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Re: [MESA] [TACTICAL] WikiLeaks: U.S. saw Israeli firm's rise in Latin America as a threat

Released on 2012-03-01 23:00 GMT

Email-ID 72920
Date 2011-06-01 21:13:10
The proliferation of Israeli front companies is the reason Israel is the #
1 FCI threat.

On 6/1/2011 2:10 PM, Fred Burton wrote:

WASHINGTON - A security company led by the former head of operations for
the Israeli military made such inroads into Latin America a few years
ago that U.S. diplomats saw it as a security risk and moved to thwart
the company's expansion, U.S. diplomatic cables show.

The diplomats' efforts were made easier when an interpreter for the
Israeli firm, Global CST, was caught peddling classified Colombian
Defense Ministry documents to Marxist guerrillas seeking to topple the
state, one cable said.

Still, the ability of the Israeli security consultancy to obtain
contracts in Colombia, Peru and Panama in rapid succession speaks to the
prowess of retired Israeli military officers in peddling security
know-how amid perceptions that they'd bring better results than official
U.S. government assistance.

At one point, Panama's intelligence chief threatened to rely more
heavily on the Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials wouldn't tap
the phones of the president's political enemies, according to then
cables. U.S. officials countered that such an arrangement would threaten
all security cooperation with Panama, and the Panamanians backed down.

Colombia was the first Latin nation to sign a contract with Global CST,
doing so in late 2006, according to one cable, the same year its
founder, Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, retired as head of the operations
directorate of the Israel Defense Forces.

Ziv "was a personal acquaintance of then-Minister of Defense Juan Manuel
Santos," the cable said. Santos is now Colombia's president.

Ziv's consulting firm pledged "a strategic assessment" that would devise
a plan to defeat "internal terrorist and criminal organizations by
2010," the cable, sent in late 2009, said. The exercise was named
"Strategic Leap."

"Over a three-year period, Ziv worked his way into the confidence of
former Defense Minister Santos by promising a cheaper version of USG
(U.S. government) assistance without our strings attached," the cable

Colombia began working with a variety of retired and active duty Israeli
officers "with special operations and military intelligence
backgrounds," another cable said. By 2007, 38 percent of Colombia's
foreign defense purchases were going to Israel, it added.

With a foot firmly in the door in Colombia, Ziv roamed the region, going
next to Peru, a coca-producing nation that also faced security

Ziv told Peruvian authorities that Global CST's had played an advisory
role in a spectacular jungle raid on a rebel camp in Colombia a year
earlier that freed former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt,
three U.S. military contractors and 11 Colombian police and soldiers.
Colombia denies that Global CST played a role in the raid.

The Israeli firm signed a one-year contract worth $9 million to help
Peru defeat the Maoist Sendero Luminoso insurgency "once and for all" in
that nation's remote Apurimac and Ene river valleys, according to
another U.S. cable.

When Global CST approached Panama's government about expanding on an
initial contract, red flags went up at the U.S. Embassy there.

In early 2010, an Embassy cable to Washington said Panama had already
paid Global CST for a small security study but the nation's intelligence
chief, Olmedo Alfaro, was threatening to rely more heavily on the
Israelis out of anger that U.S. officials would not tap the phones of
the president's political enemies.

"Alfaro is increasingly open about his agenda to replace U.S. law
enforcement and security support with Israelis and others," the cable
said, adding that the move "bodes ill" for quelling narcotics activity
and crime in Panama.

U.S. officials told the Panamanians that they would limit security
cooperation and intelligence sharing if private consultants from a third
nation were involved.

"In a meeting with then-U.S. Ambassador to Panama Barbara Stephenson,
Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela said that the government
"would not let Israeli influence damage the U.S.-Panama relationship," a
cable said.

President Ricardo Martinelli "was similarly taken aback, and emphasized
that he did not want to endanger relations with the USG, saying 'We
don't want to change friends,'" the cable said.

Adding to the pressure on Panama was news that Colombia's relations with
Global CST had soured. In a meeting in late 2009 with the then-U.S.
Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, national police chief Oscar
Naranjo complained that the company had turned out to be a "disaster," a
cable said.

The same cable reported that then-Defense Minister Gabriel Silva
overruled a planned Colombian army purchase of Israeli-made Hermes-450
unmanned aerial vehicles, in part because of the nation's "mixed"
experience with Global CST.

Silva is now Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. His office didn't respond
to several written and telephone messages for comment.

Colombia's souring on the Israeli firm was partly because of U.S. rules
that barred intelligence sharing, but also because Colombian police told
them in February 2008 "that a Global CST interpreter, Argentine-born
Israeli national Shai Killman, had made copies of classified Colombian
Defense Ministry documents in an unsuccessful attempt to sell them to
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) through contacts in
Ecuador and Argentina," the cable said.

The pilfered documents allegedly contained information about top
criminals the Colombians were targeting, the cable said.

"Ziv denied this attempt and sent Killman back to Israel," it added.

In early April, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reached Killman and
reported that he said he "was being 'slandered' and no such incident
ever took place."

The cable went on to say that Ziv's proposals for Colombia "seem
designed more to support Israeli equipment and services sales than to
meet in-country needs." It added that Colombia realized that "their
deals are not as good as advertised."

It wasn't just in Latin America where Ziv and his company pledged quick
fix-its for acute security problems. The company, based in a city east
of Tel Aviv, would also work in Togo, Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria, as well
as in Eastern Europe. Last year, the Israeli government fined Global CST
for negotiating to sell weapons and military training to Guinea's
military junta.

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