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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

State Department finally admits Arafat ordered diplomats' murder

Thirty-three years after the fact, the US State Department has finally declassified a document that admits that Yasser Arafat ordered the murder of two US diplomats and a Belgian diplomat in Khartoum in 1973:
In the early evening hours of 1 March 1973, eight Black September Organization (BSO) terrorists seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum as a diplomatic reception honoring the departing United States Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) was ending. After slightly wounding the United States Ambassador and the Belgian Charge d'Affaires, the terrorists took these officials plus the United States DCM, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and the Jordanian Charge d'Affaires hostage. In return for the freedom of the hostages, the captors demanded the release of various individuals, mostly Palestinian guerrillas,imprisoned in Jordan, Israel and the United States.

The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.
WorldNetDaily reports that the murders could have been prevented:
The admission comes 33 years after James J. Welsh, then the National Security Agency's Palestinian analyst, saw a communication intercepted from Arafat to his terrorist commandos in Sudan.

Within minutes, Welsh told WND, the director of the NSA was notified and the decision was made to send a rare "FLASH" message – the highest priority – to the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum via the State Department.

But the message didn't reach the embassy in time. Somewhere between the NSA and the State Department, someone decided the warning was too vague. The alert was downgraded in urgency.

The next day, eight members of Black September, part of Arafat's Fatah organization, stormed the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, took Noel, Moore and others hostage. A day later, on March 2, 1973, Noel, Moore and Eid were machine-gunned to death – all, Welsh had insisted for years, on the direct orders of Arafat.
But the scandalous part of this story is that it was covered up for thirty-three years:
Welsh believes the initial cover-up of the communications breakdown and the role of Arafat was launched to prevent embarrassment to the State Department and White House. President Nixon, he points out, was in the death throes of the Watergate scandal at the time. The last thing he needed, Welsh speculates, was an international scandal to deal with on the front page of the Washington Post.

Later, after Nixon was gone, Welsh believes the whole matter of the Arafat tapes was kept quiet to protect the future viability of signals intelligence intercepts of this kind. And, finally, he said, the cover-up persisted to foster Arafat's role as a "peacemaker" and leader of the Palestinian cause.

...

After the deadly attack in Khartoum, Arafat ordered the eight gunmen to surrender peacefully to the Sudanese authorities. Two were released for "lack of evidence." Later, in June 1973, the other six were found guilty of murdering the three diplomats. They were sentenced to life imprisonment and released 24 hours later to the PLO.

Before surrendering, the Khartoum terrorists demanded the release of Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, as well as others being held in Israeli and European prisons. Nixon refused to negotiate.
Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.

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