back to article MOSSAD SPY VULTURE seized in Saudi Arabia

A cunning Israeli plan to use Mossad-operated spy vultures to glean valuable intelligence on Arab nations went seriously awry when one of the feathered spooks was arrested in rural Saudi Arabia. According to Israel's Ha'aretz, government operatives' attempts to disguise the bird as a participant in a vulture migratory study - …


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  1. Jamie Kitson

    Too Early

    erm, literally a vulture? A spying vulture? Arrested? How do you arrest a vulture? How do you operate a vulture for that matter? Why did Israel's media report it? Is this a joke? I don't understand!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Too Early

      I think the Israelis are poking fun at their hyper-paranoid neighbours. Few people in the West realise just how paranoid the average Arab in the suk is regarding Israel, they view all Israelis as super-devious demons with almost magical powers to do wrong. We used to play a game every time we went to Cairo to see what was the most rediculous story we could hear from the taxi drivers, and they're reasonably educated compared to the Egyptians out in the sticks! If there's a drought, blame it on Israel ("The Israelis are using the Dimona nuke plant to heat up the air and cause drought in Egypt!"). The local mosquitos get more resistant to spraying, blame it on Israel ("The Israelis have been using chemical weapons since 1948, they made super-resistant mosquitos to ruin our tourist industry!"). Best yet was the one that bras were causing Egyptian women to become impotent, all due to Israelis and Jews in the international clothes trade! You can play this game anywhere in the Middle East, Turkey or Birmingham.

      1. Jamie Kitson


        > bras were causing Egyptian women to become impotent

        If Egyptian women are becoming impotent then I think there's a bigger problem.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Sadly this is what Israel has to put up with.

      This kind of story sounds like a joke but I wouldn't be surprised if it were true, not in the least. Someone wise once said, the problem about Israel and the Arabs is simple to see but hard to sort out.

      One side just appears to want the other side dead.

      Who wants what?

      Consider these 2 separate and unlikely events and their likely aftermath:

      1. What would happen if Israel laid down all its arms and said, I don't want to fight any one no more? What would its Arab neighbours do?

      2. What would happen, conversely, if all of Israel's other adversaries did that instead? What would Israel do?

      Who would take advantage of whom?

      You only have to think back to 1967, 1973. This is why I have nothing but utmost respect for the state of Israel, its people and their fight and struggle to exist.

      (And no, I am not Jewish, I love my bacon too much)

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Maybe the problem is that 60-odd years ago, a huge area of land was stolen from the indigenous arabs (primarily by us Brits) and used to create Israel? And then, not content with the land that they already had, Israel started to take even more land from the surrounding area, year-on-year. And since then, for some inexplicable reason, the arabs have been really quite pissed off about the whole thing.

        And no, I'm not an arab.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re : .. or ...

          to the two people that voted hands-down on the original comment:

          Thank you for your opinion. Also, try to keep in mind that even if you don't like it, the described scenario is actually what hapenned.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            No, it's not exactly what happened.

            It's a lot of truth with a big lie in the middle. Yes, it was pretty much mucked up by British diplomats once more engaged in The Great Game, but the land was under British control and the Jews paid for the land they occupied. They only resorted to arms after the Muslims attacked. Seems to be what Muslims are most noted for in the world the last 70 years or so. Of course it also turns out that the Israelis were much better with arms than the Arabs were, which more or less brings us to the current situation.

        2. Nightkiller

          Rewriting History Again?

          As I recall, the creation of the State of Israel was sanctioned by the United Nations. The pen signing the declaration, which transferred land under British Mandate, barely lifted from the document when the Arab Legion, trained by the Brits, launched an attacked on the Zionist Palestinian Jews, also known as the 1948 War.

        3. Adin

          Some corrections

          1. "huge area of land"?! Perhaps you should check out how Israel compares to some other countries (Israel is just a bit larger than New Jersey).

          2. Those "indigenous arabs" arrived in the land of Israel after the Jews were kicked out

          3. "Israel started to take even more land" That is what happens when you attack a peaceful country and lose.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            More corrections

            >"Israel started to take even more land" That is what happens when you attack a peaceful country and lose.

            The 67 war was started by israel, the israeli propaganda machine has been very good at switching the blame.

            Also consider that israel was formed by acts of terrorism stern gang anyone!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              corrections to more corrections

              There's opinion on both sides whether the 67 war was started by Israel or whether the actions of Egypt, Libya, constituted causus belli; in hindsight it's easy to forget that at the time it was not at all obvious that Egypt and its allies wouldn't steamroller Israel. The concept of Israel starting the war to gain territory is kind of like suggesting Canada might attack Russia to win some territory. However, since Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt when a treaty was signed, that's currently irrelevant.

              On the other hand, there's no doubt whatsoever that Israel notified Jordan publicly that they had no quarrel and if Jordan remained neutral they would not be attacked; Jordan attacked anyway, and as a result lost the West Bank (which they had, of course, captured and annexed from the stillborn Palestinian state in 1948).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Some corrections continued

            and, a lot of those "indigenous arabs" arrived in the land of Israel after the Jews started returning, attracted by the prospect of an economy moving out of the feudal era. Ironic that these people, who would naturally be the best allies for the Israelis, end up being their enemies.

        4. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          RE: ...or...

          Are you posting from a small village in Egypt? Get all your history from Cairo cabbies? I take it you completely forgot about the State of Transjordan (AKA Jordan), created expressly for the Arabs out of 74% of the original Mandate land? I'll try and look suprised that you know next to nothing.

        5. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Best not to mention...

        ..the fact that Isreal was built on Muslim Arab land mainly taken by force then....

        And no I'm not a Muslim, Jew, Christian or jedi beliver. I love bacon and beef to much.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Best not to mention...

          Please let us not get into this. Please? Unless anyone seriously thinks they've got a new angle which may finally bring peace to the middle east.

          1. The Indomitable Gall

            New angle?

            Sorry, all 360 degrees have been spoken for.

            But then again, there's always imaginary numbers.

            So how about 90i degrees? I call it the "firm-belief-that-you're-right angle". This explains not only the Arab-Israeli conflict, but also the LibDem/Tory coalition; the war in Afghanistan; the Daily Mail....

          2. thecakeis(not)alie

            Peace to the middle east

            I have the solution to peace in the middle east. Israel is 22,000 some odd kilometre square. We have islands bigger than that. Israel could ask Canada nicely, and I am perfectly certain we could carve out a chunk of Saskatchewan for their entire population. I am sure they could either become another province within the Canadian confederation, or perhaps they could even buy the land and retain statehood as their own country.

            The land currently called "Israel" in the middle east becomes Palestine and bob's yer uncle.

            I know, I know...many people would not like the idea of "giving up their homes," but let's be honest here...the Israeli are culturally closer to North Americans than any of their neighbours...and Israel surely has enough money to functionally build themselves a brand new country's worth of infrastructure if they were provided suitable land. I don't think North Americans would mind sharing...especially if it means the Middle East would simmer down a little.

            I honestly don’t understand why this hasn’t been proposed before. I am pretty sure that it would pass muster in a referendum here in Canada…especially if we were getting paid in some form for the land. (Either by their retaining a province or buying it outright.) The US has gobs of land too…they might consider it since Israel is their “special friend.” Maybe the solution to tensions in the Middle East is simply to relocate the cause of the tensions?

            Might result in fewer lives lost.

          3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

            @Sarah Bee

            The solution is both simple and complex at the same time.

            Whatever happened in the past, Israel is here today.

            Leave her alone, leave her in peace, and ... there will be peace.

            It is only complex because there are certain people that just won't let things go. Maybe they can not because of their current mindset or beliefs - they would do well to examine these. Maybe this is the problem.

            I can say it can work.

            Forgive, forget, move on.

            Most of Ireland (at least I can say this of the free south) does not bear much animosity to you Brits. Fact is, most of us are probably more fond of you than we are of the Yanks, to tell you the truth. American tourists can be fairly annoying :)

        2. JEDIDIAH

          The dirty truth.

          > ..the fact that Isreal was built on Muslim Arab land mainly taken by force then....

          ...which doesn't alter the fact that a "Palestinian" in Israel is still likely to get better treatment and more justice from the government of Israel. Pan Arab treatment and exploitation of the Palestinians is actually pretty shameful.

          An Arab in Israel at least has some hope of due process.

          Although, the way that Arabs in Bethlehem celebrate New Years is very illuminating.

        3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          RE: Best not to mention...

          "....the fact that Isreal was built on Muslim Arab land...." According to know-nothings like you, the whole of Spain is Muslim land, do you want to give that to the Palestinians as well? You forget Israel was also Jewish and Christain and who knows how many different religions laid claim to it before the Arabs swept out of the Saudi desert. Arabs and Islam are NOT from the area, and have been in the area for a lot less time than the Christians or the Jews. Shall we give it back to the Italians seeing as the Romans were once in control of the area? The Egyptians, because the Pharaohs had a time there too?

          "....And no I'm not a Muslim, Jew, Christian or jedi beliver...." Obviously not a history major either.

  2. Mystic Megabyte
    Black Helicopters

    I knew it!

    I have recently become concerned about the flock of sparrows that sit outside my window.

    They seem to always be interested in my movements.

    My suspicions were confirmed after I played Hava Nagila loudly on my gramophone whereupon the sparrows formed a circle and started to dance!

    That's the last time I buy bird food from Lidl.

    1. Count Ludwig

      U O Me A Nu KB

      Beautiful !

  3. REMF

    "Claims that Israel is mounting a zoological assault outside its borders are not without precedent."

    backwards & superstitious peasants springs to mind.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You'll have to make this clear

      Are you referring to the Israelis, Palestinians or the Americans?

      1. Rob Crawford

        Bloody titles


      2. JimC

        @ are you referring to

        Or the country where you get a flash mob threatening to burn down the home of a paediatrician?

      3. disgruntled yank

        two words

        No, to the nation that drew the maps.

    2. Edward Dark


      racist and bigoted forum trolls spring to mind

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: racist

        Moderating - the career of the future!

        *applies for work in munitions factory*

  4. Rafe
    Thumb Up

    Frikkin Laser

    Any article that manages to fit in 'Frikkin Lasers' into the content deserves a 10/10 from me

  5. Richard IV

    It's Diorama time

    Might I suggest the use of Playmobil sets 4203 and 4500?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I particularly like...

    The obvious double bluff of including "Tel Aviv University" on the tag in an attempt to fool the Saudis into thinking it was actually one of the vultures they sent to Isreal with a fake identity.

    The real question is "was the vulture trained by the Saudis or another Arab country and turned by Mossad (i.e. a double agent) or was it originally trained by Mossad, turned by an Arab country only to be turned back by Mossad (a triple agent)...

    1. Uncle Slacky
      Black Helicopters

      If it was really from Mossad... would be carrying a fake British passport.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        You mean a fake "University of Cambridge" tag, right?

        Fixed that for ya...

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @Uncle Slacky: No, a Legitimate German Passport

        Yes, no joking here. Mossad obtained a proper German passport due to former German Jews' Childrens right to get a German passport.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      The Vulture was trained in the UK

      Since Wikileaks couldn't bring you this...

      The vulture gained some of its spy skills while training in the UK.

      The UK location is 33 Glasshouse Street, London, where said Vulture received some of its corresponding and writing skills. Really this meant training the bird to peck at keys as it wrote out its story on what it saw.

      I seriously doubt the El Reg moderator will let this post through since by detailing the address, I've given a clue as to the identity of the spy organization which had assisted the Israelis.

      Maybe Sarah Bee will want to comment about their involvement in the CCD stories from yesterday. Cub Reporter Bee commenting on CDC...

  7. jake Silver badge


    They are all a bunch of fucking illogical religious prats.

    Kinda like my own government ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      See above post

      1. jake Silver badge

        What part of the word "all" ...

        ... do you fail to understand? Fucking fundies (of all stripes) will be first up against the wall, come the revolution. After lawyers. And politicians.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    ... the people of Hartlepool have hung a French monkey. Though it was a very long time ago and it now seems it might be an urban myth.

    1. Dapprman

      Nope it is true

      I can't remember if it was Hartlepool, but the event definitely took place. I seem to remember a similar event took place during the Great Fire of London, which was originally blamed on foreign insurgents.

      1. freekyeekz

        It's true!

        Hartlepool did in fact hang a monkey they believed to be a French spy. They even have a statue if memory serves me right... The good people of Hartlepool are know affectionately around these parts as "Monkey-Hangers".

    2. Anonymous Coward

      "the people of Hartlepool have hung a French monkey"

      Did they torture the monkey beforehand by spanking it?

  9. Matthew Smith

    Worse than that

    One side of the tag read :

    'If found please return to Tel Aviv University'

    But the other read :

    'My name is Mohammed'

  10. raivn


    a robot spyplane disguised as a bird, or an actual bird with a camera?

  11. Big Al

    Point and click

    So was there also a miniature camera attached to the bird, or not?

    Without that information, we have no idea whether or not the claims are even remotely valid.

    After all, what a great way that would be to get aerial pics almost for free... you'd have to sacrifice the ability to steer, but if you already know the migratory route and think there's something interesting right under it, then why not...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nothing to see here.

      There is absolutely nothing of any interest to anyone in Saudi Arabia. Even if one's bird should miraculously fly over an isolated inhabited area, there still won't be anything interesting happening.

      Anything interesting or remotely entertaining is illegal.

  12. Simon Neill

    Dare I say...

    The bird is the word?

    1. SkippyBing



  13. Winkypop Silver badge

    Vulture ?

    Why is this on El Reg, it's hardly IT.......etc rant, rave.


  14. LPF

    For the love of god!

    They dagged a damn bird to discover its migration pattern, and a bunch of country bumpkins decided it was being used for spying!

    This is why anyone with an IQ above 10 laughs at the middle east or failing that the scousers, who deposited flowers where a dead chicken was found thinking it was a baby :S

    1. Minophis

      It was not a chicken...

      ... It was the remains of a fallen Quagaar warrior.

  15. Ted Treen

    Dare I say...

    Flight of fancy?

  16. Chris Hawkins

    Or wozzit?

    Hmm! Just reflecting on the news of this avian espionage carrion and can't help thinking that the mascot of this esteemed journal is also a feathered reptilian of the vulture variety!

    Me wonders if this caper was not cooked up in the El Reg basement by El Reg's equivalent of Q as an attempt to infiltrate the Israeli Hi-Tech sector. Pity about the GPS guidance system though - a couple of hundred kms off course by the looks of it!

    1. breakfast Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Be reasonable

      In fairness, they did release said piece of hi-tech spying equipment into space from somewhere in Spain, so it's not surprising it had got a little off course by this point.

      Presence of a Playmobil secret agent should confirm the theory.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Pity about the GPS guidance system though

      That's what happens when you use an Android phone and the battery's dead within hours.

    3. KrisMac

      I suspect...

      ... that the bird vered off course after being released at high altitude from a paper plane due to excessive consumption of this:

  17. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Of course there is an IT angle

    It had GPS, dinnit.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Of course there is an IT angle

      It's a fricking Bootnote there is no need for an IT angle anyway thank you and good day.

  18. Peter Clarke 1

    Fiction becomes Reality

    Maybe someone at Mossad played the old Atari/Amiga game StarGlider? What better way to fool defences than to have a ship the same shape as a migrating bird but 100 x bigger

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Welcome to NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Transparency Trials/Trails

      Err... regarding "Fiction becomes Reality" ... Peter Clarke 1 Posted Wednesday 5th January 2011 12:55 GMT, here is some Intel which is real for both Israelis and Arabs, to name but just two prize opposing teams, and it is something y'all should be aware of, but it does create a major problem for dodgy news organisations causing the red censorship pen to be virtually wielded, [[Comment awaiting approval. Your comment must be approved by a moderator before appearing here.] ......... "If the tales that you follow are not true [and two very well known recent examples of such a monumental treachery would be WMD in Iraq and banks too big to fail] is Reality a Media Program, Virtually and Virally Created with Words that one Spins ........ and is a Fools' Gold Mine for Fake Pictures/Cheap Copy Masterpieces servering Liars when true." ....

  19. Alex, Leeds


    Just how paranoid would you have to be!?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not wishing to get into a Middle East argument

      But if you are an Arab and anything Israeli is involved then it ceases to become paranoia in the same way that marrying your sister in Norfolk is not really incest.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I think this can all be easily explained

    Lester and the Vulture 2 crew have relocated to the Middle East in search of more relaxed smoking regimes, and are just giving the place the remote-sensing once-over before deciding which bar to terrify with their bike-pump/cocktail experiments

    1. Michael Dunn

      Oh, yes?

      An exercise in futility, looking for a bar in Saudi.

      No, Officer, there's no alcohol in the pockets!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No way this is serious

    Who writes your articles? 6yr old kids?

    1. Daniel Hutty


      Just because a news article appears ridiculous, does not necessarily that the reporter's the one being stupid. Sometimes life really *is* that dumb.


      Throw tantrums much?

      > Who writes your articles? 6yr old kids?

      You certainly sound like one having a spat.

      Perhaps the article touches on a reality that you are unwilling or unable to acknowledge.

      Arabs will gladly admit to this level of paranoia among their own people in that part of the world.

      Plus everyone knows that the spy vultures are all in Iran.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An isolated population

    Some time ago, back in the days when having two illuminated white plastic Michelin men on top of your lorry cab was the height of trucker fashion, one of the lorries carrying supplies to a project in the interior of Saudi had to stop for the night in a small village. The driver tried to get a night watchman to guard the lorry for the night.

    The response to his request was "You don't need a night watchman. With those two Jinn guarding your lorry no-one will dare to go near it." No-one did dare to go near it.

  23. ian 22
    Dead Vulture

    How did this story end?

    It being an Israeli vulture, did they decapitate it, or did they stone it to death?

    The tombstone, as I'm sure the vulture didn't survive.

  24. Turtle

    At the risk of spoiling the fun..

    At the risk of spoiling the fun, *someone* has to note that this story illustrates an important contributory factor for the fact that there is no peace in the Mid-East, and that there will be no peace in the Mid-East, and that the only real question is how much radiation the rest of the world will absorb.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think this story would have made a great Monty Python skit.

  26. Stevie


    I see it all now.

    The seagulls, pigeons and crows that crap all over my car while I'm at work are obviously in the pay of Al-Qada fifth columnists.


    We must stamp out the domestic avian terrorist conspiracy at once!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    An Israeli Shark? Seriously??

    OMG!! It all makes since now!!! To whit:

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.....


    (cue klezmer version of "Jaws" theme)

    A Mossad Pictures production of a Steven Spielberg film. Starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfus and involving bunch of other people with Jewish-sounding names.

    Nope, no Gary Coopers or John Wayne's here!! Its the hebrew horde of Hollywood spreading its Zionist message of cultural imperialism!! Even scarier is the world's largest and most vicious whitefish going after the Egyptian tourist industry, even though Israel and Egypt have been at peace for the last 30 years!!

    Jeez, the Middle East depresses me. If two different peoples willing to demonize and ethnically cleanse eachother over for the same land was not sad enough, batshit craziness is involved as well.!!

    I'd use the drink icon, because I can use one after reading this story. However, I guess the black helicopter is more fitting. Once again requesting a tinfoil had icon--come on Reg, stories like this require it!!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: An Israeli Shark? Seriously??

      "....If two different peoples willing to demonize and ethnically cleanse eachother over for the same land was not sad enough...." In their defence, our brown chums in the Middle east could say you only have to look at the spat between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland to see that differences, rooted in history, can make even modern whites behave with childlike vindictiveness. Mind you, even with all the Irish gags around I don't recall one where the Irish were accusing the local wildlife of spying!

  28. Rattus Rattus

    Of course it was arrested in Saudi Arabia

    After all, it was a bird out in public without a male companion!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Redundant info...

    I have difficulty in believing that the vulture was a MOSSAD spy. After all, why would they risk a highly trained operative just to find out where Saudi Arabia is? I'm guessing they already know!

    And, why would they write 'Made in Israel' on it's heavily disguised spy equipment. Perhaps the Arabs are torturing the unfortunate vulture for a clincher confession.

  30. Big Al

    Re: Redundant info...

    Well obviously it's actually a Shia IRANIAN vulture used for spying on those Sunni Saudis, but cunningly disguised to implicate the Israelis if captured!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How odd that the Arabs and their friends get together with the Black Helicopter crowd in their devotion to bizarre pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories.

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