Aly Mohamed: The Creation of a Moslem Fundamentalist Double Agent
The murder of militant right wing Rabbi Meir Cahane in New York in November 1990 was investigated only very cursorily by US agencies. They had his killer, the Egyptian immigrant El Sayyid A. Nosair, and they knew about the refugee center in Brooklyn, later discovered to be the principal base in the US for the billionaire Islamic terrorist Osama Bin Laden and his group Al Qaeda. But Islamic militant terrorism had not yet then emerged as a major threat in the US context. Anyway, the US authorities believed they knew all they needed to know about the victim and Aly Mohamed.
All the Israeli public knew about Rabbi Meir Cahane were his outrageously right-wing views and anti-Arab threats. However, certain high circles entertained the suspicion that he might be working undercover for some US agency, whether the FBI or CIA debkafile has no information on the truth of this, but it was known in those circles that during the Vietnam war, Meir Cahane acted for the FBI in penetrating militant anti-war groups in American cities. Israel intelligence suspected US penetrations of this kind in the principal West Bank Jewish settler groups, at peak activism during the years 1978 to 1980. Menahem Begin, after coming to power as right-wing, pro-settlement prime minister in 1977, was particularly concerned by this possibility. The suspicion became full blown after one of the most talked-of terrorist attacks of the period in which, Eli Hazeev, a Jewish settler from Kiryat Arba, the Jewish suburb of Hebron, was shot dead by Palestinians on his way from Friday prayers in Hebron. His murder occasioned the first and last New York Times editorialized eulogy of an individual Jewish settler. It started by remarking how astonishing were the places reached by the “sons of America” – from “the jungles of Vietnam to the alleys of Hebron”. Zeevi was praised for his courage, both as a “green beret” and as the representative of “the American spirit in Hebron”. Israelis, astounded by the praise pouring out from the staid New York Times for a Jewish settler, on whom it was customary to heap nothing but denigration, took a good look at Hazeev’s background. They found him to be the son of US Air Force General George Keegan, chief of the celebrated US Air force Intelligence in the Cold War. Posing as a converted Jew and dedicated Israel nationalist, he was actually a CIA operative. This discovery turning a questioning spotlight on the true identity of the rabid Rabbi Cahane.
throwing the prime minister, his advisers and secret service heads into interminable consultation over how to handle the case. Begin wanted to resolve it by deporting US citizen Cahane, send him back to America. Active participants in the debate, attorney general, Aharon Barak – currently president of Israel’s supreme court – and the deputy state prosecutor, Dorit Bainisch, who now sits on the supreme court bench, opposed the plan.
All these circumstances diluted both the American and Israeli investigation into the Cahane murder in New York; both governments feared that digging deeply would bring too many embarrassing facts to the public notice. Consequently, his killer, the Islamic fundamentalist Nosair, was never subjected to thorough investigation.
That was not the inhibitor of the US investigation: There was also a hidden link, which debkafile will now outline, between Eli Hazeevi, the CIA’s mole in the Jewish settlement movement, the Cahane murder in New York and the Brooklyn nest of Islamic militants.
It so happened that US intelligence, just as it planted Hazeev in the back alleys of Hebron, also insinuated their double agent into the Brooklyn “refugee” headquarters and the militant Islamic training centers in the New York area. That mole was Aly Mohamad. Mohamad was no son of a US general; nor did he owe allegiance to the US flag. In fact, he betrayed it from the word go, because his true loyalty belonged unshakably to the hostile group he was sent to penetrate: Bin Laden’s al Qaeda. Mohamed it was who persuaded his CIA handlers not to pursue the probe into the Cahane murder so as not to jeopardize his own undercover mission with the New York Islamic community. He warned that a serious inquiry might have him called to court for testimony, and then all the CIA’s work in building up his false personality would be wasted.
In 1993, two years after the Cahane murder, a truck bomb blew up under New York’s landmark Trade Center, killing 6 Americans, injuring 1000 and causing half a billion dollars worth of damage – the most devastating terrorist blow New York had ever seen. Still, the bombers fell short of their goal, which was to force the twin towers to collide and destroy Wall Street and a part of Manhattan. The number of casualties would have run into hundreds of thousands. Leads from that atrocity took investigators to the same Brooklyn “refugee” center – and not only the center. They were surprised to find that Cahane’s murderer, Sayyid Nosair, had been active in the plot from his prison cell.
The Sadat Assassination and Its Early Influence on Aly Mohamed
Mohamed joined the Egyptian Army in 1972 and three years later graduated from the Egyptian officers’ academy with distinction. His exceptional physical strength and gift for languages brought him to the notice of the Egyptian security service, which sent him on a counter-espionage course. There, he was trained as a double agent and given instruction in English, French and Hebrew. His first assignment was to have been as a spy in Israel. During 1976 up until early 1977, he perfected his Hebrew and took lessons in Jewish religion. His commanders planned to disguise him as a religious Jew, move him to the United States where he would apply for US citizenship, and then have him migrate to Israel. Once there, he would join an extremist right wing group on the model of the late Meir Cahane’s Jewish Defense League.
That plan never took off. Mohamed, though gifted, was also reckless, loud, a braggart and a lavish spender on the many women he kept about him. Shortly before Sadat’s peace offensive, Israel was too sensitive an arena for Egyptian intelligence to put at risk. Mohamed was placed instead in the Egyptian security service department responsible for planting agents in extremist Moslem groups in Egypt and keeping an eye on overly fervent Egyptian officers. His commander, Col. Abd al-Latif al-Zomer, kept President Sadat as well as his superiors briefed on the activities of Moslem extremists.
The two became fast friends.
Immediately after the momentous Sadat peace pilgrimage to Israel in 1978, Col. al-Zomer ordered his deputy Mohamed to be part of the presidential security apparatus against Moslem extremist action, and keep surveillance on the Moslem radicals at home and their links with the motley Islamist groups operating among the millions of Egyptian laborers employed in Arab countries for lack of jobs in Egypt. In Iraq alone more than one million Egyptians worked and lived in the seventies. Their families were not allowed to join them and so, three or four times a year, the breadwinner would take home leave, setting up a regular stream of traffic that was exploited by various terrorist organizations and Islamic groups to smuggle into Egypt fighting men, arms, money and propaganda materials.
Aly Mohamed forged ties with gangs of smugglers operating among the Iraq-based labor force. This brought him close for the first time to international terrorist movements and foreign Moslem terrorist groups, a broadening experience. During his trips to Baghdad, he came to know the Palestinian terrorist groups represented in the Iraqi capital and operating under the eye of Iraqi military intelligence. On one such visit, he ran into a mysterious character posing as a dead Egyptian laborer who claimed a Cypriot father and Lebanese mother and seemed to know all about a plot spun by a group of Palestinians and highly-placed Egyptian dissidents. Mohamed reported on his new friend to al-Zomer. He was told to get close to the cabal. In 1979 and 1980, after making three trips to Baghad, Aly Mohamed realized he had stumbled across an international spy network working for a powerful non-Middle Eastern intelligence service with regional headquarters in Larnaca, Cyprus – not merely a Palestinian-Egyptian organization.
On October 6, 1981, as Egyptian president Anwar Sadat was reviewing an Egyptian army parade in honor of the October War, a group of soldiers jumped off one of the trucks in the parade and rushed towards the saluting stand, spraying machine gun fire and hurling grenades towards their president. In moments, the first Arab leader to venture to sign peace with Israel was dead.
The conspirator behind the assassination was Mohamed’s superior officer, Col. Abd al-Latif al-Somer, the very officer trusted by Sadat to keep him abreast of threats on his life.
Maj. Aly Mohamed, as his deputy, was among the hundreds of officers interrogated to determine how deep the conspiracy ran in Egyptian military intelligence. After a while, he was given a clean bill of health. However, Mohamed, deeply impressed by the boldness of the assassination and his commanding officer’s courage and dedication, gained a new perspective on his mission in life. He determined to operate solo from then on and seek out the mysterious foreign organization weaving its hidden web from Larnaca.