Thursday, 24 October 2002

The Money Machine

A Review of Ari Ben-Menashe's Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S. - Israeli Arms Network

According to Ari Ben-Menashe, Iran spent $82 billion in its war against Iraq from 1980 to 1988. Where did Iran get its weapons? Who profited and what was done with the profits? These are some of the questions addressed by this very readable kiss-and-tell account of the author's years as a spy for the Israeli intelligence services.

Here are some of the other issues Ben-Menashe sheds light on, sometimes in detail, others merely in passing: why and how the Iran/contra scandal broke in the first place; Israeli nuclear weapons development; Israeli "black operations" in support of Palestinian terrorist acts; Israeli involvement in black-on-black violence in South Africa; and the U.S., Israeli and British role in subverting sanctions against South Africa; the reasons behind the exposure of Jonathan Pollard's activities; Robert McFarlane's role as an Israeli mole feeding top secret information to Menachem Begin's office; Oliver North's role in "delivering" to Rudy Guiliani the indictments of arms dealers to Iran; Robert Gates' role in selling arms to the contras and insuring the supply of chemical weapons to Iraq; Israel's illegal resale of American weapons; and more.

The author claims that as an operative of the most elite unit of Israel's security services, the External Affairs Department of the IDF/Military Intelligence division, he played a key role in implementing the huge Israeli effort in supplying weapons and war materiel to Iran. According to Ben-Menashe, Israel began selling equipment to Iran for enormous profits, almost from the beginning of the hostage crisis -- even against the wishes of the Carter administration.

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