Israel has been a major, albeit covert, player in Southeast Asia since Israeli multi-billionaire tycoon Shaul Eisenberg began supplying weapons to Cambodia's genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Eisenberg, a close business partner of China's military, was also an early arms supplier to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. Eisenberg was active with Asia's Jewish community during World War II, not as an compatriot of the Allies but as a close intelligence and business partner of Japan's Imperial government, which was allied with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in the Axis Alliance. Escaping Nazi-controlled Europe, Eisenberg settled in the Far East, making his primary bases of operation Japanese-occupied Shanghai and Japan itself. In Shanghai, Eisenberg, along with Imperial Japanese military intelligence units, formed units of future Jewish terrorist groups -- the Irgun and the Shanghai Betar (Betar was founded in the 1930s by the Polish Zionist Yakob Jabotinsky, a supporter of Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, to battle the British for control of Palestine and the ideological godfather of later neoconservative oracle Leo Strauss). The Japanese taught the Jewish paramilitary forces in Shanghai, including some who escaped from Joseph Stalin's Jewish Autonomous Region creation in the Soviet Far East on the Chinese border, how to disrupt colonial occupiers' logistics and command and control elements, strategies that had been successful against the British, Dutch, French, and American colonial authorities in Asia. The Irgun and Betar gangs would eventually use the knowledge gained from the Japanese in their terror campaign against British and Arab forces in Palestine following World War II. Eventually, Irgun and Betar veterans would form the present-day Likud Party, now headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, a noted extreme
After the war, Eisenberg began selling war surplus material, including iron and steel scrap. Married to a Japanese woman, Eisenberg established the Israel Corporation, a huge holding company , which, during the 1970s, began to secretly export Israeli military equipment and weapons to China. Under a Panama-based company called United Development, Inc., Eisenberg also began exporting weapons to Central America's most insidious dictatorships, including that of Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua. Eisenberg's vast holdings eventually included Israel Aircraft Industries and Zim Israel Navigation Company.
As the United States faced imminent defeat in the Indochina War at the hands of the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian communist-nationalist forces, Eisenberg wasted no time in cashing in on America's defeat and the new power alignments in Southeast Asia. He began selling weapons from his new business partner - China - to the Cambodian forces of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. After the defeat of the U.S.-backed military government of General Lon Nol, installed after Richard Nixon's National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, a close friend of Eisenberg, ordered the CIA to overthrow Cambodian head of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia fell victim to a bloody civil war between Vietnamese troops backing Pol Pot's one-time ally Hun Sen and the Chinese-backed "Democratic Kampuchea" government of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot.
It was no mistake that the Gerald Ford administration and Secretary of State Kissinger backed the Khmer Rouge. Kissinger and Ford's long-time Michigan financial backer, industrialist Max Fisher were both financially and ideologically linked to Eisenberg. Ford's supposed "grand moment" -- the repatriation in 1975 of the crew of the U.S. "merchant" (spy) ship, the SS Mayaguez, from Khmer Rouge forces was a Kissinger- and Eisenberg-designed ruse designed to build up Ford's support in the face of the American military defeat in Southeast Asia. That ruse came at the cost of 41 Marines and countless Cambodian military forces and civilians.
Kissinger authorized Eisenberg to begin a discreet program to modernize China's armed forces with $10 billion in Israeli and U.S.-designed weapons, re-exported through Israel. The reason -- neoconservative to its roots -- was to have China counteract Soviet military power in Asia and beyond.
As a result of Eisenberg's Israel-China military alliance, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge forces were amply supplied by Israel and China. Logistics were no problem since Eisenberg's Israel Corporation owned a 49 percent share in Zim Shipping, the world's third largest shipping company. Although Eisenberg died from a sudden heart attack in Beijing in 1997, the weapons smuggling activities of his friends in Mossad and Zim Shipping continue to plague Southeast and South Asia.
Under a United Nations, European Union, and Cambodian government weapons buy-back program, Cambodia is striving to eliminate the proliferation of small arms, including AK-47s and grenade launchers and mortars, from the Cambodian population. However, the storage program for the collected weapons has been an ongoing problem for the Cambodians, as cited in an EU report that stated there were four major problems with the program:
1. No formal mechanisms for registering numbers, types and condition of weapons;
2. No records of any of the above;
3. Weapons stored alongside various types of explosives including mines, mortars, grenades and ammunition;
4. Weapons stored in buildings without adequate security.
Storage facilities with so-called "enhanced security" were constructed in Phnom Penh (several facilities), Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Banteay Srei, Preah Vihear, and Kampong Thom. The suspicions about Israeli involvement in smuggling stored Khmer Rouge and other weapons were heightened in 1999 after a mysterious fire destroyed the Cambodian military weapons storage facility at the Ream Naval Base near Sihanoukville. According to a New Zealand intelligence officer in Cambodia, the depot was destroyed by an Israeli squad after it was revealed they were smuggling weapons from the facility to guerrilla groups throughout Southeast Asia, including the small "Free Vietnam Movement" battling Vietnam's central government and Hmong guerrillas battling Laotian government forces. The Vietnamese became even more suspicious about the role of the depot after weapons from the Ream warehouse were seized by Cambodian and Vietnamese police at the Bavet border checkpoint. The weapons were destined for guerrillas of the Free Vietnam Movement.
WMR visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia and discovered that the Mossad and Cambodian criminal syndicate allies continue to obtain bought-back Cambodian weapons from Cambodian government warehouses and are selling them to guerrilla groups throughout Asia, including Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, anti-Laotian Hmongs, the small anti-communist Free Vietnam Movement, and Burmese tribal guerrilla groups.
WMR photographed a number of Zim shipping containers portside along the Mekong River in Phnom Penh. From this and other port facilities, including the port of Sihanoukville, bought-back Cambodian weapons , some originally provided to the Khmer Rouge by Eisenberg and the Chinese, are making their way to insurgent groups around Asia, possibly including Iraqi guerrillas battling U.S. forces in Iraq.
Not far from Zim's Mekong port facilities in Phnom Penh sits a quiet and unassuming Mossad surveillance station. From this vantage point, Israeli operatives keep a close eye on Mekong river traffic and any "new players" who arrive into town. With new oil deposits being discovered in contested waters of the Gulf of Thailand, border skirmishes in the region are likely to increase, driving up the demand for small arms in the region. The cached weapons in Cambodia stand to make Israeli intelligence a handsome profit.
Recently, the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, was injured in a Tamil Tiger mortar attack on a Sri Lankan military helicopter transporting him and other Western envoys. In addition to Blake, Italian ambassador Pio Mariani was also injured in the attack. Although Israel has been supplying weapons and training to Sri Lanka's government to be used against the Tamil Tigers, it has been playing a double game in also supplying Cambodian weapons to the Tamils.
On September 28, 2005, the Zim Asia collided with a Japanese fishing vessel, killing seven Japanese sailors aboard the fishing vessel. The collision occurred 25 miles off the Nosappu Cape in northern Japan. What followed was the arrest in Haifa of the Zim Asia's captain, Moshe Ben David, and the Serbian second captain and Bulgarian lookout man for negligence and failure to save the lives of the Japanese fisherman, a violation of international maritime law. Israeli police confiscated documents from Zim's headquarters. The presence of a Zim ship in northern Japanese waters near North Korea once again heightened concerns about the activities of the shipping company in weapons smuggling.
If Cambodia is any measure of Israel's true intentions, it is clear that Israel's double game seeks to destabilize world and regional peace by selling to adversarial sides in civil and other wars and reaping huge profits as a result.
Zim Shipping containers in Phnom Penh (above) along the Mekong River. Zim has been linked to weapons smuggling in region.