Global CST, run by retired IDF general Israel Ziv, has been fined for contracting with Guinea against regulations.
By Yossi Melman
The Defense Ministry’s recently fined Global CST and its owner, Maj. Gen. (ret. ) Israel Ziv for deviating from the restricted permit it was granted by the ministry and signing a contract with the government of Guinea to set up and train Special Forces there and supply them with weapons. According to sources in the Defense Ministry, it was agreed that the fine, around NIS 90,000, would not be transferred to the state’s coffers, and instead the company would invest it in developing training courses for its employees, where they would learn the Defense Ministry’s guidelines and export regulations. Global CST denies they were fined, but confirmed that it had been ordered to retrain its employees.
In December 2009 and January 2010, Haaretz published a series of articles describing how Ziv and former Tel Aviv police commander David Tzur, former foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami, former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh, former Israeli ambassador to France Nissim Zvili and others got together in order to work in Guinea, a small, resource rich, West African country.
They got a ten million dollar contract, among others, to set up and train a special military guard for Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power in Guinea and appointed himself president. The contract stipulated that Ziv would supply the force with gear and weapons. To that end Israeli instructors, who were veterans of the Israel Defense Forces and the defense establishment, arrived in Guinea at Ziv’s behest.
Ziv contacted the Defense Ministry in early 2009 with a request to receive a permit to negotiate with Guinea over training security forces there. The ministry refused to grant him the permit and only allowed him to conduct a preliminary survey prior to negotiations in which the exporter could hear about the client’s needs, but would be barred from discussing a deal or offering estimates, and would certainly not be allowed to sign a contract.
Nevertheless, Ziv and his cohorts met in March 2009 with Camara, began negotiations and even signed a contract. When the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry became aware of this, they decided to launch an investigation conducted by the oversight department and the director of security of the defense establishment. During the investigation, Ziv explained (to Haaretz as well ) that this was a case of a misunderstanding, and a few months after the meeting with the Guinean president, he halted all security-related ties with Guinea and all of his operations there are exclusively civilian, primarily a venture to provide water.
Ziv added that he lost money as well, as a result of halting his defense-related activities.
He also argued that he transferred the contract to a company from South Africa. However, at the same time, reports appeared in the Guinean press and in the international media that Israeli instructors were still active in Guinea. The director of security of the defense establishment looked into a suspicion that as part of his contact with the South African company, Ziv transferred to not only the contract but also the instructors, but the investigation found nothing and the case was recently closed.
The episode ends with a meeting of the enforcement committee of the Defense Ministry’s export control division.
The committee fined Ziv and Global CST and warned him not to repeat his actions. In the meantime, Ziv’s benefactor, Camara, left Guinea for medical treatment in Morocco, and has not been permitted to return home.
The Guinean defense minister, who is the country’s acting head of state, promised to hold elections in two months, and an elected civilian-military government will be formed.
An Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman said his ministry does not comment on issues relating to defense exports and methods of supervising them.
Global CST deny they had been levied, or paid, any fine.
“The Ministry of Defense never fined the company and in any case the company did not pay a fine of any kind,” the company said. “It should be stressed that the source of the problem lies in a technical error done in good faith, of signing a contract after receiving verbal approval in principle from the Defense Ministry and prior to receiving a sales license in writing, which was indeed received a few days later. As a result of the incident, the company was required to tighten its procedures and guidelines and it did and is doing so eagerly. It should be stressed that the company tightened its guidelines for employees even before the Defense Ministry request.” French photography
French intelligence helped obtain important information on assessing the damages caused by the Israel air force attack on the nuclear reactor built by Syria, an American journalist reported last week. Jeff Stein, who writes the Washington Post blog SPYTALK, wrote that despite the CIA’s tremendous resources, it did not manage to enlist a source to provide it with photos of the site that was destroyed in the September 2007 attack, Stein wrote on the blog.
Someone who did manage to photograph the site was the French military attache in Syria. He got into his car, drove the hundreds of kilometers between Damascus and the area of the nuclear reactor on the banks of the Euphrates River and there managed to photograph up close the ruins, despite being subject to monitoring by agents from Syria’s preventive security apparatus.
However the military attache was unable to gather samples from the site, which could have provided valuable information about the level of radioactivity in the area.
Stein claims that the French intelligence gave the photos to the CIA. He does not mention Israel and therefore it may be speculated that if Stein’s information is correct, then in the framework of international cooperation efforts, the photos also made it to Jerusalem.