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Web Letter

Barbara Crossette, the author of this piece seems committed to promoting the "Mossad killed Zia ul-Haq" conspiracy without providing any persuasive evidence. She previously published a similar piece in the World Policy Journal (Fall 2005). The primary argument she makes to support the theory is that its proponent, then US Ambassador to India John Gunther Dean, was dismissed from his post for being mentally ill after he promoted it. Crossette sees this as evidence of an Israeli cover-up.

In her earlier piece, Crossette cited the State Department decision not to send the FBI to participate in the initial forensic investigation of the plane crash that killed Zia ul-Haq as evidence of Israel's hidden hand. It could more plausibly seen as resulting from a US desire to avoid the appearance of tampering with the evidence, steering the investigation or interfering in Pakistan's domestic affairs. One thing about conspiracy theories, though: the alleged conspirators are damned if they do, damned if they don't. If the FBI had participated, and had not found the Mossad to be involved, would Crossette and Dean now be claiming that they did so at Israel's behest to conceal the conspiracy?

US investigators who participated in later investigation of the crash found that mechanical failure was to blame. The Pakistanis disagreed. Crossette sees this as further evidence of a US/Israel conspiracy, rather than evidence of a conflict of interest. The Pakistani military, Crossette believes, was objective in reaching its conclusion that it was without blame in maintaining its aircraft.

Last year, Tariq Ali (briefly) reported about the Mossad conspiracy theory with a healthy dose of skepticism in his book The Duel, stating that most Pakistanis blame the CIA for Zia ul-Haq's death. So as conspiracy theories go, this one has neither evidence or popular support going for it. All it's got is paranoid allegations of a cover-up.

Here are some facts Crossette doesn't mention. Israel supported and worked with Zia ul-Haq. He rose to fame specifically for assisting Jordan in suppressing the Palestinian Black September uprising. He reportedly cooperated with Israeli intelligence in opposing the Soviets in Afghanistan.

The Israeli motive that Crossette and Dean allege, Israel's desire to prevent Pakistan from getting an "Islamic bomb," seems weak. How on earth did Zia ul-Haq's death stop Pakistan from getting the bomb? The last time I checked, Zia ul-Haq was still dead and the Pakistanis still had the bomb.

Readers are advised to take a very close look at the vagueness of Dean's accusations and the lack of evidence. The entire conspiracy theory is based on the shakiest of logic. For one thing, he sometimes blames the Mossad alone and at other times admits he has no basis for this. When it comes right down to it, he has no evidence at all. Here's what Dean said when asked for his evidence of the Mossad's role: "If you ask me do I have 100 percent proof? No. All I know is I had people from Congress coming to me and saying, John, a man of your background, you have to go and help on the Israeli issue." That's gotta be the weakest basis for a conspiracy theory this side of David Icke.

As with the Chas Freeman nomination, opponents of Israel start with a conclusion supportive of their views, imputing blame based on "facts" which may or may not exist. Dean may have been fired for stumbling onto a conspiracy, or because he was unbalanced and making unfounded allegations. Crossette thinks she knows which is true. Freeman's nomination may have been shot down solely by supporters of Israel, or may have also been undone by his extensive support for and financial ties to Saudi Arabia and China. Freeman's considerable conflicts of interest may have been completely irrelevant to his difficulties, or maybe not. The Nation should provide a balanced view of the facts of these cases before jumping to convenient conclusions.

Adam Holland

adamholland.blogspot.com<br />Brooklyn, NY

Apr 15 2009 - 1:12pm

Web Letter

It seems like this article like those few who actually look into the dark side of the Mossad operations is being treated like "conspiracy theory," "bull" etc. by pro-Israeli readers of The Nation.

The dirty hand of Israeli intelligence and their support of terrorist organizations throughout the the world who would do their dirty deeds is nothing new for most of the people who do not live in the US, but this kind of discussions has been a taboo and a case for questioning the writer's mental health whenever published in the US.

Thank you for publishing this article. I really miss reading your magazine, from the days I was living in the US.

Farhad Abdolian

Antibes, France

Apr 8 2009 - 5:25am

Web Letter

It would not be a great surprise if the Mossad had tried to kill him. UN representatives have the dubious distinction of being killed by both Israeli and Arab terrorists. Count Folke Bernadotte was assassinated by the Stern Gang and Yitzhak Shamir signed off on that operation. Shamir would later run the Mossad. He may have set the tone for Mossad operations. While there is no such thing as a friendly foreign intelligence service, you had better watch your back when you are dealing with Israeli governments and their militant foreign supporters.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Apr 7 2009 - 11:49am

Web Letter

America is a great country, but it seems that someone occasionally has to protect it from its own naïveté. This article seems (to me) to be 50 percent speculation and 75 percent conjecture--that's 125 percent bull!

Let's keep focused on the war crimes of the America's real enemies--and the right of Israel and America to defend themselves!

Barack Obama and the Democrats, after making horrible mistakes on the abortion and gay-rights issues, must not now fall into a further geopolitical stupor that will forget the lessons of the past.

Testimony in the American House of Representatives 2002:

"The first American to be murdered by a PLO-sponsored group was Shirley Anderson on June 17, 1969. Since then, PLO groups have murdered more than 60 American citizens and wounded at least as many. Among the dead were two ambassadors, an Olympic athlete, tourists, business persons and students...."

"Americans were murdered in numerous ways by PLO members. Eight were killed when their Swissair jet was blown up enroute to Tel Aviv, others died in bus and car bombings or were shot. Especially shocking were the ax-murder of a student (1975) and the brutal murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound elderly tourist on the hijacked Achille Lauro (1985)."

Roger Williams

Georgetown, Guyana

Apr 5 2009 - 11:33pm

Web Letter

I find this article to be a complete waste of time. First of all, the author has worked in the UN arena, notorious for its anti-Israeli bias, so because the UN is basically irrelevant, a story like this to point a finger at Israel dosn't surprise me. Second, Chas Freeman, as one senator said, shot himself down. Freeman was a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia (like Dean to Lebanon), and in his case he, Freeman, put his business interests with Saudi Arabia and China first (and with countries obviously anti-human rights) and therefore was not someone that would serve US interests, which had nothing to do with AIRPAC or Israel as this biased writer is trying to suggest.

The subject of this article, John Dean, has absolutely no proof of Israeli connection in a death threat against him, which could have come from many many sources and is and was commonplace in Beruit. At the time he was US Ambassador, being American and Jewish in name only, he was a very public target for a multitude of groups that were against the US at that time. He was so concerned with not looking partial to Israel, was a self-hating individual with complete paranoiac tendencies and it seems that he did have mental problems which probably began early on with his need to escape the Nazis. From what I know about him I think he was a very mentally unstable person who began to identify with those who pointed the fingers negatively at Jews and Israel and in a strange way took on the behaviors of a Jew-hating Nazi.I think that he was in the wrong job for someone with his emotional state and should have disqualified himself from a tour in an Arab country.

As far a Pakistan goes, I think it fits in with his paranoia about the "Islamic bomb" and so once again he had to blame "Israel." John Dean should have been removed earlier and Chas Freeman was bad for the US. Both had nothing to do with Israel, but I guess Barbara Crossette had to write on something so she fell back on this old familiar stereotype.It is too bad that someone with such a weak mind like John Dean found his way into the state dept. His association with the PLO is interesting, as Arafat, like his successor Abbas, was a student of Haj Amin, not only the Mufti of Jerusalem but, along with Hitler and Eichmann, the grand Architect of the "final Solution", the gassing of the Jews. John Dean, in dealing with Arafat and the PLO, was in truth dealing with the Nazis bringing his paranoia to fruition. The Chas Freeman story made the writer of this article come to a conclusion that is completely false. Israel and the Jewish community are not responsible for every loony (even Jewish ones who believe they are Hitler) nor is every political decision in the US a Jewish conspiracy. I think the writer should get another job where she could be more constructive!

Shelley Kaufman

Los Angeles, CA

Apr 5 2009 - 10:19pm

Web Letter

In the wake of the accusation by Chas Freeman that his nomination to lead the National Intelligence Council was derailed by an "Israeli lobby," a forthcoming memoir by another distinguished ambassador adds stunning new charges to the debate.

Nothing stunning nor distinguished in either man. They are mirror images of one another, sharing a common agenda, hubris and a narcissistic personality disorder.

Alas, in Dean's case, I'll throw in mid-stage dementia with hallucinations.

Ellen Weisbord

King of Prussia, PA

Apr 5 2009 - 6:48pm

Web Letter

After reading your article on the rantings of this ex-envoy, I came to the conlusion that either this person has truly lost his mind or he is telling the truth. If in fact the Israeli government went ahead and assassinated the leader of Pakistan in a plane crash, then they did so with the full knowledge of the American government. It seems impossible that Israel, whose very existence is based on American support and good will, would undertake this type of action without US agreement.

As for keeping it a secret, it would appear that if the US and Israel would keep their envolvment so under the radar that it would never come to light and upset the Muslim world, how come this "diplomat" was able to ferret out the "plot"?

How come no Arab nation raised a hue and cry? If it really did happen, maybe the oposition in the Packistani government blew up the plane.

I put this story in the same light as UFO sightings. Interesting, but no creditable evidence.

Jack Turnof

Wayne, NJ

Apr 5 2009 - 3:41pm

Web Letter

I wonder what the movie about Israel would look like now? Who would Paul Newman play?

James L. Pinette

Caribou, ME

Apr 5 2009 - 12:49pm

Web Letter

The timing of this book and article are good. It's clearly time for a re-evaluation of our Middle East policies and an examination of the US's unconditional support for Israel.

It's time to replace the rosy Exodus image of oppressed Jews seeking freedom in an empty desert land with a more even-handed history.

Cheryl Haaker

Albuquerque, NM

Apr 1 2009 - 2:30pm