A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Further Annals of the Animal Division of Mossad: Spy Bird in Turkey!

Mossad's latest agent? (Ynet)
My longtime readers are already aware of the insidious Mossad plots to train regional fauna as spies: first there was the shark attack in Sharm al-Sheikh that an official blamed on the Israeli intelligence service (especially sneaky since a lot of the tourists at Sharm are in fact Israelis). Then there was the spy vulture found in Saudi Arabia with a GPS tracker and (sneakiest of all) a leg band from an Israeli university. (Obviously a plot, right? Mossad agents always wear identifying marks, don't they? Do their human agents wear armbands that say "Israel?") Not to mention that Iran has reportedly caught pigeons and squirrels in the act as well (though it was hinted those were Western agents, not Mossad's). And the Israeli press always makes fun of these stories, which means something if you have a suitably conspiratorial mind.

Well, the Animal Division of Mossad has struck again! Israeli media is quoting Turkish reports that a Turkish farmer discovered a dead European bee-eater (like the one in the picture) complete with a leg-band that said Israel. (You'd think Mossad would have learned by now not to put "Israel" on legbands of their spy birds, but who knows?)

But that's not all: according to Yediot Aharanot's English website Ynet News:
The band, however, was not the most damning piece of evidence against the bee-eater: Its nostrils were.

The bird-beak in question reportedly sported "unusually large nostrils," which – combined with the identification ring – raised suspicions that the bird was "implanted with a surveillance device" and that it arrived in Turkey as part of an espionage mission.
The bird's remains were originally handed over to the Turkish Agriculture Ministry, which then turned in over to Ankara's security services.
I suspect the Turkish security services are professional enough to politely accept the dead bird, perhaps, but not to actually spend taxpayers' lira examining its nostrils. Of course I could be wrong.

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