By Way of Deception?

["By way of deception shall you Conquer." -- Mossad's motto

Victor Ostrovsky was a career Mossad agent. He left Israel's secret police agency and returned to his native Canada, where he wrote his best-selling book _By Way of Deception_. He is the only Mossad agent to leave the agency, discuss its covert activities, and survive for more than one year.

"Mossad" means "by way of deception" in Hebrew. - C.M.]


[From _The Village Voice_, April 6, 1993]


By Robert I. Friedman

Renegade Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky told the Voice that Israeli intelligence may have been behind the World Trade Center bombing. Mossad had motive and opportunity, says Ostrovsky, whose book about his spy days caused a furor in Israel as it climbed the best-seller charts in Europe and America. Ostrovsky admits he doesn't have "a shred of evidence" to support his theory, which in my view is extremely dubious.

But consider: Prime Minister Yizthak Rabin summarily expels to a snow- covered mountain in Lebanon some 400 Palestinians suspected of aiding and abetting Hamas, a fundamentalist group in the occupied territories that killed six Israeli soldiers in November. The expulsion was "a big PR mistake," says Ostrovsky, noting that the international media and most foreign governments severely criticized Israel.

Meanwhile, the intifada had taken a new deadly turn. Spurred by the expulsion, Palestinian fundamentalists killed 12 Israelis this month, the highest single-month casualty figure since December 1987, when the intifada started. Desperate to crack down on the Palestinians in the territories, and draw media attention away from 400 freezing Palestinian deportees, Rabin needed a plan to discredit Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular so that Israel would emerge in the media as a hero.

Mossad, says Ostrovsky, then concocted a devious scheme. First Israeli intelligence leaks to Judy Miller of The New York Times that Hamas is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, and is sending instructions to the territories via fax and courier. The Times publishes the account on the front page, using as a news hook the fact that Israel had just arrested three Arab Americans from Chicago who were in the territories organizing Hamas terror cells. Following the Times story, the ADL and other Jewish institutions start carping about Palestinian Islamic terror cells operating in America.

Having prepared public opinion and having already infiltrated the radical mosques in New Jersey and Brooklyn where Abdel Rahman preached and disciples like El Sayyid Nosair prayed, Mossad, says Ostrovsky, almost certainly recruited a close associate of the rabble-rousing Egyptian blind man. The insider is recruited In what Ostrovsky calls a "false flag operation." The Arab "thinks he is being recruited by an Iranian agent or a Libyan," says Ostrovsky. He never suspects he is actually being "run" by Mossad.

The Mossad "handler" then masterminds the world Trade Center bombing. But the bomb, says Ostrovsky, is never meant to detonate. Mossad is supposed to call the CIA in the nick of time, becoming instant heroes. "I can just see the experts sitting on television saying the tower would not sustain the brunt of this one-ton truck bomb." The bomb may have exploded prematurely, Ostrovsky explains.

Ostrovsky points out correctly that in the past the Mossad has effectively used this modus operandi. In the early 1950s, Mossad recruited agents to bomb American buildings in Cairo, hoping to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Gamel Abdul Nasser. When the facts became known in Israel, the scandal brought down the government. According to Ostrovsky, in 1984 Mossad detonated bombs outside of the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital city, claiming credit in the name of an unknown radical Saudi resistance group. Ostrovsky, a member of Mossad at the time, says the purpose was to weaken U.S./Saudi relations by showing' the U.S. that the regime was fragile and about to fall.

But none of this explains why Mossad would put tens of thousands of Americans -- presumably many of them Jews -- at risk.

- R.I.F.