43 thoughts on “Art of the Con: Israel-Style – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. In my comments I used news articles which proofed the reverse engineering by Iran of downed drones and have designed their own, Shahed-129 UCAV. Israeli drones were downed in Georgia and above Nagorno Karabakh Republic. The US stealth drone Sentinel RQ-170 was also downed by Iran through spoofing.

    What is the practical joke? The performance of the Elbit Systems’ Hermes-450 is worse than Israeli “experts” admit. Looks to me Elbit Systems has some tooling up to do or some wars will be on hold.

    See my comments here and here.

    Thank you for your outstanding work!

    1. You are right Qui about the compromised hermes-450. I’ve heard (through business, not security channels) that the rumors about the hermes 9and other israaeli systems) vulnerability have already put a bit of a chill on Elbit’s ultra-aggressive sales and marketing campaign. In the shadow world where drones and other such instruments of war are procured and sold to the highest bidders, disclosures such as Richard’s will not just be duly noted, but trumpeted and magnified. They fit well into an assortment of other rumors, and also into the well known interest from America’s DoD in “hardening” of drones. Some solicitations are open for all to view, others are classified. But the issue, based on what I’ve been hearing through technical channels, have been known for some time, certainly in the US.

      therefore, attempts by professional con-men to cast doubts on such disclosures, as Richard tells here, are just pin-pricks in the mill, or worse, serve as proof positive that there iIS a problem that needs to be covered up. If anything, it proves that some sources (perhaps even tied to Elbit) are getting desperate enough to resort to childish means in a last ditch attempt to discredit the rapidly spreading – and evolving – story about drones’ Achiles heel.

      An aside: hardening against navigation system hacking can, of course, be done, as it is for any number of other navigation systems. The problem is that sometimes the means to “fix” the problem add enough unacceptable complexity and/or weight/power/size to the drone that it compromises its other mission and flight parameters. real estate on drones is at a premium, and that’s the systemic vulnerability that Iranians must have discovered through unrelenting trial and error effort.

      I think that way too little is said about what these apparently successful efforts of drone hacking say about Iranians’ computing and engineering capabilities. As well as creativity. Sometimes, extreme sanctions can achieve results other than those intended – far from choking a country’s capability, it spurs resourcefulness in designing affordable and practically executable counter-measures.

      1. In this case a childish attempt (practical joke) to discredit RS for his writings about the Israeli security state, Shin Bet intelligence failures and IDF/settlers human rights abuse. His harsh attacks on the hasbarists must be felt too as an affront on BN personally and his close advisers.

  2. Your anonymous UAV source did not claim to be an Israeli or to have inside information. He/she did not provide any credentials whatsoever. You didn’t have a scoop. If you look at it honestly, you were taken in because you WANTED to believe the email. You WANTED to have a scoop.

    There is still no reason to believe you were conned by an Israeli. Again, if you look at it honestly, the only reason you say it was an Israeli is because you WANT to believe it was an Israeli who fooled you. There is no evidence.

    The ‘return path’, ‘received from’ and other information in the email you display above provide no evidence about where the sender came from. Those pieces of information are provided by the sender. A grade-school boy with a little technical talent can easily be set them to any value he wants. In the email above, the sender appears to be from Pennsylvania, not Israel, but that really doesn’t prove anything.

    Your lesson should be: don’t be so quick to slam Israel without any good evidence.

    1. Don’t be an idiot. I cleaned up the English in the messages I published. No native English speaker could make the mistakes this guy made. He was Israeli. And yes, he did claim to have inside information among which was that he had colleagues who’d been to Saudi Arabia & involved in Israel’s drones stationed there.

      As for the “lesson” you offer: I take away far different lessons & the ones I’ve learned will be far more useful than the dubious one you offered.

      1. [Comment deleted–Ed.: I’m sure you’d love to continue this line of attack as long as possible. But I’m not interested. Move on to another thread.]

        1. OK. You read it, though. It was a sincere warning, not a threat or an attack. Bloggers, pranksters and others will be after you for the foreseeable future. They will be testing you. Anonymous messages can’t be trusted.

          I don’t agree with anything you have to say, and you called me an idiot for no reason, but have a good Shabbos anyhow. I won’t bother you again.

  3. I am surprised that you have not commented on Ignatius’s column in the Washington Post about the Turks informing Iran about Israeli Mossad agents in spite of 50 years of intelligence cooperation between Israel and Turkey. I would have thought you would have been thrilled about it, since you love posting items about Israeli failures and setbacks and you are distressed about any good news about Israel, for instance the poll tht showed Israelis are among the happiest people in the world.

    1. Yeah, Mossad’s close relationship with the Shah’s Savak was abruptly ended in 1979.

      ‘Spies’ in Iran – apparently Kurds

      (Ynet News) – The “spies” who were reportedly working for Israel on Iranian soil were apparently Iranian Kurds.

      The National Intelligence Organization (MIT) of Turkey and the Erdogan regime have a common interest to work against the Kurdish National Movement, which operates in Syria and Turkey. Ankara and Tehran have been working together for many years to fight the movement on both ends of the border.

      Israel has a tight diplomatic relationships with the Kurds in Iran, who fought against Saddam Hussein and who were trained by the IDF and Mossad operatives in Iraq and in Iran in the 70s, during the Shah’s regime.

      [Israeli intelligence has a good relationship with the MEK refugees in Iraq and Jundullah in Balochistan, freedom movements used for terror attacks inside Iran.]

    2. The Ignatius article is actually why I came her today and decided to join the comments. I didn’t realize a decent sized poo poo storm (forgive my language) had erupted over the drone articles so perhaps Mr. S has a little too much on his plate at this time to address the matter. Anyway, like you all, I’d love to get his take on this issue. Here’s to hoping for something soon!

          1. Whoops… I don’t have Facebook or Twitter, sorry… I was basically just introducing myself and thanking you for providing this blog. I’m a lawyer from the US; travel a lot and hope to contribute to the discussion in a positive manner. I also hope to learn from those I disagree with- all the while remaining civil and treating others with respect!

          2. A wise decision as expected from a lawyer. Are you the Ari Dov Greenfield educated at Brandeis U.?

          3. Thanks Ari. You helped me discover that my contact form hasn’t been working for some time. I’m trying to investigate why this happened and fix it. I don’t give out my personal e mail in the threads for obvious reasons. But I should have this fixed and if you like you can send me some further details then.

  4. It depends on what is meant by “happiness.” It may be that extorting funds from US taxpayer and oppressing literally a million plus people could make Israelis happy. It may be that invading Lebanon and killing thousands of civilians or, in Gaza, over 1400 in one operation is the stuff of dreams — the Israeli “Good Life.” I think there’s something to this.

  5. Thank you, Richard for doing such a great job. There will always be con artists and mean-spirited folk out there trying to sabotage what you do. When all’s said and done, they are the losers. Keep up the good work.

  6. Maybe the people who sent you these messages were from Iran? Isn’t it also their interest to show there is a problem with the drones? Or maybe it was sent from a business rival in order to humiliate Elbit before a big deal? (There is nothing important you can tell from the message header)
    You have completely failed this time! Even tough my views on Israel are far different from yours, I thought that at least we can argue based on facts.
    All you have is your credibility and if you continue to guess you will be wrong something (and something for a blogger/reporter is a big no-no).
    (This is comment #2 this month so I owe you $2)

    1. @ Nir Katz: No, sorry I didn’t completely fail. Everything I’ve reported about drones being hacked remains true & that still remains the heart of the story. Four Israeli drones have crashed by being hacked by Hezbollah or Iran. Everything else offered in those faked messages was wrong, but nothing that was wrong detracts in any way from the key point about the failure of Israel’s drone fleet.

      1. It is a reflection of RS’s integrity that he has reported the problem very completely. The fact is that RS is widely regarded as a unique source on IP and the drone reports are the proof in the pudding. RS — keep a’ going despite how these poor mistreated little Israel guys malign this work.

  7. Isn’t an Iran possessing nuclear weapons a greater threat, an unstable factor in middle east more than Israel can be with its Jerichos and dolphin subs Mr Silverstein?

    Israel has no territorial claims in neighbouring countries.
    Iran plays dangerous games with the Shiah minorities in Arabian Peninsula,in Southern Iraq.
    Many analysts see in the foreseeable future the creation of a Kurdistan state with Iranian Iraqi Syrian and Turkish Kurdistan uniting.15-20 million Kurds only reside in Turkey.

    An Iran with nuclear weapons would lead to a nuclear armament race Saudi Arabia and Turkey.The Salafis are dangerous and their regime very fragile,Turkey is on a path of disintegration ( mainly from the Kurdish matter and also from the suppression of the Alevi minority, 10+ millions).
    Israel besides its current leadership’s paranoia isn’t a threat to the region.
    Of course diplomacy is the first option to be sought on the Iranian nuclear program issue.
    Is the Samson Option a reality?Would Israel in a vital threat – from a nuclear Iran or an Arabian nuclear state – nuke European capitals?eg Rome,Zurich,Lisbon?

    I wonder if an attack on Iran could derail things more than a stupid Turkish standoff ( provoking Russia to attack Turkey) will.

    In your opinion how would a Kurdish state change things for Israel?

  8. Tal Inbar, one of the Fresh military forum Experts, claims your famous war story was a hoax as well.

    And this is what Mr. Inbar claims:
    “ומכיוון שהנ”ל בונה את תהילתו על פרסום “תרחיש המלחמה הסודי” עם איראן, אולי קרב הזמן להסיר את המסווה גם בעניין זה”

    Since the above – Richard Silvertein – builds his fame, on publishing the “secret war story” with Iran, maybe the time is near to remove the veil of secrecy from this matter as well.

    1. @ Cyrus: That’s a battle that was fought long ago. Not to mention I’ve mentioned it & my refutation of their garbage twice in the past week in posts. Go find that, read it, and let’s move on.

      Oh & calling anyone at Fresh an “expert” both gives away your prejudices & reveals how little you know about the quality of their work.

      1. “calling anyone at Fresh an “expert” both gives away your prejudices & reveals how little you know about the quality of their work.”

        Wow, what a snarky uncalled for comment. Expert = he was designated as an expert by Fresh forum admin. Log into fresh you will see he has a yellow start next to his name, that means that he was designated as an expert by the forum admin. Tal Inbar, One of the forum many experts, raised a whole new argument (or at least hinted towards) one : The source who provided you the Iran war story belongs to the Fresh Forum( or received the information through from them)

        As for your statement Re: the Fresh Forum quality of work : I do not have the ability to judge , i’m far from being a military expert. However, with that being said, last week events made me realize that when the Fresh Forum members claim they have mislead you, they have the proof to back it up.

        1. @ Cyrus: That isn’t a “whole new argument” & it’s bullshit. And pure unadulterated bullshit I might add. Just like everything else published by Sirpad & his pals. As I commented to Sirpad here, he & I both know who gave us both the Iran battle plan document. Although it’s possible Sirpad doesn’t know the source who gave it to him. But I know that whoever gave it to him gave it to me. THe difference between Sirpad & me is that I know & tell you it is an official cabinet/PMO document. Sirpad lied and called it fictitious which it isn’t. And I know the bona fides of the person who gave it to me. And that source knows, btw that I’ll give him a red card if he ever tries to peddle a story to me he’s peddled to Fresh.

          And I’ll tell you something: the Fresh folk lie & con & I don’t do either. I may be fooled, but I will never fool someone else including even you, or the rest of my readers. I wouldn’t even try to con Fresh, because they’re not worth the time. And that’s another difference bet. them & me.

          As for whether they fooled me or not…I could give a shit. If you think that’s important I suggest you get your news & yellow journalism there. This site may not be what you’re looking for.

          1. Thank you for the detailed reply
            1. It is my understanding that you were given an actual document – you are referring to a briefing paper for Bibi in your other post, am i right ? If you did, that changes everything.
            2. Out of curiosity, If Sirpad knows who gave both You and him the detailed war plans, and the plans are “Top Secret” , what is stopping Sirpad, whom you defined as security-obsessed Israeli rightist, from going to the police or contacting the shabak ? It doesn’t really add up.
            3. Thank you.

          2. I’m not sure whether the plan was secret or not. It was used, I surmise, to brief cabinet ministers who opposed the attack. So I could imagine it might not be secret since those opposed to the attack read it and might leak it (as someone did).

            Sirpad knows this source, as the Israeli who conveyed this document to me knows him. The leaker is someone with a military-security role. I surmise again someone opposed to Bibi’s plan to attack, as are almost all the leaders of the Israeli security apparatus. For Sirpad to turn his source in would be like killing the goose that layed the golden eggs. Why would anyone turn in a source? You know you’re likely to get more scoops from him in the future. What’s the benefit to doing this? Besides, if the police were to investigate every security official who leaked a document to a journalist half of the general staff would be under investigation. Almost all of them leak at one time or another to one journalist or another.

            At any rate, I’m getting very tired of this who line of discussion and want to close it now. Feel free to comment in other threads. I don’t have more to say about this (nor do you–hint, stronger hint).

          3. I thank you for the time and effort you have invested in answering my questions. All is have to say on the subject – after reading your excellent written post dated 08/15/2012: If you are not sure the plan was secret (as you wrote above) , you shouldn’t title it “Bibi’s Secret War Plan”.
            I will take you up on your suggestion and will go and “get your news & yellow journalism there”.
            I won’t bother you again.

    2. So Tal Inbar was surprised by the Iranian ability to reverse-engineer US and Israeli drones which were “lost” above enemy territory. Info about the Shahed-129 was readily available fron open source.

      US military complex welcomes the hostilities in the Gulf region as another contract for 1,500 bunker-buster bombs GBU-39 can be delivered to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 2014. Enjoy your joke.

  9. Dear Richard,
    I’m not too sophisticated or informed. I read your postings, knowing I can trust you are writing with integrity, seeking out facts.

    Strange things happen on the internet. It can catch one off guard. If I were to see something dubious, I would instantly delete, but I don’t have a post like you. One must be vigilant.

    Thanks for being candid and forthright. I share the sentiments of Davey and Mary Thompson, keep up the good work! It is appreciated.

    1. “I read your postings, knowing I can trust you are writing with integrity, seeking out facts.”‘
      I agree 100%..

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