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Exclusive: Israeli Military Intelligence Caused Massive Explosion in Hezbollah South Lebanon Arms Cache

israeli heron drone

Israeli Heron drone of the type that might've been booby-trapped

NOTE: This story generated a huge amount of site traffic from Israel and coverage in Israeli media which caused high server load.  My host temporarily brought the site down and it should now be restored to service.  If you have trouble accessing it still, let me know.

UPDATE: Through a helpful reader, I discovered that a staff member working for my host did not reactivate a file on my site when it was restored, which meant the only page accessible was my home page.  That error has been corrected and the host says there now should be full access to all pages.  Let me know if you experience any further problems and I apologize for any inconvenience.

The history of military intelligence is full of nation’s whose personnel made rash, foolish and careless decisions ending in disaster.  Israel has done this.  Yesterday, news broke that the CIA allowed two Hezbollah double agents penetrate and roll up its Lebanese spy network, in part because U.S. agents met repeatedly at the same Pizza Hut, using the code word “Pizza” to arrange their rendez vous.

Now comes an exclusive report from an authoritative Israeli source with considerable military experience, that IDF military intelligence (Aman) has out foxed Hezbollah by deliberately crash-landing a booby-trapped Trojan Horse drone in southern Lebanon.

Here is how the incident was reported by an unsuspecting Wall Street Journal reporter:

On a recent Saturday afternoon, a radar operated by French United Nations peacekeepers picked up a pilotless Israeli reconnaissance drone crossing into south Lebanon. It was given no more attention than any of the dozens of other surveillance missions flown by the Israelis in Lebanese airspace each month.

But when the drone passed above Wadi Hojeir, a yawning valley with steep, brush-covered slopes, it abruptly vanished from the radar screen. The startled peacekeepers contacted the Lebanese army, and a search of the rugged valley was conducted in the early-evening gloom. Nothing was found.

No one can recall the last time that an Israeli drone malfunctioned over Lebanon and crashed, and there were no reports of antiaircraft fire. The Israelis have said nothing. Neither has Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and arch foe of Israel. The peacekeeping force is now abuzz.

And now I can tell them what happened.  For over a year, Hezbollah has been attempting to discover how to jam the ground signals commanding the drone so as to disable them in flight.  When it discovered the downed craft, its operatives must’ve crowed that they’d finally discovered the key to success.  This bit of hubris is how Aman drew Hezbollah into its net.  Its soldiers dutifully collected the imagined intelligence trophy and brought it to a large weapons depot it controlled in the area.  Once inside the arms cache, Aman detonated the drone causing a massive explosion.  Here is how the Daily Star described that event:

A huge explosion shook a Hezbollah stronghold near Siddiqin in the southern coastal city of Tyre overnight, a security source told The Daily Star Wednesday.  The source said the cause of the blast, which was heard shortly before midnight, could not be determined due to the heavy security blanket by Hezbollah.

Lebanese security forces were unable to access the scene of the explosion after the resistance group set up a security perimeter around the blast site, which is located in a valley called Wadi Al-Jabal al-Kabir between Siddiqin and Deir Ames, the source added.  Local media said the explosion likely took place at a Hezbollah arms cache.

Given that Hezbollah is reputed to have many more missiles and more advanced models than it had before the 2006 Lebanon War, we can only imagine how serious this blow will be to the group’s war fighting capability.  Hezbollah is known to possess some of the most advanced Iranian rockets (the Zelzal) in anticipation of possible use should Israel attack Iran.  Given the size of the explosion, we should expect that a good deal of its weapons cache in the south has been destroyed.

Hezbollah is known for being highly professional and quite crafty in its intelligence capabilities having penetrated the IDF intelligence network in the 2006 war.  That’s why I find it almost inexplicable that its fighters wouldn’t have at least considered the craft might be a Trojan Horse.  It’s possible that Hezbollah did consider the idea and searched for an explosive charge & didn’t find one.  In that case, the IDF must’ve very cleverly concealed it.

At any rate, as soldiers, even brilliant ones, often do, Hezbollah made a fatal error which the IDF exploited.  And before Israel’s supporters jump for joy at another Israeli victory in the unending war on terror, remember that in 1999, a Hezbollah cell phone was brought to the vaunted IDF Unit 8200 headquarters for examination.  The soldiers preparing to view it joked “If it explodes, we’ll know.”  It did indeed explode seriously wounding the two senior Israeli intelligence officers.  Not to mention the major amount of egg it splattered on the face of Israel’s renowned intelligence agency.

The moral being, in this dirty game called asymmetrical warfare, you and your enemy circle each other warily seeking to exploit any weakness.  And you will make mistakes because you are only human.  The fatal assumption is that your opponent is the only dumb one who will make them, and you never will.

An additional embarrassment for Hezbollah is that the destroyed arms cache is located south of the Litani River in a zone which is forbidden to contain any armaments.  This means that the group has committed a major violation of the UN ceasefire resolution 1701.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that though many Israelis and the pro-Israel right are crowing about this “victory” against terror, that saborage and black ops aren’t even successful tactics, let alone strategy in dealing with Israel’s issues with Syria or Lebanon.  So what if Israel blew up 100 rockets?  Hezbollah will only replace them.  And then some.  It already has many thousands more missiles than it had before the 2006 war.  And it certainly has many arms caches hidden in southern Lebanon.

So if you’re cheering for this IDF ‘victory’ it’s pyrrhic at best.  As I’ve said about Israel’s covert actions and the U.S. sanctions program against Iran, they aren’t a strategy.  They’re a substitute for a policy.  Israel has no policy for resolving the conflict with Syria and Lebanon, so it uses a placeholder one of striking out whenever it can to degrade its opponent.  But these acts of terror or sabotage don’t degrade anything in the long or even medium-term.  Hezbollah just regroups and comes out stronger than before.

There is only one real strategy, that is the one advocated by Turkey when it hosted talks aimed at resolving the conflict between Syria and Israel.  I remind you it was Ehud Olmert who torpedoed those talks at a time when Bashar al-Assad was willing to make peace in return for the Golan.  Until an Israeli leader is willing to do this, no amount of Israeli Trojan Horse drones or missile base sabotage will change the fundamental fact that Israel has no policy and no strategy for getting out of the mess it’s in.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous November 23, 2011, 2:13 AM

    Speaking of crashing drones.

    I remember back in 2010 there were apparently a deliberate drone crash by US or Israel against the iranian nuclear plant Bushehr.

    “Air Crash Near Bushehr, Drones Slam Into Reactor Dome”

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2572492/posts

  • dourgoat November 23, 2011, 3:09 AM

    A couple of questions about this:

    How did the Israelis know that Hizbullah would take the drone to one of its arms dumps?

    Also, presumably they would have had store the drone pretty close to the rockets in order for it to set them off (especially if the explosive on the drone was small enough for Hizbullah not to uncover it). How did the Israelis ensure that happened?

    • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 12:34 PM

      They may have internal intelligence on how Hezbollah reacted in the past when such incidents occurred & where it took ordnance or objects it wanted to examine. Or they may’ve been able to track movements of Hezbollah personnel from air surveillance to see how they reacted in similar previous incidents. They would’ve seen where these guys went & known they’d go to an arms depot.

    • Fred Plester November 24, 2011, 2:40 AM

      Sensor-fused submunition with a TV camera replacing the usual sensor, monitored in real time and triggered by remote command when the munition was pointing at a store of rockets or whatever.

      These submunitions turn a heavy metal liner into an “explosively-formed penetrator” which can penetrate armour at at least thirty yards.

      This could even have been in the drone’s normal sensor turret. The heavy metal liner is shiny and resembles an optical reflector.

      There are other ways of doing it, but that would provide intelligence as well as damage, and it’d allow the operator to choose his moment and a precise target.

      Similar device in Iran at the rocket depot there? Perhaps smuggled in, or attached to vehicle?

      • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 2:57 AM

        Similar device in Iran at the rocket depot there? Perhaps smuggled in, or attached to vehicle?

        Perhaps smuggled in my MEK agent-plant serving in IRG?

        • Fred Plester November 24, 2011, 7:18 AM

          It might be easier to penetrate the security second-hand, by hiding it on a vehicle (such as the general’s) that you knew was going there. With suitable preparation, a replacement headlamp unit could be prepared, to pass visual checks.

  • arnold November 23, 2011, 3:29 AM

    It seems you’ve watched too many James Bond movies… Suggesting the Israelis knew what the terrorists will do and where exactly they’ll store it just doesn’t make sense.

    • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 12:32 PM

      They didn’t need to know where the drone would be taken. THey could track it’s location w. any GPS device inside the drone & then detonate it when it arrived at the arms depot.

  • Zap rowsdower November 23, 2011, 3:33 AM

    Is crashing a mutli million dollar Heron(איתן) for this operation seem plausible?

    • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 12:31 PM

      I don’t think they crashed a Heron. Likely they crashed a dummy made to look like one. All it had to do was fly to Lebanon & maintain contact with its controller & detonate its charge. They probably didn’t need a full fledged drone to do that.

      • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 6:25 PM

        “I don’t think they crashed a Heron. Likely they crashed a dummy made to look like one”

        Developing a “crash-test-dummy Heron” would cost more than simply taking a bog-standard Heron and crashing it into the ground.

        But either way there is unlikely to be that much room inside the thing to do what you propose i.e. while it could certainly be booby-trapped to kill whoever is trying to take it apart, I doubt that you could hide enough explosives inside it to take out an arms-depot.

        Not to forget, of course, that you actually have to… you know… crash the damn thing, which would tend to put a dent in the detonator/receiver/transmitter.

        I have to say it does all sound far-fetched.

        BTW: where did you get the idea that there was a “massive explosion”? The Lebanese press certainly aren’t describing a “massive explosion”, and they do have reporters snooping around Siddiqin.

        Even the Israeli press are content with their old trick of playing shuffle-board with the english language e.g. Avi Issacharoff is describing an “explosion” at a “large arms depot” in the hope that the uninitiated don’t notice where he actually placed the adjective “large”.

        • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 6:35 PM

          The article I linked to has been successively edited & re edited & originally described a massive explosion & my source reported this as well. Avi Issacharoff doesn’t have my source & I’d bet yr bottom dollar my source & the intelligence he has is better than Issacharoff’s.

          I never said I knew for certain what specific model was crashed, how it was put together & booby trapped, & how it was crashed. That was an educated guess. I reported a drone crashed, Hezbollah collected it & brought it to the arms cache where it exploded. As for whether you think it’s far fetched or not, I could give a crap.

          • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 7:42 PM

            “As for whether you think it’s far fetched or not, I could give a crap.”

            No doubt.

            But I will point out that I have not been rude to you, though you obviously see no need to return the favour.

            My question regarding a “massive explosion” is legitimate, because I am quite correct to point out that news reports are NOT making that claim, though some appear to be deliberately written in such a way as to obfuscate that point.

            “my source reported this as well”

            OK, if you say so.

            But I will point out that The Daily Star’s “source” also reported this, yet when they sent reporters to Siddiqin they found no evidence to back up that claim.

          • Marom November 23, 2011, 11:59 PM

            “I’d bet yr bottom dollar my source & the intelligence he has is better than Issacharoff’s.”

            You have an issue with your ego. Issacharoff is a well respected journalist. You’re a blogger with little journalistic standards.

          • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 12:59 AM

            Issacharoff is a well respected journalist.

            Respected by whom? By you? Issacharoff is a mediocre journalist who is a darling of the IDF spokesperson & his military sources.

          • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 12:25 AM

            “You have an issue with your ego. Issacharoff is a well respected journalist. You’re a blogger with little journalistic standards.”

            Issacharoff is a hack whose sole reason to exist appears to be to act as a regurgitator of IDF propaganda.

            His tag-team “analysis” with Amos Harel in Haaretz is beyond a joke.

      • Fred Plester November 24, 2011, 2:42 AM

        However expensive they are when new, a Heron towards the end of its safe airframe fatigue life is worth a lot less and could be considered expendable.

  • Marom November 23, 2011, 4:02 AM

    Hooray for the IDF!

    • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 12:36 PM

      Until Hezbollah gets you back next time & then you’ll be crying in your beer. You guys are all the same with yr stupid short term flag waving perspective

      This is a zero sum game. Maybe they should throw you all in a big room and let you & Hezbollah kill each other. Maybe none of you will come out alive & the rest of the world can get on with things & live peacefully together.

      • Marom November 23, 2011, 10:59 PM

        And what does the great military strategist, Richard Silverstein, suggest that Israel does in order to circumvent Hezbollah?

        I guess that in your eyes, any military response from Israel is wrong, no matter what the context is. Even if it is attacking a terrorist organization that’s illegally hoarding munitions in south-Lebanon with the sole intent of using those weapons against Israeli civilians.

        As an Israeli living under the Hezbollah rocket threat, I know what they are capable of, and I cheer our guys for taking action against them.

        • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 1:08 AM

          I guess that in your eyes, any military response from Israel is wrong

          Why would you presume to know what I think about any subject? You don’t, so stop guessing. As for a terrorist organization hoarding munitions solely for the intent of using them against Lebanon–that would be the IDF. Not terribly much difference between the two, I’m afraid.

          I cheer our guys for taking action against them.

          They took action against them in ways that will have no medium or long term effect as Hezbollah will rearm & be stronger than before this event. There is no military solution to any of this for either side. The fact that you cling to a military solution as your sole policy of state betrays the bankruptcy of your & yr government’s approach to the entire Israeli Arab conflict.

          • Marom November 24, 2011, 4:09 AM

            “They took action against them in ways that will have no medium or long term effect as Hezbollah will rearm & be stronger than before this event. There is no military solution to any of this for either side. The fact that you cling to a military solution as your sole policy of state betrays the bankruptcy of your & yr government’s approach to the entire Israeli Arab conflict.”

            Why would you presume to know what I think about any subject? You don’t, so stop guessing.

  • Matt Spider November 23, 2011, 4:59 AM

    I am pretty sure this is utter bull shit. The Hizbullah arms cache probably exploded due to some other reason. This looks more like hoyywood fiction story to be true. Anyway we are happy atleast some arms cache is destroyed.

    • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 12:47 PM

      I’m pretty sure the bullshit is yours. In fact, I’m 100% certain.

  • Assaf November 23, 2011, 5:03 AM

    IDF Radio quoted this post (with credit to the author) as first item in the hourly news.

  • Ramzi Nohra November 23, 2011, 5:08 AM

    “That’s why I find it almost inexplicable that its fighters wouldn’t have at least considered the craft might be a Trojan Horse”

    yes I think this is right, especially given that the surveillance cameras found over Lebanon over the last year or so have all been booby trapped.

    The point Dourgate raises is also valid, if HA missed it, it must have been a small charge, which would minimise its ability to cause a huge explosion.

    It may all come out in the wash

    By the way I think your WSJ link was written by Nick Blanford (I cant click on the link without losing my place here). I would strongly recommend you read his new book “Hezbollah, warriors of God”.

  • Shabbi November 23, 2011, 5:16 AM

    First time on your blog. Congratulations — I never pay attention to bloggers but you have some interesting stories.

    Your story on the drone: I doubt very much that Hizbollah’s missile inventory was seriously compromised in quantity, or that this was even the objective. this is simplistic. they have many storage areas dispersed. Perhaps the true target were the Hizbollah personnel in charge of taking it apart — the human talent.

    On the tone of your political tracts, actually your writing in general: I detect a sanctimonious air, a common affliction of the prophet. Modesty and humility are nicer traits. I know these are not gentle times, and you need to present your point of view clearly, I’m not arguing against that. But you don’t want someone to think you were an over-indulged child told by their parents that they were the center of the world. Tikkun Olam. Tikkun Ehad. Be more humble.

  • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 4:20 PM

    Here’s a simple test to see if this hypothesis is true:

    If it is true (i.e. the drone was deliberately crashed) then the IDF will not slacken off its drone overflights.

    If it isn’t true (i.e. the drone crash was an unrelated event) then the IDF will slacken off its drone overflights while it works out why that drone went down.

  • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 4:33 PM

    Can I just point out that according to the latest news from Lebanon’s The Daily Star that “massive explosion” wasn’t so “massive” after all, and was, indeed, so puny that
    1) most of the residents of Siddiqin didn’t even hear the Big Bad Boom when it happened.
    2) the Lebanese Army “searched the area but found no trace of the explosion”

    So where did this news of a “massive explosion” actually come from?

    Apparently, from “an American blogger who had contacted an Israeli official with “considerable military experience,” reported that the blast at Siddiqin had been caused by an Israeli sabotage on a Hezbollah arms facility.”

    Not you, I hope?

    • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 6:23 PM

      And you’re an expert on Lebanon because of what superior knowledge you have? I suppose you didn’t notice that Hezbollah prevented access to the immediate area of the explosion which includes the Lebanese Army. So how would the Army have inspected the area of the explosion if it couldn’t get access to it? I have read NO report saying the residents didn’t hear an explosion. In fact, the report specifically says a security confirms there WAS an explosion. Further, it is not in Hezbollah’s interest to admit such an explosion & it would be unhappy with any publication which did. Daily Star knows how to hedge its bets.

      I remind you that 50 dolts or so before you have ridiculed previous reports based on my source only to have gallons of egg on their face afterward. And I didn’t contact anyone. That’s not how I work with this source.

      If you keep up with the snark your sell by date will expire rapidly. Writing this blog is damn hard work & I stick my neck out every day. If you want to be an asshole, do it elsewhere. Consider yourself warned. You may think you’re the heart of wit. But others think differently. You’re about as entertaining as a heart attack. Worse you bore me. That’s a capital offense.

      • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 6:44 PM

        “I suppose you didn’t notice that Hezbollah prevented access to the immediate area of the explosion which includes the Lebanese Army. ”

        No, I “note” nothing of the sort, and nor should you.

        What I will point out is that it was reported by The Daily Star that Hezbollah “prevented access to the immediate area”.

        Q: Says who?
        A: A “security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity”.

        I would suggest that we treat a “source” who is unwilling to stand behind his statement as residing in the category labelled as “dubious”, to say the least.

        “So how would the Army have inspected the area of the explosion if it couldn’t get access to it?”

        Here’s how: the r.e.p.o.r.t. that Hezbollah blocked access to that area was incorrect, coming (as it did) from an unattributed source who was categorically contradicted by both the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah.

        Richard, you obviously know how to go to The Daily Star, because you quoted from it in you main article. Dare I suggest that you do there now?

        Because if you do then you’ll see that the Lebanese Army *itself* is stating – none of this “anonymity” nonsense for them – that
        a) it responded to the report of an explosion,
        b) it searched Siddiqin and its surrounding,
        c) It Found Nothing.

        No burning buildings.
        No cindered bodies.
        No billowing smoke.
        No big hole in the ground.

        It. Found. Nothing.

        Now, so sorry, if it comes to choosing between a statement attributed to the Lebanese Army and a claim proposed by a “security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity” then I’ll take the former, thanks all the same.

        After all, only one of them is willing to stand behind their statement, can you spot which one that is?

        • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 12:36 AM

          I would suggest

          Ask me if I care what you suggest.

          Richard, you obviously know how to go to The Daily Star, because you quoted from it in you main article. Dare I suggest that you do there now?

          This report isn’t about the Daily Star. For you it’s about the Daily Star because that’s the only ground you have to stand on in this argument. For me, the report is about my source, whose reliability & accuracy is superb. I used the Daily Star as a secondary confirmation of what my source conveyed. Secondary. Do you understand that term? Primary. How about that one? Primary, as in my primary source. If you want to disprove the story don’t argue about the Daily Star, because I don’t need the Daily Star to know my source is right. You may need the Daily Star. If you do, gei gesundt. I don’t.

          And as I warned you, you annoy me, you bore me, you like the sound of yr own argument. Usually, I warn someone to stop bloviating in a comment thread or I’ll ban them. But I think you’ve pontificated enough for the equivalent of several blog reader’s lifetimes. So I’m going to relieve you of all the boredom, annoyance & bloviating.

          • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 3:40 AM

            “Ask me if I care what you suggest.”

            OK, Richard, that is just rude. Pure and simple: rude.

            I have in no way responded to anything that you have posted – either here or previously – in anything even remotely approaching the rudeness of that statement.

            It is obvious that you and I disagree over the story that you are promoting here, but when I disagee I point out WHERE I can’t agree with you, and I spell out WHY I can’t agree with you.

            I keep it civil, because that’s the way I think debate should be conducted.

            But you?

            Man, you are coming from somewhere altogether different.

          • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 4:11 AM

            “For me, the report is about my source, whose reliability & accuracy is superb.”

            !!!!!

            I read that and something immediately starts to nag at the back of my brain: where have I heard that before?

            And then it clicks: a few posts back Richard pointed us all to the twitter page for “eitan bonner”, who mercilessly skewers Ethan Bronner of the NY Times for accepting without question the words of the IDF spokesmodel.

            And now here is Richard, affording to his “superb source” the very same reverence that Ethan Bronner bestows upon the IDF spokesmodel.

            Infatuation times two, and it is a mirror-image that is simply beyond parody…..

            Richard, here’s a thought: maybe your source is w.r.o.n.g.

            After all, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that he ain’t the Pope.

      • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 7:03 PM

        “If you keep up with the snark your sell by date will expire rapidly. Writing this blog is damn hard work & I stick my neck out every day.”

        I simply do not understand why you are taking this as a personal attack upon you. It certainly was not intended as such.

        I said what I said, and what I said was that the Lebanese press are reporting facts that make your hypothesis unlikely.

        Here is the initial report from The Daily Star:
        http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Nov-23/154877-huge-blast-rocks-hezbollah-stronghold-in-south-lebanon.ashx#axzz1eZse6V2v

        It is, I believe, the source of the claim that
        a) an arms depot exploded and
        b) Hezbollah then prevented the Lebanese Army from entering Siddiqin.

        Here is the latest report from The Daily Star:
        http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2011/Nov-24/155003-lebanese-army-attributes-south-lebanon-blast-to-land-mine.ashx#axzz1eZse6V2v

        Notice that this article (unlike the previous) is based on on-the-spot reportage, and it clearly says that:
        a) The explosion was in a forest outside of Siddiqin
        b) Most of the villagers did *NOT* hear that explosion
        c) Hezbollah’s interference is against the “local media”
        d) The Lebanese Army *HAS* been poking around
        e) The Lebanese Army *HASN’T* found a thing.

        Now if you have a problem with any of that (and apparently you do) then may I suggest that you take it up with
        Patrick Galey and Mohammad Zaatari
        c/o The Daily Star
        Lebanon.

        • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 12:28 AM

          I simply do not understand why you are taking this as a personal attack upon you

          No, I’m not taking it as a “personal” attack on me. I’m taking as an attack on the credibility of my reporting and my source. That’s an attack on my professional integrity.

          if you have a problem with any of that

          I wrote what I wrote based on the impeccable record of my source who knows what happened far better than reporters who weren’t eyewitnesses, came after the event, & never had access to the site where it took place.

          • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 3:32 AM

            “I’m taking as an attack on the credibility of my reporting and my source. That’s an attack on my professional integrity.”

            Look, Richard, it is NOT an attack upon your integrity to point out that you have only one (1) source for this story.

            To do so is simply to point out a flaw in your argument i.e. if you only have one (1) source then you do not have any confirmation for that story.

            As for it being an attack up “your source”, well, Gosh!, I’m sure he is a big boy and he can stand up for himself.

            Here’s a suggestion: you are a reporter, so why not contact your “source” and ask him this simple question.
            Q: The Lebanese Army categorically state that they can find no evidence for any massive explosion at any arms depot anywhere near Siddiqin, so do you still stand by your claim?

            I can’t ask that question, percisely because I do not know the name of your source.

            You do, so you can.

            No hurry, I’ll wait.

      • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 7:33 PM

        “And you’re an expert on Lebanon because of what superior knowledge you have?”

        No, but I do go out of my way to read a newspaper report when it is written by two reporters who are standing in the middle of Siddiqin and asking the villagers what just went down.

        “I have read NO report saying the residents didn’t hear an explosion.”

        http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2011/Nov-24/155003-lebanese-army-attributes-south-lebanon-blast-to-land-mine.ashx#axzz1eZse6V2v

        “Most residents testified that they hadn’t heard an explosion but a local man, Hajj Ali Fakih, said he had heard a “huge” blast come from a patch of woodland known locally as Al-Jabal al-Kabir, or Big Mountain.”

        So those two reporters found the grand total of one (1) man who claims that he heard that explosion, which certainly doesn’t gibe with the claim that it was a “massive explosion”.

        “In fact, the report specifically says a security confirms there WAS an explosion.”

        Even I know that the statement of a “security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity” is not a “confirmation” of anything. It is what it is i.e. it is an claim from an unverified source.

        “Daily Star knows how to hedge its bets.”

        The Daily Star also knows how to attribute statements, Richard.

        It fully attributes this statement to Hezbollah: “Whatever was mentioned within the media regarding an explosion on the outskirts of Siddiqin, and that it is related to an arms depot of Hezbollah is not true at all”

        It fully attributes this statement to the Lebanese Army: “At 9:45 p.m. Tuesday an explosion was heard in a forested area on the outskirts of Siddiqin”…. “After the explosion a unit from the Lebanese Army visited the area and undertook a search operation all night long until Wednesday noon.” … “However, the army did not find any remnants and the explosion did not cause any visible damage. Probably, what happened was a result of a mine or cluster bomb possibly dropped by Israel exploding.”

        So we have three attributed sources:
        1) The two on-the-spot reporters from The Daily Star
        2) The official statement of Hezbollah
        3) The official statement of the Lebanese Army

        All three are placing on record statements that flatly contradict the claim of an unnamed “security source”.

        I’m not one for conspiracy theories, so when THREE sources are willing to put it on the record that this ONE unnamed source is Full Of Crap And Talking Nonsense then I know which one I prefer to accept.

        I prefer to accept the dudes who are willing to stand behind their statements, and not the dude who is anxious to hide behind his anonymity.

        But, heh, maybe that’s just me….

        • Richard Silverstein November 23, 2011, 10:29 PM

          So those two reporters found the grand total of one (1) man who claims that he heard that explosion

          In addition to the Daily Start report I quoted, which you conveniently neglect, which said a security source confirmed an explosion. And btw, you doubted there was a “massive explosion” which my source reported and this old man reported as well. I’m beginning to think you’re acting & arguing in bad faith. And I just can’t stand people who do that.

          Even I know that the statement of a “security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity” is not a “confirmation” of anything

          That’s patently ridiculous. You’re like the character in Alice in Wonderland who claims a word means what he wants it to mean, “no more,no less.” So when an anonymous security source says something convenient to yr argument you’ll jump on it. When inconvenient you’ll cast aspersions on it. BTW, ALL Israeli military and intelligence reporting is done on anonymous sources. So according to you NO Israel reporting on these subjects is worth trusting. Which is patently false because there are excellent Israeli reporters who accept these terms & nonetheless provide excellent reporting. Daily Star is generally a reliable news source & an anonymous security source is standard reporting procedure in the Middle East.

          The Daily Star also knows how to attribute statements

          Not on security related matters. As I wrote above, it’s commonly accepted in many countries including Israel & Lebanon that such sources are rarely if ever named.

          It fully attributes this statement to Hezbollah

          It doesn’t “fully attribute” anything because it doesn’t provide a named source. Full attribution involves providing a name.

          All three are placing on record statements that flatly contradict the claim of an unnamed “security source”.

          You again conveniently omit the fact that the unnamed security source is confirmed by my high level Israeli source whose reporting record is impeccable. And btw, Channel 2’s Roni Daniel and Ronen Bergman, one of Israel’s best intelligence reporters confirm the word of my source. So I’m getting tired of the little game and you’re annoying me. If you want to play somewhere, go waste someone else’s time. I have more important things to do than argue with you.

          I will point out that I have not been rude to you

          You’ve been nothing BUT rude to me, to my work, to my source. Frankly, I don’t need it.

          when they sent reporters to Siddiqin they found no evidence to back up that claim.

          Two reporters and a Lebanese army unit are sent to investigate an explosion in an area in which they themselves confirm that Hezbollah will not them enter, and my source who reports the incident based on high level Israeli military experience, & you’d rather trust the reporters?

          Go spend yr time at Debkafiles or some other ‘more credible’ site than this.

          • Johnboy November 23, 2011, 11:55 PM

            [comment deleted--you have a severe case of logorrhea & I'm sick & tired of your endless droning. There's only so much I can take.]

          • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 12:19 AM

            “You’ve been nothing BUT rude to me, to my work, to my source. Frankly, I don’t need it.”

            I’m sorry, but that statement is simply untrue.

            All I have said is this: your exclusive is based entirely upon the claims made by “a source”, and there has been no confirmation of that claim from any other sources.

            Indeed, all the reports now coming out of Siddiqin flat-out contradict your source.

            That is ALL I have said, and if you construe that as “rudeness” then, honestly, where did that come from?

            I don’t know you.
            I’ve never met you.

            I see no reason to be rude to you, any more than I see any reason to genuflect towards either you our your source.

            I don’t know you souce.
            I have never met him.

            I have no knowledge of his “impeccability” beyond the fact that it is obvious that you trust him.

            Good for you, Richard.

            But simply because you trust him is not “proof” that he is infallible.

            Here is a situation where This Dude says that an arms depot went Boom! somewhere near Siddiqin, and yet when the Lebanese Army spends many long hours scouring that area they categorically state that they found nothing.

            Who to believe….
            Who to believe….
            Who to believe….

            You obviously believe your source.

            I prefer to believe the people who are there and can see with their own eyes.

            That’s hardly “rudeness”, is it?

          • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 12:55 AM

            the claims made by “a source”, and there has been no confirmation of that claim from any other sources.

            This is the way confidential sources work. You don’t necessarily get confirmation outside that source. But I did provide confirmation through the Wall St. Journal & Daily Star. You just chose to try to poke holes in 1/3 of the triumvirate and not even the most important part because you couldn’t poke holes in the information offered by my source. What I do is offer information fr this source which is by its nature confidential & unavailable to others. That’s why what he offers is so valuable. If you don’t choose to believe him, no skin off my back. But I’m sick & tired of hearing yr nonsense arguments about would, could, shoulda regarding the Daily Star, which is a total side issue.

            all the reports now coming out of Siddiqin flat-out contradict your source

            No, not ALL. That’s leaving aside the reports that are inconvenient to yr argument. But again, the reporting fr. Siddiqin is peripheral. You’re not there. I’m not there. It’s the same thing regarding the Iranian missile blast. We didn’t need to be there to know it happened despite IRG denials of what happened & how it happened. Further reports confirmed the blast just as further reports from Israel have confirmed it (haven’t seen you rebut Roni Daniel or Ronen Bergman yet unless you want to say that they’re lying & their sources are lying–be my guest).

            I don’t know you souce.
            I have never met him.

            On the contrary, you have “met” my source every time you’ve read a report he’s offered here. Every time you’ve read an accurate report of his, which is almost every time he’s offered ANY report here. He has a track record. You? You have none. You know how to string words & arguments together.

            I have no knowledge of his “impeccability”

            If you had any integrity as a researcher or honesty of intellect you’d be able to go back through every incident he’s reported here & determine whether he was right or not. And he’s right. Always right. You? Not so much compared to that record.

            simply because you trust him is not “proof” that he is infallible.

            No, his record speaks for itself. If you weren’t lazy & didn’t like hearing the sound of yr own argument so much you’d go back over the major scoops he’s offered here. In fact, many of them are laid out for you in the Wikipedia article about this blog. So even if you were lazy you could do this work. But you won’t because again you’d rather bloviate then do research to prove or disprove the reliability of the source.

          • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 3:14 AM

            “But I did provide confirmation through the Wall St. Journal & Daily Star.”

            OK, let’s examine that claim:

            It is simply untrue to claim that the Wall St Journal confirmed that an IDF drone crashed inside Lebanon.

            The WSJ did nothing of the sort: it (quite professionally) went to great pains to separate fact from speculation.

            This is stated by the WSJ as fact: an IDF drone suddenly disappeared from UNIFIL radar

            This too: both UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army entertained the possibility that this meant the *crash* of that drone.

            This also: the Lebanese Army searched for any possible crash site, and found none.

            This as well: no-one (not the IDF, nor Hezbollah, nor UNIFIL) claimed to have found a crash site that the Lebanese Army failed to find.

            This is presented as speculation: the disappearance of that drone from the UNIFIL radar meant that this drone crashed inside Lebanon.

            This was also presented as pure speculation: that (supposed) crash was caused by a (supposed) jamming of IDF C&C by Hezbollah.

            See how it works? You separate the facts from the speculation, and in the case of the WSJ the reporter understood the difference.

            Now, onto The Daily Star.

            And, again, the reporter for The Daily Star understands the need to keep the facts separate from the speculation.

            This was reported as a fact: a “security source” claimed that a Hezbollah arms depot went kerpoweeeee!

            This too: that same “security source” claimed that Hezbollah blocked the Lebanese Army from investigating.

            But note that those are both CLAIMS, and The Daily Star was quite careful to point that out that “a claim” is not in and of itself “a fact”.

            This is a fact: when The Daily Star sent reporters to Siddiqin they were harrassed by Hezbollah.

            This is also a fact: the Lebanese Army said that it investigated the reports and Found Nothing.

            You are left in the rather unenviable position of trying to draw a linkage between two events when you can’t actually demonstate AS FACT that either event actually took place.

            The WSJ does *not* claim that an IDF drone crashed: it merely reports that there is speculation that such a crash took place.

            The Daily Star does *not* claim that a Hezbollah arms depot went kerpoweeeee!: it merely repeats claims by Persons Unknown that such a Big Bang! took place.

            I understand that you do not understand that distinction.

            Sure, I do.

            But what I can’t understand is *why* you refuse to recognize that distinction.

          • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 3:18 AM

            Here is a quick question for you, Richard: Do you accept that the only source of information that you have for this exclusive is the say-so of your “source” inside the IDF?

            Yes, or no?

  • Zbiginew November 23, 2011, 6:37 PM

    So let’s me see if I got that straight.
    Israel deliberately crashed a UAV in Lebanon, Hezbollah took it and moved it into their Lab which is located a mid a military compound in very close proximity to a huge weapon cache.
    The Hezbollah then put the UAV within 10 M’ of one of their zilzal missiles and when the UAV detonated the entire compound went Kaboom.
    This is what you claim more or less.

    The chance something like this would happened are equal to the chance santa clause would come down your chimney.

    Seems to me the Mossad is using you to establish deterrence by taking responsibility of things they really not involved with.

    • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 12:41 AM

      So let’s me see if I got that straight.

      Let’s not because you didn’t. I never said Hezbollah took it to a “lab.” I said they took it to a weapons cache where it was detonated. All the other stuff is yr convenient invention. Nor did I say it exploded a Zelzal missile. I said that Iran supplied Hezbollah with missiles & one might suppose that such advanced weaponry might be located at such a site so close to the Israeli border. Nor did I say it detonated “the entire compound.” I said my source said it caused a massive explosion. It may’ve detonated the entire compound or part of it. I only know the size of the explosion was considerable. And guess what, he knows far better than you or me.

      Finally, I didin’t say the Mossad was involved with this attack. The fact that you did means you didn’t bother to read what I wrote & that you don’t know the diff. bet. Mossad and Aman. Which means the chances that you are a know nothing blowhard are far more likely than that “santa clause” (try spell check btw) would come down your chimney.

      • Zbiginew November 24, 2011, 6:09 AM

        I do have a question if I may.
        Why in the name of Jesus Christ would the Hezbollah take equipment that should go to a lab to be examined, and put it in a weapons cache? A crash landed Israeli UAV taken by Hezbollah would be delivered with no delays straight to the hands of the IRG stationed in Lebanon and will not be stored in weapons storage.
        If you bother reading Bergmans story, to which you compared the incident, the phone was not screened, and exploded in a lab to which it was taken to be examined, wounding the two officers that handled it. Hezbollah are not as dumb as your source is trying to paint them to be, and if they were to pick the UAV the last place they would bring it to would be weapons storage.
        As for confusing Amman and Mossad, You are right; you claimed it was Amman, big deal.
        Let me assume, that you are not a military expert. As a liberal American you never carried weapons, and you don’t really know anything about storing such guns or missiles or rockets.
        Your source is using your lack of knowledge in the matter and using you to exploit nonsense.
        If such an operation was to take place, the number of those who ‘knows’ would be extremely limited, each person involved would be required to sign in on a “secret partner” (שותף סוד) agreement, and the chances an EX military who’s been a politician, hence he’s been out of the loop for some years, would know something of such an incident two days after it took place, simply do not exist.
        I don’t think the story is the creation of your imagination, but it sure is the creation of someone else’s imagination.
        This story seems to me as if it was taken straight out of 1000 night and a night.

        • Ami November 24, 2011, 1:18 PM

          Even though the Hebrew phrase is a direct translation of the Arabic, in English is properly called the “Thousand and One nights” or “Arabian Nights”

  • b November 24, 2011, 1:09 AM

    Just to notice that this is the SECOND time a “secret source” is telling Richard that the Mossad was behind an explosion in an “enemy” country.

    The first one was the recent explosion during a missile test in Iran.

    It at least smells as if Richard is used here to launch such “information” that can then be quoted in the Israeli media.

    • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 1:20 AM

      That’s the 2nd time you’re saying the same thing. Repeating oneself gets boring. This isn’t the 2nd time or even the 5th or 10th time this source has provided accurate information about Israeli intelligence activities in foreign countries. If you’d bother to read this blog instead of slumming through it as you do, you’d know that. But you don’t because you’re more interested in posturing.

      • b November 24, 2011, 4:39 AM

        The last two sentences of your comment are wrong assertions Richard for which you have no factual base.
        For the record: I have read your blog every day for the last six+ month. I have no interest in “posturing”. Why should I, an anonymous on the Internets, invest in “posturing”?

        This is the second time I point out that something here (this and your assertions about the Iranian missile test explosion) smells of an information operation because it is the second time you make such claims. Both based solely on the claims of your “source” which is contradicted by official statements from other sides.

        Any “source” that wants to manipulate will of course first feed some real stuff into an information distribution channel before inserting false stuff into it. That is just normal operation procedure for any information operation.

        If that is the case here, you would not even know that you are used.

        Your claims, as Johnboy shows, are contradicted by official on the record statements and supported by nothing but claims an anonymous source made to the Daily Star and claims that your anonymous and secret source makes to you.

        The Daily Star has also later delivered facts that contradict the claims that anonymous sources made to it.

        I also wonder why simply pointing that out leads to personal verbal attacks by you?

        • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 1:50 PM

          Why would you believe “official statements” from Iran or Hezbollah any more than u would from the IDF unless you had (which you don’t) as well placed an internal source as I do within those groups?

        • Johnboy November 24, 2011, 1:50 PM

          “supported by nothing but claims an anonymous source made to the Daily Star and claims that your anonymous and secret source makes to you”

          It is worthwhile to point out that since both sources were “anonymous” then there must be the suspicion that they are one and the same person.

          Indeed, were that to be the case (anyone care to place bets?) then Richard himself would be unaware that The Daily Star is actually using the same source that he is i.e. his story and his “confirmation” are not independent of each other.

          “I also wonder why simply pointing that out leads to personal verbal attacks by you?”

          That is, indeed, the most inexplicable part of this whole exercise. It appears that he is personally offended by any suggestion that his prized source may be Less Than Infallible.

          Which is odd indeed since he is not his source, and his source is not him.

          • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 1:57 PM

            It is worthwhile to point out

            Actually, it’s worthless to point this out as is all the drivel you’ve posted on this subject, which is why you won’t be posting here any longer. But the idea that Daily Star would use a highly placed Israel source for any purpose is laughable. They’d never get another tip from a Lebanese source (esp. not any related to Hezbollah) & become a useless publication as far as covering Lebanon is concerned. Frankly, I think you’re imbibing drugs or some other reason-altering substance. Or perhaps you never had much reason to begin with & didn’t need drugs to alter what little you had.

            My source has provided far better, more reliable, more accurate & more reasonable material than you’ll find in any nonsense either of you have published. In fact, I think I’ll start spreading a rumor that you & Bernhardt are one & the same source. Except no one would care, just as I no longer care or wish to hear anything either of you have to say.

  • Michael November 24, 2011, 1:34 AM

    Just to let you know that Kol Israel radio quoted your blog about this incident mentioning your name and sources (not their names). You have become an official source of information.

    • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 2:19 AM

      Thanks. Yeah everyone’s telling me about how widely I (or rather my source, since he did the work) am being quoted. Even Ronen Bergman is using me as his source for this story (though I imagine someone of that caliber would have his own independent sources to verify it).

      • Glamour November 24, 2011, 3:39 AM

        the mainstream media and news group in Israel are giving free advertisement for a blog which is all dedicated to paint Israel in the same colors of N.Korean or China regarding human rights and freedom of speech .
        so “thanks” is all what you say about this irony ?

        I assume you would be more flattered if your blog was blocked by the Israeli government than becoming so popular in Israel , for sure it would serve your agenda much better .

  • MS November 24, 2011, 2:52 AM

    To all readers. “Those who talk -don’t know. Those who know – don’t talk.” The sources of Mr. Silverstine are not what he says they are.

    • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 3:01 AM

      You’re a liar and in your case those who don’t know–talk…a load of crap. You’re now moderated.

      If your little saying were true then journalists would have no sources, nor would I. But I do contrary to yr claims. And btw, learn to spell my name correctly.

  • A disillusioned Israeli November 24, 2011, 6:27 AM

    Maybe the drone automatically self-destructed itself and was not remotely detonated?

    Another question why keep long range missiles close to the border?

    • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 1:46 PM

      I was only speculating about the actual contents of the arms depot. There could’ve been any manner of munitions that Hezbollah would use to fight Israel: missiles, anti tank rockets, you name it.

  • Arieh O'Sullivan November 24, 2011, 6:36 AM

    Richard, I’m sure what you have written is what your source has told you. You’ve become quite popular and quite dramatically so lately and i’d be curious to see the stats on your hits. I must say that your site reminds me of what happened to Debka, another fringe blog that became popular when it started to get a few scoops that bypassed the censor. The Foreign Report was another one. I do assumed you know you’re being used so to keep your credibility take it this information or disinformation with a discerning eye. looking forward to more interesting stories.

    • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 2:05 PM

      The diff. is that Debka makes up its stories based on no sources & these stories turn out to have no basis in fact. My reports based on this source are factual & can almost always be proven to be true if not immediately in the first moment, then afterward using corroborating sources & evidence.

      My source has offered me far more stories that are highly damaging to Israeli intelligence than stories that might be considered favorable. Not to mention that my source, were he to have ulterior motives favorable to Israeli intellligence, would know that I would couch any story I report from him in my own fashion. You should note that the ways in which I reported both the Iran missile base story & the Hezbollah story made abundantly clear that I believe such sabotage & covert ops campaigns to be a total waste. I denounce them & it certainly would not be in the interest of Israeli intelligence to offer me directly or indirectly such information given that I would filter it through my own vision & perspective & add my own highly unflattering commentary.

  • MS November 24, 2011, 7:11 AM

    The pot calling the kettle blacל

  • MS November 24, 2011, 10:24 AM

    One thing I can tell your readers for sure. No one in the Israeli intelligence would have tipped you with any true confidential information of any sort.What really happened in Lebanon and Bid kaneh is known only to the few who need to know.In other words Mr. Silverstein you’r the one that’s loaded with crap

    • Richard Silverstein November 24, 2011, 1:34 PM

      No one IN Israeli intelligence offered this information directly to me & if you’d bothered to read carefully you would’ve known this. You don’t know as much as you think you know and you less than I and even less than my source and you’ve been banned.

  • Tired Of The Lies November 24, 2011, 4:30 PM

    [nice try--banned as Johnnyboy, banned as tiresome stalker you are]

  • Ramzi Nohra November 25, 2011, 1:43 AM

    By the way – as an effort at creating some unity here I would suggest that if anyone wants a laugh they may want to check out Debka file – they claim the explosion at the arms depot was caused by the Free Syrian Army.

    I kid you not.

    • Richard Silverstein November 25, 2011, 2:33 AM

      And the Iranian missile base explosion was caused by Stuxnet…according to an “exhaustive analysis” conducted by those splendid chaps at Debka. I don’t know if they’re high on some drug peddled by Israeli settlers & intelligence agents or whether they simply have vivid imaginations & need an outlet for them.

  • Jim Gibson November 25, 2011, 8:40 AM

    It’s true that Hezbollah accumulated larger amount of missiles than they used to have prior to 2006 conflict. They can cause significant pain and devastation to northern Israel in a case of future conflict. It is also the case that Israel will have no other choice but to flatten villages, mosques, schools and other civilian structures used to store weapons. Israel will take a bad beating in the next conflict, Lebanon will be trashed completely.

  • b November 25, 2011, 11:42 AM

    Richard wrote me to “rather abuse” him on my site than here.

    So here is my follow on:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2011/11/on-silversteins-implausible-drone-explosion-story.html

    And yes Richard you may comment on that. I will not feel “abused” by diverging opinions in the comments at my site.

    • Richard Silverstein November 25, 2011, 6:34 PM

      I don’t make it a point to rag on fellow progressives on their own blogs. I think it shows rudeness & bad manners. And frankly I could care less what you say about me on your blog. Gesund aheit.

  • Fred Plester November 26, 2011, 11:10 AM

    Rather the discuss the possibilities, some commentators seem prepared to argue from pretty well any angle in order to disparage our host.

    Richard is always going to appear wrong, if you insist on standing on your heads before examining what he’s got to say.

    The thing about these daring secret service coups, is that they can bring intelligence gains, but the costs of doing this to a totalitarian regime can be extreme:

    The Iranians have already arrested a dozen people they claim to be CIA or Mossad agents: these people will be brutally killed, whether it’s true or not.

    Worse, there are those who believe that the sinking of the Baltic ferry “Esonia” was deliberate and happened because Russian intelligence believed that one of their strategic missiles, supposedly stolen by MI6, was aboard, in pieces, in a number of container trucks.

    If Israel really believes that it is dealing with a psychopathic regime in Iran, poking it with a stick to see it lash out is not a responsible action. It’s simply badger-baiting on an international scale.

  • Shaun November 28, 2011, 11:11 PM

    As you area fan of Israel’s channel 10. what do you make of their latest claim that the entire story was fabricated…

    • Richard Silverstein November 29, 2011, 12:27 AM

      I read the entire report but didn’t watch the video yet & it didn’t say anything of the sort, at least not in print. It said the IDF claimed its drone saw no evidence of an explosion & ALon Ben David conceded that the drone may’ve not been looking in the right place to find it. And why do people believe everything the IDF tells them without the offer of any proof whatsoever? Did the reporter actually see an image fr the drone? Is there even such an image? How do we know what it shows if it does exist?