Barak Hits Dagan: Fueling WMD
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On May 6, 2011, I reported in Israel Hit by Israeli WMD on a strange contamination of Israeli fuel. Oddly, the Biological Institute in Nes Tziona – mainly a biological weapons development organization - was the one summoned to take samples at a fuel terminal in Israel's central region. Shortly after, the Ben-Gurion Airport manager Shmuel Kandel said that the cause of the contamination was not sabotage or terrorism. In other words, Israel knows the reason but is not publicizing it; due to the type and level of the contamination it probably was caused by cross-contamination from the Israeli chemical and biological weapons program. Eventually, after describing the extreme measures that were taken, I concluded we’ll never know exactly what did happen there; the flights were renewed as fast as possible at all costs and the topic was dropped from the news. Two days later, only ricochets can be found.
Home away from Home
I apologize to my non-Israeli readers, probably most of the panic caused in Israel by these news was lost on them and I didn’t explain it properly in the previous article. Israel has only one international airport, namely Ben Gurion, near Lod. It doubles as a strategic military airbase (27), the special units described in The Cross of Bethlehem depart from there. If the situation deteriorates, the only way out of Israel is through this tiny and bad equipped airport (it lacks even boarding sleeves).
It’s not the best way out. It’s the only way out. In case of war, land crossing points would be closed and inaccessible; the road to them would be blocked by large amounts of military units. The sea would be blocked. Even if you own a suitable boat, crossing into international waters would be unthinkable. Ben Gurion is the only exit and “El Al” the carrier of choice.
If you understand the Hebrew, then it reads as a joke. “El Al” means “upwards,” the actual logo of the company (Ahi Babait Ba’olam) can be translated as “Home away from Home,” though a literal translation is "The most at home in the world." However, the succinct phrase is open to interpretations. “The best, at home in the world” is as good an interpretation as the first. In other words, the best home is in the world. Not in Israel. And El Al takes you safely there, upwards and away, into the world. The sarcasm hides an important message to rich Israelis.
I commented on several occasions how privileged persons would be evacuated from Israel by the American Sixth Fleet, which spends most of the time in the Mediterranean Sea, in case of a total war. Less privileged ones rely on a roulette game called “air-reservations.” They keep valid tickets out of Israel at all times, their travel agents making sure they would board among the firsts to the planes leaving for safe heavens. For example, the family called “Isaacson” in the The Cross of Bethlehem keeps tickets to Zurich – near the European Headquarters of Dow Chemical – and to New York City. Passports and visas to America are sacred and always renewed ahead of time. If something happens, that’s the best chance of surviving Israel.
These people panicked with the last incident. Suddenly, the only way out of Israel was closed. And when the Weapons of Mass Destruction fail, the Weapons of Mass Distraction are called.
”The stupidest thing I have ever heard”
Since ever, two fools hitting each other ineffectively has been at the core of comedy. The variations are endless. Invariably, actors and public as one know everything is a fare; yet almost everybody laughs and applauds. This also can function as a weapon of mass distraction, if used wisely. Today – May 8, 2011 – we saw the Israeli version.
The fuel incident called for a massive hiding and distraction. The long lines at the airport on Friday didn’t allow silencing the event. The best for such a distraction to work is to be also related to airplanes; let’s say airstrikes. Luckily, on the same day, Meir Dagan – the former Mossad Director – addressed a strategy conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After many months of quiet on the issue of an airstrike on Iran, he resuscitated the issue from its tomb.
He said nothing new, but what he said became news that obscured the airport incident. Dagan said that the possibility a future Israel Air Force attack on Iranian nuclear facilities was “the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” He added that Iran has a clandestine nuclear infrastructure which functions alongside its legitimate, civil infrastructure. “It is the legitimate infrastructure that is under international supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Any strike on this legitimate infrastructure would be patently illegal under international law." Dagan emphasized that attacking Iran would be different than Israel's successful air strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981. Iran has scattered its nuclear facilities in different places around the country, he said, which would make it difficult for Israel to launch an effective attack. In other words: Israel cannot attack Iran. No news.
When asked what would happen in the aftermath of such an attack Dagan said: "It will be followed by a war with Iran. It is the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end." A few clichés in order to add that classy touch of hinted fear.
An obscure speech to an obscurer crowd. Yet, it caused a storm in the Hebrew media, with former Mossad Directors and others defending their peer while others are attacking him. Most prominent among the critics is the Minister of Defense – Ehud “Napo” Barak – who said Dagan “should not have shared that opinion with the public at large.” Not surprisingly the Ugandan-Matkal new oligarchy supports military censorship.
All players hit each other on the head, knowing this is critical for the laughter of the massively-distracted public. By now, we know better than that. Try shooting each other! We’ll applaud.
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