith near Damascus airport.
The Iranian HQ, which plays a pivotal role in supporting Assad’s regime alongside Russia, contains intelligence and counterintelligence operations, and has vaults packed with millions of dollars in cash flown in from Tehran, claims the NCRI.
The allegations are contained in a dossier of reports apparently leaked by senior sources inside Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and collated by the dissident activists who oppose the Iranian regime.
The dossier – which was described as ‘credible’ by intelligence experts – makes the bold claims that Iran controls the biggest fighting force in Syria; has military bases throughout the splintered state; and has amassed a war-chest far greater than feared in support of Bashar Assad.

Much more to this story found here.

Six Key Unanswered Questions About the $1.7 Billion Ransom Payment to Iran

Over the past several weeks, the Obama administration has dodged questions, invented excuses, and misled the public to spin the apparent $1.7 billion ransom payment to Iran. So far this has left us with more questions than answers, particularly as it relates to the $1.3 billion “interest” payment.

As Speaker Ryan said earlier this month, “The president owes the American people a full accounting of his actions and the dangerous precedent he has set.”

Here are six key questions the president still needs to answer:

1. Why was the $1.3 billion transferred through an unknown central bank while the $400 million was paid in cash?

2. Why were these payments made separately?

3. Why wasn’t the $400 million paid through the central bank?

4. Was the $1.3 billion wired or paid in cash?

5. Was there a license issued to the unnamed central bank to shield it from sanctions under the Iran Transactions and Sanctions Regulations?

6. Is there a formal settlement agreement from the dispute at the Hague Tribunal?

The House will consider legislation later this month to address this dangerous ransom payment.

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Khamenei: We will develop our defensive and offensive capabilities. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the development of Iran’s “defensive and offensive capabilities” an “inalienable and clear right” during a meeting with officials from the Defense Ministry. Khamenei noted that developing weapons of mass destruction “including chemical and nuclear weapons” is prohibited but added that “besides these restrictions, there are no limitations on the development of our defensive and military capabilities. Advancing in these domains is our duty.”

President Hassan Rouhani called for enhanced defensive power through military and private sector collaboration; he also declared that Iran can purchase and sell weapons as it sees fit. The Defense Ministry unveiled an advanced short-range ballistic missile. The Iranian and British embassies reopened in Tehran and London after a four-year closure.

President Rouhani underlined the importance of integrating the military and private industry in order to advance the nation’s defensive capabilities. He also emphasized that Iran’s military doctrine is predicated on defense in an effort to allay concerns shared by some Arab states over the regime’s conventional capabilities. Rouhani reassured his domestic audiences that the nuclear deal will not limit Iran’s defense capacity, claiming: “We will sell and buy weapons whenever and wherever we deem it necessary… we will not wait for permission…or any resolution.” Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan stressed that Iran will not waver from its determination to strengthen its defense capabilities. The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, introduced the Fateh 313 precision-guided missile, which runs on solid fuel with a reported range of 500 kilometers.

National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari criticized the Rouhani administration for failing to strengthen the economy, claiming: “Mr. Rouhani made promises to the people regarding the improvement of the economic situation, but today, not much has emerged.” The former senior IRGC commander stated, “Unfortunately, the current government does not tolerate fair criticism…”

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond traveled to Iran on August 23 to reopen his country’s embassy in Tehran. Hammond and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a joint press conference to mark the resumption of Tehran-London ties. The British Foreign Secretary also met with President Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials. 

Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Undersecretary for Strategic Affairs Ali Hosseini Tash rejected a recent Associated Press report alleging that he signed a secret agreement with the IAEA, which purportedly allows Iran to use its own inspectors to monitor the Parchin military site. 

State Dept: Country Reports on Terrorism 2015

Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, all in our hemisphere get major passes from the State Department.

Related reading: The 50 most violent cities in the world

Related reading: The world’s most dangerous and safest countries revealed  Interactive map for rankings is found here.

 

Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the “Act”), which requires the Department of State to provide to Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act.

Beginning with the report for 2004, it replaced the previously published Patterns of Global Terrorism.

 

Chapters

Chapter 1. Strategic Assessment
Chapter 2. Country Reports: Africa Overview
Chapter 2. Country Reports: East Asia and Pacific Overview
Chapter 2. Country Reports: Europe Overview
Chapter 2. Country Reports: Middle East and North Africa Overview
Chapter 2. Country Reports: South and Central Asia Overview
Chapter 2. Country Reports: Western Hemisphere Overview
Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview
Chapter 4: The Global Challenge of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism
Chapter 5: Terrorist Safe Havens (Update to 7120 Report)
Chapter 6. Foreign Terrorist Organizations
Chapter 7. Legislative Requirements and Key Terms

Annexes

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism: Annex of Statistical Information [Get Acrobat Reader PDF version   ]
Terrorism Deaths, Injuries and Kidnappings of Private U.S. Citizens Overseas in 2015

Full Report

Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 (PDF)

Related reading: SUMMARY: Wilayat Sinai, an organization identified with the Islamic State, has recently suffered a series of serious blows from the Egyptian army. 

Court Reverses Jury Decision on PLO Attack, 11 Americans Died

Circuit Reverses $655M Award Against PLO for Terror Attacks

Hamblett/NewYorkLawJournal: A $655 million award against the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority for attacks that killed or wounded members of 11 American families in Israel has been thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The circuit held this morning that there was no personal jurisdiction over the action, where a jury found after a seven-week trial in 2015 that the PLO and the Authority, acting through their employees, perpetrated the attacks or provided material support for those who did.

The decision was a big setback for lawyers who have been working for years to win damages for families under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. §2333(a). The jury before Judge George Daniels in the Southern District of New York awarded the plaintiffs $218.5 million, an amount automatically tripled to $655.5 million under the Act.

Judges Pierre Leval and Christopher Droney and Southern District Judge John Koeltl, sitting by designation, said Daniels erred in finding personal jurisdiction in Sokolow v. Palestinian Liberation Organization, 15-3135.

The decision rejected the arguments of Arnold & Porter partner Kent Yalowitz, who told the circuit in April that jurisdiction should lie and justice be done for the “11 American families whose loved ones were murdered and maimed by the defendants” because the goal of the PLO and the Authority was to influence the foreign policy of the United States through coercion and intimidation—a key part of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Yalowitz said the evidence was clear that the defendants were involved in the attacks, either through their own employees or through assistance to their allies within Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (NYLJ, April 13).

But Mitchell Berger, a partner at Squire Patton Boggs, got the better of the argument, telling the judges that case law was clear that “you have to find the brunt of the injury” in the United States to sue in an American courtroom.

The case was bought by 36 plaintiffs and four estates seeking compensation for death and injuries that occurred in a series of attacks, including the July 31, 2002, Hebrew University bombing carried out by Hamas that killed nine people, four of them U.S. citizens.

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During the second Intifada, numerous American citizens were murdered by terrorist attacks.

In 2004, the families of several deceased victims sued the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Southern District of New York under the Antiterrorism Act. The families claim the PLO and PA organizations financed and orchestrated the following seven attacks:

(1) The January 8, 2001 shooting attack on Varda Guetta and her son Oz;

(2) The January 22, 2002 shooting attack on Shayna Gould and Shmuel Waldman;

(3)The January 27, 2002 suicide bombing attack on the Sokolow family;

(4) The March 21, 2002 suicide bombing attack on Alan Bauer and his son Yehonatan;

(5) The June 19, 2002 suicide bombing attack on Shaul Mandelkorn;

(6) The July 31, 2002 Hebrew University Cafeteria bombing which killed David Gritz, Benjamin Blustein, Diane Carter and Janis Coulter;

(7) The January 29, 2004 suicide bombing attack on a bus which killed Yechezkel Goldberg.

The plaintiffs seek up to $3 billion in damages from attacks between January 2001 and February 2004 by the PLO. In September 2008, U.S. District Judge George Daniels rejected the PLO’s argument that the attacks were acts of war rather than terrorism. Trial began in January 2015 and on February 23, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts. The defense has been found liable for $218.5 million, an amount set to be tripled to $655.5 million.

****

Case documents for Sokolow et al. v. PLO et al.

After Hillary Left State, More Classified Emails Exchanged

About to have HSS? It is a looming disease….Hillary Saturation Syndrome. Sheesh

Clinton emailed classified info after leaving State: report

NewYorkPost: Hillary Clinton continued sending classified information even after leaving the State Department, The Post has exclusively learned.

On May 28, 2013, months after stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton sent an email to a group of diplomats and top aides about the “123 Deal” with the United Arab Emirates.

But the email, which was obtained by the Republican National Committee through a Freedom of Information Act request, was heavily redacted upon its release by the State Department because it contains classified information.

The markings on the email state it will be declassified on May 28, 2033, and that information in the note is being redacted because it contains “information regarding foreign governors” and because it contains “Foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”

The email from Clinton was sent from the email account — hrod17@clintonemail.com— associated with her private email server.

The email’s recipients were Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, diplomat Jeffrey Feltman, policy aide Jake Sullivan, diplomat Kurt Campbell, State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills, and Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

The “123 Deal” was a 2009 agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the US on materials and technological sharing for nuclear energy production.

“Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information was so pervasive, it continued after she left government,” Republican National Committee research director Raj Shah told The Post. “She clearly can’t be trusted with our nation’s security.”

Clinton is believed to have sent 2,101 emails that contained at least some classified information.

The Trump campaign said the latest revelation about Clinton’s email habits is more proof she can’t be trusted with national security.

“Hillary Clinton’s secret server jeopardized our national security and sensitive diplomatic efforts on more than 2,000 occasions, and shockingly, it now appears her reckless conduct continued even after leaving the State Department. Hillary Clinton’s terrible judgment shows she cannot be trusted with our national security,” said Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications advisor, in a statement.

What was the ‘123 Deal’?

 While the purpose of multilateral negotiations with Iran is to reduce proliferation concerns, successful talks may in fact accelerate nuclear plans in the Gulf states and Jordan.

In April 2009, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia famously told U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross that “if [the Iranians] get nuclear weapons, we will get nuclear weapons.” Such comments suggest that leaders in Riyadh and other Gulf capitals will closely study any deal reached with Iran, whether on or after the expiration of current nuclear talks next Monday. The message out of the kingdom, delivered repeatedly and recently in Washington by former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, is that whatever Tehran gets, Gulf Arabs will want. U.S. wishes aside, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and perhaps even Jordan could make as plausible a case as Iran for building nuclear power plants. And from their perspective, if Iran is going to be allowed to enrich uranium and retain its nuclear-capable missiles — as they believe likely given Washington’s reported approach to the negotiations thus far — why shouldn’t they be permitted to acquire similar capabilities?

THE UAE’S NUCLEAR CALCULUS

The first challenge to even limited diplomatic success with Iran would likely come from Abu Dhabi, the lead sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates. Despite having around 10 percent of the world’s oil, the UAE also has the region’s most advanced plans for domestic nuclear power. Its first two nuclear facilities are under construction and due to start up in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Abu Dhabi obtained the reactors from South Korea, but in order to secure access to U.S. technology, material, and equipment, it also agreed to forgo uranium enrichment by signing a so-called “123 Agreement” at Washington’s behest.

Yet the UAE’s continued commitment to eschew enrichment is hardly guaranteed. For one thing, the 123 Agreement itself may give Abu Dhabi an out. The “123” refers to the section of the 1954 Atomic Energy Act that regulates U.S. nuclear cooperation with foreign countries. Depending on how one reads the “Agreed Minute” attached to that section, if Washington and its P5+1 partners (Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany) reach a deal with Iran, the UAE may have cause to renegotiate its enrichment rights. Of particular note is this passage from the Minute: “The fields of cooperation, terms and conditions accorded…shall be no less favorable in scope and effect than those which may be accorded from time to time to any other non-nuclear weapons state in the Middle East in a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement.”

More important, if the UAE decides that pursuing enrichment — whether alone or with its Gulf partners — is in its interest, it would not need to ask Washington to renegotiate the 123 Agreement. Instead, it could simply abandon U.S. nuclear cooperation altogether and obtain the technological help it needs elsewhere. Whether it takes either route will depend on Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed, the effective ruler of Abu Dhabi, whose admiration for America is matched only by his disappointment with the Obama administration’s policies. Already infuriated when Washington allowed the initial euphoria of the “Arab Spring” to distract it from Iran, he is now said to be livid at the prospect that Tehran’s quasi-nuclear status will be confirmed by an agreement not worth, in his mind, the paper it is written on.

UAE officials have never stated publicly that they would pursue enrichment if Iran is permitted to do so. Yet it is uncertain whether they are silent because they do not plan to do so or because they do not wish to tip their hand.

SAUDI MINDSET

Saudi Arabia’s plans for nuclear power lag behind the UAE’s but are even more ambitious — sixteen plants are to be built over the next twenty years. Although the kingdom has nearly a quarter of the world’s oil reserves, its rapidly growing energy demand could drain much of its oil exports unless it finds ways to reduce consumption. Switching to an alternative fuel source for electricity generation and increasing energy efficiency are the two most promising routes.

The kingdom’s ambition will stretch its capabilities, however. So far it has only one nuclear institution up and running, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE). Despite the organization’s civilian-sounding name, a U.S. official noted last month that the kingdom’s perceived nuclear intentions were not straightforward or obvious, and that KA-CARE’s recent leadership transition could also be cover for a policy change.

OTHER GULF PLANS

Kuwait’s tentative nuclear moves have slowed of late, but they have not stopped. In 2009, the government formed the Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee (KNNEC). In addition, economic feasibility studies and site surveys have been conducted, and students have been sent abroad for specialist education. Although much of the nascent program was cancelled after the 2011 nuclear accident in Japan, KNNEC’s activities were transferred to the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and there are plans to set up a nuclear research and training facility.

Qatar has investigated the viability of domestic nuclear power as well. In 2008, it announced that it was not proceeding with any such plans, yet two years later it raised the prospect of a regional nuclear project. Doha has also signed a cooperation agreement with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom nuclear corporation.

For its part, Jordan persists in talking ambitiously of nuclear power plans. In September, it signed an agreement with a Rosatom subsidiary aimed at reaching a final construction contract within two years. The projected power plant would cost $10 billion, with half being paid by Russia. Jordan also has plans to mine domestic uranium deposits and is working with South Korea on a project to build a small research and training reactor.

MISSILES, CENTRIFUGES, AND PAKISTAN

One of the clearest signals of how Gulf leaders view Iran diplomacy was Saudi Arabia’s decision to show off two of its nuclear-capable missiles at a military parade in April. The weapons were acquired from China in the 1980s but had hitherto never been put on display, so the timing was conspicuous. Gulf Arabs believe that Washington’s intended nuclear deal with Tehran is unlikely to include limits on the regime’s arsenal of long-range missiles capable of being modified to carry a nuclear warhead. UN Security Council Resolution 1929 (2010) called for Iran to halt work on nuclear-capable missiles, but there is no indication it has done so.

Pakistan’s potential proliferation role remains troubling as well. Among the dignitaries at the Saudi parade last spring was Pakistan’s military chief Gen. Raheel Sharif (who, it should be noted, paid an official visit to Washington earlier this week). Even if the Obama administration hopes that an Iran deal will squash the prospect of Riyadh borrowing or buying nuclear warheads from Pakistan, it must also consider the distinct possibility that the Saudis will ask Islamabad for enrichment technology. Pakistan currently operates the P-2 centrifuge, equivalent to Iran’s IR-2m, which is causing so much concern because of its higher efficiency compared to Iran’s more numerous IR-1.

Saudi Arabia — along with the UAE — has been associated with Pakistan’s enrichment program since as early as the 1980s. This included hosting controversial nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan, who was placed under house arrest ten years ago when revelations emerged about his nuclear trading with Iran, Libya, and North Korea. Well before his detainment and subsequent release, Khan was a frequent visitor to the kingdom — a 1998 brochure commemorating Pakistan’s first nuclear tests contained photos of him meeting former Saudi defense minister Prince Sultan, as well as the late Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi, Crown Prince Muhammad’s father and founder of the UAE. And in 1989, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed — then the UAE minister of information and now foreign minister — visited Pakistan’s enrichment plant at Kahuta outside Islamabad.

The Obama administration appears to believe it can stop the proliferation of nuclear technology to Gulf allies by having suppliers insist on extremely tough inspection regimes such as that used for Iran. Yet long-time Gulf partners are unlikely to appreciate being told that they will be treated in the same manner as Iran, with its long track record of violating obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, it is by no means clear that all potential suppliers of enrichment technology — such as Pakistan — would impose such tough restrictions on Gulf states. In short, if an Iran deal is reached and Gulf leaders dislike it, preventing the proliferation of nuclear technology in the region will be a considerable challenge.

Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute. Olli Heinonen is a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center and a former deputy director-general for safeguards at the IAEA. Previously, they coauthored Nuclear Iran: A Glossary of Terms, a joint publication of the Institute and the Belfer Center.