| Juval Aviv |
Kfar Menachem, Israel
|Interests|| • Lockerbie Bombing|
A terrorism expert and Mossad operative who once remarked on live TV: "It's easy to put a truck bomb, as we did, er, as happened in London."
Juval Aviv (born 24 February 1947), also known as Yuval Aviv, is an Israeli-American security consultant and writer. He once remarked on Fox News: "It's easy to put a truck bomb, as we did, er, as happened in London."
He may be best known for his work with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, and for having conducted the counter-terrorist operation as detailed by George Jonas in his novel, Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team (1984). Since 2003, Aviv has published four books related to security, two of which address notable mysteries. He writes under the nom-de-plume of 'Sam Green'. He is currently the president of Interfor, a corporate investigations firm in New York City.
Early life and education
Aviv was born in kibbutz Kfar Menachem in 1947 as Yuval Aviof.
Aviv worked for Mossad while in Israel and took part in international operations during his time there.
The Australian Herald Sun, reporting on a case involving Aviv's investigation of Conrad Black, cited "An Interfor brochure lodged with the court describ[ing] Mr Aviv as a retired major in Israel's Defence Force who had participated in Mossad secret service operations in many countries."
Aviv is president and CEO of Interfor, an international investigative and intelligence firm, according to the ABA Banking Journal. He has investigated cases such as the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 for clients US Aviation and Pan American World Airways.
Involvement in Vengeance
In 1981, the Canadian writer George Jonas was approached by Collins Canada about meeting with Juval Aviv, a former Mossad officer claimed to have led Operation Wrath of God, an operation to assassinate the Palestinian terrorists who carried out the 1972 Munich massacre, in which they took hostage and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. In a joint deal, two Toronto-based publishing houses, Lester & Orpen Dennys and Collins Canada Ltd, commissioned Jonas to research and write Aviv's account.
From his work he wrote Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team (1984), which depicted Aviv's character as "Avner".
According to Maclean's, which put together an 11-person investigative team to find out whether Aviv's story was true, the book generated $500,000 in advance foreign sales. After his book was published, Jonas told a journalist for Maclean's that he had spent two years and $30,000 of the publishers' money conducting research with Aviv in Europe and Israel. American RadioWorks, the national documentary unit of American Public Media, looked into the allegations as well and noted several court documents, including a memo from the FBI from 1982 and an informant agreement between Aviv and the US Justice Department, both of which refer to a past association with Israeli intelligence.
In 1984, Jonas, Louise Dennys, and the president of Collins Canada, Nicholas Harris, had told Maclean's they were satisfied that the story is genuine. Jonas told Maclean's: "To my mind, if he [Aviv] is not legit, then he can only be a disgruntled ex-employee of Mossad with sufficient knowledge of what has gone down in this area. As far as I am concerned, if he is not who he says he is, then that is what he is."
The book The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks by Nicole Laporte, a reporter for Variety, refers to Aviv and his background. Laporte writes about how Steven Spielberg vetted Aviv during pre-production on the movie, Munich (2005). Spielberg assembled a brain trust of researchers and, through his connections at the White House and a Middle East diplomat, determined that, "His real name was Juval Aviv. Furthermore, Spielberg's brain trust discovered FBI files proving that he and his team were not fictitious."
Interfor report on Lockerbie
Aviv was employed by Pan Am in 1989 to investigate who had bombed Pan Am Flight 103. He says that he "got the information from the horse's mouth, from people who were involved directly and indirectly in the information" when investigating the bombing. In his report, he claimed that US agents had been monitoring a heroin-smuggling route operating from the Middle East to the United States, which was run by a Syrian criminal. Aviv said that the Syrian had ties to Hezbollah militants, who were holding Westerners as hostages in Beirut. Aviv alleged that US agents agreed to allow the heroin smuggling to continue in return for the Syrian helping to free the hostages. At some point Turkish extremists, who worked at Frankfurt Airport as baggage handlers, swapped a suitcase of heroin for a bomb.
The President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism examined the same allegations in 1989 and found "no foundation for speculation in press accounts that US government officials had participated tacitly or otherwise in any supposed operation at Frankurt Airport having anything to do with the sabotage of Flight 103."
After the Interfor report was released, Aviv was described by diplomatic and intelligence officials as "a fabricator who had lied about his entire background." Later, Aviv stated, "I was never told directly that [my report] was wrong, I was always attacked as the messenger, as somebody who was a fabricator, a lunatic, whatever." American RadioWorks, the national documentary unit of American Public Media, looked into allegations that Aviv had never been employed by the FBI or Mossad. They found that several documents existed, including a 1982 FBI memo and an informant agreement between Aviv and the US Justice Department, which refer to a past association with Israeli intelligence.
Dissected by Baz
Lockerbie campaigner Barry Walker dissected the Interfor report, as follows:
- Morag Kerr is a little unclear as to what Juval Aviv (a New York-based private investigator and fiction writer engaged by Pan Am's insurers) and Allan Francovich actually claimed. Her confusion is understandable as neither produced anything that could be described in normal terms as "evidence". As I understand it, Aviv claimed that the CIA and/or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used Pan Am flights out of Frankfurt to make “controlled” deliveries of drugs to the USA and that this operation was subverted and the drug suitcase substituted for one containing the bomb.
- Aviv's claims, which were unsupported by any actual evidence, were based on information he claimed to have been given by unidentified contacts in the intelligence community. The credibility of his claims depends on whether he had such contacts (and was not just making it up) but further whether they were telling him the truth. Aviv claimed to have been a former Mossad agent and therefore part of this “intelligence community”. Beyond doubt the bomb was not introduced at Frankfurt and his claims are untrue. Aviv's subsequent claims mentioned above by "Rolfe" hardly strengthened his case.
- The Francovich/Ashton/Ferguson version purported to present real evidence to prove what Aviv merely asserted, with the further elaboration that the bomb suitcase was smuggled onto feeder flight Pan Am 103A in addition to, not instead of, the suitcase of drugs and that a suitcase of drugs was actually recovered at Tundergarth. (Why anyone would smuggle a suitcase of perfectly good heroin onto a plane they planned to blow up was never explained.)
- There was not a shred of real evidence that a suitcase of drugs was recovered at Tundergarth. The Maltese Double Cross claimed a Scottish farmer had recovered such a suitcase although in his interview to camera he said no such thing. Another piece of “evidence” that featured in the film was a story published in Private Eye magazine that claimed that unidentified relatives of the victims had been told by unidentified officials that drugs had been recovered at Tundergarth. The film's researcher John Ashton writes Lockerbie stories for Private Eye!
- (2003) The Complete Terrorism Survival Guide: How to Travel, Work and Live in Safety. Juris Publications, ISBN 1-57823-130-2
- (2004) Staying Safe: The Complete Guide to Protecting Yourself, Your Family, and Your Business. Collins, ISBN 0-06-073520-1
- (2006) Max, based on the death of British publisher Robert Maxwell ISBN 1-84413-875-5
- (2008) Flight 103, later published as Flight Into Danger, based on the Lockerbie bombing ISBN 978-0-09-951477-0
- "Spielberg could be on the wrong track", Haaretz, July 6, 2005.
- "Interfor Inc."
- Wesley, Johnson. "Black `Hiding Millions'," Herald Sun (Melbourne) (n.d.): Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 2 Dec. 2011.
- "A Look Ahead At The ABA Banking Leaders Forum And Annual Convention," ABA Banking Journal 99.8 (2007): 15. Business Source Elite. Web. 2 Dec. 2011.
- "Fox News Channel"
- "ABC News"
- "The Spielberg Massacre", Macleans, January 7, 2006.
- "Description of Vengeance on Jonas's website".
- Robert Miller. "The 'Vengeance' Affair," Macleans, May 7, 1984.
- "Sword of Gideon", IMDb.
- Schickel, Richard, and Desa Philadelphia. "SPIELBERG TAKES ON TERROR. (Cover Story)," TIME Magazine, 166.24 (2005): 64-68. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Dec. 2011.
- Laporte, Nicole. The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks
- "Pan Am Scam", American Journalism Review, September 1992.
- "Aviv's claims were unsupported by any actual evidence"
- "Juval Aviv", Snopes, Updated 1 August 2007
- Biewen, John. "Aviv: Fabricator or Smear Victim?", American Radio Works, March 2000.
- Emerson, Steven. "PanAm Scam." American Journalism Review. September 1992.
- McGibbon, Roy. "The Press Conference with Juval Aviv", The Press Gazette (UK), July 21, 2006.
- Melman, Yossi and Steven Hartov. "Munich: Fact and Fantasy", The Guardian, 17 January 2006.
- Lamb, Matthew. "Flimsy plot from 'spy' writer," The Courier Mail, September 20, 2006.
- Mueller, Andrew. "Juval Aviv: The good assassin", The Independent, July 16, 2006.
- Swan, James. "On Guard", The National Review, April 23, 2003.
- Wise, David. "What Did Mossad Know, and When?", The New York Times, October 7, 1990.