Stunning Investigation Exposes Israel’s Secretive Assassination Program

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We’re continuing our discussion with Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, author of a stunning book on the long, secretive history of Israel’s extrajudicial killing program, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations. It’s a book that Israeli intelligence officials desperately tried to prevent Bergman from writing. They even changed and extended secrecy laws to prevent him from gaining access to historical documents. Despite their efforts, Bergman gained unprecedented access while writing the book, meeting with a thousand sources, from Israel political leaders and Mossad heads to the assassins themselves. He also obtained thousands of classified documents illuminating the shadowy corners of Israeli spy agencies.

AMY GOODMAN: The result is an exhaustive, illuminating investigation that dives deep into the targeted killing programs of Israel, which has assassinated more people than any other country in the Western world since World War II. It looks at the way Israel’s assassination program has influenced America’s post-9/11 foreign policy under Bush as well as President Obama.

Ronen Bergman writes on the book’s prologue, “Nowadays, when the same kind of extrajudicial killing that Israel has used for decades is being used daily by America against its enemies, it is appropriate … to study the high moral price that has been paid, for the use of such power.”

Ronen Bergman, we thank you for staying with us. Again, we’re getting a number of hits on this Tel Aviv satellite, so we’re going to try to stick with you as long as we can hear you. But in the note on your sources at the beginning of your book, you talk about how difficult it was to get access. You say a petition to the Supreme Court for an order forcing…

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