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Israeli Intelligence Assets Aid African Dictators

nikuv

Africa has for decades been a playground for Israel: both in the literal sense as a spot for Israelis to play in the sun (Kenya, Zanzibar, Sharm el-Sheikh–not technically in Africa, but Egypt is); and in the figurative sense regarding Israeli diplomats and spies who’ve woven their webs of intrigue there.  In the days of Ben Gurion, he saw Africa as a weight to counter the hostile influence of the Arab world.  That’s why Israeli development and aid projects were so intensively pursued in the 1950s and 60s.

Later, Israel made common cause with apartheid era South Africa in developing its nuclear weapons program.  Israel also readily supplied arms to some of the worst insurgent movements in places like Angola on behalf of the Reagan administration and as a spoiler for Cuba in its intervention.  Today, Israeli billionaires like Lev Leviev and Dan Gertler work hand in glove with military regimes and corrupt politicians in Congo, Angola and elsewhere to pry blood diamonds from African soil, which glitter on the necks and bosoms of the 1% in fashion capitals throughout the world.  They reinforce the wealth and power of blood-sucking tyrants and the continuing degradation of the poor peasants who share none of this wealth.

Israel’s retrograde influence in southern Africa continues to this day.  Retired Israeli intelligence officers are plying their trade in countries like Zimbabwe, where they offer the ruling party their expertise in running elections.  They collect data, register voters, maintain voter rolls, conduct the elections and count the votes–all for a substantial fee of course.  On their websites they can boast about their role in furthering the budding of African democracy.  But in reality, they’re working hand in glove with the dictator, Robert Mugabe.

This becomes timely in light of that country’s election today which an Israeli company stands ready to help Mugabe steal…again.

These Israeli firms may have even more nefarious motives: as we know from the NSA revelations of Edward Snowden, any large-scale information gathering operation can be exploited for purposes of intelligence and gathering information on political foes.  But even more importantly for Mugabe’s interests, it can ensure and prolong his grip on power.  To this effect, companies like Nikuv, which play such a critical consulting role in that country, are hand-maidens of tyranny.

It’s ironic that Ben Gurion used to boast about Israel’s role in helping African colonies to become independent, develop their resources, improve education and health care.  It was all nation-building and anti-colonialism in those days.  But what do Israel’s intelligence interests do these days?  They prop up some of the worst exemplars of human decadence and suffering in that part of the world.

nikuv

Nikuv promotes its election management systems: one bullet, one vote

Sam Sole, at South Africa’s Globe and Mail, wrote this about the company’s role in Zimbabwe’s political system (I spoke with him and offered my research information in the preparation of this report):

Eddie Cross, a Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP who has proved to be well-informed on security matters in the past, told the Mail & Guardian that he had been informed by security sources that the company, Nikuv International Projects, is working on the roll at Defence House, the headquarters of the Zimbabwe Defence Force. The MDC also alleged that Nikuv was a front for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, although it offered no evidence to support the claim.

It is unclear what Nikuv’s involvement in this coming election is but it specialises in population registration and election systems.

Cross said the source told him that the company is working under the direction of Daniel Tonde Nhepera, the deputy head of the Zimbabwe’s dreaded internal security arm, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

…Top executives of a Nikuv associate company, ISC International Security Consultancy, have an Israeli intelligence background  and Nikuv has been linked to other cases of collaboration with the Zimbabwean security services…

It also appears that individuals linked to Nikuv played a role in helping the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) obtain riot control equipment and motorbikes, which would have been difficult for the ZRP to access at the time, given international sanctions.

On August 2 2001, Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette reported that, before the 2002 presidential elections, which the government feared that Mugabe would lose, the ZRP [ruling party] contacted Eli Antebi, who represented a company called Beit Alpha, about the purchase of the vehicles and water cannons.

We don’t even have to rely on Eddie Cross, because my confidential Israeli source has confirmed that Nikuv is closely tied to Israel’s security interests.  Not just that its personnel were former Mossad agents, but that the company continues to pursue the interests of the Mossad in its ventures and consulting work.

Nikuv has been accused of election rigging and improper contract bidding in several other African countries where it plies its trade:

In Zambia, where Nikuv was brought in to manage and computerise voter registration, the United National Independence Party (Unip) accused the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) of trying to rig the 1996 election with the company’s help. Unip eventually boycotted the poll.

The Zambian opposition also accused Nikuv of landing the contract without proper tender procedures. The process was allegedly managed by the office of Vice-President Godfrey Miyanda rather than the electoral commission.

The Zambian High Court found that the registration process was flawed…

Nikuv’s offices in Lesotho were raided in March, apparently in connection with an identity document contract awarded last year in controversial circumstances…

The raid took place “because the ministry found a letter to the ministry from Nikuv saying that the project [which also includes a contract for e-passports] would cost $25-million, but the ministry presented a different figure of $29-million to the Cabinet.” The discrepancy sparked suspicion of corruption and prompted the raid, he said.

Yossi Melman writes in the Jerusalem Post Hebrew edition about the upcoming Zimbabwe elections and Nikuv’s tainted role.  He also offers some added connections between the firm and Israel’s intelligence services.  For example, he tells us the founder of the company, Emmanuel Entebi, is a veteran of the IDF’s cyberwarfare command, Unit 8200.

While Melman acknowledges African opposition claims that Nikuv is a Mossad front company.  He parries those claims by noting that the Mossad would have little interest in a place like Zimbabwe.  This may be Melman’s way of denying such a connection, but clearly any country’s intelligence services would be interested in a country with the mineral wealth and natural resources of Zimbabwe.  Not to mention that the Mossad is always looking for safe harbors overseas from which it can launch operations in hostile countries or environments.  It could find a great deal of use for a place like Zimbabwe as a home base for its agents.

Melman also flat-out rejects the contention that Nikuv offers any security assistance to Mugabe.  Support for his claim: that the Defense Ministry has forbidden Israeli companies from doing so.  Again, this begs the question, because Mossad activities are always covert and not bound by the strictures placed on any Israeli company by any Israeli ministry.

Returning to the Globe and Mail investigative piece, it presents further evidence of the tight connection between Nikuv personnel and the Mossad:

…All ISC’s [a company affiliated with Nikuv] founders and senior associates appear to have once served at the highest levels of the Israeli intelligence services.

The president and founder of ISC is Dani Issacharoff. A former colleague, who asked not to be named, said: “Dani was with Mossad – he was very, very senior.”

He is also described as a former head of security for Israel’s airline El Al and the founder and president of what appears to be ISC’s forerunner, a company called International Consultants for Targeted Security.

It should be noted that El Al’s foreign security is maintained by Israeli security agents (though from Shabak, not Mossad).  So Issacharoff’s former career would be a perfect fit for him.  I wonder what relation Issacharoff is to former Haaretz Arab affairs reporter, Avi Issacharoff, whose reporting I’ve been known to criticize for its over-familiarity with Israeli intelligence interests.

 

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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Fred Plester July 31, 2013, 2:37 AM

    Today is election day in Zimbabwe, and it’s interesting if there is an Israeli company specializing in electoral roll matters in the mix.

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe is not just relying on Mossad, however: he has reportedly appointed Nicholas Van Hoogstraten to ensure that he stays in power if possible, and keeps his ill-gotten gains if not.

    Mr Van Hoogstraten is a UK-born stamp collector and property developer, rumoured to have done a deal with several rivals and opponents to help prop up the sea wall piles in Brighton Marina in the seventies, and described more recently by a High Court judge as “An emissary of Beezlebub.”

    He has very extensive land interests in Zimbabwe, based on the realization that Mugabe’s henchmen didn’t have a clue what to do with all the farms they had violently seized from white farmers. He made them offers, and the consensus seems to be that refusal is most unwise.

    I think Mugabe requires the Israelis to do a neat and plausible rig-up of the election. I doubt that the state of Israel can teach Mr Hoogstraten anything about menace and brute force.

    I don’t know who’s going to win the election, but I think I already know who’s going to stroll away with the most loot afterwards.

  • Oui July 31, 2013, 2:59 AM

    Israels major assets are a welcome export article of the “only democracy” in the Middle East sharing our moral values, according to US Presidents. Beyond intelligency sharing, espionage, riot control, airport security; Israeli tech companies can guarantee your democracy and election poll results. Using the “Florida USA app” in your Secretary of State election policy. The fingerprints of Israeli and ex-intellugence official Ari Ben Menashe seems to be all over these events.

    I covered these topics in a recent diary – US and Israel Leading Exporters Riot Control Systems for Democracy. My starting point was the riot gear and vehicles used in Istanbul to quell the demonstrations at Gezi park. Specifically the chemical additives caught my attention at the time.

    JERUSALEM – A kibbutz that markets low-grade chemical weapons is poised to sell millions of dollars worth of “riot-control equipment” to Zimbabwe in a move its critics warn will translate into heightened repression by President Robert Mugabe’s regime (see story). But the firm, the Beit Alfa Trailer Company (BAT), insists its intention to sell equipment to Zimbabwe is actually humane: Demonstrators would be faced with water cannons, not live ammunition.

    Thank you for providing necessary transparency!

  • Deïr Yassin July 31, 2013, 3:35 AM

    Another continent where Israel is giving ‘a helping hand’: Latin America
    “Death by ‘security’: Israel’s services in Latin America. The country has supported repressive governments in the struggle to suppress indigenous movements and uprisings”
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/20137717429632532.html

    • Deïr Yassin July 31, 2013, 3:44 AM

      PS. I just noticed that the author of the article, Belen Fernandez, wrote a book: “The Imperial Messenger. Thomas Friedman at Work”. That sounds interesting ;-)

  • Eli July 31, 2013, 1:12 PM

    ” Israel made common cause with apartheid era South Africa in developing its nuclear weapons program”

    Sir, do you have proofs for this claim? Are you sure South Africa in apartheid era had nuclear weapons or tried to develop nuclear weapons? Are you sure about the connection between Israel and South Africa? If yes, i will be glad to learn about it.

    • Oui July 31, 2013, 2:21 PM

      YAWN! What planet do you inhabit?

      Ever hear of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the detailed reports of the interviews and investigations?

      “Dr. Wouter Basson established an elaborate network of procurement and financial front companies overseas to abet Project Coast. The scientists in this program developed, tested, synthesized small-scale quantities of well-known CW agents (e.g., mustard agent, sarin, tabun, BZ, and perhaps VX) and a host of lethal, hard-to-trace toxic chemicals.”

      “In 1980, we [CIA] had 11 case officers in South Africa, four of them with deep cover. They had penetrated the apartheid regime’s ‘Project Circle,’ which was already within reach of perfecting a usable, deliverable atomic bomb. They also monitored the deep cover ‘black station’ of Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad. Drumheller said this was a front company called TamCo.”

      “How Israel Helped a Then-Rogue State Go Nuclear” and Google The Vela Incident [pdf].
      Read Seymour Hersh’s “The Samson option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy.” The detection was the third joint Israeli-South African nuclear test in the Indian Ocean, and the Israelis had sent two IDF ships and “a contingent of Israeli military men and nuclear experts” for the test.

      Officially, Israel will deny it was involved with South Africa’s apartheid regime of Botha and the development of CW, BW and nuclear weapons. Israel will also deny possession of a nuclear bomb arsenal.

      • Eli July 31, 2013, 10:56 PM

        @Qui, I really thank you for your efforts. I just read the “The Vela Incident” PDF file. Long time ago, I read “The Samson Option” in Hebrew (Brerat Shimshon). I promise to return and read it again. Any way, a book or a report are not proofs.

        You know, many reports were written by so many people and intelligence agencies about the mass destruction weapon arsenal in Iraq. Both of us, I assume, know the value of these “reports”.

        Qui, look, for years Israel declares that Iran try to develop nuclear weapon or has nuclear weapon. Until today, although many books, reports, satellites photos, UN committees etc. no body really know what happen even not the Israeli intelligence agencies.

        I do thank you again. Regards

        • Richard Silverstein August 1, 2013, 12:50 AM

          @Eli: So despite massive amounts of evidence & acknowledgement of Israel’s collaboration with South Africa in both their nuclear weapons programs, you’re treating it as if it were an unproven fact?

          Read this book. And don’t make any further claims here denying the truth of this program of cooperation between apartheid South Africa & Israel. You risk turning yourself into a laughingstock if you do.

          • Eli August 1, 2013, 2:54 AM

            @Richard: Why do you treat me in such way? Why with me it is always personal? As I wrote before, if you want me to stop comment here, just say so. I will follow your requests and rules.

            As a curious man, I always happy learn new things. I thought there is new information about SA-Israel. I didn’t claim anything. I didn’t support any claim and didn’t deny any claim.

            Here in Israel, we, the citizens that against Israeli attack in Iran (including me), always ask our government for real proofs for nuclear weapon in Iran, not only assumptions and papers.

            By the way, thanks for the links to the book, but the web page is empty.

          • Richard Silverstein August 1, 2013, 12:30 PM

            @Eli: Your question clearly, at least to me, assumed there was no evidence to support my claim about Israeli-S. African nuclear weapons collaboration. If it was an innocent, open question on your part, I apologize.

            I don’t know which web page you’re saying is empty. If it’s the link I offered to the Suransky book, try it again. I’ve just changed the link. Oui offered a link to the same book I believe in one of his recent comments.

    • Richard Silverstein July 31, 2013, 6:26 PM

      @Eli: ou are an Israeli so ignorant about your own country’s facilitation of nuclear proliferation in South Africa & history of weapons dealing throughout the world, esp. to some of the worst dictators!!? Unbelievable. What do you do? Read Yisrael HaYom all day? You’ve got to get out more & find some new reading matter.

      • Eli July 31, 2013, 10:57 PM

        Thank you very much for your recommendation.

        • Oui August 1, 2013, 4:31 AM

          @Eli

          The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa

          The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa
          By Sasha Polakow-Suransky Link to book review here.

          Please search the Internet and read some chapters of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it will be an eye opener. I believe it is a personal responsibility to seek the truth through education and being critical of the air waves and especially the Internet. The Middle-East especially and the political/religious conflict about Jerusalem, one is confronted with hypocrisy, propaganda, outright lies, history rewritten and plain smoke and mirrors. Having lived through the sixties and seventies, I suppose it’s easier to detect falsehoods. Just a tangent is about Israel, the situation in the US is just plain hopeless after eight years of Cheney/Bush and a US Congress that is paralyzed.

          • Eli August 1, 2013, 4:48 AM

            @Qui, Thank you again for your effort and polite comment. I agree with you that it is a personal responsibility to seek the truth through education. Hence, although English is not my language, I will read this book and I hope to learn new things.

            I also agree with your claim about the Middle East conflict and I also think, like you, that there are too much hypocrisy, propaganda and lies. I personally try to fight against those things with my limited and little abilities.

            Best regards from Jerusalem

          • Oui August 1, 2013, 1:57 PM

            @Eli: Likewise from Amsterdam!

      • Deïr Yassin August 1, 2013, 1:31 AM

        Me think Eli just reads the Hasbara manual.

        • Davey August 1, 2013, 2:56 PM

          Ah…methinks Eli IS the hasbara manual and that is a reason to be short with him.

          As we all know, Israel is not party to any nuclear proliferation treaties and contracts. As with S. Africa, it was actively proliferating such weapons at its own discretion. That Iran should be held to inspections and other provisions, while Israel is without constraints or inspections, is simply outrageous. If Israel has atomic weapons, they must be inventoried and accounted for LONG BEFORE Iran dares to enrich fissile material past 20%! LONG BEFORE! Does the “West” really trust Israel over Iran? On what basis?

  • david de Guise August 1, 2013, 3:04 AM

    Why do you not campaign in Israel itself, and make the Israeli public aware of your claims?

  • Eli August 2, 2013, 4:27 PM

    @Richard: Well, 20 years ago I would not ask such question. I asked it since people are asking for real proofs that Iran develop nuclear weapon. Any way, thank you very much for your apology.

    OK, the link works now and it is the same link Qui offered. Tx.

  • Oui August 3, 2013, 2:10 PM

    ICTS International, founded by former Shin Bet member Menachem Atzmon, is located in Amstelveen, The Netherlands near Schiphol Int’l Airport. There is no link with ISC and Dani Issacharoff.

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