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January 26, 1990 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

MEDIA MONITOR

I

Speculation Follows
Ex-Israeli Spy In Panama

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Special to The Jewish News

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A

lexander Cockburn,
self-styled wit, cur-
mudgeon and windy
tilter at political windmills
at The Nation, announces in
his column in the left-of-
center journal that the
American government has
nothing to fear about revela-
tions about its once close re-
lationship with ex-drug
king-dictator-red
underwear-wearer Manuel
Noriega coming out at the
deposed Panamanian
leader's trial: The U.S.
press, says Cockburn, has no
appetite for such disclosures.
Only five of the thousands of
members of the Washington
press corps read details
released by Congress about
the Iran/contra scandal.
"The unlikelihood of any
embarrassing disclosures
finding their way into the
press from Noriega's com--
troom," says Cockburn, ". . .
is already underlined by the
treatment of Mike Harari."
Harari is a former intel-
ligence officer who, writes
Cockburn, "was one of
Noriega's closest associates,
having become Israel's
honorary consul in Panama.
His place at Noriega's elbow
underscored a relationship
fostered in the early Reagan
years by the Americans,
who, in the words of a recent
article in the Israeli paper
Davar, were happy to see
Israel do their 'dirty work' in
the region."
In the Dec. 22 Davar arti-
cle cited by Cockburn, jour-
nalist Efraim Davidi
reported that Noriega's
soldiers have "in their hands
weapons and ammunition
`Made in Israel.' . . . Israel
has sold to Panama, in the
last decade, military equip-
ment worth $500 million,
and out of this $100 million
in the last three years. Also,
all the equipment of the
Panamanian airfields is
Israeli made."
Under U.S. pressure,
states Cockburn, Israel
lowered its profile in
Panama after Noriega fell
from America's grace in
1987. But Harari remained.
"After the invasion, asserts
The Nation columnist,
"when all other associates of
Noriega captured by the
U.S. Army were closely held,
Harari was immediately
released and returned to
Israel."

(Within days after the in-
vasion, the Army announced
it had captured Harari.
Shortly after that, it claimed
it had the wrong man.)
The New York Times has
reported that Harari had ar-
ranged for Panamanian
counterterrorist commandos
to receive training in Israel.
These commandoes also
served as Noriega's personal
security detail.
Americans and Panama-
nians who knew Harari told
the Times he was "one of
Noriega's closest associates
— a man who placed the
general's daughters in an
Israeli kibbutz one summer,
who managed some of the
general's business ventures
and who used his Israeli
government contacts to
entertain and protect his
powerful friends."
The Times also reported
that while in the Mossad,
Harari helped plan and ex-
ecute Israel's successful
1976 strike at Uganda's
Entebbe airport, and had
been assigned by Prime Min-
ister Golda Meir to head a
hit squad that located and
assassinated the Palestinian
terrorists who killed 11
Israeli athletes at the 1972
Munich Olympics.
But in an interview on
Israel Television, Harari de-
nied that he had ever been
an adviser to Noriega.
"I did not supervise
Noriega's affairs," said the
former Mossad agent. "I did
not supervise or train his
forces. I did not organize his
personal guard. I never
heard or saw any evidence of
his being involved in drugs
and I was involved only in
promoting civilian projects. I
was never an arms dealer
and there are no Israeli
weapons in Panama."
"I am simply," he said, "a
private individual involved
in business."
Harari denied that he had
left Panama after the
American invasion without
any foreign assistance, but
he would not explain how he
had arrived in Israel.
"I did not arrive as a
blond, or in a suitcase," he
said.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem
Post reported that Harari's
name had not appeared on
the Interior Ministry's list of
recent entries into the coun-
try. The revelation indicated
that Harari had used non-
conventional means to re-
enter Israel.

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