Dan Raviv, co-author of Spies Against Armageddon, a history of Israeli intelligence and security agencies, appeared on the CBS News television broadcast “Up To The Minute,” analyzing the nuclear deal with Iran — and why Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is so vociferous in his opposition.
Also — this coming week, when Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits Israel — will significant U.S. “security compensation” be offered to Israel?
If you’d like to see Dan Raviv answer questions from the C-SPAN television host and many members of the public who phoned in, please click here or watch on the video box below. The one-hour appearance was on Tuesday morning, May 27.
It’s a 40-minute video:
On Wednesday night (May 28), the cable channel Shalom TV interviewed Spies Against Armageddon co-author Yossi Melman for a full hour. Main subject? The history of Israeli espionage — including the Mossad and many other secretive agencies. The channel is also viewable at ShalomTV.org (and on Roku boxes). (When Shalom TV repeats the interview, we’ll post the dates and times here.)
Thanks to the hundreds of people — interested in Israel, the Middle East, and espionage — who attended our 3 lectures this month (May 13-14-15) in New York City and Washington DC.
To see the entire one-hour program, recorded at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, click here:
And on Tuesday (May 27), co-author Dan Raviv will be on C-SPAN television (and satellite radio) talking about the Middle East, spies, and more: Tuesday morning’s “Washington Journal” at 9:15 to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
On Wednesday night (May 28), the cable channel Shalom TV’s founder Rabbi Mark Golub will interview co-author Yossi Melman for a full hour. That’s also viewable at ShalomTV.org (and on Roku boxes). The interview is at 9:00 p.m., repeated at midnight and the next day at 3:00 p.m.
Yossi Melman (left) and Dan Raviv sign books for lecture audiences
Like all good spy novels, Spies Against Armageddon is gripping, riveting, a real nail biter—only the story it tells is true. There is no make believe and no fiction in Spies Against Armageddon. This book contains the real life material on which spy novels are based.
Yossi Melman is a feature writer and columnist [in Israel]. Dan Raviv, now a CBS radio news correspondent stationed in Washington, DC, reported for over two decades from the Middle East and other places.
This collaborative effort shows just how Israel’s clandestine services, including the fabled Mossad, work. The book reads like a movie and readers are given front row seats to view secret operation after secret operation and learn how Israeli operatives went the world over to complete their missions. Some of the material is published here for the first time.
Stories are told about missions undertaken in the Arab capitals of Cairo and Damascus. The real story behind Munich 1972 and the teams that went out in search of the Palestinian terrorists who murdered the Israeli Olympic team and its coaches is related in detail. And the authors explain how the January 2010 assassination of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh in Dubai was carried out by a complex array of people and set of arrangements from around the world.
Raviv and Melman extend the world of spying to include an explanation of the Stuxnet, the computer virus that attacked the Iranian nuclear program. The authors draw a timeline and include a map detailing how Stuxnet made its way to Iran and paralyzed the country.
This book is not simply a gripping story of past triumphs and tragedies. It is an attempt to piece together recent operations and to even offer speculation about what may happen in future clandestine operations.
And then it gets even better. The most fascinating component of Spies Against Armageddon has to do with the operations of Kidon. Kidon is a unit in the Mossad—but it is really the Mossad’s Mossad. The ultra secret task of Kidon is to assassinate and to sabotage. Kidon operatives are sent around the world and there is nowhere, nothing, and nobody they cannot get to.
Spies Against Armageddon is a fun and exciting read. It is a book for anyone who wants to learn about Israel’s special weapons, the Israeli intelligence services.
Dan Raviv, co-author of Spies Against Armageddon and a CBS News correspondent, was a guest on Friday’s “America In the Morning” — on Westwood One radio.
The Syria peace talks in Geneva: What’s the most that might be accomplished? Negotiators have apparently agreed to be in the same room as the U.N. mediator — and that’s something. Local ceasefires, that might permit the entry of humanitarian aid, might be arranged.
Could an agreement be reached to remove President Bashar al-Assad? We don’t see that on the immediate horizon.
Jim also asks Dan about Israel-U.S. relations: Is Benjamin Netanyahu waiting hopefully for 3 years from now, when Barack Obama will be out of office?
Forget about the notion of Israel’s air force striking nuclear facilities in Iran. That is off the table.
Sure, officials in Israel — similar to the verbiage of the Obama Administration — still say that “all options are on the table.”
But when balancing all the rapid developments in the Middle East recently — most notably the six months of negotiations the U.S. and its partners plan with Iran on the nuclear issue — there seems to be almost no chance that Israel will attack Iran.
That subject — and a lot more, concerning the Syria talks that are starting in Geneva, Switzerland — can be heard in the interview with Dan Raviv, co-author of Spies Against Armageddon, Thursday night on the Jim Bohannon Show on national Westwood One radio.
Click, please, to hear a 15-minute excerpt of the fast-paced, fact-based interview: Dan Raviv, questioned by Jim Bohannon.
Israelis are endlessly fascinated by their country’s intelligence services, and when a book about the Mossad and the other secret agencies is considered credible, it sells very well.
The evidence: the “Gold Book” certificates presented to Yossi Melman — for himself and for his American co-author Dan Raviv — during a ceremony near Tel Aviv.
The certificates (Melman’s on the left, Raviv’s on the right) were presented by the Association of Israeli Publishers, marking the confirmed sale of 20,000 copies of their latest book about Israel’s intelligence community.
In English it’s known as Spies Against Armageddon. In Hebrew, the title (Milkhamot Ha-Tzlalim) translates as: The Shadow Wars.
The Hebrew-language paperback has sold substantially more than 20,000 copies, in a country with a population of only 8 million.
Dan Raviv, the CBS News correspondent who is co-author of Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars (and the previous best seller, Every Spy a Prince, both written with Yossi Melman) — was a guest for one hour on Shalom TV, which is seen on many cable systems across the U.S.
In a wide-ranging interview with Rabbi Mark Golub, the founder of the Shalom TV channel, Dan Raviv analyzes the goals of Israel’s intelligence community, a range of reactions to the Jonathan Pollard affair, and a lot more.
Rabbi Golub wondered, for instance, if Israel’s security-related activities ever put American Jews in an uncomfortable situation — caught between divided loyalties, perhaps. Raviv and Golub have a vigorous discussion on that and many other points.
[Dan confesses to sharp-eyed readers and viewers that, in the interview, he mistakenly refers to the small airport near Tel Aviv as “Sde Boker” when he meant to say “Sde Dov.”]
Last summer, on NBC-TV’s Today, he kindly said about Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman: “No one knows more about the Mossad than these two guys.”
On the NBC Today Show in July 2012, as bestselling thriller writer Daniel Silva was discussing his new book, The Fallen Angel — again featuring his fictional Israeli intelligence officer and assassin — NBC’s Matt Lauer asked Daniel to name his three favorite books for the summer.
The authors of Spies Against Armageddon, Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman, were as surprised as anyone at what Daniel Silva said in the last minute of his appearance on Today. He recommended Raviv and Melman’s book and told Matt Lauer: “I write about fictitious Israeli intelligence officers. They write about the real thing. No one knows more about the Mossad than these two guys.”
It was part of a series on the Today Show called “Sizzling Summer Reads.”
And, from the Today Show website, here are Daniel’s responses, when asked for his favorite books to read this summer — and one of the non-fiction books he mentions is near and dear to this blog’s heart:
At the beach
“The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln” by Stephen Carter (Knopf) — “a great alternative history by a great American novelist and legal scholar who also happens to be a great friend.”
For a Rainy Day
“The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye” by Maxwell Anderson (American Association of Museums) — “Max will take you behind the scenes of a museum and teach you how to look at pieces of art and understand why they’re important, why they’re worthy of being displayed on a museum’s wall.”
Under the Covers
“Spies Against Armageddon” by Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman (Levant Books) — “I write about fictitious spies, but Dan and Yossi write about real Israeli operatives. These two journalists know more about the Israeli intelligence community than anyone.”
In a conversation with WINA Radio in Charlottesville, Virginia, a co-author of Spies Against Armageddon — Dan Raviv of CBS News — discusses the apparent motivations of Edward Snowden, the contract employee for American intelligence agencies who decided to go rogue. Snowden is believed to be still in Hong Kong, but he may not be — even as he seems to have plans to give even more secrets about U.S. government surveillance programs to journalists whom he trusts.
The Guardian newspaper, which has published many of Snowden’s leaks, has already revealed that an official summary of communications intercepts by the National Security Agency shows that the biggest target — for intercepting e-mails and details of telephone calls — is Iran.
In addition to combating terrorism, the NSA is tasked with helping the American government pursue its goals of nuclear non-proliferation. Iran naturally is a target.
So far, at least, there is no information on how — or if — the NSA may be intercepting Israeli communications.
One of the leading Arabic-language newspapers in Israel, Hadeeth an-Nas (which means “Talk of the People”) today has a long feature on the new book about Israeli security and espionage.
Pictured to the left, it’s the Hebrew-language edition of Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars. The Hebrew title is Milkhamot Ha-Tzlalim (which translates to “The Shadow Wars”). It has been high on Israel’s best seller lists since publication in late July.
For those who read Arabic, the article about our book appears on pages 10 and 12. (There’s a photo of Yossi Melman on p. 10, and p. 12 includes photographs, right to left, of Dan Raviv, the late King Hussein of Jordan, and George W. Bush.
On a recent episode of one of Israeli TV’s top talk shows — London and Kirschenbaum– Melman was talking about the Hebrew-language edition of the new book, Milkhamot ha-Tzlalim (which means “The Shadow Wars”). Moti Kirschenbaum is pictured above.
To watch the talk show (in Hebrew), please note Yossi Melman is interviewed starting in the 38th minute of the 49-minute program:
This article is by Julian Borger, the diplomatic editor of the British newspaper, The Guardian. He runs a Global Security Blog, and this was posted on July 11, 2012 after Mr. Borger purchased Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars from Amazon.co.uk for his Kindle::
The series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists since 2010 has long been believed to be the work of the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, but most of the speculation over the issue suggested that the Israelis sub-contracted the dirty work to Iranian rebel groups like the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) or Jundullah.
A new book by respected Israeli and American journalists called Spies Against Armageddon says the Mossad would never have farmed out the job to outsiders. The killings of the four scientists and the attempted murder of a fifth, were “blue and white” operations, the Mossad parlance for Israeli.
[F]or such a sensitive, dangerous, and daring mission as a series assassinations in Iran‘s capital, the Mossad would not depend on hired-guns mercenaries. They would be considered far less trustworthy, and there was hardly any chance that the Mossad would reveal to non-Israelis some of its assassination unit’s best methods.
The Mossad unit carrying out the assassinations is called Kidon, or Bayonet, which was infiltrated into the country by various routes
The Mossad also enjoyed fairly safe passage in and out of Iran by going through nations where the security services were cooperative – including the Kurdish autonomous zone of northern Iraq…Obviously, Israeli operatives travelled using the passports of other countries, including both bogus and genuine documents. …In addition, the Mossad continuously maintained safe houses in Iran, dating back to the pre-1979 years under the Shah. That was an investment in the future, typical for Israeli intelligence.
The authors, Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv, also have more detail than I have seen anywhere else on Mossad efforts to smear Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It fed suggestions he was in the Iranians’ pocket to the Mubarak regime, to little effect, so it dreamed up other dirty tricks.
One such plan was to penetrate his bank account and deposit money there that he would not be able to explain. The psychological warfare department then would spread rumours to journalists that ElBaradei was receiving bribes from Iranian agents. In the end, that did not occur.
These assertions, like most of the claims in the book, are not backed up by quotes, even anonymous ones, or by any other kinds of references. The style of the book is to state such things as facts and we have to take it or leave it. Raviv refers to the style, also used by Bob Woodward, as ‘synthesis’. The grounds for the claims are largely the reputations of the authors. Melman, in particular, is a doyen of Israeli national security experts, until recently on the liberal Ha’aretz newspaper, and is widely respected. My guess from reading it that the former Mossad boss, Meir Dagan, is a primary source.
Still, there are a lot of blurry edges in the book. It implies that the blast in a missile base near Tehran in December 2011 which killed the godfather of the Iranian programme, Major General Hassan Moghadam, was the work of Mossad, but Melman conceded this was purely supposition. There are also a lot of references to Iranian weaponisation work in the present tense, though all the evidence presented points to past activity.
Just as interesting as the claims about Mossad’s activities in Iran is the way the authors refer to Israel‘s own nuclear programme. Under Israel’s policy of ambiguity, Israeli journalists are not supposed to confirm the existence of the arsenal, and every time they refer to it they have to add a formulaic phrase like ‘according to foreign reports’ or some such. In ‘Spies Against Armageddon’, there is some token effort at euphemism. For example, in the following section, the word ‘potential’ stands in for ‘bombs':
Generating electricity without relying on imported coal and oil could be valuable, but developing a nuclear potential was even more important: It would make Israel an unrivalled force in the Middle East. It could be the ultimate guarantee of the Jewish state’s continued existence.
But in the following passages, the taboo is tosed out altogether:
Implicit in Ben-Gurion’s vision was an Israeli monopoly. Wherever and whenever deemed necessary, Israel would do what was necessary to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East. That unique and unspoken mission would be at the core of crises more than half a century later..
Most of the prime minister’s scientific advisers also feared that Israel could trigger a dangerous nuclear arms race. They loved research, but not weaponry. Seven of the eight IAEC members resigned in protest in late 1957.
Raviv said that the entire text was submitted to the Israeli military censor and approved with only very minor amendments. I understand, however, that in the Hebrew version of the book, the usual formula of ‘according to foreign sources’ will be reintroduced.
From the outside it seems a bizarre and arbitrary practice, but the government shows no signs of abandoning it. A former deputy Mossad chief, Ilan Mizrahi, was in London yesterday and I asked him about it. He said: “Yes I think amimut is corroding, but I still think it is a good policy.”
Israel’s covert actions inside Iran will be the focus, on the CBS television network on Thursday at 8:40 a.m. in most time zones (the second hour of the two-hour morning show on CBS) < http://www.cbsnews.com/cbsthismorning/ >