Archive for December 2nd, 2010

Obama’s Israel Policy: Speak softly and carry a very big carrot

Obama’s Israel Policy: Speak softly and carry a very big carrot

Must watch AJE program about Israel’s influence in Canada

Must watch AJE program about Israel’s influence in Canada

Trade Mordechai Vanunu for Jonathan Pollard (by Doug Bandow)

Trade Morechai Vanunu for Jonathan Pollard

Thirty-Nine Congressmen Can’t Be Wrong (by Philip Giraldi)

Thirty-Nine Congressmen Can’t Be Wrong

Posted By Philip Giraldi On December 1, 2010 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized | 19 Comments

A former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer has written a well reasoned op-ed explaining that throwing concessions and gifts to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in an attempt to obtain relatively minor concessions on his part is precisely the wrong policy to pursue.  Kurtzer notes that the deal will be a major shift in policy “…the first direct benefit that the United States has provided Israel for settlement activities that we have opposed for more than 40 years” and he asks “Does anyone really believe that there is a substantive connection between a three month settlement freeze and Israel’s professed need for more airplanes?”

Netanyahu, who despises President Barack Obama, has rightly seen the cajoling by the United States as weakness and as the consequence of failure by Washington to articulate any coherent policy in the Middle East, meaning that he knows that Israel has been empowered to get away with virtually anything it might demand.  Netanyahu has obligingly gone to the whack jobs and wing nuts in his own rickety right wing coalition and asked them to present him with a wish list for Washington, confident that Hanukkah has already begun and Christmas is right around the corner. 

The latest demand appears to be freedom for Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard, who is an Israeli citizen, has a holiday named after him, and is regarded as a national hero in many right wing Zionist circles.  That Israel is completely dependent on Washington for its security and on the American taxpayer for its high standard of living has never inhibited the country’s security service Mossad from using agents like Pollard to steal everything not nailed down from the United States.  Pollard currently is spending his time in a federal prison in North Carolina for walking off with a roomful of American top secrets in exchange for money back in the 1980s.  I have already described the astonishing damage that he did as well as the reasons why he should never be released but politicians have short memories and President Obama appears to have no memory at all, so if he is pressed by the friends of Israel to release Pollard he will no doubt contrive some weasel worded explanation why it is in America’s interest to do so.  And he will do it with a straight face, almost certainly saying something about peace on earth and good will towards men.

And Obama would not be alone in his beneficence.  For those who think it inconceivable that a large number of congressmen might petition seeking clemency for a convicted foreign spy who did enormous damage to the United States, think again. Pollard has recently obtained the services of Barney Frank and thirty-eight other Democratic congressmen who have signed on to a letter coordinated with a number of Jewish groups.  They apparently believe that the poor guy has suffered enough in service to his country, which is of course Israel, making one wonder why American politicians should feel the pain.  But no matter, as we all know where the faux compassion comes from.

Arguing that Pollard should be released because he was only helping a friend and ally, the incredibly plucky splendid little democracy in the Middle East, has not worked up until now, so the congressmen have adopted a slightly different line.  They are arguing that Pollard has shown “remorse” and that his punishment is disparate vis-à-vis others who have committed similar crimes.  They contend that the years already spent in prison have been “sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence.”  They deleted a line from the first draft of the letter that suggested that the release of Pollard would help the Middle East peace process, possibly because even they realized that no one would believe it.

Well congressmen, the truth is that both Pollard and his wife Anne have bragged about the information he provided to Israel while he has never expressed contrition about spying against his country of birth.  He has persisted in the big lie that he provided the intelligence only to help Israel against its enemies instead of for money and has also incorrectly maintained that he merely stole information that would be of use in Israel’s defense.  If there is any remorse being expressed by Jonathan Jay Pollard, it is over his having to spend twenty-five years in prison.

And as for the deterrence value, it is somewhat hard to imagine what that might be as people who spy for Israel continue to be let off with a slap on the wrist or even less because the Justice Department refuses to prosecute even after FBI agents labor to make a viable case.  Ben Ami Kadish, who passed defense secrets to the same Mossad agent handler that worked with Pollard, was recently fined and freed without any jail time.  Pollard is, in fact, the only Israeli spy to have done any hard time in a federal prison in spite of the fact that hundreds of Tel Aviv’s agents, including numerous Americans and Israeli “movers” detected red handed during 9/11, have been caught in the act.  There are no other spies from “non-adversarial” nations, to use the phrase employed in the congressional letter, who have done anything at all comparable to what Pollard has done.  Pollard is unique and, given the magnitude of the crime he committed and the fact that Israel is the major recipient of foreign aid from the US, he should rot in prison.

But a far better reason why Pollard should never be released is the failure of Israel to comply with the agreement it made with the United States Justice Department in the aftermath of his arrest.  Israel long denied that Pollard was an Israeli spy, claiming instead that he was being run by a rogue operation without official sanction.  Nevertheless, the Israeli government entered into a secret agreement with Washington because of concerns that the US might issue federal warrants for the identified Israeli case officers who had handled Pollard, some of whom were not protected by diplomatic status and might be seized by US Marshals anywhere in the world.

Key to US willingness to enter into the agreement was Israel’s agreement to return the documents stolen by Pollard so a damage assessment could be conducted. But it failed to do so.  The team sent to Israel by the US Navy to investigate the crime was harassed, intimidated, and threatened with violence.  Its luggage was clandestinely searched and personal possessions were stolen.  It returned to Washington with a few dozen low level documents that were among the Pollard haul, meaning that the US will never know the true extent of the betrayal.

The 39 congressmen who signed the Pollard letter might well first consider the failure of Israel to live up to its agreements before demanding yet another bribe to reward its bad behavior.  Rather than attempting to appease Bibi Netanyahu and the kleptocrats who surround him, they should first think of what the United States national interest might be. They should be reminded that they do not represent Israel, having been elected by American voters and supported in their posturings by the long suffering US taxpayer.  They should for once not seek more concessions for Israel but should instead demand that Tel Aviv comply with what it has agreed to do.  If they cannot do that, they do not deserve to sit in the Congress of the United States of America.

Read more by Philip Giraldi

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The one-state solution (with Israeli Ilan Pappe)

The one-state solution (with Israeli Ilan Pappe)

Sleepless in America with the “naked emperor”!

—– Forwarded Message —–

From: Nanjundiah Sadanand (Physics Earth Sciences)
Sent: Wed, 01 Dec 2010 17:55:47 -0000 (UTC)
Subject: Sleepless in America with the “naked emperor” !

Anxiety is being pumped into our consciousness with corporate owned media, 24/7. How can I sleep at night, with the knowledge that our government is supplying $60Billion worth of arms, jet fighters and weapons to the government of Saudi Arabia; a country where most of the financing for insurgent activities against America originates ? Why does it bother me that Israel seems to be dictating the direction of our country’s policies ? Why are the countries of the Middle East calling for the United States to invade Iran, even though intelligence agencies all know full-well that they are not developing nuclear weapons ? Why do I toss and turn all night knowing that America is spending taxpayer money on fruitless endeavors in foreign lands, financing both the American war machine and the enemies we are trying to overcome ? Maybe it is because I know that it is all corporate welfare, not the will of the American people, but the actions of narcissistic politicians trying to access power and wealth by deluding the public into believing that they are free, and freedom has a price which we must pay.

It is the insecurity; the unknown which binds our minds into thinking that the worst is about to happen, and profiteering war-hawks want to be certain that nobody sleeps well at night. We are instructed to report anyone and anything suspicious to authorities. With that, we become suspicious of even our friends. Scared and humiliated, the general population will follow orders, even if they come from pseudo-authorities such as the TSA. What kind of freedom can be had if we are constantly vigilant, untrusting and demoralized ? None at all.

How can I trust my government to do what is best for Americans, when it is corrupted by money and foreign interests ? How can I believe in their leadership when deals are made behind closed doors, laws are passed without reading or debate in Congress, and when compromise means never standing up for your true beliefs and being financially rewarded to disregard your conscience ? What can I believe is true from the blathering dis-information being pumped from my television set, radio and newspapers ? How can I find serenity in a world where I might wake up tomorrow and learn that we have invaded North Korea, and more tax-money will be needed, and taken, from the working people to support corporate special interests ?

Am I the only one who doesn’t sleep at night ?

The Naked Emperor (Asia Times)
By Pepe Escobar Dec. 1, 2010

Whatever the spin, the fact is that 1.6 gigabytes of text files on a memory stick spanning 251,287 leaked United States State Department cables from more than 250 embassies and consulates are not exactly bound to provoke “a political meltdown” – as German magazine Der Spiegel has put it – concerning the foreign policy of the world’s declining hyperpower.

Behind the multiple, hypocritical layers of spin served to the frantic 24/7 news cycle, politics is mostly a tacky reality show. And that’s what the latest WikiLeaks show graphically lays bare. A Muammar Gaddafi that applies botox and just can’t get enough of his sexy Ukrainian nurse belongs to the realm of Big Brother.

Although it would all make for great TV, it’s hardly a scoop that for US diplomats Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is “Hitler”, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is “paranoid”, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is an “emperor with no clothes”, “vain and feckless” Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is fond of “wild parties”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is “rarely creative”, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “plays Robin to [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin’s Batman” or North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong-il is a “flabby old chap” suffering from “physical and psychological trauma”.

But to believe, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does, that these disclosures constitute “an attack not only on American foreign policy interests but on the international community”; or that WikiLeaks, as President Barack Obama has put it, committed a serious crime, is to display nothing but tacky imperial arrogance. As if the world didn’t have the right to gorge itself on the kind of political junk food served to a few consumers inside the Washington palaces of power.

Clinton must have sensed that the overall sentiment after reading these cables is of a Washington suffering a nervous breakdown worthy of an Almodovar flick. For instance, a key US ally such as Berlusconi, defined as “vainglorious”, “indifferent to the fate of Europe” and dangerously close to Putin, of which he seems to be “the spokesperson”, can be regarded as a threat equal to Ahmadinejad. How paranoid can you get? The US Embassy in Moscow, by the way, describes Putin as an “alpha-dog” ruling over a Russia that is virtually “a Mafia state”; cynics would say this also applied to former vice president Dick Cheney during the George “Dubya” Bush era.

Anyone with an IQ superior to 75 might have suspected by now that US diplomats spy on their United Nations colleagues (under Clinton’s orders); that Washington conducted a bazaar to force small countries to accept Guantanamo inmates; that the Pakistani military/intelligence establishment is intertwined with the Taliban; or that paragon of democracy and human rights Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz urged the US to attack Iran.

Fear of Shi’ite Iran after all is the rule among that gaggle of unpopular Sunni Arab autocrats/dictators constantly harping and begging for the US to sell them the weapons that keep them in power. But things do get more serious when we have the US ambassador to Turkey saying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is “a fundamentalist. He hates us religiously” and his hatred is spreading; that is a blatant lie.

Or when Pentagon supremo Robert Gates tells Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini that Iran was not supplying weapons for the Taliban – in fact nullifying a massive Pentagon-orchestrated suspension-of-disbelief campaign that lasted for months.

There’s no evidence to prove that Beijing’s collective leadership was the real power behind the cyber-attacks against Google. And when former South Korean vice foreign minister Chun Yung-woo told the US ambassador in Seoul that new generation of Chinese party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful ally, how much of it is purely self-serving wishful thinking? After all, Chun is now the national security adviser to South Korea’s president.

Context is key in all these disclosures – around 220 so far. The diplomats or low-level functionaries speaking through these cables are essentially telling the State Department what it wants to hear, or bluffing their way into what has been already set in policy stone in Washington; the amount of independent, critical analysis is virtually zero.

A much juicier perspective is to consider that from now on, most concerned global citizens will believe virtually nothing hurled at them during those cosmically boring diplomatic/government/military press conferences and photo ops.

The leaked cables prove that Europe – never impervious to self-ridicule – was already being marginalized during the Bush era, and more so now with Obama concentrating on Asia-Pacific. As for the bulk of what has been leaked so far, especially on Iran and the movers and shakers in the Persian Gulf, it is barely disguised US/Israeli propaganda.

Not accidentally, many a global headline is beating the same drum along the lines of “Israel greets WikiLeaks cables as vindication of its Iran policy”. An overall assessment of the leaked cables reveals that as much as Israel and the powerful US Israel lobby worked overtime to bring about the invasion and destruction of Iraq, it is doubling the bet to do exactly the same regarding Iran. Attention should be paid to a cable warning that “elegant and seductive” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “never keeps his promises”. As in: no halt to settlements in the West Bank, and let’s bomb, bomb Iran.

The Wiki reality show will go on for weeks as new gossip is dumped online. At least the show once again proves that the real information is on the Internet – not on global corporate media; and global citizens should make the best use of it to unmask, and ridicule, power.

It’s salutary to learn that the emperor, in secret, bad-mouths his friends and sycophants as much as his enemies. And also to learn that the emperor is no friend of democratized information. But now that the emperor is indeed naked, we should all celebrate these cable-writers, friends, enemies and sycophants for bringing us this priceless reality show – a sort of extended The Naked Gun. Pity the late, great Leslie Nielsen won’t be able to join us.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and RedZone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).