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>JN May 8, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 83
Israel Denies Spying on U.S.A.
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has denied a report in the Washington Post Wednesday which
says the US government has evidence that a senior US official is
spying for Israel.
Israeli officials have called the report "baseless," "a
fabrication," and "first class nonsense." They say Israel does not
engage in spying in the United States, and they accuse what they
call "hostile elements" in the US government of making up the story
and giving it to the Post.
The newspaper says the FBI has a tape of a conversation between two
Israeli intelligence officials, in which they discuss whether a
spy in the US government, code named "Mega," can obtain a secret
document related to the Middle East peace process. According to
the transcript, one of the agents informs the other that is not
the type of job "Mega" does.
The document in question is a letter from former Secretary of State
Warren Christopher making certain unpublished assurances to
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The letter, sent in January, has
never been made public. According to the Post report, Israel's
Ambassador to the United States, Eliahu ben Elissar, had asked
Israeli intelligence to obtain the letter. On Wednesday, the
ambassador denied making any such request.
"The whole story is baseless. It is absolutely untrue. Those
sources are either bad, or evil, or evil-intentioned. And may I
tell you right away that Israel is not involved in any covert
operations or intelligence operations dealing with United States
Ben Elissar says such operations would be against the policies of
successive Israeli governments. The United States and Israel are
staunch allies, and reports of spying, in either direction, always
generate sharp criticism and high emotions.
Israel frequently asks for the release of US spy Jonathan Pollard,
who was convicted by a US court in 1986 of passing US military
secrets to israel. He is serving a life term in a US prison.
Israel says Pollard's operation was not officially authorized,
and that he should be released. But denying a clemency request
last year, President Clinton cited the seriousness of Pollard's
crime and his apparent lack of remorse.
Nazis Melted Holocaust Victims' Gold Teeth
By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)
The United States has released its long awaited report on all
American government records on the transfer of stolen gold from
Nazi Germany to Switzerland and other neutral countries during
World War 2.
What is new in the historical study of 11 US government agency
records is that Nazi Germany melted down gold taken from victims of
the Holocaust and mixed it into gold bars that the Nazis
transferred to Switzerland to finance the war.
The United States estimates that Nazi Germany transferred $400
million worth of gold to Switzerland during the war, nearly $4
billion in today's terms. There is no way to estimate how much
of that gold was obtained from concentration camp victims' gold
coins, jewelry and gold teeth fillings. This was melted into gold
ingots that could not be distinguished from the bulk of the gold
taken from captured central banks.
Much of the criticism in the report is leveled at Switzerland,
which received the gold from the Germans in exchange for Swiss
francs and war supplies.
The report accuses Switzerland of failing to comply with a 1946
agreement with the United States to liquidate hundreds of millions
of dollars worth of German assets to benefit war victims.
A Swiss spokesman in Washington says post-war Swiss officials were
acting under a legalistic interpretation of international law.
This stated that gold captured from occupied governments was legal
Thomas Bore is the head of the Swiss task force that focusses on
the war years. He tells reporters the only news in the American
report is that victims' private gold was mixed with captured
"If this is really true, it is grave news of the most shocking
nature. The degree of cynicism and cold bloodedness it would take
for the Nazi brutes to remelt their victims' gold and resell it as
regular central bank gold is almost beyond our comprehension."
The American study was ordered by President Clinton after Sen.
Alphonse d'Amato (R., N.Y.) accused Switzerland of a continued
lack of moral responsibility. D'Amato says the United States
should re-open the 1946 Washington agreement with Switzerland.
"I certainly do believe that we should re-open or examine the
Washington accords and ask for all the documentation -- and let me
tell you the Swiss have them, unless they have already hit the
shredder at Swiss Union Bank."
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