Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The next time the Israelis decide that someone has to get got they need to send someone with real tradecraft, like Zohan.
I didn’t really want to write on this subject but people have been emailing me the craziest conspiracy theories about this. The best one so far was that Sheikh Al Thani of Qatar secretly flew to Dubai to present an offer from the Israelis to pay off Dubai Worlds debts in return for silence on the assassination. Why the Israelis would go through Qatar rather than the US for something like that I don’t know. As embarrassing as this is it’s not exactly a secret that this sort of thing happens but usually the hush money is vastly cheaper than a Dubai World bailout. Sorry Nakheel bondholders, no Zohan rescue for you.
I know this is a politically tense thing, if you’re an Emirati you’re probably really mad. If you’re an Israeli you probably wonder why everyone is so mad. If you’re a poor schlep with a western passport who spends a lot of time in visa lines in the Arab world, get ready to spend a lot more time in them. Personally I don’t really have a dog in this fight. Both the guy who died and the guys who killed him knew the game and that it has only one rule: win or die.
The thing that I don’t understand is why the hit was so sloppy, aren’t these the best guys in the world? It was a neat trick using an electromagnet to close the latch on the guy’s room from the outside. Well done there and they surely used a big enough team to surveil him and then finally get him though they were probably counting having to overcome more security than they did in the end. As for the rest of it however, I’m no expert but I’ve read enough Ian Flemming and Alan Furst to know a few things. So for anyone else planning an assassination here are my tips.
Number one, if you are going to use fake documents to enter a country surreptitiously it is probably NOT A GOOD IDEA TO FAKE THE PASSPORTS OF DUAL NATIONALS WHO LIVE IN YOUR COUNTRY. While this might make it easier for you to make really good copies of the passport it kind of leaves your fingerprints all over the place.
Also, if you are going to do your hit in a major tourist destination with scores or hundreds of hotels like Dubai DO NOT STAY IN EMIRATES TOWERS WHERE YOU WILL BE UNDER CONSTANT SURVEILANCE, TAPES OF WHICH CAN THEN BE PUT ONTO YOUTUBE. There are any number of no-tell motels all over Dubai or better yet stay in the Embassy Suites in Sharjah. The place barely has electricity and running water, they sure as hell don’t have security cameras watching your every move. The getaway car might get stuck in traffic but you can be sure of not showing up on TV.
Most importantly, FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE COUNTERINTELLIGENCE CAPABILITES OF THE NATION WHERE YOU ARE DOING THE HIT. Something tells me that the guys over at Mossad are scratching their heads wondering how in the name of God the Dubai police are all over this thing. I mean even if they got the killers on tape going into and out of the room where they did the killing how did they match them up with the people who checked into all the hotels and went through customs? Granted the disguises were pretty weak but there are literally a huge number of people who check into and out of these hotels from all nationalities every day. How did they do it? And so quickly.
I think I know. Someone once told me that Dubai had implemented a system that the police in Monaco use to track people moving around the city. As every cellphone activated itself in Dubai a computer began tracking and triangulating it and then recording its location as it moved around Dubai as well as recording at the very least who it called, who called it and perhaps even what was said. All this data was then stored in memory and run through pattern recognition software. There were always stories about the Dubai police having an uncanny knowledge of peoples whereabouts or arriving at the home of person who committed a hit and run before they did. I heard that this system was used to keep the Indian labourers from organizing a union. Things like that, but I never believed it. It looks like maybe I was wrong. It looks like perhaps Dubai does have such a thing and the agents were using cell phones which the Dubai authorities were able to triangulate to the room of the victim then go through the database and see who else was in proximity to them. Clever.
Of course there is another reason why the Israeli tradecraft might have been so shoddy: they want you to know.