Sunday, 27 April 2008

A Bad Investment: US Funding, Training PLO Terrorists

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terrorism - PalestineTuly Wultz and his 16-year-old son Daniel were enjoying a Passover holiday dinner at a Tel Aviv restaurant when the suicide bomber struck. Nine diners were killed in the grisly attack that day in April 2006 and dozens more were wounded, including the Wultzes, Americans from Florida who were visiting Israel on vacation. Daniel, who was the more severely injured of the two, lost his spleen, a kidney, and a leg in the blast. Despite the heroic efforts of doctors, he died a month later in an Israeli hospital. Because Daniel Wultz was an American, the terror attack that claimed his life received more attention in the U.S. media than the “typical” suicide bombings that have become all too familiar in Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, and many other parts of the world.

Few Americans are aware, however, that the deadly attack that took the life of Daniel Wultz was planned and carried out by U.S.-trained terrorists of the PLO’s (Palestine Liberation Organization) notorious al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The Brigades, which are formally listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, have carried out numerous suicide bombings, car bombings, shootings, and rocket attacks. Nevertheless, they are a major military arm of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO/Fatah organization. As such, they share in the hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that annually are showered on the Abbas-led Palestinian regime.

But cash is not the only thing the U.S. government lavishes on the Palestinian Authority. Incredibly, it also sends Abbas and his colleagues tons of arms as well — along with training in military tactics, intelligence gathering, and explosives. All of this is done for the ostensible purpose of supporting the “moderate” Palestinian terrorists under Abbas against the supposedly more radical Hamas terrorists.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the bombing in which Daniel Wultz was murdered. American journalist Aaron Klein, who has met and interviewed many of the Palestinian terrorist leaders, reports in his book, Schmoozing With Terrorists:

The cell of the Brigades that directed the attack … happens to be one of the groups I am closest to. According to Brigade sources, the entire bombing operation — from the planning to the recruitment of the suicide bomber — was carried out by Fatah’s Brigades....

The very crew who sent the bomber into Israel to gravely injure Daniel Wultz consisted of none other than the U.S.-trained Brigades leaders who walk around with American-provided assault rifles.

Klein, the intrepid Jerusalem bureau chief for World Net Daily, talked to the terrorists responsible for the attack. They were unapologetic and pledged more of the same. Klein reported:

American-trained Nasser Abu Aziz, deputy commander of the Brigades in Nablus and the West Bank, called Wultz’s passing a “gift from Allah.” Abu Aziz’s cell directed the bombing that killed Wultz....

Abu Aziz went on to pledge more suicide bombings inside Israel. “We will hit whenever we think it is suitable and do not expect that I give details but we can hit everywhere,” he said.

“Our money helped pay for the death of Wultz and so many others,” Klein charges. And he provides details and hard proof to back up the charge, showing case after case of the U.S.-backed Abbas “moderates” carrying out deadly terrorist attacks, including attacks on Americans. It should be clear to all but the willfully blind that Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO/Fatah is the same vicious terrorist organization that Yassir Arafat founded nearly half a century ago. That the U.S. government not only provides the Abbas terror apparatus with financial, military, and diplomatic support, but also systematically overlooks and covers up its terrorist activities, is indefensible.

The Granddaddy of Terror

“It’s good to have you back here in the Oval Office,” said President Bush, welcoming President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to the White House on November 26, 2007. “Thank you for coming,” he continued, “and thank you for working hard to implement a vision for a Palestinian state. We want to help you. We want there to be peace. We want the people in the Palestinian Territories to have hope. And we thank you for your willingness to sit down with Israel to negotiate the settlement.”

It was the eve of the Annapolis Conference, which would initiate a flurry of diplomatic activity culminating in the December “donors conference” in Paris. And the Paris confab would result in total pledges of $7.5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. In January 2008, President Bush journeyed to the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he met Abbas at the Muqata, the infamous PLO headquarters where Yassir Arafat and Abbas had harbored many of the world’s most-wanted fugitive terrorists. In March, Vice President Dick Cheney duplicated the trek to the Muqata, to coincide with the delivery of a no-strings-attached $150 million payment from the U.S. taxpayers to the Abbas government.

In the world of terrorism, no organization has enjoyed a more charmed existence than Yassir Arafat’s PLO/Fatah. No matter how much murder and mayhem he dished out over the decades, Arafat could always depend on support not only from the Soviet and Third World blocs, but also from the United Nations and much of the Islamic world. And increasingly in his later years, his stature inflated by White House visits, international conferences, a Nobel Peace Prize, and sympathetic media coverage, Arafat and the PLO assumed an air of legitimacy.

By the time of his death in 2004, Arafat had been transformed, in much of world opinion, from a brutal terrorist thug run by the Soviet KGB into the “moderate” elder statesman of the Palestinian people. He presided over a global empire that included an estimated $10 billion-$50 billion in cash, commercial assets, and investments and an annual revenue of $1.5-$2 billion from donations, extortion, drug trafficking, arms dealing, and other activities.

Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s longtime lieutenant, has further advanced the PLO’s march toward international respectability, thanks partly to his personal style: in contrast to Arafat’s perennial stubble, grubby fatigues, trademark Keffiyeh scarf, and generally crude, slovenly persona, Abbas always appears as the soft-spoken, well-groomed, grandfatherly diplomat in a business suit. More important, however, than the stylistic change from Arafat to Abbas has been the rise of Hamas, which, at times, can make the PLO/Fatah look reasonable by comparison. But by far the biggest factor in transforming first Arafat, and now Abbas, into “moderates” has been the willingness of Western governments and the Western press to turn a blind eye toward, or even actively to cover up, the fact that the PLO continues to be one of the most violent terrorist organizations in the world, despite its feigned renunciation of “the use of terrorism and other acts of violence.”

Much of the PLO’s most violent dirty work (under both Arafat and Abbas) has been carried out by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which compete with Hamas in the suicide bombing category. For public relations with the West, Arafat tried to distance himself from the Brigades’ grisly attacks. But documents surfaced showing that Fatah was funneling large sums to the Brigades, and it was difficult to hide the fact that many of al-Aqsa’s top commanders were also high-ranking officers in Arafat’s inner circle.

From their Soviet advisers, Arafat and Abbas learned the art of creating “deniable assets” to shield the PLO from the repercussions of its most reprehensible acts. In the early 1970s, Arafat created a special terror squad, the Black September Organization, to carry out the PLO’s most notorious deeds — but without any apparent ties to the PLO. Arafat would disavow them as renegades, even though they operated under his direction.

In 1973, Arafat’s Black September terrorists stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, taking U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, U.S. Charges d’Affaires George Moore, and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid hostage. The following day they brutally tortured and executed all three men. Arafat feigned innocence — and the U.S. government feigned belief in his innocence.

Deception of this sort is to be expected of a terrorist. However, far more reprehensible and shocking is the fact that the U.S. government and other Western governments gave credence to this charade for decades, even though they had proof it was a lie. In the case of the Khartoum operation, for example, we had ironclad proof that Arafat had ordered the murder of our officials.

For years, James J. Welsh, a National Security Agency analyst, had been trying to force this fact into the open. Welsh had been the NSA’s Palestinian analyst who intercepted Arafat’s voice transmission specifically ordering the execution after the hostage takeover. However, apparently under the orders of Henry Kissinger, then President Nixon’s National Security Adviser (and soon to be secretary of state), the existence of the tapes and transcripts of Arafat’s order were kept secret.

Through successive U.S. administrations, as Arafat and the PLO were elevated to new heights of respectability, the secrecy surrounding Arafat’s guilt in the Khartoum murders was maintained. It was not until 33 years later that the truth was finally admitted.

Truth About PLO/Fatah Revealed

In May 2006 — two years after Arafat’s death — a declassified document concerning the kidnapping/murder was posted, unannounced, on the State Department website. The document, a summary of the terrorist event, acknowledges that the Khartoum operation “was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the head of Fatah.” The report also notes that “Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian embassy.” It goes on to state that after the terrorists “had received orders from Fatah headquarters in Beirut, they killed the two United States officials and the Belgian Charge.”

According to a 1975 U.S. government-commissioned Rand Corporation report on the attack, Arafat personally gave the order to execute the Americans via a shortwave radio transmission from Beirut to Khartoum. After the murders had been completed, Arafat instructed his men:

Your mission is ended. Release Saudi and Jordanian diplomats. Submit in courage to Sudanese authorities to explain your just cause to [the] great Sudanese Arab masses and international opinion. We are with you on the same road.

Mahmoud Abbas almost certainly was also personally involved in the attack. Abbas, according to a number of credible sources, was in charge of financing the much more well-known terror operation of the previous year, the Black September attack on the 1972 Munich Olympics, in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered before a worldwide audience. Arafat feigned innocence in this action as well. However, according to Abu Daoud, the Black September commander who led the Munich operation, the entire attack was planned and blessed by Arafat. And Abbas, in addition to arranging the finances for the operation, joined Arafat in kissing Abu Daoud and wishing him luck on the terrorist attack.

Mahmoud Abbas continues the same deception today, with the active connivance of our government officials. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on October 24, 2007, stated: “We will be seeking funds to support the government of … Mahmoud Abbas because we believe, as I said, that is the best chance for a moderate Palestinian government.”

Moderate? In 2004, Abbas openly admitted that the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are part of PLO/Fatah, and his Brigades commanders are some of the most notorious terrorist leaders and recruiters of suicide bombers.

On November 14, 2006, Ahmed Hales Abu Maher, the secretary of PLO/Fatah in Gaza, declared on the Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority TV:

Oh warrior brothers, this is a nation that will never be broken, it is a revolution that will never be defeated. This is a nation that gives an example every day that is imitated across the world. We gave the world the children of the RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenades], we gave the world the children stone [-throwers], and we gave the world the male and female Martyrdom-seekers [suicide bombers].

Zecharias Zubeidi, commander of the Martyrs Brigades in Yaabid and Jenin, is especially proud of the newly paved main street in Yaabid, paid for with $402,000 from the U.S. foreign-aid program. That street has been renamed in honor of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to show, says Zubeidi, that “Saddam Hussein is still alive.” Mahmoud Abbas has made a point of publicly embracing Zubeidi and campaigning with him on the streets of Jenin. And he has made sure that Zebeidi and other Brigades commanders — such as Abu Yousuf, Ala Senakreh, Nasser Abu Aziz — are provided with the best weapons and training the U.S. can provide.

In the late 1990s, the Clinton administration began providing military assistance and training to Arafat’s various “police” and “security” units. CIA, FBI, and U.S. military personnel were given the task of providing Arafat’s forces with advanced training in weapons, tactics, intelligence, counterintelligence, communications, and other skills. Clinton’s CIA director George Tenet began bringing squads of PLO snipers to Virginia to receive instruction in advanced marksmanship. Over the past few years, the Bush administration has dramatically escalated the provision of U.S. armaments and military training, with thousands of automatic rifles and sniper rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition going to the PLO.

On May 23, 2007, Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, the Bush administration’s Security Coordinator for Palestine, testified before a House subcommittee on the supposed need to fund President Abbas’ “security forces,” a euphemism for the collection of terrorist thugs from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Islamic Jihad, Force 17, and various other PLO/Fatah militias. “I am committed personally and professionally,” said Gen. Dayton, “to putting the $59 million authorized to me by the Congress to the uses you intended with the Presidential Guard … and the Office of National Security under President Abbas. We must remain mindful of the dangerous challenges facing Abbas’s security forces, and continue to encourage our European and Arab partners to complement our efforts with their own assistance.”

The arming and training of the Abbas-led forces has been sold to the American public as necessary to prevent a takeover by the supposedly more radical Hamas forces. However, as terrorism expert Rachel Ehrenfeld emphatically notes, there’s virtually “no difference” between Hamas and our Arafat/Abbas PLO “peace partners.” Dr. Ehrenfeld, the author of Narco-Terrorism and Funding Evil, told THE NEW AMERICAN: “Both [Hamas and Fatah] carry out suicide bombings, murder, kidnapping, assassination, rocket attacks on civilian neighborhoods, extortion, drug trafficking — you name it. They both hate Israel and the United States and are committed to our destruction. Show me the difference [between them].”

In Schmoozing With Terrorists, Aaron Klein has al-Aqsa Brigades commander Abu Yousuf explain in his own words how he and his men have put their U.S. training to use. “All the methods and techniques that we studied in these trainings, we applied them against the Israelis,” Yousuf boasted to Klein in an interview. Yousuf continued:

We sniped at Israeli settlers and soldiers. We broke into settlements and Israeli army bases and posts. We collected information on the movements of soldiers and settlers. We collected information about the best timing to infiltrate our bombers inside Israel. We used weapons and we produced explosives, and of course the trainings we received from the Americans and the Europeans were a great help to the resistance.

“I do not think,” said Yousuf, “that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful and would have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American] trainings.”

Very likely, Yousuf or some of his U.S.-trained Fatah colleagues were responsible for the 2003 murder of U.S. embassy employees John Branchizio, Mark Parson, and John Linde, Jr. Their vehicle was destroyed by a road bomb as they journeyed to Gaza to interview Palestinian students for Fullbright scholarships in the United States. The Palestinian Authority (PA) stated soon after the blast that it knew the identities of the bombers and would bring them to justice, but it never has done so. In fact, the man appointed by the PA to investigate the crime, Rashid Abu Shabak, is himself a longtime terrorist. Dr. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center Director, has charged that it is Abu Shabak himself who should be considered the top suspect for mastermind of the bombing. Of course, based on Khartoum embassy experience, and the dissembling and cover-up we have seen so far in this case, we can expect our government to cover up any evidence that might implicate our “essential ally” Mahmoud Abbas in this vicious crime.

Tragically, as the article "Global Blowback" shows, the PLO is not the only terrorist organization our tax dollars are supporting. From the West Bank and Gaza to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, and Pakistan, the story is the same. How many American lives will we allow to be sacrificed to blowback from these treacherous policies of aiding and abetting our enemies?

Photo: AP Images

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