Friday, November 13, 2009

Mossad's (almost) forgotten journalist assassination victim, David Holden

Mossad's (almost) forgotten journalist victim

In the archives of the CIA can be found the smallest of news clippings with some of the most revealing information. Take one small clipping from the New Times "Overseas Bulletins," preceded by "Bee-bee-beep, Bee-bee-beep," on February 20, 1978.

The item concerns the professional assassination of the London Sunday Times' top foreign correspondent, David Holden, in Cairo on December 7, 1977. Holden had just returned to Cairo airport from a trip to Damascus, east Jerusalem, and Amman where he was trying to size up reaction to the upcoming peace talks between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Holden was always considered pro-Arab by the Israelis, mainly because of his close connections to top Palestinian leaders and his sympathy for their plight. After landing at Cairo airport, Holden never made it to his hotel room at the Cairo Hilton. Holden's body had been discovered on a Cairo roadside with a single bullet fired from a silencer-enabled 9 mm automatic pistol. The bullet pierced Holden's heart and exited through his chest.

Holden had, like many British and American Middle East correspondents, including ABC News' Peter Jennings and John Cooley, developed a close working relationship with a number of Arab leaders and diplomats. With much of the Arab world rejecting Sadat's peace offering to Israel following the Egyptian President's landmark November 1978 visit to Jerusalem, Holden was in a position to act as a back channel between Egypt, Britain and the United States -- Holden also enjoyed close contact with MI-6 and CIA personnel -- Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian leadership. If Holden was acting as a high-level courier, certain parties opposed to any Middle East peace deal may have wanted him dead and the contents of his briefcase secured.

The CIA's interest in the New Times item, published a little over two months after Holden's assassination, may be the following: "It seems that Holden, who had strong ties to moderate Palestinian factions in Jordan, was attempting to act as an 'honest broker between them and Egyptian officials, with the ultimate goal of facilitating an Israeli-Egyptian agreement for the West Bank. Some CIA Mideast officials believe the Mossad (the Israeli intelligence organization) had Holden killed . . ."

The assassination of Holden was followed by a carefully scripted character assassination. It was suggested that Holden, who was married, had a pre-marital homosexual relationship with a German Jewish communist-turned-Zionist-turned anti-Zionist named Leo Silberman. Holden, who was 53 when he was killed, was known as a lady's man by his family and colleagues.

In stories about Holden that appeared in The Times as recently as September 6, 2009, and other newspapers, there was scant attention paid to the CIA clipping that Holden was, in fact, assassinated by the Mossad. The most recent Times story actually suggests that Holden was murdered by the CIA. Of course, The Times of today scarcely resembles the broadsheet of 1977, having been turned by the neocon/Zionist media mogul Rupert Murdoch into a tabloid largely devoid of independent investigative journalism.

To further absolve Mossad of Holden's assassination, the Soviet news agency TASS reported on June 19, 1979, that the satirical London bi-weekly magazine, Private Eye, identified Holden as himself a Mossad agent. Private Eye had paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in libel claims over the years and The Times and Sunday Times were always high on its target list.

In July 1977, Holden's paper reported on the torture of Palestinian prisoners, described as the "ugliest forms" of torture. Meir Vilner, the Secretary General of the Israeli Communist Party, issued the following statement on January 27, 1979, "The London 'Sunday Times' talked about this torture in July 1977. Of the 49 former prisoners in Israeli jails questioned by the paper's correspondents, 44 had been tortured. The publication of these facts gave rise to hysteria in Zionist circles, and barely a few months later the dead body of the leading special correspondent of the 'Sunday Times', David Holden, was found." Vilner appeared to have been suggesting a quid pro quo in Holden's assassination by the Israelis.