Behind the Headlines USSR Training Palestinian Terrorists
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Behind the Headlines USSR Training Palestinian Terrorists

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The Soviet Union is training “hundreds of Palestinians” in terrorist schools near Moscow and along the Black Sea, and there are similar training camps in Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia, a British newspaper reported.

Details of the connection between the Soviet Union and the Palestinians were given in the Daily Telegraph by Journalist Robert Moss, a specialist on subversion who two weeks ago attended the Jerusalem conference on terrorism. Moss said that because of the Soviet support for Palestinian terrorism, as well as its toll of innocent lives, it is a “tragic error” for any Western government to confer legality on the Palestine Liberation Organization.

He named the Military Academy at Simferopol in the Crimea as “a primary reception center for PLO men selected for sabotage and terrorist training in the Soviet Union.” Courses, said to include river crossings and all types of sabotage, are attended by mixed groups of 50 to 60 PLO trainees, drawn from different guerrilla organizations according to a quota system.

A “typical” course at Simferopol included recruits from Yasir Arafat’s El Fatah, the Syrian backed Al Saiqa, the Palestine Liberation Front and George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Moss claims that Palestinians of above-average aptitude are sometimes transferred to special courses in KGB or GRU (Soviet military intelligence) schools, which also receive a steady intake of intelligence officers from Libya, Syria, Iraq and South Yemen.

PLO SEEN AS USEFUL ASSET

In the Soviet view, Moss added, the PLO is a “tremendously useful asset.” It can supply shock troops, like the members of Idi Amin’s bodyguard in Uganda; subversive agents in the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms and Saudi Arabia “that can now hold a knife to the throats of pro-Western monarchs”; and “all-purpose terrorists,” he wrote. The PLO “can also serve as the middleman in supplying arms to the national liberation movements,” as well as carrying out missions of specifically Soviet rather than Palestinian interest.

“One such case was the PLO plot to blow up fuel depots in West Berlin…. Another was the attempt by a Palestinian hit team in Holland in 1975 to hijack a train carrying Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union,” Moss stated.

Referring to the Jerusalem conference on terrorism, Moss called on the British government to study the conference’s final manifesto urging the civilized world to avoid endowing groups like the PLO “with the spurious legitimacy that Herr Kreisky and Herr Willy Brandt have now seen fit to accord. ” This was a reference to the meeting in Vienna earlier this month between Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria, the vice president of the Socialist International, and Brandt, the International’s president and chairman of West Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, and Arafat.

He continued: “For the sake of a cosmetic detente with Russia, there has been a malign tendency on the part of some Western governments to keep from the public the mounting body of evidence now in the hands of Western intelligence services of Soviet guidance for the PLO and international terrorism.

“It is time for all civilized nations to stand shoulder to shoulder on the issue of international terrorism and condemn those (like Chancellor Kreisky) who have been ready, for the sake of short term expediency, to accord a false respectability to those who murder women and children with the aid of the KGB.”

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