The Owens
Scandal Is Breaking

By Barry Chamish

Owens' Last Days
Former Utah Senator Wayne Owens was murdered on Dec.18 in Tel Aviv at the end of a factfinding mission shared with House Representatives David Price and Jim Davis. Price prepared a summation of the mission, noting early on that, "Wayne Owens had few illusions about the obstacles to getting peace negotiations back on track."
He continued: "We met in Cairo with Chief of Intelligence General Omar Seuliman regarding the next round of cease-fire talks to be brokered by Egypt among Hamas, Fatah, and possibly other groups.
"We then visited chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Abu Mazen on the day it was determined that he would personally attend this second round.
"We met with Palestinian Authority Finance Minister Salam Fayyad regarding financial and budget reform, where there has been enough progress to allow the U.S. to broker the release of a first installment of Palestinian Authority revenues impounded by Israel.
"We talked with Sari Nusseibeh, head of Jerusalem Affairs for the PLO, about the back-channel, unofficial peace initiatives undertaken by him and others."
By Akiva Eldar (Ha'aretz) Dec. 20, 2002
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has taken over responsibility for the Jerusalem portfolio by deposing prominent Palestinian peace activist Prof. Sari Nusseibeh.
Nussibeh, president of Al Quds University, hammered out a peace plan with former Shin Bet chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Ami Ayalon earlier this year.
A senior Palestinian official who asked to remain unnamed said that Nusseibeh's removal and the establishment of the two committees appear to be part of a pattern of eccentric behavior exhibited by Arafat. The official mentioned, for example, Arafat's announcement that East Jerusalem publisher Hanna Siniora would be the PA's ambassador in Washington, but when the prospective envoy arrived in the U.S. capital, Arafat backed down from the appointment. Recent visitors to Arafat's office in the Muqata said his behavior has become strange. They said he was not focused, spoke in a confused manner, and his lips are shaking again. His doctors attribute the shaking lips to neurological damage that followed an airplane crash in the Libyan desert that Arafat survived.
During the past year, Nusseibeh and Ayalon worked out a draft peace plan based on the 1967 borders without a right of return for Palestinian refugees. The paper was presented publicly a few months ago at a modest ceremony in Athens attended by former U.S. president Bill Clinton and the Greek foreign minister.
Yesterday, however, Nusseibeh issued a statement saying that in protest of the arrest of Musa Balawneh, a former militant-turned-peace activist in Nusseibeh's "People's Peace Campaign," which hopes to get one million signatures on the Nusseibeh-Ayalon plan, Nusseibeh is ceasing his peace activist work in the Palestinian community, his dialogue with Israel, and his efforts to transform the armed intifada into a non-violent civil disobedience campaign - until Balawneh is released.
Balawneh was arrested Wednesday night at a checkpoint near Nablus while on his way to a meeting of peace activists in Ramallah. According to Nusseibeh, Balawneh has not been accused of anything nor informed of the reason for the arrest. Balawneh's travel permit, according to the Nusseibeh statement, was issued by Israel at Nusseibeh's request and with Israeli understanding that he would not be intercepted or arrested.
1. ON December 17, Owens' group met with Sari Nusseibeh, the Palestinian Authority's Jerusalem Affairs minister and Finance Minister Salam Fayyad.
2. On Dec.18, Owens met with Avi Gil, Shimon Peres' deputy director, for dinner. Owens was found dead on a Tel Aviv beach two and a half hours later.
3. A short time after Owens' body was discovered, Nusseibeh's political partner, Ibrahim Musa Mussalam Balawneh, was arrested by IDF troops.
4. On Dec.19, Nusseibeh condemned the arrest of Balawneh who was travelling on a special permit that he personally arranged.
5. Also on Dec. 19, Arafat stripped Nusseibeh of his Jerusalem portfolio.
And jumping ahead:
6. On Feb.15, under American pressure, Arafat agreed to share power with Salam Fayyad.
If no one minds, I'm going to give away the motive for murder. I may have been underestimating Owens. It seems that he was plotting behind Arafat's back with the, possibly, untainted Nusseibeh. The goal was to replace Arafat's criminal regime with one run by Nusseibeh and Fayyad. If that happened, a lot of crooks headed by Arafat and Peres were going to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.
I am not going to rehash my previous articles at this point. I will send them to those who so request. But I had put Owens in the middle of an enormous Oslo embezzlement cartel whose members included Arafat, Peres, Muhamed Rashid, Hani Masri, Yossi Ginosar, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and a host of sundry American, Arab and Israeli politicians, all taking their cuts of the peace pie. Now we must ask if Owens was attempting to destroy this extended crime family.
I was asked by Salt Lake City radio hostess Barbara Jean if there was any chance that Owens didn't know about the crimes being run through his and Peres' peace centers. I answered that after 13 years in the Middle East peace business, Owens had to have been a willing participant. The latest evidence more than suggests that either he was used all these years or he had a change of heart and decided to do the right thing and end the Arafat/Peres crime syndicate. This betrayal would have constituted a strong motive for murder.
READERS will recall that at the time of his murder, Owens was the CEO of a desalinization project and Peres was the project's NGO director. USAID provided $128 million of American taxpayer's money to fund the enterprise.
Following is a press release from the US Consulate in Jerusalem from April 4, 2002 announcing, "The U.S. Government to finance construction of a seawater desalination plant and water carrier pipeline in the Gaza Strip."
"Congratulating Minister Sha'ath and Chairman Sharif, U.S. Consul General Schlicher remarked, "The Palestinian Authority is to be complimented for taking the steps necessary to introduce desalinated water on a large scale for the people of Gaza. This agreement will result in an increased supply of water while also protecting the ground water quality in Gaza." USAID Mission Director Garber added that, "USAID financed a pilot desalination project in Gaza with superior results. We are pleased that MOPIC and the PWA have asked us to help them with these historic desalination and water distribution projects that will bring healthier lives to people throughout the Gaza Strip."
SO who is the USAID Director Larry Garber? Here is a bit of background found, guess where? On Wayne Owens own web site. Why is Larry Garber's bio on Owens site? Because they invited him to speak at the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Development on January 29, 2002. The topic was "Challenges Facing the Donor Community"
Here are some key points from his talk:
*** The West Bank and Gaza are among the top five recipients of U.S. assistance in the world and are probably the largest recipients of per capita aid other than Israel.
*** Congressional legislation prevents USAID (and the United States) from providing any funding directly to the Palestinian Authority; it only provides grants to NGOs and commercial businesses, whose programs are overseen and audited by USAID.
*** Before September 2000...The Peres Center for Peace was working with USAID on developing an information technology park in Tulkarm, and USAID was in the third phase of developing its wastewater treatment program.
[*** In response to the deteriorating situation... Border industrial zone and local government projects have been suspended, but rule of law and civil society programs continue, as do some infrastructure projects, such as a desalination plant and water carrier in Gaza and a wastewater treatment facility in Hebron.
NOW, what do we notice here? We learn that USAID, and its billion dollars invested in the region so far, only work through NGOs; and who is NGO director of the biggest project of all, Wayne Owens' desalinization plant? Why it just happens to be Shimon Peres. But recall that Arafat's NGOs also received $75 million from USAID to construct a water carrier in Gaza, we must believe, to transport some of the desalinized water to him for sale to his people.
But of course, a good chunk of the dough will finance terror and Peres and Owens, unless they were completely blind, had to have known that when they arranged it for him.
Owens, however, had an out. USAID had a director in the region who was responsible for auditing the funds. His name was Larry Foley and he was murdered:
Lawrence Foley who was the most senior USAID employee based in Amman Jordan. Unfortunately he was assassinated on October 28, 2002.
WHO would have benefitted from this murder? You can be sure, for starters, everyone involved in the Owens desalinization project.
For instance, the builders:
Desalination To Meet Shortfall After Water Import Deal Setback
National Infrastructure Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on 11/28 that Israel would have to build a new desalination plant for 50 million cubic meters of water a year if the government fails to follow through plans to import water from Turkey. Lieberman made the comment following the tender's cancellation by an inter-ministerial committee. The only two bidders - Universe Waters and Anatalia - said a clause in the tender that would allow the government of Israel to cancel the project without compensation for up to a year after the contract is signed was unacceptable.
The companies said they could not afford to invest tens of millions of dollars in refitting oil tankers for water transport without receiving compensation if the project is scrapped. Water experts say that even if the import of water from Turkey goes forward, the panel's decision would set the project back by up to two years and leave the country short of 50 million cubic meters of water a year.
A senior ministry official said that if a desalination plant is built in place of importing water from Turkey, it should be constructed south of Ashkelon, where plans are already afoot for such a plant that is to be built by the VID consortium, composed of Dankner Elran Investments, Engineering & Desalination (part of Israel Chemicals) and Vivendi, the world's largest desalination company. The government has the option of asking the consortium to increase its production from 50 million cubic meters of water a year to 100 million cubic meters.
But David Gershonovitz, chair of the central committee for desalination, said last week that if an additional facility is to be constructed, the contract will not be automatically given to VID but would be subject to an international tender. (Ha'aretz 11/29/01)
AFTER sabotaging the Turkish water project with an option no company could accept, desalinization carried on, full steam ahead:
The tender for the construction of Israel's first seawater desalination plant ended this week with a surprising price - 52.69 cents per cubic meter - the lowest ever price offered worldwide for seawater desalination. The group that was awarded the project is V.I.D. Desalination, comprising Dankner-Elran investments (25%), Desalination Engineering (50%) and Vivendi (25%), which is the world's largest water company and is French-American owned.
THE tie here which should raise alarm bells is Vivendi. In July 2000, the Seagrams Group, founded and controlled by the Bronfman family, bought Vivendi. Charles Bronfman is a member of the board of The Peres Center For Peace. He is, along with Daniel Abraham, Owens' business partner, the leading contributor to Peres' center and to Peace Now. Sarah Ehrman, on the board of both Owens' peace center and water project, was director of Peace Now - America. And the ties get deeper and deeper.
Let's cut to the chase. Did the Bronfman family decide to go into the water business in July 2000 because of the guaranteed prospect of building a $150 million desalinization plant in Ashkelon and other projects funded by USAID? How much of USAID funds to "peace" went into the hands of other nepotists and insiders for "peace?" How much funded the murders of Israelis for "peace?"
Jerusalem Post Feb. 5, 2003
Palestinian Finance Minister Salaam Fayad confirmed Tuesday that Israel earlier this week transferred to the Palestinian Authority almost $60 million in taxes (some NIS 280m.) collected from Palestinian laborers and businesses, the single largest payment since the fighting began.
A senior diplomatic official said Israel is satisfied that with a new US-backed supervisory mechanism in place, the money is not being funneled to fund or support terrorism.
Some NIS 100m. of this amount is not merely tax payments due the PA from the previous month, but comes from the more than NIS 2.5 billion that has been frozen since the early days of the violence.
"There is an expectation that Israel will make the payments regularly now," The Associated Press quoted Fayad as saying.
Fayad, according to one senior Israeli official, is "giving us hope that at least in the financial sphere some reform is being done. He is trying to do what he can."
The transfer of the funds was made possible after the establishment of a supervisory mechanism to ensure that the money is not misused. The main component of the supervisory mechanism is the placement of officials from the US Agency for International Development inside the PA Finance Ministry to train auditors and help monitor the money flow.
USAID is now firmly in charge of auditing funds to the PA. And Fayad is sharing power with Arafat. It seems Owens got his way after all.
But look at one of the conditions for releasing new funds:
"Prior to the second intifada, the PLO agreed to cooperate with our requests for information available to them that could shed light on the status of U.S. nationals known to have been held by the PLO or factions thereof in the past. Currently, we do not have an ongoing relationship with the PLO on these matters."
NOW who are these Americans held by the PLO? Could they have been USAID workers who got in the way and had to be persuaded not to report anything that would upset the Arafat/Peres crime syndicate? Presumably they got off cheaper than Foley and Owens.
In preparation for my Australian tour next month, I created a video to sell at lectures. It is a recording of my lecture, Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin, at the Windmill Hotel in Jerusalem last October. I played it for the first time last night and I'm delighted. The film and sound qualities are fine. And I was hot that night. In 1997, a similar video filmed in Toronto was released and it was one hour in length. The new video is two hours and fourteen minutes in length with all the latest information. And it's entertaining without a letup.
I'll be reproducing the video and printing a cover next week. Let me know if you'd like a copy of the first run for $25 or NIS 80. It's important that Americans inform me quickly, since Israel and Australia employ PAL, while I have to know how many American NTSC tapes to make. And of course, my new book, Save Israel! is also available for the same price by writing
I owe much to my researcher David Miller - a truly great snoop.



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