Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spy stuff: Did Mossad try to topple a NATO ally?

You're about to read a very, very strange story. We begin by taking note of a national insult -- the sort of insult which, in the 19th century, might have led to war.

A debate about the Gaza attack was held at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Israeli President Simon Peres attended, as did Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The panel was moderated by David Ignatius of the Washington Post.

Peres spoke for nearly half an hour -- well beyond his allotted time -- while Erdogan patiently took notes. When Erdogan's turn finally came, he accused Peres of speaking loud and long to cover up his guilt. Ignatius (who happens to be both Jewish and Armenian) quickly cut him off, outraging many onlookers. Erdogan stormed out.
The Turkish PM stressed later that he had left the debate not because of his disagreements with Mr Peres but because he had been given much less time to speak than the Israeli leader.
Erdogan returned home to a hero's welcome.

Turkey has long been one of Israel's few allies. (For some interesting backstory on the Israeli-Turkish alliance, see this piece by Victor Ostrovsky.) After the Davos confrontation, that partnership may be at an end -- and the ramifications are disturbing.

The debate debacle appears to have been designed to sour Turkey's relations with Israel (and the U.S.). If so, we should pay closer attention to David Ignatius. Other Post reporters have been known to practice a trade other than journalism. (Cough cough Chris Wren cough cough.)

I believe that this international dust-up concerns something more than a high-level debate beset by a biased moderator.

Although few Americans have noted the story, Mossad recently tried to mount a coup against Turkey. At least, so says the Turkish press.

That's no small matter. Turkey, for all of its many faults, is a key NATO ally and an important partner in the war on terror (to the extent that there remains a real war on terror).
Israel's national intelligence agency Mossad has been behind a failed coup in Turkey, the Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet reports.

A secret investigation into detained Ergenekon group members and other studies outside Turkey indicate that Mossad orchestrated the coup plot against the Turkish government, the report says.

The Ergenekon group is a Turkish neo-nationalist organization with alleged links to the military, members of which have been arrested on charges of plotting to foment unrest in the country.

Investigators uncovered evidence that show a Jewish rabbi named Tuncay Guney, who worked for Mossad and fled to Canada in 2004, was a key figure behind attempts to overthrow the Turkish government.

A document uncovered this week by the /Sabah/ daily shows how Guney purposefully infiltrated Ergenekon and another organization known as JITEM, an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie suspected of hundreds of murders and kidnappings.

The rabbi was taken out of Turkey and sent to the US for protection after his identity was exposed in an investigation by Turkish police, according to Sabah.

Guney is also reported to have links with Israeli espionage activities in Egypt. According to Egyptian security forces, at least one of three suspects currently being pursued by the Egyptian government for spying was in contact with Tuncay Guney.
The Turkish news article summarized above was preceded by this report written by -- egads! -- Wayne Madsen. I've had serious problems with Madsen's reportage in the past. He's right about half the time, and I usually can't tell which half is which, since he relies on unnamed sources. In this case, I suspect that he may be onto something, but I'm not sure. Caveat lector.

One thing's for sure: Guney appears to be a lint-trap for occult speculation. He's a fascinating guy.

A Turkish citizen with "business" links to Russia and Egypt, he is listed as the chief rabbi for this synagogue in Toronto. But he may not even be Jewish. His mother teaches the Koran. Other sources say that he converted to Christianity in 2004. He now likes to blather on about being an Egyptian "Sabbatian" Jew. Believe that if you will.

Some speculate that he is actually CIA -- an allegation which, if proven true, might mean that this very post has been mis-headlined.

Wikipedia's summary of Guney's life is downright wild, especially when it discusses the man's stay in New York (where he was obviously up to spy stuff) and his dealings with evangelicals. (The CIA has often used evangelical missions for cover.)

Actually, Guney's synagogue in Canada appears to be an intelligence front.
The Toronto Board of Rabbis has no record of a rabbi by his name.
The communications director of the United Jewish Appeal in Toronto, Howard English, did not recognize him or his synagogue. The education director of the Toronto branch of Jews for Judaism, rabbi Michael Skobac, did not recognize him, and could not reach them by e-mail.
The pseudo-synagogue's website lists him as Daniel T. Guney. The Turks and the Egyptians say that he has used the alias Daniel Levi.

By the way: The very complete Guney entry offered by Wikipedia looks to me like a dossier compiled by an intelligence professional, using open-source materials. This isn't the only Wikipedia entry to convey that impression.

For more clues, see this article on Guney in The Star.

Guney is connected with a secretive, ultra-reactionary "cabal" in Turkey called Ergenekon, which has long stood accused of perpetrating terrorism. It's the Turkish version of Italy's P2.

Ergenekon takes a fervently anti-Western, pro-Fascist line. The group is willing to kill in order to separate Turkey from the U.S., Israel and the rest of Europe.
Ergenekon network mainly aims to break Turkey's ties with the NATO and the West in general. Most of the Ergenekon members are anti-Semitic and ultra-Turkist. They claim that the MOSSAD and Israel in general has played a dirty role in Turkish politics. Almost all of them are anti-Semitic. Some of the Ergenekon intellectuals wrote anti-Semitic books and started anti-Semitic campaigns in order to spread their anit-Israeli opinion among the people. They claim the US, the EU and Israel have made efforts to divide the country.
In an earlier post, I noted that
The intellectual head of the movement, Ümit Sayin, is a Hitler admirer
If Guney is a rabbi, why is a rabbi aiding such a group? If Guney is Mossad, why is a Mossad agent aiding such a group? If Guney is CIA, why is a CIA agent aiding such a group?

This report holds that Guney had infiltrated the group on behalf of MIT (Turkey's CIA). But it also says that Guney was more of an informant than an agent provacateur. And, as noted above, the Turkish government avers that Guney did everything he could to help Ergenekon bring down that government and hoist a hard-right faction into the seat of power.

I'm trying to figure out the man's motive.

Did Guney aid Ergenekon, or was his task infiltration and exposure? Milliyet, the Turkish journal, says that Guney manipulated the terror group. If the Milliyet report is correct, why would a Mossad agent (if Guney really is such) want to help a pro-Hitler, anti-Israel group achieve prominence?

(I'm reminded of our earlier post, in which we learned that Israel helped Hamas come to power.)

And why (to bring matters full circle) did the President of Israel go out of his way to alienate the leader of the one nation in the Islamic world that had befriended Israel? Was that epic slight linked to the claimed Mossad coup attempt?

I honestly cannot fathom what the goal is here!


Anonymous said...

For the longest time, I've had a feeling that Big Wedding II would kick off with an incident near the Iran-Turkey border.

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece, Joe. It was clear when the storming out occurred that it had a wider significance and was meant to have. The question is what significance. My first impression was that Erdogan was probably playing to the gallery, i.e. internal Turkish stuff to placate factions that are using Islamism in an effort to realign the country away from its long-time 'alliance' with Israel. You could imagine Peres helping with that. Turkish government leaders made some anti-Zionist noises during the Gaza massacre, but I didn't take them seriously. I thought it was all for show then too, completely unlike with Morales and Chavez in Bolivia and Venezuela. But at that time I hadn't heard of what looks like a Zionist-backed coup attempt in Turkey.

I'm not sure what you mean to say about NATO. What has the Zionist-Turkish cooperation had to do with NATO? I'd compare it with the Zionist-Iranian cooperation during the 1980s: Israeli support for a non-Arab, none too secure, Muslim regime in a large, fairly well tooled-up country just outside Arabia. Both Greece and Turkey have experienced coups d'etat before without NATO membership being put at risk.

How should we view the various spy flaps involving Israel and Cyprus (e.g. Mossad guys Argov and Damari) and the possibility of a war between Greece and Turkey in the region? Russia has armed Greece, while Israel has supported and maintained its military cooperation with Turkey. (The interest of Orthodox Christian-coloured forces in Greece, Russia, etc. in Jerusalem can also be factored in here).

It was the Zionists who provoked the recent war between Russia and Georgia. The Georgian president practically admitted it. Might there be an Israeli interest in provoking a larger-scale war between Turkey and Greece? If so, this could involve strengthening so-called 'Islamist' forces in Turkey.

For one thing, such a war would probably rule out an evacuation of resistance guys from Gaza to Cyprus. It seems likely the Gaza massacre will continue after the Israeli election, witness the growing support for Avigdor "nuke Gaza" Liebermann. His party will probably get more seats than Labour and will probably be junior partner to Likud in the next 'government'. Netanyahu too has been calling for solving the Gaza 'problem' once and for all.

More than likely, no-one will come militarily to the victims' support. A humanitarian evacuation of at least a few thousand people to Cyprus could then well appear on the table as a possibility. But not if Turkey and Greece are at war.

A couple more things...

'Nuke' Lieberman is saying the world "economic crisis" (personally I'd call it the onset of a long, long Depression and economic downturn, from which the west is unlikely ever to recover, cf. Japan 1989) is an "opportunity" for Israel to benefit from increased aliyah of Jews from Russia, the US, and Europe.


Why did Peres try to alienate Turkey? Consider the Iran-Turkey gas pipeline?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I googled Sibel Edmonds to see how recently she's been newsworthy (not very on either account), so this is coincidental.

empty said...

A more innocuous reason might be Erdogan's memory of what happened to another islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan. Erbakan sat through a harangue delivered by Libyan leader Kaddafi. When the incident was televised Erbakan lost a lot of popularity.

Joseph Cannon said...

Yeesh. I just rejected another comment which tried to push the "Jews = Khazars" mythos. It never stops!

Anonymous said...

empty: interesting info. But recall that Peres was given as much time as he wanted to assert the war criminals' case, so it doesn't look as though it was just a matter of Erdogan playing to the gallery.

While I'm here, does anyone know what has happened to Sameh Habeeb, the 23-year-old freelance journalist? He was posting news from Gaza during the first 17 days of the massacre. Then on the 18th day his house was attacked by Zionist artillery, and his blog went quiet. I feared he might have been killed or wounded. But maybe (let's hope!) he is still with the living.

Wordpress (owned by Automattic, part-financed by the New York Times) have put a note where his blog used to be, saying his blog "has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service".