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Dual Loyalist Unmasked In Mideast Scandal

  • Backstage at Israeli Ambassador Martin Indyk's unhappy ending, Clinton's Mideast meddling sets the scene for a script full of dirty deals.
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By Martin Mann

Behind the scenes, the recent official announcement that the security clearance of Martin Indyk, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, has been "suspended" while his alleged security violations are being investigated, marks a turning point in U.S. intervention in the Middle East -- years of meddling involving not just regional power brokers but the powerful organized-crime syndicates that are the peculiar hallmark of Israeli society.

Israel is on the verge of civil war," warned Ovadia Yosef, the orthodox chief rabbi, last month. His followers de nounced the Barak regime as "traitors," ending in sharp confrontation with leading secular politicians who were less hostile to the Barak-Clinton axis.

In this inflamed atmosphere, leaders of the orthodox Jewish fundamentalists (known as the haredim) and Israeli crime-syndicate bosses decided that Indyk -- now serving as the U.S. ambassador to Israel and blamed by the orthodox for the Clinton administration's crude manipulation of Middle Eastern affairs -- must go.

Early last month, retired Gen. Ariel Sharon, the tough godfather of hardline Zionism, known as the "The Butcher" for his killer forays against dissident Arab settlements, arrived in Washington accompanied by several orthodox aides.

They confronted U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with an explosive report charging that Indyk had resorted to bribery, threats, coercion, false promises and frequent unauthorized use of classified State Department files in a crude campaign to bend Middle Eastern leaders and their policy decisions to his will.

The report, compiled in part by orthodox gangland operators who bugged some of Indyk's back-room meetings, was "painfully detailed," said a veteran UN political analyst, who, like other sources, asked for anonymity when discussing such "ultra-sensitive" matters.

Under the circumstances, Albright could not ignore what is a ticking time-bomb of an international scandal.

She suspended Indyk, with the understanding that by the time this affair could reach any sort of resolution, both she and the embattled envoy will be looking for new jobs.


In Israel, under what is probably the world's most permissive legal system and no written constitution, rackets that are strictly banned in most civilized na tions -- money laundering, drug-profit banking, weapons smuggling, white slavery, the trade in illicit "blood" diamonds, international assassination and kidnap contracts executed by Israeli government agents for hire -- are considered perfectly legal.

Such outlaw operations now account for a major segment of the Israeli economy, contributing tens of billions of dollars yearly to Israel's revenues -- and to the finances of the political parties who have divided control of these "black" business empires among themselves, explained Dr. Tamir Harcourt al-Maroun, the noted Middle Eastern economist.

The orthodox haredim, who make up between 10 and 15 percent of Israel's population, run the underworld diamond trade, from the killing fields of the Congo to midtown Manhattan.

Orthodox fundamentalists also control the white slave traffic that, according to recent UN reports, has turned into a global growth industry, luring tens of thousands of unlettered, dirt-poor young women from Third World villages and Eastern European cities into enforced sexual serfdom in "rich" countries.

Recently, haredim wearing Judaic ritual garb have also taken over street-level smuggling of what is known as "designer dope," such as the new drug, "ecstasy," which has invaded major U.S. cities in the past decade.

Secular factions, on the other hand, own the franchise for money laundering, involving Israel's major banks in sanitizing billions of dollars in international drug profits and other criminal loot.

Secular politicians control the "direct-action" teams of government agents who hire out to perform "black-bag" jobs, terror strikes, murders and abductions abroad for a price, such as the attempted kidnapping of former Nigerian Finance Minister Umaru Dikko in London.


President Bill Clinton, determined to impose a "peace settlement" on the strife-torn Middle East from the moment of his inauguration, realized that to exert influence over the brass-knuckle Israelis he would need a special sort of go-between. He picked Martin Indyk.

Indyk was born in 1951 in London, England, to devoutly Judaic Czech re fugee parents. The family subsequently moved to Australia. After two years in Israel Indyk began his career as an Israeli operative reportedly with close ties to Australian intelligence.

In 1985, Indyk was sent to the U.S. to set up a research and lobbying center known as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Studies. In 1991, Clin ton waived the immigration law, gave him U.S. citizenship and put him in charge of Middle Eastern affairs at the White House national-security council -- a powerful, pivotal policy post.

Already a veteran Israeli agent of influence and a seasoned international in triguer, Indyk went to work using American resources, funds and armed power to impose a new order on the Mid dle East.

In the process, Indyk helped to replace hardline Israeli Prime Minister Ben yamin Netanyahu, detested by the White House, with a new premier, Gen. Ehud Barak, known for his willingness to play by Clinton's rules.

But Barak's subservience to Washington's tutelage -- and his inability to coax a deal from Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat, even with concessions re sented by many Israelis -- created deep divisions within Israel itself.