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Saturday, August 28, 2004
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We have found a new server and hope to have the presentation available early next week.
In the meantime, if any of our readers have a copy and are able to pass it along or post it to other sites, please do so and let us know!
07:19 AM EDT Aug 28
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI is investigating whether an analyst for the Pentagon's No. 3 official acted as a spy for Israel, giving the Jewish state classified material about secret White House deliberations on Iran, two U.S. law-enforcement officials said Friday.
No arrests have been made, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. But a third law-enforcement official, also speaking anonymously, said an arrest in the case could come as early as next week.
The officials refused to identify the Pentagon employee who is under investigation but said the person works in the office of Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defence for policy at the Pentagon.
Feith is a key aide to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, working on sensitive policy issues, including U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran. There are slightly more than a handful of people in Feith's office who specifically work on Iranian issues.
The investigation centres on whether the employee in Feith's office passed secrets about U.S. administration policy toward Iran to the main pro-Israeli lobbying group in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which then allegedly gave them to the Israeli government, one official said.
Feith also oversaw the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, which critics said fed policymakers uncorroborated prewar intelligence on Iraq. Pentagon officials have said the office was a small operation that provided fresh analysis on existing intelligence.
The Pentagon said in a statement the investigation involves an employee at "the desk officer level, who was not in a position to have significant influence over U.S. policy. Nor could a foreign power be in a position to influence U.S. policy through this individual."
David Siegel, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said: "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous."
AIPAC said in a statement the lobbying group is "fully co-operating with the governmental authorities and will continue to do so."
It said any allegation of criminal conduct by the organization or its employees was "baseless and false," adding the group "would not condone or tolerate for a second any violation of U.S. law or interests."
Pentagon officials refused comment, referring all questions to the U.S. Justice Department.
The investigation, first reported by CBS News, has included wiretapping and surveillance and searches of the Pentagon employee's computer, the law-enforcement officials said.
President George W. Bush has identified Iran as part of an "axis of evil," along with North Korea and the former Iraqi regime. Yet, his administration has battled internally over how hard a line to take toward Iran, with the State Department generally advocating a more moderate position and more conservative officials in the Pentagon and at the White House's National Security Council advocating a tougher policy.
Israel and its prime minister, Ariel Sharon, have pushed the Bush administration toward a harder line toward Iran.
Israel and Iran have been in an increasingly harsh war of words in recent months. Senior Israeli officials have left open the possibility of an Israeli attack on suspected Iranian nuclear weapons development sites.
In response, Iran threatened last week to destroy Israel's Dimona reactor should Israel carry out such an attack.
In 1981, Israel destroyed a nuclear facility in Iraq after becoming suspicious that deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was developing a nuclear weapons capability.
Despite close U.S.-Israeli relations, this is not the first allegation of spying by Israel.
Jonathan Pollard, a former naval intelligence officer who gave top-secret documents to Israel, has been a point of contention in U.S.-Israeli relations. The Israeli government has repeatedly pressed for his release but intelligence officials have called the information he passed to the Israelis highly damaging.
Pollard was caught in Washington in November 1985 and was arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy.
A congressional aide declined to say if the Senate intelligence committee had been briefed on the case but said the panel is generally briefed on espionage cases.
Comment: Now let's look at the absurdity of what is happening here. It is well-known that US foreign policy is being set by people who proclaim themselves to be "neoconservatives". Many officials in the Pentagon and in other positions as advisors to Bush openly admit this fact. Many of the neoconservatives are Jewish, and many of them have done consulting work for the government of Israel when they were not in official positions in the US government. Douglas Feith, in whose office this alleged "spy" works, is among this group. We'll look at Feith below. First, let's look at the Jewish lobby that is alleged to have received the "secrets", AIPAC.
CBS is reporting that a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst detailed to Undersecretary of Defense for Planning Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans is under FBI investigation for spying for Israel. The person passed to the American Israel Political Action Committee confidential documents, including those detailing Bush administration policy toward Iran, and AIPAC then passed them to Israel. There are wiretaps and photographs backing up the FBI case (the FBI agents involved are extremely brave to take this on).
But this espionage case is too narrow. Consider what journalist Jim Lobe wrote about Feith's Office of Special Plans and the Pentagon Near East and South Asia office:
Karen Kwiatkowski was an eyewitness in NESA, and Lobe reports:
The American Israel Political Action Committee is a lobbying group that used to support whatever government was in power in Israel, and used to give money even-handedly inside the US. My perception is that during the past decade AIPAC has increasingly tilted to the Likud in Israel, and to the political Right in the United States. In the 1980s, AIPAC set up the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a pro-Israeli alternative to the Brookings Institution, which it perceived to be insufficiently supportive of Israel. WINEP has largely followed AIPAC into pro-Likud positions, even though its director, Dennis Ross, is more moderate. He is a figurehead, however, serving to disguise the far right character of most of the position papers produced by long-term WINEP staff and by extremist visitors and "associates" (Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer are among the latter).
WINEP, being a wing of AIPAC, is enormously influential in Washington. State Department and military personnel are actually detailed there to "learn" about "the Middle East"! They would get a far more balanced "education" about the region in any Israeli university, since most Israeli academics are professionals, whereas WINEP is a "think tank" that hires by ideology.
I did some consulting with one US company that had a government contract, and they asked me about WINEP position papers (many of them are just propaganda). When I said I would take them with a grain of salt, the guy said his company had "received direction" to pay a lot of attention to the WINEP material! So Discipline is being imposed even on the private sector.
Note that over 80% of American Jews vote Democrat, that the majority of American Jews opposed the Iraq war (more were against it than in the general population), and that American Jews have been enormously important in securing civil liberties for all Americans. Moreover, Israel has been a faithful ally of the US and deserves our support in ensuring its security. The Likudniks like to pretend that they represent American Jewry, but they do not. And they like to suggest that objecting to their policies is tantamount to anti-Semitism, which is sort of like suggesting that if you don't like Chile's former dictator Pinochet, you are bigotted against Latinos.
As can be seen by Lobe's list, WINEP supplies rightwing intellectuals to Republican administrations, who employ their positions to support Likud policies from within the US government. They have the advantage over long-time civil servants in units like the State Department's Intelligence and Research division, insofar as they are politically connected and so have the ear of the top officials.
So, passing a few confidential documents over is a minor affair. Pro-Likud intellectuals established networks linking Defense and the national security advisers of Vice President Dick Cheney, gaining enormous influence over policy by cherry-picking and distorting intelligence so as to make a case for war on Saddam Hussein. And their ulterior motive was to remove the most powerful Arab military from the scene, not because it was an active threat to Israel (it wasn't) but because it was a possible deterrent to Likud plans for aggressive expansion (at the least, they want half of the West Bank, permanently).
It should be admitted that the American Likud could not make US policy on its own. Its members had to make convincing arguments to Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush himself. But they were able to make those arguments, by distorting intelligence, channeling Ahmad Chalabi junk, and presenting Big Ideas to men above them that signally lacked such ideas. (Like the idea that the road to peace in Jerusalem ran through Baghdad. Ha!)
It was these WINEP and AIPAC-linked US Likud backers in the Defense Department who had the Iraqi army dissolved as soon as Saddam was overthrown. This step threw Iraq into chaos and led to the deaths of nearly a thousand US servicemen so far, since an Iraq without an army would inevitably depend on the US military. But with the Iraqi army gone, and with Egypt and Jordan neutralized, Syria was left the only country anywhere near Israel that could make active trouble for Sharon if he completely screwed over the Palestinians. And Syria was now weak and isolated. So Sharon has had a free hand in his expansionist aggression. And, because the US public has been preoccupied with Iraq, the Likud could pursue its annexation of West Bank land and its expropriationg of even more Palestinians without anyone over here even noticing. It is the best of all possible worlds for the heirs of Ze'ev Jabotinsky.
The Likud policies of reversing Oslo and stealing people's land and making their lives hell has produced enormous amounts of terrorism against Israel, and the Likudniks have cleverly turned that to their political advantage. Aggression and annexation is necessary, they argue, because there is terrorism. Some of them now openly speak of ethnically cleansing the Palestinians, using the same argument. But when the Oslo peace process looked like it would go somewhere, terrorism tapered off (it did not end, but then peace had not been achieved).
The drawback for the US in all this is that US government backing for Sharon's odious policies makes it hated in the Muslim world. (Note that Muslims who oppose Israeli aggression are often tagged as "terrorists" by the US government, but rightwing Jews who go to Palestine to colonize it, walking around with Uzi machine guns and sometimes shooting down civilians, are not "terrorists." This lack of balance is one big reason that Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri hit the US on September 11. In fact, Bin Laden wanted to move up the operation to punish the US for supporting Sharon's crackdown on the Second Intifada.
Likud apologists have carefully planted the false story that al-Qaeda did not care about Palestine, but that is absurd. Bin Laden always complained about the occupation of the three holy cities (Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, the first two because of US troops in Saudi Arabia, and the third under Israeli occupation). When Bin Laden came back from Afghanistan to Jidda in 1989 his first sermon at the local mosque was about the Israeli repression of Palestinians during the first Infifada.
Now US occupation of Iraq is making it even more hated in the Muslim world. It is a policy hatched in part by AIPAC, WINEP, and their associated "thinkers." The cynical might suggest that they actively want the US involved in a violent struggle with Muslims, to make sure that the US remains anti-Palestinian and so will permit Israeli expansion.
All this can happen because there is a vacuum in US political discourse. A handful of special interests in the United States virtually dictate congressional policy on some issues. With regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the American Israel Political Action Committee and a few allies have succeeded in imposing complete censorship on both houses of Congress. No senator or congress member dares make a speech on the floor of his or her institution critical of Israeli policy, even though the Israeli government often violates international law and UN Security Council resolutions (it would violate more such resolutions, except that the resolutions never got passed because only one NSC member, the US, routinely vetoes them on behalf of Tel Aviv.) As the Labor Party in Israel has been eclipsed by the Likud coalition, which includes many proto-fascist groups, this subservience has yoked Washington to foreign politicians who privately favor ethnic cleansing and/or agressive warfare for the purpose of annexing the territory of neighbors.
On the rare occasion when a brave member of congress dares stand up to this unrelenting AIPAC tyranny, that person is targeted for unelection in the next congressional campaign, with big money directed by AIPAC and/or its analogues into the coffers of the senator or congressman's opponent. Over and over again, AIPAC has shaped the US congress in this way, so successfully that no one even dares speak out any more.
AIPAC is not all that rich or powerful, but politics in the US is often evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Because many races are very close, any little extra support can help change the outcome. AIPAC can provide that little bit. Moreover, most Americans couldn't care less about the Middle East or its intractable problems, whereas the staffers at AIPAC are fanatics. If some congressman from southern Indiana knows he can pick up even a few thousand dollars and some good will from AIPAC, he may as well, since his constituents don't care anyway. That there is no countervailing force to AIPAC allows it to be effective. (That is one reason that pro-Likud American activists often express concern about the rise of the Muslim-American community and the possibility that it may develop an effective lobby.) Moreover, AIPAC leverages its power by an alliance with the Christian Right, which has adopted a bizarre ideology of "Christian Zionism." It holds that the sooner the Palestinians are ethnically cleansed, the sooner Christ will come back. Without millions of these Christian Zionist allies, AIPAC would be much less influential and effective.
The Founding Fathers of the United States deeply feared that a foreign government might gain this level of control over a branch United States government, and their fears have been vindicated.
The situation has reached comedic proportions. Congress is always drafting letters to the president, based on AIPAC templates, demanding that lopsided US policy in favor of Israel be revised to be even more in favor of Israel. US policy recently changed to endorse the expansion of Israeli colonies in Palestinian, West Bank territory.
Where Israel is in the right, this situation obviously is innocuous. The United States should protect Israel from aggressive attack, if necessary. United Nations members are pledged to collective security, i.e. to protecting any member nation from aggression at the hands of another. But given that Israel is a nuclear power with a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction; given that Egypt and Jordan have long-lived peace treaties with Israel; and given that Syria and Lebanon are small weak powers, there is not in fact any serious military threat to Israel in its immediate neighborhood. In contrast, Israel launched wars against neighbors in 1956, 1967, and 1982 (all of which it won so easily as to bring into question the necessity for the wars in the first place if they were defensive), and has since 1967 been assiduously colonizing Palestinian land that it militarily occupied--all the while attempting to avoid becoming responsible for the Palestinian populations on that land. This latter policy has poisoned the entire world.
AIPAC currently has a project to shut up academics such as myself, the same way it has shut up Congress, through congressional legislation mandating "balance" (i.e. pro-Likud stances) in Middle East programs at American Universities. How long the US public will allow itself to be spied on and pushed around like this is a big question. And, with the rise of international terrorism targeting the US in part over these issues, the fate of the country hangs in the balance.
If al-Qaeda succeeds in another big attack, it could well tip the country over into military rule, as Gen. Tommy Franks has suggested. That is, the fate of the Republic is in danger. And the danger comes from two directions, not just one. It comes from radical extremists in the Muslim world, who must be fought. But it also comes from radical extremists in Israel, who have key allies in the US and whom the US government actively supports and against whom influential Americans are afraid to speak out.
If I had been in power on September 11, I'd have called up Sharon and told him he was just going to have to withdraw to 1967 borders, ore face the full fury of the United States. Israel would be much better off inside those borders, anyway. It can't absorb 3 million Palestinians and retain its character, and it can't continue to hold 3 million Palestinians as stateless hostages without making itself inhumane and therefore un-Jewish. And then I'd have thrown everything the US had at al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and frog-marched Bin Laden off to justice, and rebuilt Afghanistan to ensure that al-Qaeda was permanently denied a base there. Iraq, well, Iraq was contained.
Comment: AIPAC is pretty well summed up in the following testamonial:
The butcher himself putting stress on the "sanctity of life".
The Jewish mafia is silencing any and all criticism of Israel in the United States. Any remark that criticises the genocidal activities of the Israeli state is labelled "anti-Semitic". This is not news for regular readers of this page. Further, any suggestion that the neocons are guiding US policy is also labelled "anti-Semitism".
Of course this current debacle brings to mind Jonathan Pollard and his incarceration on charges of spying for Israel in the early 80's. The actual details of the Pollard case are still unresolved, as are the names of the committee within the Pentagon who was actually overseeing the release of the information.
Now let's look at some of the main characters in this current drama.
Under Secretary of Defense (Bush) - former managing partner of Washington law firm Feith & Zell - 1984 - 1986 Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations (Reagan) Previously served as Special Counsel to Richard Perle when he was Assist. Sec of Defense.
Douglas Feith has had a long career in both government service and the private sector. During the Reagan Administration he served as the White House National Security Staff and in the Defense Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy. He also served as Special Counsel to Richard Perle, then Assistant Secretary of Defense. Feith’s former law practice in Washington had one international affiliate, in Israel and much of its reported casework involves representing Israeli interests.
Feith has frequently been featured in the activities of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Feith was the Guest of Honour at ZOA’s 100th Anniversary Gala Banquet. He served as Master of Ceremony at two other major ZOA functions and has been a frequent participant at ZOA sponsored policy briefings on Capitol Hill and he now receives ZOA lobby parties - see ZOA Press Release. From 1993 onwards, Feith was on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He was its co-Chairman with Paul Wolfowitz from 1994.
A prolific writer, Feith has left a long paper trail of anti-Arab tracts and diatribes against those who challenge or seek to compromise Israel’s strength and as he defines it, "moral superiority" over the Arabs. Within the Pentagon, it is Feith who has been responsible for the extremely murky Office of of Special Plans.
Member: Zionist Organisation of America, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Centre for Security Policy
Comment: Missing from this list is that Feith opened a law office in Iraq with the son of Chalabi, the man who had been feeding the neocons with lies about the situation in Iraq, and who is now facing a murder charge in Iraq.
Another of the "high points" in Feith's career not discussed in the summary above is his writing, with Richard Perle and a group of prominent neoconservatives, of the infamous report "A Clean Break: a New Strategy for Securing the Realm," for the newly elected PM of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, urging Netanyahu to end the "peace process" because Israel was making too many concessions. While Feith's participation is well-known, we wonder how many people have actually read the document. In it, the authors are speaking from the point of view of the Israeli state, as if they themselves were Israelis. We wonder how many of them have dual nationality and carry Israeli passports? Even if they do not, their allegiance to Israel is clear, an issue that one would think would be important given they now occupy important positions in the current US administration.
In the eight years since "The Clean Break" was written, great progress has been achieved in obtaining the defined goals. For an analysis of neoconservative/Israeli "achievements", we point you to Clean Break or Dirty War? Israel’s Foreign Policy Directive to the United States, an analysis done by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy.
9/11 brought US foreign policy into line with that of Israel: the war on terror justified any brutality necessary to promote and achieve US aims. International law was flung aside. Lies were used to justify war.
The following was transcribed from a Flashpoints broadcast of portions of journalist John Pilger's documentary film Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror
PILGER: Isn't there a problem for us in the West of honesty about the reason for going to war in Iraq — and that was weapons of mass destruction?
FEITH: I don't think that was a lie. We went to war in large part because of the concern that weapons of mass destruction in the ... in the hands of the Saddam Hussein regime ... a regime that used such weapons ... in particular nerve gas...
PILGER: ... and was supplied by the United States and Britain with these weapons of mass destruction ...
FEITH: No, I don't believe that's accurate.
PILGER: Well, yes they were. Most, most of the weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein weren't built by him. The machine tools and the ingredients for his biological weapons all came from other countries, many of them from this country and Britain.
FEITH: I don't think that's right. I think, I really think that the...
PILGER: Well, it's on the record...
PILGER: ... in the Library of Congress...
FEITH: I think that... I think that the premise of your question is wrong.
PILGER: Why is it wrong for dictators and terrorists to kill innocent civilians, and right or excusable for the United States to do exactly the same.
FEITH: Well, the United States doesn't do it, and if we did it it would be as reprehensible as... as what the terrorists do.
PILGER: The United States doesn't kill... innocent civilians?
FEITH: No, the United States does not target civilians.
PILGER: Hmm. Those of us on the outside who look at September 11, where 3,000 people died in that tragedy, but then look at the thousands who have died since, wonder about double standards here. Could you address that?
FEITH: I think that the... I think that the... numbers that you're... talking about are... are questionable, so let's... let's leave aside your...
PILGER: Why are they questionable?
FEITH: I... I don't accept your assertion that we've killed thousands of... of innocent people. But... let me get...
PILGER: There's a lot of... There's a lot of studies... and examination of facts on the ground that suggest indeed thousands. I mean in Iraq at the moment... there are studies that are talking about 10,000. But I don't want to get into numbers, but certainly thousands seems a fair figure.
FEITH: I don't... I don't know that that's true, and... and I don't accept the assertion.
Comment: So Feith denies the truth on the ground, denies that the US is killing civilians, and justifies US actions because, contrary to the "terrorists", they are not "targeting" civilians. Of course, if they get in the way of US "smart" bombs, it isn't his fault. Perhaps Feith is not concerned because it is only "Arabs" who are being killed and maimed by US bombs and bullets, and as a good Jew, he will see the Arabs as sub-human. Gentiles, according to Jewish religious law, are lesser beings than the Jews. But if you talk about this, you're "anti-Semitic". If you point out how such racism is part and parcel of Israeli internal and foreign policy, you're "anti-Semitic". If you question the high concentration of media owned by Jews, you're "anti-Semitic".
But war is profitable, especially for friends of Feith. Bill Moyers shows how Feith's law partner, Zell, got in on the ground floor in the pillage of Iraq after the fall of Saddam.
Let's now look at the two names raised as close associates of Feith: Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle:
Prince of Darkness, Richard Perle is a "Spitting Image" caricature of a Zionist Hawk and has probably done more than any other single person to bring the Bush Administration into disrepute in liberal European circles. He was the chief architect of the "creative destruction" strategy to reshape the Middle East starting with the invasion of Iraq.
He is familiar to UK television viewers since he is always willing (presumably for a fee) to appear as a pundit on UK television to argue what he claims is the Bush Administration point of view. He is also be familiar to readers of the Daily Telegraph where he is an occasional columnist. For decades he has been among Israel's strongest, most ardent extreme right-wing allies in Washington whose clear goal is to acquire the largest possible territory for the state of Israel without regard to the rights of the Palestinians.
Member of: The American Entreprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the Center for Security Policy, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies
Deputy Secretary of Defense (Bush) - former Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University. Ambassador in Regan Administration, 1989 - 1993 Undersecretary of Defence for Policy in charge of 700-person team reshaping military strategy and policy - co-authoried with Lewis Libby, 1992 Draft Defence Planning Guidance ("DDPG") which called for US Military dominance over Europe and Asia and for pre-emptive strikes against countries suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction (the draft provoked such a furore it was eventually re-written. During the Gulf war, Wohlstetter persuaded Wolfowitz, that Saddam Hussain ought not only to be kicked out of Kuwait, but also out of Baghdad. Wolfowitz failed to persuade Cheney who agreed with Colin Powell that it was important to keep to the deal which had been agreed with the Arab partners in the coalition. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz thereafter regarded Saddam Hussein as "unfinished business" from the Bush Snr Administration. DDPG principles incorporated into 2002 National Security Strategy.
Wolfowitz was long said to be behind a not-so-secret strategic plan for the Middle East which involves (i) the expulsion of the Palestinians from the West Bank into Jordan so as to create Eretz Israel, (ii) the renaming of Jordan as Palestine, (iii) the removal of the Hashemite Dynasty from Jordan to head up a US-backed new regime in Iraq which will enable the US to control access to Iraqi oil and (iv) the taking of revenge on Saudi Arabia for its support of islamist fundamentalism. In short, a "Wolfowitz in Wolf's Clothing".
Wolfowitz is a genuine academic capable of writing a speech showing understanding of some of the problems fundamentalism is causing in the Islamic world. See his speech "Bridging the Dangerous Gap between the West and the Muslim World" delivered at the World Affairs Council on 3rd May 2002.
Member: Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Project for the New American Century, Council on Foreign Relations
The Bush Administration's Dual Loyalties
and BILL CHRISTISON
[...] Most of the neo-cons now in government have left a long paper trail giving clear evidence of their fervently right-wing pro-Israel, and fervently anti-Palestinian, sentiments. Whether being pro-Israel, even pro right-wing Israel, constitutes having dual loyalties -- that is, a desire to further Israel's interests that equals or exceeds the desire to further U.S. interests -- is obviously not easy to determine, but the record gives some clues.
Wolfowitz himself has been circumspect in public, writing primarily about broader strategic issues rather than about Israel specifically or even the Middle East, but it is clear that at bottom Israel is a major interest and may be the principal reason for his near obsession with the effort, of which he is the primary spearhead, to dump Saddam Hussein, remake the Iraqi government in an American image, and then further redraw the Middle East map by accomplishing the same goals in Syria, Iran, and perhaps other countries. Profiles of Wolfowitz paint him as having two distinct aspects: one obessively bent on advancing U.S. dominance throughout the world, ruthless and uncompromising, seriously prepared to "end states," as he once put it, that support terrorism in any way, a velociraptor in the words of one former colleague cited in the Economist; the other a softer aspect, which shows him to be a soft-spoken political moralist, an ardent democrat, even a bleeding heart on social issues, and desirous for purely moral and humanitarian reasons of modernizing and democratizing the Islamic world.
But his interest in Israel always crops up. Even profiles that downplay his attachment to Israel nonetheless always mention the influence the Holocaust, in which several of his family perished, has had on his thinking. One source inside the administration has described him frankly as "over-the-top crazy when it comes to Israel." Although this probably accurately describes most of the rest of the neo-con coterie, and Wolfowitz is guilty at least by association, he is actually more complex and nuanced than this. A recent New York Times Magazine profile by the Times' Bill Keller cites critics who say that "Israel exercises a powerful gravitational pull on the man" and notes that as a teenager Wolfowitz lived in Israel during his mathematician father's sabbatical semester there. His sister is married to an Israeli. Keller even somewhat reluctantly acknowledges the accuracy of one characterization of Wolfowitz as "Israel-centric." But Keller goes through considerable contortions to shun what he calls "the offensive suggestion of dual loyalty" and in the process makes one wonder if he is protesting too much. Keller concludes that Wolfowitz is less animated by the security of Israel than by the promise of a more moderate Islam. He cites as evidence Wolfowitz's admiration for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for making peace with Israel and also draws on a former Wolfowitz subordinate who says that "as a moral man, he might have found Israel the heart of the Middle East story. But as a policy maker, Turkey and the gulf and Egypt didn't loom any less large for him."
These remarks are revealing. Anyone not so fearful of broaching the issue of dual loyalties might at least have raised the suggestion that Wolfowitz's real concern may indeed be to ensure Israel's security. Otherwise, why do his overriding interests seem to be reinventing Anwar Sadats throughout the Middle East by transforming the Arab and Muslim worlds and thereby making life safer for Israel, and a passion for fighting a pre-emptive war against Iraq -- when there are critical areas totally apart from the Middle East and myriad other broad strategic issues that any deputy secretary of defense should be thinking about just as much? His current interest in Turkey, which is shared by the other neo-cons, some of whom have served as lobbyists for Turkey, seems also to be directed at securing Israel's place in the region; there seems little reason for particular interest in this moderate Islamic, non-Arab country, other than that it is a moderate Islamic but non-Arab neighbor of Israel.
Furthermore, the notion suggested by the Wolfowitz subordinate that any moral man would obviously look to Israel as the "heart of the Middle East story" is itself an Israel-centered idea: the assumption that Israel is a moral state, always pursuing moral policies, and that any moral person would naturally attach himself to Israel automatically presumes that there is an identity of interests between the United States and Israel; only those who assume such a complete coincidence of interests accept the notion that Israel is, across the board, a moral state.
Others among the neo-con policymakers have been more direct and open in expressing their pro-Israel views. Douglas Feith has been the most prolific of the group, with a two-decade-long record of policy papers, many co-authored with Perle, propounding a strongly anti-Palestinian, pro-Likud view. He views the Palestinians as not constituting a legitimate national group, believes that the West Bank and Gaza belong to Israel by right, and has long advocated that the U.S. abandon any mediating effort altogether and particularly foreswear the land-for-peace formula.
Comment: Perle was the chief author of "A Clean Break". Wolfowitz is the number 2 man at the Pentagon. We see from these summaries that their long-term preoccupations have been the security of Israel.
Feith has been implicated in many of the major scandals of the Bush administration including producing fake intelligence, most likely acquired from Israeli intelligence, and torturing Iraqi prisoners.
Of all the revelations that have surfaced about the Abu Ghraib prison-abuse scandal so far, the least surprising is that Douglas Feith may be partly responsible. Not a single Iraq war screw-up has gone by without someone tagging Feith—who, as the Defense Department's undersecretary for policy, is the Pentagon's No. 3 civilian, after Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz—as the guy to blame. Feith, who ranks with Wolfowitz in purity of neoconservative fervor, has turned out to be Michael Dukakis in reverse: ideology without competence.
It's not that the 50-year-old Feith is at fault for everything that's gone wrong in Iraq. He's only tangentially related to the mystery of the missing weapons of mass destruction, for example. (Though it's a significant tangent: An anonymous "Pentagon insider" told the Washington Times last year that Feith was the person who urged the Bush administration to make Saddam's WMD the chief public rationale for going to war immediately.) Nor was it Feith who made the decision to commit fewer troops than the generals requested. (Though Feith did give the most honest explanation for the decision, saying last year that it "makes our military less usable" if hundreds of thousands of troops are needed to fight wars.) But if he isn't fully culpable for all these fiascos, he's still implicated in them somehow. He's a leading indicator, like a falling Dow—something that correlates with but does not cause disaster.
Start with Abu Ghraib. Feith's office was in charge of Iraq's military prisons, but that's not the only reason his name keeps turning up in newspaper reports about the scandal. It was Feith who devised the legal solution for getting around the Geneva Conventions' prohibition on physically or psychologically coercing prisoners of war into talking. As a Pentagon official in the 1980s, Feith had laid out the argument that terrorists didn't deserve protection under the Geneva Conventions. Once the war on terrorism started, all he had to do was implement it. And even more damning than his legal rule-making is Feith's reported reaction to complaints by military Judge Advocate General lawyers about the new, looser interrogation rules. "They said he had a dismissive, if not derisive, attitude toward the Geneva Conventions," Scott Horton, a lawyer who was approached by six outraged JAG officers last year, told the Chicago Tribune. "One of them said he calls it 'law in the service of terror.' "
Abu Ghraib is only the latest of the Pentagon's Feith-based problems. During the buildup to the war, Feith oversaw the two offices that have since been criticized for politicizing intelligence and for inadequately planning for the occupation. The first group was known as the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Unit, and it was established to find links between terrorist organizations and their state sponsors. The group issued a report about connections between Iraq and al-Qaida that Rumsfeld had Feith deliver to CIA Director George Tenet in August 2002. This was reportedly the same report that Vice President Cheney recently called "your best source of information" on the links between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
But the report has been widely discredited. Tenet told a congressional committee in March that Cheney was mistaken about its reliability. And Daniel Benjamin, former director of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, wrote in Slate that, far from proving Saddam-Osama ties, "the document lends substance to the frequently voiced criticism that some in the Bush administration have misused intelligence to advance their policy goals."
The other office Feith oversees, the Office of Special Plans, probably wrought even worse damage that the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Unit: Its job was postwar planning, which even many conservatives now admit has been a disaster. As USA Today's Walter Shapiro put it this month when he summed up a one-year anniversary panel discussion on Iraq at the American Enterprise Institute (hardly a bastion of the antiwar left): "An easy summary of the overall impression fostered by the panel would be: Right war, wrong postwar plan."
Why is Feith involved with all these foul-ups? How could one man be so consistently in error? Nearly every critique of the Pentagon's plan for Iraq's occupation blames the blinkers imposed by ideology. For example, The New Yorker reported last fall that Feith intentionally excluded experts with experience in postwar nation-building, out of fear that their pessimistic, worst-case scenarios would leak and damage the case for war. In the Atlantic earlier this year, James Fallows told a similar story: The Pentagon did not participate in CIA war games about the occupation, because "it could be seen as an 'antiwar' undertaking" that "weakened the case for launching a 'war of choice.' " The State Department's Future of Iraq Project, an effort that accurately predicted some contingencies that the Pentagon overlooked, was dismissed by Feith and company out of hand.
And while the Pentagon's assumptions of an ecstatic, sweets-and-flowers-bearing populace that would welcome the occupiers as liberators may have been understandable in February 2003, Feith continued to let ideology rule his decisions long after the "major combat operations" ended. Last September, Knight Ridder reported that Paul Bremer's request for more than 220 employees for the occupation had yet to be approved. Guess who was to blame? "It is taking forever because Feith only wants true believers to get through the gate," a senior administration official said.
Some of the vitriol directed at Feith by anonymous sources may be due to personal animus. A 2002 Washington Post profile of Feith noted that he is "disliked by many people who work with him on a daily basis," and in March 2003 the National Journal noted that "it is hard to overstate how utterly Feith is reviled in certain circles." The latest manifestation of this is the juicy quote by Gen. Tommy Franks in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack, in which Franks calls Feith "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth."
Franks shows a military man's ability to get to the heart of the matter. But Feith isn't dumb. His defenders, in fact, frequently stand up for him by citing his brilliance. But Franks' lament is a blunter, less eloquent version of what Fallows wrote in the Atlantic of the office of the secretary of Defense, particularly Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Feith: "What David Halberstam said of Robert McNamara in The Best and the Brightest is true of those at OSD as well: they were brilliant, and they were fools."
Comment: So the guy has been a disaster. In spite of this, he is still in power, still at the Pentagon. To certain observers, it is no surprise. Feith in simply carrying out the neocon agenda elaborated long ago. The turn taken by US foreign policy since 9/11 could be foreseen. Here are two articles about Feith that appeared shortly after his appointment to the Pentagon.
Douglas J. Feith has been appointed Undersecretary of Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). This is one of the Pentagon’s four senior posts, charged with "all matters concerning the formulation of national security and defense policy and the integration and oversight of DOD policy and plans." Additionally, among his many areas of responsibility according to the DOD, the undersecretary of policy has the responsibility to:
- "Develop policy on the conduct of alliances and defense relationships with foreign governments, their military establishments and international organizations;
- "Develop, coordinate, and oversee the implementation of international security strategy and policy…on issues…that relate to foreign governments and their defense establishments; and
- "Provide oversight of all DOD activities related to international technology transfer."
This is a powerful position with great influence. Feith’s appointment to this post is a matter of great concern.
Feith has had a long career in both government service and the private sector. During the Reagan Administration he served as the White House National Security Staff and in the Defense Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy. He also served as Special Counsel to Richard Perle, then Assistant Secretary of Defense.
Feith is an attorney with the Washington firm of Feith and Zell. His own biography says that he specializes in "technology transfer, joint ventures and foreign investment in the defense and aerospace industries."
On the political front, Feith has been associated with the Cold War "neo-conservative" school of thought. What is of concern here is the extent to which Feith has transposed the neo-conservative worldview onto the Middle East. As his fellow cold warriors defined the world in ideological dualistic terms—the forces of absolute good confronting the forces of absolute evil—Feith defines the Arab-Israeli conflict in similar terms.
A prolific writer, Feith has left a long paper trail of anti-Arab tracts and diatribes against those who challenge or seek to compromise Israel’s strength and as he defines it, "moral superiority" over the Arabs.
As was the case in the Cold War battle against Communism, in Feith’s view, there can be no place for compromise between Israel and the Arabs. Since he defines the Middle East conflict in absolute terms, the only option for Israel is to confront its Arab enemies until they are defeated, which, in his worldview, means when they submit and accept Israel’s legitimacy and sovereignty over all of mandatory Palestine.
Since Israel represents the "good" and "our values," in Feith’s view, it is necessary for the United States to identify with Israel in its struggle against the forces of "darkness," the Arabs. This means providing Israel with superior military strength and political support. It also means that the United States should never pressure Israel either to surrender land or to compromise its hegemonic position in the region.
Throughout his career, Feith has articulated views such as these.
In the late 1970s, for example, he criticized then President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David effort to bring about a "comprehensive peace"—a concept he decried as false since it required Israel to weaken itself by surrendering "Judea and Samaria" to the Arabs. Feith’s logic was that
- Arabs have no legal rights in Palestine;
- Palestinians are not a "national group as such" and, therefore, have no special claim to Judea and Samaria;
- Jordan is the Palestinian state for the Arabs; and
- No pressure should be brought against Israel for building settlements in Judea and Samaria, since it is their right to do so.
Operating from this framework, Feith argues that the notion that "the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the issue of the stateless Palestinians" is a clever Arab trap designed solely to weaken Israel by threatening its relationship with the United States and its hold over Judea and Samaria.
He, therefore, condemned the Carter Administration for its opposition to Israel’s settlement policy since, in his view, this "only encouraged Arabs to believe that they could win benefits from the United States by refusing to make concessions to Israel."
For Feith, Arab objections to Zionism were at the core of the conflict. Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories would not solve the conflict, only Arab acceptance of and submission to Israel would end it. Summarizing his recommendations to the Carter Administration, Feith suggested in a 1979 article that they, "(1) abandon the view that Judea-Samaria is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, (2) acknowledge that the crux is really the Arab refusal to accept a Jewish state in Palestine, (3) renounce quarreling over Israel’s rights in Judea-Samaria, which encourages Arab inflexibility and damages valuable U.S.-Israeli ties, (4) confine itself to the role of mediator, rather than party, to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and thus (5) inform Damascus, Amman, the Palestinian Arabs, and Riyadh that if they want an alteration in Jerusalem’s policies they had best start negotiating with Jerusalem, as Sadat has done, and quit relying on Washington to ‘deliver’ the Israelis."
In the 1980s and 90s, Feith continued his criticism of any U.S. policy that deviated from his view. He criticized the Bush Administration for denying Israel loan guarantees and for pressuring the Shamir government to come to the Madrid peace conference.
His advice to the Bush Administration in 1991 echoed his earlier recommendations to the Carter White House. The U.S. government should, he suggested, require the Arabs to:
- "Drop the slogan of ‘land for peace,’ which skeptical Israelis must suspect is a program for dismantling Israel in stages, and simply offer peace. That is, they could put forward an open, unqualified, non-grudging and sincere acknowledgement that the Jewish people are entitled to a state in a Jewish homeland;" and
- "Abandon the name game by which they apply the label ‘Palestine’ only to the 20 percent of the British Mandate Palestine that lies west of the Jordan River. So long as one’s goal is the elimination of Israel, one does well to pretend that the Kingdom of Jordan, which occupies the other 80 percent of Mandate Palestine, is not a Palestinian state. That makes it possible to propagandize that the Jews control all the land and the Arabs of Palestine are ‘stateless.’"
During the Clinton years, Feith continued to oppose any agreement negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians: Oslo, Hebron and Wye.
At one point he defined Oslo as, "one-sided Israeli concessions, inflated Palestinian expectations, broken Palestinian solemn understandings, Palestinian violence…and American rewards for Palestinian recalcitrance."
His objection to the Hebron and Wye understandings, however, is more interesting because it was his ideological soul mate, then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had agreed to them.
In 1996, Feith, together with Richard Perle wrote an advisory paper for the newly elected Likud Prime Minister. In that piece, entitled "A Clean Break: a New Strategy for Securing the Realm," they advised Netanyahu to: "make a clean break from the peace process;" reassert Israel’s claim to its land by rejecting "land for peace" as the basis of peace; strengthen Israel’s defenses to better confront Syria and Iraq; and forge a new and stronger relationship with the United States based on self-reliance and mutual interest.
Feith was, therefore, deeply disappointed when Netanyahu appeared to accept the basis of Oslo and sign two additional agreements with the Palestinians that turned more land over to them. In a lengthy piece written in 1997 "A Strategy for Israel," Feith returned to his neo-conservative roots arguing that "land for peace" was a fabrication designed to weaken Israel. Peace would only come when Arab and specifically Palestinian society was transformed into a democratic, law-abiding and peaceful one. Since Oslo had created unrealistic expectations and rewarded bad Palestinian behavior, the only solution for Israel was to repudiate Oslo and "reestablish an effective security and intelligence policy in the areas under Palestinian Authority control" (i.e. reoccupy the West Bank and Gaza). He went on to note that "the price in blood would be high," but would be, a necessary form of "detoxification—the only way out of Oslo’s web."
Despite his apparent obsession with the Arab-Israel conflict, Feith has written about a number of other Middle East-related topics. In all cases, inspired by the same pro-Israel, anti-Arab Manichean worldview.
He has written condemning U.S. politicians for estranging themselves from Israel in order to accommodate Arab oil states. He has associated himself with a controversial strategy paper that suggested, among other options, that the U.S. might lead a Kuwait-style invasion and war of liberation to oust Syria from Lebanon. And he has been one of Washington’s strongest advocates supporting the Iraq Liberation Act.
As disturbing as Feith’s views may be, his political associations cause even greater concern. In recent years, Feith has frequently been featured in the activities of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Known for its virulent anti-Arab incitement, the ZOA regularly attacks all Arab American political activity and demonizes politicians who hire Arab Americans or even associate with community organizations. The ZOA also frequently attacks American Jews whom they feel are not in line with their extremist pro-Likud philosophy.
In just the past few years, Feith was the Guest of Honor at ZOA’s 100th Anniversary Gala Banquet. He served as Master of Ceremony at two other major ZOA functions and has been a frequent participant at ZOA sponsored policy briefings on Capitol Hill supporting that organization’s anti-Palestinian legislative initiatives.
Feith’s law practice in Washington sheds further light on the one-sided nature of his work. His small law firm has one international affiliate, in Israel. Over two-thirds of all their reported casework involves representing Israeli interests. And, in light of Feith’s new appointment, one of these cases deserves some attention. As described on the firm’s website, Feith "represented a leading Israeli armaments manufacturer in establishing joint ventures with leading U.S. aerospace manufacturers for manufacture and sale of missile systems, to the U.S. Department of Defense and worldwide."
Feith has long been a strong advocate for Israeli military technology. In a 1992 article, he wrote that the U.S. should deepen its military cooperation with Israel noting that, "Israel has a number of unique military technologies that it behooves the U.S. armed forces to acquire, such as unmanned aircraft and air-to ground missiles. With shrinking U.S. defense budgets, it is less expensive for the Defense Department to acquire these technologies from the Israelis than to pay to have them reinvented."
He also observed in the same piece that, "It is in the interest of the U.S. and Israel to remove needless impediments to technological cooperation between them. Technologies in the hands of responsible, friendly countries facing military threats, countries like Israel, serve to deter aggression, enhance regional stability and perhaps also promote peace thereby."
In the private sector, Feith is free to hold whatever views he wishes to hold, associate with whomever he wishes to associate, and do whatever legitimate business comes his way. But serious questions must be asked whether or not someone with his views and associations can fairly serve in a critical post at the Department of Defense. I, for one, am terrified at the prospect. He is ideologue with an extreme anti-Arab bias, and his role in the sensitive position of chief architect of U.S. defense policy can, I believe, have grave consequences for the United States and its relations with the entire Arab world.
Comment: The final paragraph is an accurate warning of what was to take place following the "new Pearl harbor" of 9/11. Feith has been consistent in his pro-Israel, anti-Arab views for his entire political life. As bad as that, it gets worse. Zogby returned to the subject of Feith a month later.
Just one month ago, I wrote about President Bush's nomination of Douglas Feith to the position of Undersecretary of Policy at the Department of Defense (DOD/Pentagon). Because this is one of the top four posts at the Pentagon in charge of "all matters concerning the formulation of national security and defense policy" and because Feith is an extreme hard-line pro-Likud hawk-I called it a "Dangerous Appointment."
My earlier article focused on an examination of Feith's pro-Israel writings. The body of his work reveals a strong ideological and anti-Arab bias. I also noted his close association with the pro-Likud groups, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and his law firm's international work promoting the Israeli arms industry.
In recent weeks more information has surfaced about Feith's activities that raise additional concerns about his nomination.
The first set of allegations are questions regarding Feith's performance during his two previous periods of government service. During the first Reagan Administration, Feith served under Richard Allen on the White House National Security staff. It was Allen who reportedly gave Israel the "green light" to undertake its devastating 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
When Allen was replaced at the White House by William Clark, Feith was fired from his post. There were allegations, at the time, of his bias toward and involvement with Israel.
During Reagan's second term, Feith resurfaced as part of Richard Perle's team at the Pentagon. Perle is a notorious Cold War hawk and a neo-conservative pro-Israel hard-liner. At the Pentagon he was called, by friend and foe alike, the "Prince of Darkness." The team of like-minded associates Perle assembled to work under him at the DOD included not only Feith, but Steven Bryen. While serving as a staffer to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1970s Bryen was accused of passing U.S. military secrets to Israel. He was removed from his post. A third member of the group was Frank Gaffney, who has, like Feith, also produced an extensive body of virulently anti-Arab writings in right wing U.S. newspapers and magazines.
During their tenure at the Pentagon, this group actively worked to solidify the U.S.-Israel defense relationship at the expense of U.S.-Arab ties. It has been alleged, for example, that Feith actively worked to oppose President Reagan's decision to transfer AWACs to Saudi Arabia.
Almost immediately upon leaving office, Perle and Feith teamed up to sell their access as foreign lobbyists. One of their earliest clients was the government of Turkey.
In 1989, Feith registered International Advisors Inc. (IAI) as a foreign agent representing the government of Turkey. In official documents, one of the stated purposes of the work of IAI was to "promote the objective of U.S.-Turkish defense industrial cooperation."
The move was heralded in the Turkish press as creating a "warmer atmosphere" between Turkey and conservative members of Congress and "the strong Jewish lobby in the United States." It was thought that these relationships would help Turkey's military ties and sales to the United States. IAI was described in both the United States and Turkish press as Perle's brainchild. The Wall Street Journal, reported in early 1989 on the creation of IAI as follows:
"Richard Perle, who among other things supervised U.S. military assistance to Turkey during his recent seven-year hitch in the Pentagon, has created a company in Washington to lobby for Turkey. The company, International Advisors Inc., is headed by three men, including two who worked under Mr. Perle at the Defense Department. According to a statement the company filed with the Justice Department, it will 'assist in the efforts for the appropriation of U.S. military and economic assistance' to Turkey."
Perle, however disputed this claim saying that IAI was not his group. He claimed that he was merely an "advisor." He further noted "I find very distasteful this business where people leave the government and the next thing you know, they're on the other side of the table negotiating with the U.S."
And in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, Perle elaborated his position by stating "I have not created a company to lobby for Turkey….The firm to which the story refers, International Advisors, Inc., was created by Douglas Feith, a Washington attorney. I am not a stockholder, director, officer or employee of the firm. I will not lobby for nor represent the government of Turkey. I will chair an advisory board that is only now being formed."
In fact, in the official documents filed with the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Foreign Agents Registration Unit, Douglas Feith is listed as the Chief Executive Officer of IAI and its only stockholder.
However, in semiannual reports filed by IAI during its 1989-1994 tenure, Richard Perle is listed as the single highest paid consultant to the group earning $48,000 each year. Feith, himself earned $60,000 per year and his law firm, Feith and Zell, received hundreds of thousands of dollars from IAI.
What is most disturbing in all of this, of course, is, as Perle himself observed, the "distastefulness" of this business where "people leave the government and the next thing you know, they're on the other side of the table negotiating with the U.S."
That Perle was being disingenuous about his role in IAI and indirectly setting up his former colleague and now "partner" as the "distasteful" one, raises serious questions about both individuals.
What is also troubling is the fact that during the almost six years that Feith and IAI were officially registered as Foreign Agents for the Government of Turkey, Feith and a number of individuals serving as staff and receiving payments from IAI were making tens of thousands of dollars of contributions to both pro-Israel PACs and pro-Israel Senators and Congressmen. In records filed with the Federal Election Commission, Feith himself contributed more than $15,000 during this period, sometimes listing IAI, a foreign agent, as his place of employment.
The one pro-Israel PAC to which Feith contributed $3,500, Washington Political Action Committee, just so happened to be headed by Morris Amitay, former AIPAC official and one of the earliest members of IAI!
Two of the single largest recipients of this largesse were Senator Robert Packwood and Congressman Dan Burton. In an article published in 1997, in the Charleston Daily Mail, Burton was accused of having his position on several foreign policy issues influenced by campaign contributions from foreign agents. The article specifically cites Feith giving this example: "A strong supporter of Turkey, Burton took to the House floor June 5 to denounce efforts to cut off all U.S. aid to the country [Turkey] because of human rights criticism. 'Let me give my colleagues some facts about Turkey and about the Armenia problem,' Burton said as he launched into a historical account. The speech went on, citing almost word for word material distributed to members of Congress by Capitoline, Turkey's lobbying firm. For several years, when the firm of former President Regan aide Douglas Feith was paid $600,000 a year to lobby for Turkey, Feith's office had regular contact with Burton and his aides. Feith gave donations to a handful of lawmakers over the years, including at least $2,250 to Burton."
More recently, Feith and Perle teamed up to represent another foreign entity, the government of Bosnia. According to Richard Holbrooke, the principal U.S. negotiator at the Dayton peace talks, Perle and Feith worked for and advised the Bosnians during the talks. This time, however, they did not register with the Department of Justice, as foreign agents are required to do.
It should also be recalled that both Perle and Feith worked together in 1996 to prepare the document "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" that advised the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on what issues to raise and what language to use during his first visit to the United States in July of that year.
Now, it must be said that while (as Perle acknowledges) this might all be distasteful, and in the case of the PAC contributions, at least, questionable, none of it is illegal. But it does raise serious questions about the fitness of Mr. Feith to serve as the Undersecretary of Defense in charge of developing "policy on the conduct of alliances and defense relationships with foreign governments, their military establishments and international organizations;" and developing, coordinating and overseeing "the implementation of international security strategy and policy…on issues…that relate to foreign governments and their defense establishment."
Comment: Hmmmm. Feith was associated with a man who had been accused of spying for Israel. Where have we heard that before? Also, he has donated money to a former AIPAC official! It's a small world!
Coman in Washington
A Senior Pentagon policy maker created an unofficial "Iraqi intelligence cell" in the summer of 2002 to circumvent the CIA and secretly brief the White House on links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'eda, according to the Senate intelligence committee.
The allegations about Douglas Feith, the number three at the Department of Defence, are made in a supplementary annexe of the committee's review of the intelligence leading to war in Iraq, released on Friday.
According to dramatic testimony contained in the annexe, Mr Feith's cell undermined the credibility of CIA judgments on Iraq's alleged al-Qa'eda links within the highest levels of the Bush administration.
The cell appears to have been set up by Mr Feith as an adjunct to the Office of Special Plans, a Pentagon intelligence-gathering operation established in the wake of 9/11 with the authority of Paul Wolfowitz. Its focus quickly became the al-Qa'eda-Saddam link.
On occasion, without informing the then head of the CIA, George Tenet, the group gave counter-briefings in the White House. Sen Jay Rockefeller, the most senior Democrat on the committee, said that Mr Feith's cell may even have undertaken "unlawful" intelligence-gathering initiatives.
The claims will lead to calls by Democrats for the resignation of Mr Feith, the third-ranking civilian at the Department of Defence and a leading "neo-con" hawk. "Tenet fell on his sword," said one Democrat official, "even though it's clear that he was placed under tremendous pressure to come up with the 'right' intelligence product for the administration on Iraq.
"The testimony to the committee on Feith and other Pentagon officials shows just what kind of pressure was being exerted. And when that didn't work, the Pentagon was just coming up with its own answers and feeding them to the White House. And on al-Qa'eda they got it all wrong."
Last night a senior Pentagon adviser confirmed that Mr Feith was being targeted by senators unhappy that the administration has so far escaped censure for its use of intelligence.
"There are senators who are clearly gunning for Douglas Feith now. This is turning into a classic conspiracy investigation. They want to get Feith and see if, through Feith, they can go up the ladder to even bigger fish."
Mr Feith's role is to be examined further in the second phase of the Senate committee's investigations, which will deal with the Bush administration's use of the intelligence it received. The report by the Republican-dominated committee lambasted the CIA for intelligence failures while concluding that there was no evidence that the Bush administration tried to coerce officials to adapt their findings.
Yet the annexe - written by three leading Democratic senators - contains the strongest evidence yet that Pentagon hardliners sought to sideline the CIA during a drive to talk up a connection between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.
After the September 11 attacks, tension had grown between Pentagon officials and CIA agents, who suspected the Department of Defence of relying too heavily on dubious testimony from Iraqi defectors in order to justify a war against Iraq.
The CIA's investigation of links between Iraq and al-Qa'eda was almost the only aspect of the agency's intelligence-gathering to escape severe censure in the 511-page report. Sen Rockefeller, the senator for West Virginia, said: "Our report found that the intelligence community's judgments were right on Iraq's ties to terrorists. There was no evidence of the formal relationship, however you want to describe it, between Iraq and al-Qa'eda, and no evidence that existed of Iraq's complicity or assistance in al-Qa'eda's terrorist attacks."
Pentagon officials who appeared before the Senate committee testified that Mr Feith and others believed that the CIA was not sufficiently aggressive in its investigation of links between Saddam and al-Qa'eda. During the summer of 2002, administration hardliners believed that evidence of a connection between Iraq and the terrorist organisation would provide a clinching argument for war.
After the publication in June 2002 of a cautious report by the CIA entitled Iraq and al-Qa'eda: A Murky Relationship, Mr Feith passed on a written verdict to the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, that the report should be read "for content only - and CIA's interpretation should be ignored".
In August 2002, Mr Feith's cell gave a briefing to Mr Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, which included a stinging condemnation of the CIA's intelligence assessment techniques.
In sharp contrast to the Senate intelligence committee's criticisms of "over-reaching" and "exaggeration" by CIA agents, the Pentagon briefing criticised the agency for requiring "juridical evidence" for its findings and for the "consistent underestimation" of the possibility that Iraq and al-Qa'eda were attempting to conceal their collaboration.
In another incident, Mr Feith's Pentagon cell postponed the publication of a CIA assessment of Iraq's links to terrorism after a visit to CIA headquarters at which "numerous objections" were made to a final draft.
In particular, Pentagon officials insisted that more should be made of an alleged meeting between the September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi official in Prague in April 2001. The CIA judged reports of the meeting not to be credible, a verdict vindicated on Friday by the Senate committee report.
Most remarkably, on September 16, 2002, two days before the CIA was to produce its postponed assessment, Mr Feith's cell went directly to the White House and gave an alternative briefing to Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and to the National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's deputy.
The briefing contained the section alleging "fundamental problems" with CIA intelligence-gathering. It also gave a detailed breakdown of the alleged meeting between Atta and an Iraqi agent.
The following week, senior Bush officials made confident statements on the existence of a link between Saddam and al-Qa'eda. Mr Tenet would learn of the secret briefing only in March 2004.
Comment: So Feith was engaged in what might have been unlawful activities, was funnelling phony intelligence from Israeli intelligence to the White House to promote his policies (policies we have seen above that are those of the Likud Party in Israel), and all of these policies have to do with promoting Israel.
He was associated with a man who was accused of spying for Israel. Now it is happening again.
However, we know that Feith is not alone in actively moving the US closer and closer to Israel. There are dozens of neocons doing the same thing in and around the government. Which raises the next question: why do people think that one "spy" in the Pentagon makes any difference whatsoever? And the next: Do people think that Feith and the other neocons were unaware that this information was being passed to Israel? Aren't all of them doing the same thing? When men like this pass from Washington to Jerusalem with the ease the rest of us head into the toilet, holding double nationality, acting as advisors for both governments, having business dealing in both countries, where does their allegiance begin and end? Doesn't this make the question of "one spy" rather ridiculous? Still undecided? Perhaps the following article will settle the issue.
Since 9-11, a small group of "neo-conservatives" in the Administration have effectively gutted--they would say reformed--traditional American foreign and security policy. Notable features of the new Bush doctrine include the pre-emptive use of unilateral force, and the undermining of the United Nations and the principle instruments and institutions of international law....all in the cause of fighting terrorism and promoting homeland security.
Some skeptics, noting the neo-cons' past academic and professional associations, writings and public utterances, have suggested that their underlying agenda is the alignment of U.S. foreign and security policies with those of Ariel Sharon and the Israeli right wing. The administration's new hard line on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict certainly suggests that, as perhaps does the destruction, with U.S. soldiers and funds, of the military capacity of Iraq, and the current belligerent neo-con campaign against the other two countries which constitute a remaining counterforce to Israeli military hegemony in the region--Iran and Syria.
Have the neo-conservatives--many of whom are senior officials in the Defense Department, National Security Council and Office of the Vice President--had dual agendas, while professing to work for the internal security of the United States against its terrorist enemies?
A review of the internal security backgrounds of some of the best known among them strongly suggests the answer.
Dr. Stephen Bryen and Colleagues
In April of 1979, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert Keuch recommended in writing that Bryen, then a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, undergo a grand jury hearing to establish the basis for a prosecution for espionage. John Davitt, then Chief of the Justice Department's Internal Security Division, concurred.
The evidence was strong. Bryen had been overheard in the Madison Hotel Coffee Shop, offering classified documents to an official of the Israeli Embassy in the presence of the director of AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. It was later determined that the Embassy official was Zvi Rafiah, the Mossad station chief in Washington. Bryen refused to be poly-graphed by the FBI on the purpose and details of the meeting; whereas the person who'd witnessed it agreed to be poly-graphed and passed the test.
The Bureau also had testimony from a second person, a staff member of the Foreign Relations Committee, that she had witnessed Bryen in his Senate office with Rafiah, discussing classified documents that were spread out on a table in front of an open safe in which the documents were supposed to be secured. Not long after this second witness came forward, Bryen's fingerprints were found on classified documents he'd stated in writing to the FBI he'd never had in his possession....the ones he'd allegedly offered to Rafiah.
Nevertheless, following the refusal of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to grant access by Justice Department officials to files which were key to the investigation, Keuch's recommendation for a grand jury hearing, and ultimately the investigation itself, were shut down. This decision, taken by Philip Heymann, Chief of Justice's Criminal Division, was a bitter disappointment to Davitt and to Joel Lisker, the lead investigator on the case, as expressed to this writer. A complicating factor in the outcome was that Heymann was a former schoolmate and fellow U.S. Supreme Court Clerk of Bryen's attorney, Nathan Lewin.
Bryen was asked to resign from his Foreign Relations Committee post shortly before the investigation was concluded in late 1979. For the following year and a half, he served as Executive Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and provided consulting services to AIPAC.
In April, 1981, the FBI received an application by the Defense Department for a Top Secret security clearance for Dr. Bryen . Richard Perle, who had just been nominated as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, was proposing Bryen as his Deputy Assistant Secretary! Within six months, with Perle pushing hard, Bryen received both Top Secret-SCI (sensitive compartmented information) and Top Secret-"NATO/COSMIC" clearances.
Loyalty, Patriotism and Character
The Bryen investigation became in fact the most contentious issue in Perle's own confirmation hearings in July, 1981. Under aggressive questioning from Sen. Jeremiah Denton, Perle held his ground: "I consider Dr. Bryen to be an individual of impeccable integrity....I have the highest confidence in [his] loyalty, patriotism and character."
Several years later in early 1988, Israel was in the final stages of development of a prototype of its ground based "Arrow" anti-ballistic missile. One element the program lacked was "klystrons", small microwave amplifiers which are critical components in the missile's high frequency, radar-based target acquisition system which locks on to in-coming missiles. In 1988, klystrons were among the most advanced developments in American weapons research, and their export was of course strictly proscribed.
The DOD office involved in control of defense technology exports was the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) within Richard Perle's ISP office. The Director (and founder) of DTSA was Perle's Deputy, Dr. Stephen Bryen. In May of 1988, Bryen sent a standard form to Richard Levine, a Navy tech transfer official, informing him of intent to approve a license for Varian Associates, Inc. of Beverly, Massachusetts to export to Israel four klystrons. This was done without the usual consultations with the tech transfer officials of the Army and Air Force, or ISA (International Security Affairs) or DSAA (Defense Security Assistance Agency.
The answer from Levine was "no". He opposed granting the license, and asked for a meeting on the matter of the appropriate (above listed) offices. At the meeting, all of the officials present opposed the license. Bryen responded by suggesting that he go back to the Israelis to ask why these particular items were needed for their defense. Later, after the Israeli Government came back with what one DOD staffer described as "a little bullshit answer", Bryen simply notified the meeting attendees that an acceptable answer had been received, the license granted, and the klystrons released.
By now, however, the dogs were awake. Then Assistant Secretary of Defense for ISA, (and now Deputy Secretary of State) Richard Armitage sent Dr. Bryen a letter stating that the State Department (which issues the export licenses) should be informed of DOD's "uniformly negative" reaction to the export of klystrons to Israel. Bryen did as instructed , and the license was withdrawn.
In July, Varian Associates became the first U.S. corporation formally precluded from contracting with the Defense Department. Two senior colleagues in DOD who wish to remain anonymous have confirmed that this attempt by Bryen to obtain klystrons for his friends was not unusual, and was in fact "standard operating procedure" for him, recalling numerous instances when U.S. companies were denied licenses to export sensitive technology, only to learn later that Israeli companies subsequently exported similar (U.S. derived) weapons and technology to the intended customers/governments.
In late1988, Bryen resigned from his DOD post, and for a period worked in the private sector with a variety of defense technology consulting firms.
Bryen and the China Commission
In 1997, "Defense Week" reported (05/27/97) that, ...." the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence reaffirmed that U.S.- derived technology from the cancelled [Israeli] Lavi fighter project is being used on China's new F-10 fighter." The following year, "Jane's Intelligence Review" reported (11/01/98) the transfer by Israel to China of the Phalcon airborne early warning and control system, the Python air-combat missile, and the F-10 fighter aircraft, containing "state-of-the-art U.S. electronics."
Concern about the continuing transfer of advanced U.S. arms technology to the burgeoning Chinese military program led, in the last months of the Clinton Administration, to the creation of a Congressional consultative body called the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The charter for the "The China Commission", as it is commonly known, states that its purpose is to...."monitor, investigate, and report to the Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China." The charter also reflects an awareness of the problem of "back door" technology leaks: "The Commission shall also take into account patterns of trade and transfers through third countries to the extent practicable."
It was almost predictable that in the new Bush Administration, Dr. Stephen Bryen would find his way to the China Commission. In April 2001, with the support of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) Bryen was appointed a Member of the Commission by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Last August, his appointment was extended through December of 2005.
Informed that Bryen had been appointed to the Commission, the reaction of one former senior FBI counter-intelligence official was: "My God, that must mean he has a "Q clearance!" (A "Q" clearance, which must be approved by the Department of Energy, is the designation for a Top Secret codeword clearance to access nuclear technology.)
Michael Ledeen, Consultant on Chaos
If Stephen Bryen is the military technology guru in the neo-con pantheon, Michael Ledeen is currently its leading theorist, historian, scholar and writer. It states in the website of his consulting firm, Benador Associates, that he is "...one of the world's leading authorities on intelligence, contemporary history and international affairs" and that...."As Ted Koppel puts it, 'Michael Ledeen is a Renaissance man....in the tradition of Machiavelli.'" Perhaps the following will add some color and texture to this description.
In 1983, on the recommendation of Richard Perle, Ledeen was hired at the Department of Defense as a consultant on terrorism. His immediate supervisor was the Principle Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, Noel Koch. Early in their work together, Koch noticed with concern Ledeen's habit of stopping by in his (Koch's) outer office to read classified materials. When the two of them took a trip to Italy, Koch learned from the CIA station there that when Ledeen had lived in Rome previously, as correspondent for The New Republic, he'd been carried in Agency files as an agent of influence of a foreign government: Israel.
Some time after their return from the trip, Ledeen approached his boss with a request for his assistance in obtaining two highly classified CIA reports which he said were held by the FBI. He'd hand written on a piece of paper the identifying "alpha numeric designators". These identifiers were as highly classified as the reports themselves....which raised in Koch's mind the question of who had provided them to Ledeen if he hadn't the clearances to obtain them himself. Koch immediately told his executive assistant that Ledeen was to have no further access to classified materials in the office, and Ledeen just ceased coming to "work".
In early 1986, however, Koch learned that Ledeen had joined NSC as a consultant, and sufficiently concerned about the internal security implications of the behavior of his former aide, arranged to be interviewed by two FBI agents on the matter. After a two hour debriefing, Koch was told that it was only Soviet military intelligence penetration that interested the Bureau. The follow-on interviews that were promised by the agents just never occurred.
Koch thought this strange, coming as it did just months after the arrest of Naval intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard on charges of espionage for Israel. Frustrated, Koch wrote up in detail the entire saga of Ledeen's DOD consultancy, and sent it to the Office of Senator Charles Grassley, then a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which had oversight responsibility for, inter alia, the FBI.
A former senior FBI counter-intelligence official was surprised and somewhat skeptical, when told of Koch's unsuccessful attempts to interest the Bureau in an investigation of Ledeen, noting that in early 1986, the Justice Department was in fact already engaged in several on-going, concurrent investigations of Israeli espionage and theft of American military technology.
Machiavelli in Tel Aviv
Koch's belated attempts to draw official attention to his former assistant were too late, in any event, for within a very few weeks of leaving his DOD consultancy in late 1984, Ledeen had found gainful (classified) employment at the National Security Council (NSC). In fact, according to a now declassified chronology prepared for the Senate/House Iran-Contra investigation, within calendar 1984 Ledeen was already suggesting to Oliver North, his new boss at NSC...." that Israeli contacts might be useful in obtaining release of the U.S. hostages in Lebanon." Perhaps significantly, that is the first entry in the "Chronology of Events: U.S.- Iran Dialogue", dated November 18,1986, prepared for the Joint House-Senate Hearings in the Iran-Contra Investigations.
What is so striking about the Ledeen-related documents which are part of the Iran-Contra Collection of the National Security Archive, is how thoroughly the judgements of Ledeen's colleagues at NSC mirrored, and validated, Noel Koch's internal security concerns about his consultant.
- on April 9, 1985, NSC Middle East analyst Donald Fortier wrote to National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane that NSC staffers were agreed that Ledeen's role in the scheme should be limited to carrying messages to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres regarding plans to cooperate with Israel on the crisis within Iran, and specifically that he should not be entrusted to ask Peres for detailed operational information;
- on June 6, 1985, Secretary of State George Shultz wrote to McFarlane that, "Israel's record of dealings with Iran since the fall of the Shah and during the hostage crisis [show] that Israel's agenda is not the same as ours. Consequently doubt whether an intelligence relationship such as what Ledeen has in mind would be one which we could fully rely upon and it could seriously skew our own perception and analysis of the Iranian scene."
- on 20 August, 1985, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense informed Ledeen by memorandum that his security clearance had been downgraded from Top Secret-SCI to Secret.
- on 16 January, 1986, Oliver North recommended to John Poindexter "for [the] security of the Iran initiative" that Ledeen be asked to take periodic polygraph examinations.
- later in January, on the 24th, North wrote to Poindexter of his suspicion that Ledeen, along with Adolph Schwimmer and Manucher Ghorbanifar, might be making money personally on the sale of arms to Iran, through Israel.
During the June 23-25, 1987 joint hearings of the House and Senate select committees' investigation of Iran-Contra, Noel Koch testified that he became suspicious when he learned that the price which Ledeen had negotiated for the sale to the Israeli Government of basic TOW missiles was $2,500 each.
Upon inquiring with his DOD colleagues, he learned the lowest price the U.S. had ever received for the sale of TOWs to a foreign government had been a previous sale to Israel for $6,800 per copy. Koch, professing in his testimony that he and his colleagues at DOD were not in favor of the sale to begin with, determined that he--Koch--should renegotiate the $2,500 price so that it could be defended by the "defense management system." In a clandestine meeting on a Sunday in the first class lounge of the TWA section of National Airport, Koch met over a cup of coffee with an official from the Israeli purchasing mission in New York, and agreed on a price of $4,500 per missile, nearly twice what Ledeen had "negotiated" in Israel.
There are two possibilities here--one would be a kickback, as suspected by his NSC colleagues, and the other would be that Michael Ledeen was effectively negotiating for Israel, not the U.S.
Like his friend Stephen Bryen (they've long served together on the JINSA Board of Advisors) Ledeen has been out of government service since the late1980s....until the present Bush Administration. He, like Bryen, is presently a serving member on the China Commission and, with the support of DOD Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, he has since 2001 been employed as a consultant for the Office of Special Plans OSP). Both involve the handling of classified materials and require high-level security clearances.
The Principals: Perle, Wolfowitz and Feith
One might wonder how, with security histories like these, Messrs. Bryen and Ledeen have managed to get second and third chances to return to government in highly classified positions.
And the explanation is that they, along with other like-minded neo-conservatives, have in the current Bush Administration friends in very high places. In particular, Bryen and Ledeen have been repeatedly boosted into defense/security posts by former Defense Policy Council member and chairman Richard Perle (he just quietly resigned his position), Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.
As previously mentioned, Perle in 1981 as DOD Assistant Secretary for International Security Policy (ISP) hired Bryen as his Deputy. That same year, Wolfowitz as head of the State Department Policy Planning Staff hired Ledeen as a Special Advisor. In 2001 Douglas Feith as DOD Under Secretary for Policy hired, or approved the hiring of Ledeen as a consultant for the Office of Special Plans.
The principals have also assisted each other down through the years. Frequently. In 1973 Richard Perle used his (and Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson's) influence as a senior staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to help Wolfowitz obtain a job with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In 1982, Perle hired Feith in ISP as his Special Counsel, and then as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Negotiations Policy. In 2001, DOD Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz helped Feith obtain his appointment as Undersecretary for Policy. Feith then appointed Perle as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board. In some cases, this mutual assistance carries risks, as for instance when Perle's hiring of Bryen as his Deputy in ISP became an extremely contentious issue in Perle's own Senate appointment hearings as Assistant Secretary.
Every appointment/hiring listed above involved classified work for which high-level security clearances and associated background checks by the FBI were required. When the level of the clearance is not above generic Top Secret, however, the results of that background check are only seen by the hiring authority. And in the event, if the appointee were Bryen or Ledeen and the hiring authority were Perle, Wolfowitz or Feith, the appointee(s) need not have worried about the findings of the background check. In the case of Perle hiring Bryen as his deputy in 1981, for instance, documents released in 1983 under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the Department provided extraordinarily high clearances for Bryen without having reviewed more than a small portion of his 1978-79 FBI investigation file.
RICHARD PERLE: A HABIT OF LEAKING
Perle came to Washington for the first time in early 1969, at the age of 28, to work for a neo-con think tank called the "Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy." Within months, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson offered Perle a position on his staff, working with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And within months after that--less than a year--Perle was embroiled in an affair involving the leaking of a classified CIA report on alleged past Soviet treaty violations.
The leaker (and author of the report) was CIA analyst David Sullivan, and the leakee was Richard Perle. CIA Director Stansfield Turner was incensed at the unauthorized disclosure, but before he could fire Sullivan, the latter quit. Turner urged Sen. Jackson to fire Perle, but he was let off with a reprimand. Jackson then added insult to injury by immediately hiring Sullivan to his staff. Sullivan and Perle became close friends and co-conspirators, and together established an informal right-wing network which they called "the Madison Group," after their usual meeting place in--you might have guessed--the Madison Hotel Coffee Shop.
Perle's second brush with the law occurred a year later in 1970. An FBI wiretap authorized for the Israeli Embassy picked up Perle discussing with an Embassy official classified information which he said had been supplied to by a staff member on the National Security Council. An NSC/FBI investigation was launched to identify the staff member, and quickly focused upon Helmut Sonnenfeldt. The latter had been previously investigated in 1967 while a staff member of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, for suspected unauthorized transmission to an Israeli Government official of a classified document concerning the commencement of the 1967 war in the Middle East.
In 1981, shortly before being appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (ISP)--with responsibility, inter alia, for monitoring of U.S. defense technology exports, Richard Perle was paid a substantial consulting fee by arms manufacturer Tamares, Ltd. of Israel. Shortly after assuming that post, Perle wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Army urging evaluation and purchase of 155 mm. shells manufactured by Soltam, Ltd. After leaving the ISP job in 1987, he worked for Soltam.
PAUL WOLFOWITZ : A WELL PLACED FRIEND
In 1973, in the dying days of the Nixon Administration, Wolfowitz was recruited to work for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA). There was a certain irony in the appointment, for in the late 1960's, as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, Wolfowitz had been a student and protege of Albert Wohlstetter, an influential, vehement opponent of any form of arms control or disarmament, vis a vis the Soviets. Wolfowitz also brought to ACDA a strong attachment to Israel's security, and a certain confusion about his obligation to U.S. national security.
In 1978, he was investigated for providing a classified document on the proposed sale of U.S. weapons to an Arab government, to an Israel Government official, through an AIPAC intermediary. An inquiry was launched and dropped, however, and Wolfowitz continued to work at ACDA until 1980.
In 1990, after a decade of work with the State Department in Washington and abroad, Wolfowitz was brought into DoD as Undersecretary for Policy by then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney. Two years later, in 1992, the first Bush Administration launched a broad inter-departmental investigation into the export of classified technology to China. Of particular concern at the time was the transfer to China by Israel of U.S. Patriot missiles and/or technology. During that investigation, in a situation very reminiscent of the Bryen/Varian Associates/klystrons affair two years earlier, the Pentagon discovered that Wolfowitz's office was promoting the export to Israel of advanced AIM-9M air-to-air missiles.
In this instance, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, aware that Israel had already been caught selling the earlier AIM 9-L version of the missile to China in violation of a written agreement with the U.S. on arms re-sales, intervened to cancel the proposed AIM-9M deal. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time was General Colin Powell, currently Secretary of State.
Wolfowitz continued to serve as DoD Undersecretary for Policy until 1993, well into the Clinton Administration. After that, however, like most of the other prominent neo-conservatives, he was relegated to trying to assist Israel from the sidelines for the remainder of Clinton's two terms. In 1998, Wolfowitz was a co-signer of a public letter to the President organized by the "Project for the New American Century." The letter, citing Saddam Hussein's continued possession of "weapons of mass destruction," argued for military action to achieve regime change and demilitarization of Iraq. Clinton wasn't impressed, but a more gullible fellow would soon come along.
And indeed, when George W. Bush assumed the Presidency in early 2001, Wolfowitz got his opportunity. Picked as Donald Rumsfeld's Deputy Secretary at DoD, he prevailed upon his boss to appoint Douglas Feith as Undersecretary for Policy. On the day after the destruction of the World Trade Center, September 12, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz raised the possibility of an immediate attack on Iraq during an emergency NSC meeting. The following day, Wolfowitz conducted the Pentagon press briefing, and interpreted the President's statement on "ending states who sponsor terrorism" as a call for regime change in Iraq. Israel wasn't mentioned.
Douglas Feith: Hardliner, Security Risk
Bush's appointment of Douglas Feith as DoD Undersecretary for Policy in early 2001 must have come as a surprise, and a harbinger, even to conservative veterans of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administration. Like Michael Ledeen, Feith is a prolific writer and well-known radical conservative. Moreover, he was not being hired as a DoD consultant, like Ledeen, but as the third most senior United States Defense Department official. Feith was certainly the first, and probably the last high Pentagon official to have publicly opposed the Biological Weapons Convention (in 1986), the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (in 1988), the Chemical Weapons Convention (in 1997), the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (in 2000), and all of the various Middle East Peace agreements, including Oslo (in 2000).
Even more revealing perhaps, had the transition team known of it, was Feith's view of "technology cooperation," as expressed in a 1992 Commentary article: "It is in the interest of U.S. and Israel to remove needless impediments to technological cooperation between them. Technologies in the hands of responsible, friendly countries facing military threats, countries like Israel, serve to deter aggression, enhance regional stability and promote peace thereby."
What Douglas Feith had neglected to say, in this last article, was that he thought that individuals could decide on their own whether the sharing of classified information was "technical cooperation," an unauthorized disclosure, or a violation of U.S. Code 794c, the "Espionage Act."
Ten years prior to writing the Commentary piece, Feith had made such a decision on his own. At the time, March of 1972, Feith was a Middle East analyst in the Near East and South Asian Affairs section of the National Security Council. Two months before, in January, Judge William Clark had replaced Richard Allen as National Security Advisor, with the intention to clean house. A total of nine NSC staff members were fired, including Feith, who'd only been with the NSC for a year. But Feith was fired because he'd been the object of an inquiry into whether he'd provided classified material to an official of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The FBI had opened the inquiry. And Clark, who had served in U.S. Army counterintelligence in the 1950's, took such matters very seriously.....more seriously, apparently, than had Richard Allen.
Feith did not remain unemployed for long, however. Richard Perle, who was in 1982 serving in the Pentagon as Assistant secretary for International Security Policy, hired him on the spot as his "Special Counsel," and then as his Deputy. Feith worked at ISP until 1986, when he left government service to form a small but influential law firm, then based in Israel.
In 2001, Douglas Feith returned to DoD as Donald Rumsfeld's Undersecretary for Policy, and it was in his office that "OSP", the Office of Special Plans, was created. It was OSP that originated--some say from whole cloth--much of the intelligence that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have used to justify the attack on Iraq, to miss-plan the post-war reconstruction there, and then to point an accusing finger at Iran and Syria.....all to the absolute delight of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Reason for Concern
Many individuals with strong attachments to foreign countries have served the U.S. Government with honor and distinction, and will certainly do so in the future. The highest officials in our executive and legislative branches should, however, take great care when appointments are made to posts involving sensitive national security matters. Appointees should be rejected who have demonstrated, in their previous government service, a willingness to sacrifice U.S. national security interests for those of another country, or an inability to distinguish one from the other.
Comment: So there you have it. Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Leeden, all current high-level members of Bush's government, all have a track record of passing classified documents to Israel, yet despite this, we are expected to believe that there is but one rogue spy in the Pentagon!
The real question then is, why is this issue becoming public at this time?
Perhaps it is part of an on-going campaign by the CIA to get revenge. There are many "patriotic" CIA agents, you know the ones, they torture people for US interests, not for Israel's interests, who are very upset that the CIA took the fall for an "intelligence failure" on 9/11 and now in Iraq. They wish to defend the CIA's "good name". Perhaps they are behind this "outing".
Perhaps it is misdirection to lead people away from the fact that the entire US foreign policy has been hijacked by Zionists. We have no doubt there are Israeli moles in the Pentagon and in other sensitive positions (think of the use of sex as a trap) in Washington and elsewhere. Jonathan Pollard is serving time in prison for spying for Israel. Think back to the Israeli "art students" who have been wandering around North American selling "art". Think of the many moving companies run by Israelis. But how important are these moles when the Zionist agenda merges so completely with that of the American elite that the neocons have so many important posts?
In looking at the "big picture" we cannot separate the stealing of the 2000 US election by Bush and Co and everything that has happened since. Once the right people had been installed into powers in the US, Israel gave the green light to it's intelligence agency to perpetrate the 9/11 attacks, giving Israel and the US free reign to fulfill their long term goal of a radical reshaping of the power structure and demographics of the oil rich Middle East.
As we follow daily the crazy goings on on our planet, we are repeatedly horrified by what we see and by the burgeoning realisation that this particular rabbit hole seems to have no end.
TEL AVIV - Once upon a time, an assistant to Levy Eshkol, our late prime minister, rushed up to him and cried: "Levy, a disaster! A drought has set in!"
"Where?" the prime minister asked anxiously, "in Texas?"
"No, here in Israel!" the man replied.
"Then there's nothing to worry about," Eshkol said dismissively.
Right from the beginning, the state of Israel has been critically affected by events in the United States. "If America sneezes, Israel catches cold," is the local version of the universal saying.
This is particularly true in the run-up to American elections. They can be as important for Israel as our own, since the occupant of the White House can influence the fate of Israel in many significant ways. But they have an additional significance: The months before the American elections are a kind of open season for Israel.
The basic assumption is that no candidate for the White House would dare to provoke the American Jewish voters at election times. They are an extremely well organized and highly motivated political bloc, ready to donate heaps of money, which gives them political clout well beyond their numbers.
Actually, there are now more Muslims than Jews in the United States, but they are not organized, their motivation is weak, their willingness to donate large amounts of money near zero. Their adherence to the Palestinian cause, for example, cannot match the fierce loyalty of most of the Jews to Israel. Moreover, in this the Jews are now joined by tens of millions of Christian evangelical fundamentalists.
Israeli governments naturally time their most controversial moves to coincide with the American elections. The more closely fought the elections, the more attractive it is for Israeli planners and adventurers.
The state of Israel unilaterally declared its independence in May 1948 , when Harry Truman's reelection campaign was in a critical condition. David Ben Gurion made the decision against the advice of some of his wisest colleagues, who warned him that the United States would oppose the move with all its might. He bet on the inability of the American system to do that during an election campaign.
At the time, Truman was desperately in need of money. Some Jewish millionaires provided it. To show his gratitude, and against the express advice of his Secretary of State (George Marshall) and especially his Secretary of Defense (James Forrestal), Truman immediately accorded the new state de facto recognition. (Stalin trumped him and recognized Israel de jure.)
Since then, this has been a repeating pattern. The Israeli government ordered the army to attack in 1967 (starting the Six Day War) after receiving an OK from President Lyndon Johnson, who at the time was still hoping to be reelected in 1968 .
The critical first year after that war, when America failed to induce Israel to withdraw from the territories its army had conquered, was, of course, an election year. Most of our present troubles stem from that.
Only once did the calculation fail. In 1956 Ben Gurion colluded with France and Britain against Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser. After conquering the Sinai peninsula, Ben Gurion declared the "Third Israeli Kingdom". He was convinced that the Americans were preoccupied with their election and would not interfere. He was wrong.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was standing for re-election, was assured of a landslide majority. He did not need the Jewish vote. He was also a man of principle. So he presented Ben Gurion with what amounted to an ultimatum: Evacuate the Sinai or else.
Four days after setting up his "kingdom" Ben Gurion announced its demise. But this was an exception.
Ariel Sharon, who considers himself a personal disciple of Ben Gurion (as does Shimon Peres), is basing his present policy on the same calculation. President George W. Bush is fighting for his political life. He will not dare to provoke a quarrel with Israel at this juncture. So from now until November, Sharon can do much as he pleases.
President Bush's famous road map is dead. (I can hear him exclaiming: "Road map? What road map? The only map I need is of the road to the White House!") His demand for a freeze on all building activity in the settlements, "even for the natural increase", is becoming a joke. Sharon has just openly flouted this by announcing plans for 600 new houses in the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement.
Emissaries of the Security Council and the State Department are practically begging Sharon on their knees to dismantle dozens of new settlements (referred to as outposts") put up since he assumed power in 2001 . Sharon has promised this to Bush many times, in return for reversals of long-standing US policy. Sharon must be hard put not to laugh in their faces.
However, Sharon does have a vital interest in Bush's re-election. He is afraid of John Kerry, even if he says exactly the same as Bush on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and his grandfather's name was Cohen.
Experience has shown that there is no necessary correlation between what politicians say before elections and what they do after them. That is the other side of the election coin.
So Sharon may be induced to do something - anything at all - that will allow Bush to claim the credit for a "historical breakthrough" in the Middle East. Perhaps - who knows? - a week before the elections, three mobile homes may be dismantled on some godforsaken hilltop in Samaria. Wow!
Comment: A close election would allow Israel to make some major moves on the world scene. If this is indeed the case, the author's theory that Sharon is afraid of Kerry is probably incorrect. The new revelation about the "lone Israeli spy" in the corridors of power in Washington could very well be a calculated maneuver against Sharon. It seems that while the Zionists and Neocons are cooperating to an extent, they are each planning to stab the other in the back in the end. Given that the sky is literally starting to fall, perhaps both groups are beginning to feel the heat.
spends billions just to keep its secrets from the people
The Government spent $US6.5 billion ($9.3 billion) last year keeping 14 million new documents from the public and securing previous secrets, the study says.
By comparison, the government spent $5.6 billion on classifying documents in 2002, including about 11 million new documents, and $4.7 billion in 2001, including about 8 million new documents.
Rick Blum, a co-ordinator of OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition of non-profit groups that united to fight a rising tide of government secrecy, said: "Government secrecy is not only increasing, it's also making it harder for the public to get the information they need to make their families safe from an environmental hazard, such as a toxic chemical that's in their drinking water system ...or from a potential terrorist attack."
The groups include the Federation of American Scientists and the American Library Association.
Mr Blum, the report's author, cited examples of government secrecy, such as information about abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which was known to the Pentagon months before it was made public, and efforts to classify sections of the Senate intelligence committee's report on prewar intelligence on Iraq.
A commission investigating the September 11 attacks found that secrecy was thwarting the government's ability to undermine terrorists.
J. William Leonard, director of the Government's Information Security Oversight Office, said that classification of information was increasing at a rate that should concern the public, but it is partly because more documents are being produced.
Fri Aug 27,11:35
"The president plans to sign some executive orders and issue some presidential directives that will help us take additional steps to improve our ability to find, track, and stop terrorists," said Scott McClellan.
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction at the core of Bush's public case for war with Iraq have led to a spirited debate over intelligence reforms.
Bush has come under heavy pressure to endorse several proposals, including the creation of a national intelligence director to replace the CIA chief at the helm of the 15 US intelligence agencies.
McClellan said the White House would keep working with the US Congress on the legislation necessary to create such a position, adding that the post would have authority over budget and personnel issues.
In the meantime, Bush's orders "include giving the director of the central intelligence additional authority, interim authority I should say, to perform many of the functions that would eventually by assumed by the national intelligence director," said McClellan.
"The president will also be signing an executive order to establish the national counterterrorism center, and he'll also be signing an order that will set some clear guidelines for the sharing of intelligence by establishing some common standards and clear accountability measures," he said.
The official investigation into the September 11 attacks found that US intelligence agencies failed to share evidence that might have helped to unravel the plot by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
Bush has nominated Republican Representative Porter Goss to replace George Tenet, who resigned in early July, leaving the agency to acting director John McLaughlin while Goss awaits Senate confirmation hearings.
On Thursday, congressional leaders said legislation carrying out a sweeping overhaul of US intelligence would be ready for a vote by October 1.
US defense, military and intelligence chiefs have urged lawmakers to tread cautiously, warning that a hasty overhaul could do more harm than good, while relatives of those killed in the September 11 attacks have urged the US Congress to move without delay.
The president's rival in the November 2 elections, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, has embraced all of the recommendations by the commission that investigated the September 11 attacks.
Bush, who fought the creation of the September 11 panel, has balked at the commission's call for placing the new intelligence director in his Cabinet or in the executive office of the US presidency.
"It ought to be a stand-alone group to better coordinate, particularly between foreign intelligence and domestic intelligence matters," he said on August 2.
Bush called for legislation under which the president would nominate the director, who would be confirmed by the Senate but could be fired by the president.
The new post would assume some key CIA functions, becoming the president's primary intelligence adviser and overseeing and coordinate the foreign and domestic activities of the intelligence community, the president said.
Comment: Bush doesn't want the intelligence chief to be a cabinet-level position - but he wants the power to choose the director, who will control foreign and domestic intelligence operations. Given the Neocons' penchant for cronyism, Bush will have all the influence he desires over US intelligence agencies. His nominee for the director of intelligence, Porter Goss, should fit right in with the rest of the gang...
FLASHBACK: Ex-Spy Goss Is Known for His Loyalty to CIA
The lawmaker headed the House Intelligence Committee for seven years. Critics say he's too close to the agency and the Bush White House
By Bob Drogin,
Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON - When terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter J. Goss was having breakfast here with Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, the visiting chief of Pakistan's intelligence agency.
topic, however, was not Pakistan's support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan
or its tacit tolerance of Osama bin Laden. Goss and his guest focused
instead on Pakistan's rivalry with India and the dispute over the territory
A former spy and longtime public official, Goss, 65, served seven years as head of the House Intelligence Committee, longer than almost any other chairman, before resigning the post Tuesday to prepare for his new role.
His patrician stewardship of the oversight committee overlapped with the troubled tenure of George J. Tenet, who stepped down last month as head of the CIA and nominal chief of America's 14 other intelligence agencies.
Goss would bring an unusual pedigree to the top CIA job. If confirmed by the Senate, Goss would be the first U.S. intelligence chief since William E. Colby, who retired in 1976, to have served in the CIA's clandestine service. Goss spent nine years as a covert CIA case officer in Latin America and Europe, recruiting spies and running operations, and was one of a handful of legislators with hands-on experience in intelligence matters.
However, he could be out of a job if Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry, whom Goss has criticized, is elected in November. Even if Bush is reelected, Goss could find his authority sharply reduced by a restructuring of the intelligence community. The White House has proposed naming a national intelligence director who would outrank the CIA chief, and other reforms are being pushed by members of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks.
Goss, in turn, hopes to strengthen the CIA director's job. He introduced legislation in June that would give the CIA chief control over most of the intelligence community's estimated $40-billion annual budget. The Pentagon now controls most of that money.
Was Once Latin America Operative
A year later, the world narrowly averted nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis involving the United States and Soviet Union.
Comment: So Goss may have been involved in the Cuban "Bay of Pigs" affair - that's the same debacle that gave rise to "Operation Northwoods", a plan by US government and military representatives to carry out a fake terror attack in order to galvanise public opinion for an invasion of Cuba. Very interesting.
Not since the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the Nazi takeover in Germany has a western nation seen the kind of collapse of individual freedom that the United States of America is currently seeing. Under President George W. Bush, the constitutional protections of our liberties are speedily vanishing. News reports of the demise of our freedoms are so common it is difficult to keep up with all of them.
For example, the August 16 edition of Newsweek reports, "Rep. Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee to head the CIA, recently introduced legislation that would give the president new authority to direct CIA agents to conduct law-enforcement operations inside the United States - including arresting American citizens.
"The legislation, introduced by Goss on June 16 and touted as an 'intelligence reform' bill, would substantially restructure the U.S. intelligence community by giving the director of the Central Intelligence (DCI) broad new powers to oversee its various components scattered throughout the government."
Another report of America's dissolving liberties was published by World Net Daily on June 21, 2004. It said, "President Bush plans to unveil next month a sweeping mental health initiative that recommends screening for every citizen and promotes the use of expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs favored by supporters of the administration."
Can anyone imagine anything more Orwellian than allowing the federal government to be given the power to "screen" every American citizen? This is right out of Huxley's "Brave New World."
Another disturbing report comes from The New American. It told how the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the "right" of President Bush to suspend habeas corpus protections of U.S. citizens. The vote was 8-1 with only Justice Antonin Scalia dissenting.
The New American report said, "In an unusually pointed dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia condemned the majority decision for eviscerating the habeas corpus guarantee, which prevents the government from indefinitely imprisoning individuals without formal criminal charges or legal recourse.
"Invoking Alexander Hamilton's warning against Americans 'resort[ing] to repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights,' Scalia observes: 'The Founders warned us about the risk, and equipped us with a Constitution designed to deal with it.' However, he concludes, 'the Court has proceeded to meet the current emergency in a manner the Constitution doesn't envision'- one that may ultimately prove deadlier to our system of ordered liberty than anything al-Qaeda could inflict on us."
All Americans need to remember that it doesn't matter one iota whether it is a fascist-leaning conservative or a socialist-leaning liberal who attempts to steal our God-given liberties: each is equally a tyrant and should be vigorously opposed by liberty-loving people everywhere! Well did Benjamin Franklin say, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
The American people also need to realize that we are in a fight to preserve our liberties and that the major source of this attack against our freedoms is coming, not from Baghdad, but from Washington, D.C.
Therefore, be they Democrats or Republicans, men or women, whites or blacks, conservatives or liberals, Christians or pagans, all who attempt to use their political or judicial offices to trample our constitutionally protected liberties must be met with unyielding resistance.
Comment: Sure, everyone should "resist", but all should be cautious about walking into a trap set by the very government one is "resisting". Consider the possibility that the ultimate goal of the US government, and those that control it, is to send a very clear signal to the US population that dissent will not be tolerated. What better way to do so than to entice some of the people to revolt, label them "domestic terrorists" and suppress the dissent with brutal force.
Bob Dreyfuss wrote:
Dreyfuss makes an interesting point. Is the Bush administration simply being arrogant in assuming that Bush will be reelected, or do they have one or more "events" in the works that will ensure another four years...?
By Don Hazen,
New York City is abuzz with talk of the Republican convention – not about what will happen inside with the delegates, but what might happen outside with the protestors.
Four days from now the Republicans will invade New York for their nominating convention, and a lot of people are holding their breath.
People certainly are not expecting much drama inside Madison Square Garden. Seems clear that the Republican convention will be a pep rally where the so-called moderates will be trotted out to do their thing, which is putting a patina of sanity on a radical right agenda that is far from the mainstream of America.
But that is all expected and predictable. No, the big drama in New York will be about how the protestors will greet President George W. Bush and his party.
Will things be peaceful or get violent? And in the end, who might look bad and how will it effect the election? Will it be the Republicans, blamed for causing the anger and division in the country that provoked the dissent? Or will it be the Democrats, blamed because the Republicans will be successful in using the electronic media to tar the Kerry campaign with the sins of the protestors?
Those are the questions and all sides are working feverishly to make things go their way.
The Specter of 1968
There is a lot of speculation – some of it dire – about what might happen in New York. The specter of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, which nominated Hubert Humphrey after the peace movement forced President Lyndon Johnson to the sidelines (and after Bobby Kennedy's assassination), is one big buzz. Many veteran activists believe that Richard Nixon's razor-thin margin over Humphrey of less than 1 percent of the popular vote was due to the media coverage of the "Battle of Chicago."
This November election may be just as close as '68. And the irony is that long after the smoke cleared from Chicago, a commission found that there was a 'police riot' generated by Mayor Richard Daley's police force. The lesson is clear: The truth about public spectacles is usually on the slow track.
Michelle Goldberg, writing in Salon, quotes Todd Gitlin, former '60's radical and now professor and media commentator, saying: "I think the Republicans will probably do what they did in 1968 and make television commercials of people rioting in the street and then promote their guy as the superintendent of order. I sure wouldn't want to be explaining to my kid how it turned out that Bush won the election by three electoral votes because of some last-minute surge of opinion in West Virginia where that commercial played three times an hour."
Fears aside, no one knows what is going to happen outside the Garden on the streets of New York between Sunday, August 29th and Thursday, September 2nd. There is no clear indication that an angry, disorganized crowd, like the one that descended on Chicago in '68, is in the works for New York. In 2000, both political conventions (in Los Angles and Philadelphia) had large numbers of protestors and major confrontations with police. That was the post-Seattle, high point of political activism for a new generation. Many remember the shock when John Sellers, the creative Ruckus Society organizer, was arrested walking down the street in Philly, and bail was set at $1,000,000, immediately making him the most famous protestor in America. However, the level and energy of protest has faded since 2000. It was invigorated again in the build-up to the Iraq war, only to fall back again as many focus their energy on getting Bush out of office.
Roadblocks from the Mayor
On the other hand, in a situation that seems at times surreal, a bungling Mayor Michael Bloomberg and an intransigent police department have made it virtually impossible for the responsible leaders of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the lead group organizing the big march on Sunday, August 29th to have a decent protest, in a city where protest has often been celebrated. [...]
Another part of the buzz is that Mayor Bloomberg and Police Chief Raymond Kelly are taking their cues from Karl Rove and the Secret Service, which ultimately controls the police presence around the Garden. Their goal may be just as historian Gitlin suggests – create campaign opportunities for the Republicans in what has already become a very dirty campaign. [...]
As we head into the big week, there are surely huge unknowns along with some things we do know.
What We Can Count On:
New York City will be an armed camp. Sheelah Kolhatkar and Marcus Baram of the New York Observer report: "At least 20,000 law-enforcement officers from agencies as diverse as the Secret Service and Connecticut-based civilian units of the Army National Guard will help secure the convention. Considering that the convention will attract 48,000 visitors from delegates to lobbyists to the media horde, this amounts to one security officer for every 2.4 civilians" and more police than actual convention goers. "This platoon of protectors will prowl the avenues and train stations, many sporting bullet-proof vests and hoisting weaponry that is the stuff of video game fantasies..."
Mayor Bloomberg will say and do silly things. Clearly the mayor has the stage for the moment, until the big guys from DC come into town. But he and Police Chief Kelly have treated demonstrators with thinly-veiled contempt, which is perhaps not surprising, coming from a billionaire corporate CEO who is used to having people do what he wants. Bloomberg has threatened protestors' rights, and then offered them discounts at restaurants and Broadway theaters if they wear "peaceful demonstrator" buttons. He has ordered $35,000 acoustic devices that emit ear-piercing shrieks at demonstrators. He has pushed the billion-dollar Westside stadium plan by basically saying, "Wouldn't if be nice if the demonstrators could use it?" What he hasn't done is be sensible and act like the leader of all the people of New York, instead of the front man for the visiting Republicans.
A lot of New Yorkers are leaving town. A recent ABC News poll found that 83 percent of New Yorkers do not want the convention in town. The armed camp, the cops leaving much of the non-convention city unprotected – and the traffic jams – are more than enough to send New Yorkers scurrying and many were leaving anyway, given that it's the week before Labor Day. [...]
Many progressive leaders and groups have also abandoned New York. Many groups that played a major role in the anti-war movement against the Iraq war are fervently anti-Bush – in particular the 2.5 million-member MoveOn.org, but also enviro groups like the Sierra Club – and won't be in New York for two reasons. First, their top priority is defeating Bush and their PACs are focusing on swing states and get-out-the-vote efforts. Secondly, many leaders think that any demonstrations against the Republicans during a nominating convention are counter-productive, and will turn off voters. They prefer election messages. [...]
What We Don't Know:
How big will the march be? Maybe someone wants to start an office pool on this question. This much we think we know: There will be a big march on Sunday beginning at 10:00 a.m. at 14th Street and 7th Avenue. Early estimates of 250,000, even 500,000 protestors, printed in the New York Times, may be seriously out of whack. Every possible factor to thin the crowd is in play – the lack of city cooperation, no specific plans for the march, lack of support from large membership groups focused on the election, a separate union march on 9/1, the dog days of August, the armed camp mentality, the fears of terror, need I go on?
Where will the march go? Where it goes, where it stops, what happens when it stops, no one really knows. It is pretty shocking that five days out, with tens of thousands of people converging, the path of the Sunday march is still unknown. At one point, several weeks ago, the UFPJ, desperate to come up with something concrete, agreed to city demands to move out to the Westside Highway. But when the City refused to work out details with members of the UFPJ coalition, and the general public demanded the marchers go to Central Park, the group bailed on the agreement. UFPJ took its case to the New York State Supreme Court and the judge ruled it out. In one case for a separate Saturday demo in the Park, the judge said "Work it out," but refused to force the city to open the park. The New York Times reports that in spite of the two rulings, protesters maintain their intention to go to the park, permit or not, and that officials plan to police the area.
What will the media coverage be like? Ahhh, the $64,000 question. There is a lot of trepidation about the media images emerging from the week ahead. A number of activists concerned about potential media negativity are developing a campaign to challenge the media to do their job and report accurately.
The biggest concern has to do with the civil disobedience demonstrations on August 31st, which will range from principled forms of CD to deliberate attempts to provoke the 20,000 cops and harass the delegates. It is at this nexus where the most heated battle for the media frame will take place. However, the situation on Sunday, the 29th could get messy as well, if groups decide to march to Central Park without parade permits, and the Bloomberg administration plays hardball.
There is lots of discussion among veteran leaders about militant action. Many feel principled civil disobedience is an important tradition and should be supported, no matter what the potential impact in the media. Nevertheless, they are wringing their hands about what they will have to deal with and how to keep the lid on things.
Privately, leaders suggest "the people who want to wreak havoc are provoked, rather than pacified, when we try to tell them what to do, especially when we denounce their tactics in public. We are talking with people privately and we think that is what will work best."
Those doing the talking have to deal with people like Jason Flores-Williams, an anti-RNC activist and political writer who seems to think the demonstrations are about him. He told Salon, "First off, you've got to do what you've got to do for yourself. I'm less concerned with how things are going to affect the vote, and more concerned with confronting the systemic problems in this country head on – to make New York reflective of the anger that's inside of us."
There will be many people of good will on the streets working their butts off to project a positive message. There will be thousands of journalists from all over the world, poised to tell their stories. And there will likely be a lot more drama than your favorite reality show. Stay tuned.
Don Hazen is the Executive Editor of AlterNet.
Comment: Leaders may be suggesting that they are conversing privately with those "people who want to wreak havoc", but the fact remains that those same leaders are publicly trying to antagonize potential protestors as much as possible. Surely this is not a good sign...
We repeat: Sure, everyone should "resist", but all should be cautious about walking into a trap set by the very government one is "resisting". Consider the possibility that the ultimate goal of the US government, and those that control it, is to send a very clear signal to the US population that dissent will not be tolerated. What better way to do so than to entice some of the people to revolt, label them "domestic terrorists" and suppress the dissent with brutal force?
And where better to do it than in New York City at the Republican National Convention?
J. GRAY, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - In the first major clash between police and demonstrators converging for the Republican National Convention, more than 250 bicyclists were arrested during a protest ride that snaked through the city and passed by Madison Square Garden.
Bikers chanted anti-Bush slogans, stifled traffic and, in some places, argued with motorists during the Friday night ride, which began at Union Square and drew thousands of cyclists.
Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said the bikers had caused "massive disruptions" and endangered motorists. Participants said their ride was peaceful and that the arrests were an excessive show of force.
Police had passed out leaflets to the riders warning them not to ride more than two abreast, and many of them ignored that warning, Browne said. Among the protesters arrested was one who allegedly threw a beer can at an officer, he said. The officer was uninjured.
"We gave them every opportunity to comply with the law," Browne said. "Those who didn't were arrested."
A total of 264 people were arrested as of early Saturday, according to Sgt. Michael Wysokowski, a police department spokesman.
The protest began as a monthly Critical Mass bike ride, but what was usually a crowd of hundreds swelled to thousands, with organizers saying the excursion drew a horde of bikers who wanted to protest the convention.
Bill Dobbs, of the antiwar group United for Peace and Justice, said the monthly Critical Mass ride "has provided joy to bicyclists and bystanders for years now."
"The arrests are completely unnecessary," Dobbs said. "Police needlessly escalated tension. Let us hope that they are more restrained as we go into the convention period."
While the Friday night event was the largest so far, it followed a day of demonstrations.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of moms with small children, plus some dads, pushed strollers across the Brooklyn Bridge in another protest against President Bush.
"Bush is taking away our children's future. Money for pre-emptive war takes away money from child care," said Malissa Smith as she joined the demonstration by Mothers Opposing Bush.
The group - called MOB - was led by a pair of 4-year-olds with their "Kids for Kerry" banner.
"He's the president - but not right now," said Tiber Worth, holding one end while his classmate Isabella Stevenson clutched the other as they headed across the bridge.
Police had reported a total of 22 arrests in convention-related protests before Friday evening's bicycle procession, including five people trying to stage a demonstration in Union Square using sound equipment without a permit. In a separate incident, a protester was arrested for disorderly conduct in an anti-Bush group walking from Columbus Circle to Union Square, police said.
On Thursday, 11 AIDS activists were in police custody after shedding their clothes and demanding that Bush help HIV-positive people in poor nations around the world.
Four other young protesters said Friday that they face a grand jury hearing for unfurling a huge anti-Bush banner from the roof of The Plaza hotel on Fifth Avenue a day earlier. The sign had the word "truth" on an arrow pointing north toward Central Park and another arrow with "Bush" pointing south toward the Garden.
Police said an officer needed 38 stitches for a leg wound he suffered at the scene. A fifth person was arrested for passing out fliers on their behalf.
A Reader Comments:
The article about dissent being anti-american sure hits home. I live in one of the few liberal counties in the state of Colorado and I had an anti-bush bumper sticker on my jeep. Within the first three days of putting it on, I had four handwritten notes left on my windshield, and one taped to my bumper, trying to cover up the sticker. I have always had open minded stickers on my jeep -though never a political one - I have never run into this kind of open hostility about any of them. It was truly shocking to me - and, though I'm not proud of it, I took the sticker off after a week, afraid that someone would eventually damage the vehicle.
Face it, if someone is motivated enough to write a note on a piece of paper, and then get tape and tape that note to my bumper sticker - all of this in a parking garage, I might add, not close to a supply of paper or tape - what else will they do? The shift from understanding that an opinion is just that and not something to hate or be terrified of to the widespread behavior of actively acting against someone just because they believe differently than you do has happened so furtively and so quickly that this society no more resembles a democracy than nazi germany. Truly unreal. Confused
Reply to New York City tabloid and police smears and lies
MONTREAL -- August 27, 2004
Dear friends and allies --
As some of you might know, there has been a series of scare-mongering articles in New York City and beyond -- targeting mainly anarchists and other left-wing political organizers -- in anticipation of the mobilization against the Republican National Convention (RNC) this weekend and next week. Some of these articles mention me by name (although I was never contacted beforehand for comment by any of the reporters, and I'm not even attending the anti-RNC protests). Normally, I wouldn't care too much about these negative pieces, based solely on anonymous police sources, but two of the recent articles in mainstream New York City daily newspapers are just so outrageous and untrue that I need to respond clearly and publicly.
In yesterday's New York Daily News (August 26, 2004), the frontpage reads: "Police Intelligence Warning: Anarchy Inc." The headline inside refers to "Anarchists hot for mayhem". The supposed "exclusive" by writer Patrice O'Shaughnessy (of the Daily News Police Bureau) begins as follows:
"Fifty of the country's leading anarchists are expected to be in the city for the Republican National Convention, and a handful of them are hard-core extremists with histories of violent and disruptive tactics, according to police intelligence sources. Police said each of the 50 have up to 50 followers who are willing to be arrested during disturbances at the convention."
The article later goes on to refer to me by name:
"Jaggi Singh, a Canadian citizen, is known for allegedly setting off hoax devices to detour police resources. He allegedly catapulted teddy bears soaked with gasoline at police at the Quebec G-20 protest in 2001, according to NYPD reports. A member of the International Solidarity Movement, or ISM, he was seen shooting a handgun, and allegedly received firearms training from Toure, according to a police source."
(Kazi Toure is referred earlier in the article as "[A] Black Panther from Boston also known as Christopher King, convicted in the 1980s of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and with arrests for bank robbery and transporting firearms, was observed training younger militants in weapons use.")
An accompanying article refers to "Potentially violent groups identified by the NYPD", and includes SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty), the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the Anarchist Black Cross, and two groups referred to as "The Organization" and "No Police State" (the last described as a "[f]ringe group of anarchists planning to spark violence.")
[The original Daily News article is available online at http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/story/225853p-193988c.html]
Ten days ago (August 16, 2004), the Daily News' competitor -- the New York Post -- ran its own scare-mongering piece (isn't free market competition great!) with the headline: "Finest prep for anarchy: Radicals eye GOP gala" (co-written by Murray Weiss and Andy Soltis). That article includes brief profiles of activists Lisa Fithian, Starhawk and myself. However, accompanying my profile, under the title "Here's trouble," is an undated photo of someone who is dark-skinned and vaguely resembles me shooting a gun at some sort of outdoor range. I'm referred to as a "key anarchist leader who has become increasingly militant."
Clearly, these recent articles are not just limited to the usual innuendo and lack of context of most of the usual reporting about protesters or anarchists, and I feel compelled to respond.
In reference to yesterday's Daily News article's claims about me, here is a point-by-point rebuttal (with a bit of editorializing):
* I don't have 50 followers. I don't have 5 followers. I don't even have a dog.
* I have never set any hoax devices.
* I don't know, and have never met someone named Kazi Toure or Christopher King.
* I have not received firearms training from Kazi Toure, or anyone else for that matter.
* Based on the recent New York Daily News article, out of sheer curiosity, I would now like to meet Kazi Toure.
* I was nabbed by undercover police from the streets of Quebec City in April 2001 during an anti-Summit of the Americas protest, and charged with participating in a riot, as well as possessing a dangerous weapon -- a teddy-bear launching catapult. I was jailed for 17 days.
* Based on my subsequent knowledge of the catapult, and the people who operated it, only teddy bears and confetti were launched. Based on the police services' own videos from Quebec City, the catapult only launched teddy bears and confetti.
* The teddy bears were not soaked in gasoline (although, knowing some of the folks involved, they might have perfumed the bears).
* The article mistakenly refers to a "Quebec G-20 protest in 2001". I was arrested, with many others, at an anti-G-20 protest that took place in Montreal in October 2000, and charged with participating in a riot. I was acquitted, along with two co-accused, by a Montreal jury in April 2003. Many of the jurors personally congratulated the defendants after the trial.
* The charges against me from the Quebec City protests in April 2001 were dropped in January 2004. I always insisted on my innocence but the charges were stayed before I could be unequivocally acquitted in front of a jury (actually, the charges were stayed because the courts knew I would be unequivocally acquitted in front of a jury, and a second jury acquittal would have been embarrassing to the state).
* Yes, I was a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and I'm a member of the ISM in Montreal. I was privileged to be able to observe firsthand the courage and steadfastness of ordinary Palestinians as they confront daily injustice and defend their dignity, and to continue to support the work of the ISM from Montreal. The ISM is a Palestinian-led group of Palestinians and internationals that are working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. The ISM uses nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies while also recognizing the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, the ISM itself is committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance. The claim that the ISM is a violent group, or might potentially engage in violence at the RNC, is ludicrous.
* Based on the outright fabrications and lies against me in the Daily News article, all the allegations aimed at other named individuals and groups are highly questionable. I would like to express my solidarity with them.
As for the New York Post photo on August 16, 2004: it's a fake. As a friend of mine who saw the photo put it to me by e-mail: "It's not you. I got a copy of the article and the photo is not actually you. It is some brown guy with high cheekbones and a Harry Potter haircut, but it's not you."
By responding publicly, perhaps I'm drawing just more attention to the smears. But, I do have something of a track record as a political organizer, and anybody who knows me can verify how untrue the tabloid claims against me are. Instead, I hope I can modestly contribute to exposing the level of corporate media complicity in the police and state's marginalization of radical dissent, and the extent of their fabrications. Of course, it's not a surprise that out-and-out lies are used in smear campaigns against "radicals" or "anarchists." Still, we should remind ourselves of the proof when it exists, such as yesterday's Daily News article, or the Post photo.
Good luck to everyone who is organizing and gathering to confront the RNC. In my mind, the best response to these media and police attacks will be to continue our open conspiracy to effectively expose and disrupt the RNC, and to persist with our collective and daily struggles for social justice.
What began as a peaceful protest ended in ugly scenes in the centre of Athens' tourist district as police blocked marchers from taking their demonstration against US foreign policy to the door of the American embassy.
Angry scuffles between left-wing demonstrators and riot police were played out in front of hundreds of foreign tourists and journalists in town for the Olympics.
Marchers from the Stop the War coalition planned a peaceful protest against the visit to Greece of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who they see as a figurehead for "US imperialism".
But the sight of demonstrators' placards raining down on a police line and baton-wielding officers firing tear gas will be seen as a fresh blow to Greece's public image. [...]
In the square itself, several hundred police and riot squad officers were waiting for the march, blocking access to some of the capital's most exclusive hotels.
Tourists and locals at the popular meeting place took photos and asked each other what was going on.
But it was when the march rounded the square onto the main road to the embassy - on one of the key Olympics transport routes - that the mood darkened.
Two dark blue police coaches, with wire grills over the windows, had been arranged as a roadblock. In front of them was a line of riot police three deep.
A stand-off ensued, with vociferous anti-American chants from the crowd.
As protestors pressed forward there was a brief melee - police and demonstrators clashed and for a few minutes police were pelted with bottles and placards from the crowd.
When the crowd pressed forward for a second time, police fired tear gas, forcing demonstrators back.
A young girl sat on a traffic island nursing a nosebleed. Further down the road, a pile of rubbish had been set on fire and bins knocked over.
As banner-waving activists retreated down the street from which they came, two elderly ladies at a bus stop looked at each other in bewilderment.
A father turned to his family and said in an American accent: "I guess they heard the US team won another gold."
Locking up his newspaper stall, a man who gave his name only as George, told BBC News Online: "This is not what all Greeks think - these people have got no respect for our country."
WASHINGTON (AP) - al-Qaeda may attempt to attack Veterans Affairs hospitals as an alternative to more heavily guarded U.S. military installations, the FBI and Homeland Security Department warn in a new nationwide terrorism bulletin.
Although U.S. authorities say there is no credible intelligence regarding a specific threat against such hospitals, the bulletin said there have been persistent reports of "suspicious activity" at medical facilities throughout the United States.
That includes "possible reconnaissance activities" this year at unspecified military medical facilities in Bethesda, Md., and Aurora, Colo., the bulletin said. Even though later investigation of these two incidents uncovered no links to terrorism, the bulletin urges vigilance at VA hospitals on the part of police and security personnel.
"These facilities may be considered attractive targets due to their association with the military and a perception that such an attack may be more successful than an attack against traditional military targets, which generally maintain a more robust security posture," the bulletin says. [...]
Comment: And on it goes... Yet another vague and unspecified threat, with no credible evidence whatsoever, designed solely to ratchet up the fear factor. Same show, different place. However, it remains possible that those in power are knowingly "tipping their hand" in advance, with a clue as to the next big hit being some kind of "soft target".
Bethesda, located just outside Washington, is home of the National Naval Medical Center, which is across the street from the sprawling National Institutes of Health. Aurora, located just east of Denver, is home to the former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, now being redeveloped into a civilian medical school.
The Department of Veterans Affairs operates 163 hospitals in the United States, with at least one in each of the 48 contiguous states as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. There are also hundreds of VA clinics and nursing homes.
The bulletin was circulated among law enforcement and security personnel nationwide Thursday. The Associated Press obtained a copy Friday.
Earlier this month, the FBI warned that al-Qaeda might attempt to attack military recruitment centers, which are also less tightly guarded than other military facilities.
The new bulletin repeats a number of previously released indicators of possible terrorist surveillance. These include unusual interest in security measures or access points of buildings; operatives possibly disguised as "panhandlers, shoe shiners, food or flower vendors"; discreet use of video cameras in areas not frequented by tourists; and individuals seen observing security drills or procedures.
U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that al-Qaeda is likely to attempt an attack inside the United States before the Nov. 2 election. Security is extraordinarily tight for next week's Republican National Convention in New York, where captured al-Qaeda documents indicated planning for possible strikes against financial interests in New York and Newark, N.J.
The FBI has also previously warned that al-Qaeda might attempt to attack lightly guarded targets such as apartment buildings and hotels.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez can work towards better ties with the US by avoiding inflammatory rhetoric, the US State Department has said.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage made the remarks at a ceremony to swear in a new US envoy for Caracas.
President Chavez meanwhile celebrated a referendum victory endorsing his rule by criticising the opposition groups that had campaigned against him.
He has previously accused the US of financing the opposition.
At a ceremony to swear in William Brownfield as the new US ambassador to Venezuela, Mr Armitage said he hoped Caracas would co-operate on measures to counter the drug trade and terrorism.
Dealings between the two countries could improve if the Venezuelan government considered "how its actions - and its rhetoric - might affect the future of our bilateral relations", he said.
The US has tended to avoid direct criticism of President Chavez, whose country is a major oil supplier.
Comment: Chavez has been telling the truth about US involvement in Latin America, US backing of the coup attempt against him in 2002, of US backing of the general strikes, demonstration, and opposition attempts to get Chavez recalled. But "the US has tended to avoid direct criticism" of Chavez. They prefer to work indirectly, in back rooms. Chavez on the other hand must continue to speak the truth. He is supported by the poor in his country because he is defending their rights, rights which the opposition would ignore, or worse, if it should come back to power.
TEL AVIV – An Israeli firm has developed a miniature system that can provide unobtrusive lie detector tests for commercial air travelers deemed suspicious.
The system uses a miniature computer chip that can provide voice analysis of those responding to questions from screeners at airports. Executives said the technology which they termed Poly-Layered Voice Analysis, measured voice for such traits as deception, excitement, stress, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust.
The chip can be inserted in an eyeglass frame and allow screeners to determine with 98 percent accuracy whether a suspicious traveler has intentions to launch an attack during flight, Middle East Newsline reported.
The new technology has been relayed to the United States for marketing by a New York-based company V Entertainment, which markets a product to allow screeners to process a would-be airline passenger within 30 seconds.
Executives said a chip small enough to fit in an eyeglass frame could read a subject's voice frequency. The chip was meant to provide nine analyses and flash a light upon detection of a lie. Conventional lie detectors measure the heart beat in an effort to detect whether a subject is telling the truth.
The system, termed "Voice Analysis Eyeglasses," has been produced by the Israeli firm Nemesysco, which develops systems for counter-insurgency and military applications.
The Nemesysco product was said to be ready for marketing and priced at between $500 and $1,000. The system was deemed as suitable for commercial or security applications and could also analyze telephone conversations.
Voice Analysis Eyeglasses, also capable of detecting gaps in the answers of a subject, was said to measure 18 parameters of speech.
Comment: Sure, Big Brother has all kinds of new James Bond gadgets to spy on you... but it's for your protection - see?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic growth slowed more sharply in the second quarter than first thought as oil prices rose and the trade gap swelled, the government said on Friday in a report that confirmed momentum faltered in the spring.
U.S. gross domestic product -- which measures total output within the nation's borders -- expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the second quarter to $10.8 trillion, down from the 3.0 percent pace estimated last month by the Commerce Department.
The downward revision marked a sharp slowdown from the first quarter's 4.5 percent expansion, but was widely expected by Wall Street and markets had little reaction.
"Rapidly fading fiscal stimulus, a collapse in mortgage refinancing and sharply higher energy costs reduced households' purchasing power," said Steven Wood, an economist at Insight Economics.
While there are signs the economy picked up strength in the summer, analysts said growth is unlikely to bounce back quickly enough in the third quarter to spur job creation.
"Overall economic growth should accelerate but will likely remain below the 4 percent pace needed to reduce unemployment," Wood said. [...]
By Paul Majendie
ATHENS (Reuters) - With the United States suffering its worst day at the Athens Olympics, China took center stage as sporting superpowers on a night to remember on the athletics track.
The Chinese national anthem exhorts the masses to "Arise! Arise! Arise!" and their athletes did just that Friday with two stunning track golds.
Liu Xiang, who won the men's 110 meters hurdles in a world record-equalling time of 12.91 seconds, said: "My victory has proved that athletes with yellow skin can run as fast as those with black and white skin."
With Beijing hosting the next Olympics in 2008 and China eager to show its global clout, he said of his win: "This is a miracle but I believe a lot more miracles will take place in China."
One of the biggest shocks Friday evening was provided by China's unheralded Xing Huina who pounced to land the women's 10,000 meters final.
She may run awkwardly with her arms beside her but she put the pride of Ethiopia firmly in their place.
Ethiopia's Ejegayehu Dibaba was left stunned in second place because she had thought Xing was a lapped runner and that Ethiopia had swept the medals.
Finally convinced by officials of her fatal error, Dibaba said: "I didn't see where the Chinese girl came from. Had I known I would have put in more effort and passed her."
Britain's Paula Radcliffe, who dropped out of the marathon in tears last Sunday, tried in vain to revive her disastrous Olympics but pulled out with nine laps to go.
How the mighty are fallen.
For America's star of Sydney, Marion Jones, this has been the worst season of her life and it just kept getting even worse Friday evening.
First she finished fifth in the women's long jump final and then a fumbled handover spelt disaster in the 4x100 relay.
An utterly crestfallen Jones said: "It is extremely disappointing. Words cannot put it into perspective."
Tim Mack managed to salvage some American pride when landing the Olympic pole vault title after an engrossing duel with team mate Toby Stevenson.
"It's pretty unbelievable. I can't put it into words, it kind of seems like a storybook," he said before the only triumph of the night for the Star Spangled Banner.
Argentina added insult to injury when the United States failed to reach the men's basketball final for the first time in 16 years.
For The Dream Team, it was a nightmare as they left the court to a chorus of boos after their humiliating loss.
"We fought as hard as we could but we just couldn't get it done for whatever reason," said U.S. guard Allen Iverson.
Long gone are the days when the Americans were the darlings of the tournament who would happily sign autographs and pose for photos with their pummeled opponents. [...]
Comment: Coincidence? We think not.
The growing involvement of American Jewish groups in nascent pro-Israel lobbying efforts in France is fueling concerns of a possible backlash among some French Jewish leaders and Israeli officials.
In a letter to the Israeli Foreign Ministry two months ago, Israel's ambassador to France, Nissim Zvili, warned about the potential negative consequences if American Jewish groups are perceived as seeking to influence French politics, the Forward has learned.
Several French Jewish leaders are echoing Zvili's concerns that any perception of American Jewish money bankrolling politicians in France at a time when anti-American and anti-Israel feelings are in vogue would eventually harm French Jews.
Zvili, who was responding to a query from the Foreign Ministry following news reports about such initiatives, stressed the need to take into consideration the stark differences of mentality and political structures between France and the United States, according to a source at the embassy. In his letter, Zvili also wrote that reports of intervention by American groups are making French Jewish leaders uncomfortable and could have a very negative impact on public opinion.
Citing a commonly heard fear in French Jewish circles, the embassy source said: "American Jewish money funding a French electoral campaign would be a catastrophe."
Zvili, the source said, has urged Israel to tell American Jewish groups to proceed carefully. The source indicated that the message was approved in Jerusalem and likely passed on to American Jewish groups.
Calls to the Foreign Ministry officials overseeing the issue were not returned. [...]
Comment: Perhaps causing harm to French Jews is precisely the point. After all, Sharon and the Zionists keep pushing for Jews from France and every other country to move back to Israel.
CNN's Kianne Sadeq continues her excellent reportage from Najaf. She and her team report that supporters of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani streamed into the shrine of Ali in Najaf. After reaching an agreement with Sistani, Muqtada pledged to ask his men to leave the shrine. Sistani wants Najaf and Kufa to be demilitarized. Muqtada al-Sadr's men used the microphones ordinarily employed for the call to prayer to relay his message that the Mahdi Army should lay down its arms. Wire reports suggest that some were obeying the order. With all those pilgrims now in the shrine, it will be easy for the Mahdi Army fighters to slip away if they so choose.
Sadeq also says that Qasim Dawoud, the Minister of State for Military Affairs, has pledged that Muqtada al-Sadr would be a free man as a result of the agreement he reached with Sistani. Dawoud said,
Meanwhile, the full extent of the destruction inflicted on Najaf by the US military may never be fully appreciated in the U.S. itself. How many civilians did our troops kill in their campaign in a densely populated urban area against the Sadrist street gangs--especially in the first days of the conflict before most city residents fled the old city? I find chilling the words of John Burns and Dexter Filkin of the New York Times
Chris Allbritton, an eyewitness writes to remind me that by this time, the area was completely deserted by civilians, so this strike did not kill any. My point was only that especially in the first week of the three-week battle, there seem to have been civilian casualties, and we don't know anything about them-- how many, how bad, etc., despite sporadic reports and statistics from the Iraqi Health Ministry.
Al-Hayat reports that while he was in London, a delegation of Iranians came to see Sistani and to request that he support a bigger role for Iran in Iraq. He is said to have rejected this overture vehemently, and to have decided in the aftermath to return to Iraq without coordinating that step with the British, American or Iraqi governments. [This claim of non-coordination is coming from Sistani circles in London and is not plausible-- the British had to be in this up to their eyeballs.]
Winners and losers:
I think the big losers from the Najaf episode (part deux) are the Americans. They have become, if it is possible, even more unpopular in Iraq than they were last spring after Abu Ghuraib, Fallujah and Najaf Part 1. The US is perceived as culturally insensitive for its actions in the holy city of Najaf.
The Allawi government is also a big loser. Instead of looking decisive, as they had hoped, they ended up looking like the lackeys of neo-imperialists.
The big winner is Sistani, whose religious charisma has now been enhanced by solid nationalist credentials. He is a national hero for saving Najaf.
For Muqtada, it is a wash. He did not have Najaf until April, anyway, and can easily survive not having it. His movement in the slums of the southern cities is intact, even if its paramilitary has been weakened.
It seems to activate a part of the brain linked with pleasurable feelings, a new study suggests.
THURSDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDayNews) -- Scientists have discovered that the sweetness of revenge may have a neurological basis.
A Swiss brain imaging study shows that punishing people when they behave unfairly activates the same reward circuitry of the brain that is fired up when sniffing cocaine or seeing a beautiful face.
The findings, which appear in the Aug. 27 issue of Science, may partly explain the phenomenon of "altruistic punishment," which is exacting revenge on behalf of a stranger.
"A lot of theoretical work in evolutionary biology and our previous experimental work suggest that altruistic punishment has been crucial for the evolution of cooperation in human societies," said Ernst Fehr, the senior author of the study who is director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich. "Our previous experiments show that if altruistic punishment is possible, cooperation flourishes. If we rule out altruistic punishment, cooperation breaks down."
Added John Hibbing, a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln: "It [the new study] fits with research that has been done in recent years on the importance of punishment, not just that we cooperate automatically. The notion that a bad guy is going to get it is really important to humans."
According to the study, cooperation among humans is both unique and essential to human societies. The question is, why have people been willing to engage in altruistic punishment even if it can be costly to them personally?
The study is one of the first to use brain imaging to investigate the phenomenon.
As Fehr explained
his research, the male participants were each given $10. Person A could
either keep his $10 or give it to Person B. If he gave it to B, B would
actually receive $40 for a total of $50. Person B could now either reciprocate
by giving the money back to A, or giving back just half the amount.
Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), the researchers scanned the brain activity of the volunteers while they were making the decision to punish or not.
As it turned out, the decision to punish activated the caudate nucleus, a region of the brain involved in experiencing pleasure or satisfaction, Fehr said. Although the study volunteers were engaging in "regular" revenge, the authors think the findings could be extrapolated to altruistic punishment.
a number of implications to the findings. One is a more constructive way
of viewing revenge.
"Emotions are not just reactive. They can be proactive," said Brian Knutson, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Stanford University, and author of an accompanying perspective piece in the journal. "They can actually focus and drive behavior. People don't often think about emotions that way."
Comment: We sure are glad that these "experts" are around to inform us of useful ideas, such as "emotions can actually focus and drive behavior". Gee, looking at recent world events, we would never have guessed...
The very idea that emotions, not cold-calculated reason, are driving revenge is a novel one, Knutson said.
Comment: It is?! If this is the pinnacle of modern scientific neurological and psychological studies, we are all in deep doo-doo...
Finally, the anticipation of exacting revenge can be motivating.
about Dirty Harry, the screen cop made famous by Clint Eastwood.
Sat Aug 28,12:23 AM ET
TOKYO (AFP) - Typhoon Chaba was approaching Japan and was expected to bring heavy rain and high winds to large areas in southwestern regions over the weekend, officials said.
At noon (0300 GMT) Saturday, the typhoon was located at 290 kilometers (180 miles) west of Minami Daitojima island of Okinawa Prefecture in the Pacific, with sustained winds up to 162 kilometers per hour, the Meteorological Agency said.
Chaba, meaning hibiscus in Thai, is moving slowly northwest and expected to hit the southern Kyushu region as early as Sunday, the agency said.
The agency warned of strong winds, heavy rain and high waves in southwestern Japan, forecasting up to 500 millimeters (20 inches) of rain this weekend in Mie Prefecture some 300 kilometers west of Tokyo.
At least 16 ferry services were cancelled on Saturday due to high waves.
Meanwhile, another typhoon emerged Saturday morning in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, the agency said.
Typhoon Sondga, the name of a river in Vietnam, had winds of up to 64.8 kilometers per hour near its center.
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A tropical depression off the coast of South Carolina was nearing tropical storm strength on Saturday morning.
The system formed southeast of Charleston on Friday, prompting a tropical storm watch from near Wilmington, N.C., south to the Georgia-Florida state line.
At 8 a.m., the depression was located about 135 miles southeast of Charleston. Maximum sustained winds were 35 mph.
The National Hurricane Center expects the depression soon to begin drifting to the west-northwest. It is currently predicted to come onshore around Charleston on Sunday night.
The biggest threat from the depression is flooding. Forecasters say 3 to 5 inches of rain are possible along coastal areas from Georgia to North Carolina.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division says the depression is "no significant threat" to the state at this time, but will continue to monitor it over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Frances churned in the Atlantic with sustained winds near 115 mph, but was not expected to threaten land in the near future. Its center was about 695 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the southeastern Caribbean.
Frances is the sixth named storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Aug 26, 2004
Some strange events have residents in the Midwest scratching their heads. Last Thursday and Friday UFO sightings were reported from Minneapolis to Antigo.
Several people also reported some unexpected power outages. Scott Worden has been in the farming business for years, but never in all his time has he witnessed something like this.
"Never seen nothing like this in the field."
Six crop circles were discovered in one of his farm fields early Monday morning.
A worker noticed them while working in a barley field.
Two of the circles are about 20 feet in diameter. The other four are smaller sizes.
Scott says he's not sure how the circles got there. But what he does know, is they're mysterious.
"You can see they're all in a counter-clockwise motion the way the grain is wrapped. Something came down on the field, ya know, and it was turning in a counter-clockwise motion."
Scott says neighbors and friends have come by to see the circles. And take pictures of what some call a phenomenon.
WebPosted Aug 27 2004 05:39 PM PDT
KELOWNA, B.C. - Another cat has been killed in Kelowna. It's the sixth in a series of grisly cat killings and mutilations in the past month, and the second in as many days.
The latest cat had been cut in half and the hindquarters were left in a front yard in the Rutland area of the city early Friday morning.
Police say someone is taking cats from their yards to another location, killing them and dismembering the bodies. The cats' remains are then set up where they will be found by their owners the next morning. [...]
Friday, August 27, 2004
A couple of weeks ago, a Doberman pinscher was mauled by something nobody has been able to identify. It's surely not a wolverine, say the wildlife experts. We don't have them here. It's probably a fisher, the same experts say. Those buggers can be pretty mean.
A fisher? Ha! So say more than a half-dozen people who have contacted me. "There's been talk of a strange animal out here for years," said Steve Theberge, who lives in the Wales area. "They say it stands about 4 feet tall. I hear it's a pretty strange-looking creature."
Theberge is not making this up. His father-in-law has seen the creature. His son has seen it and his wife had an up-close look six years ago.
"This thing, it just hopped over the road and then it stood there," said Brenda Theberge. "It was tan and gray and it had these weird eyes. It was sunset and those eyes were just glowing."
It had the physical characteristics of a hyena, she said. It stood maybe 4 feet tall and it stared with those glowing eyes in a most menacing way. It was almost hairless.
"It was definitely scary to look at," Brenda said. "It was like the size of a pony."
For all his fascination with the creature, Steve has never seen it himself. But he says he was treated to the chilling scream of the beast just a short time ago. It sounded like a baby at first, then the creature began to growl and it was like no sound Theberge had ever heard.
Shortly after hearing the spine-tingling scream, Steve found tracks through dirt and mud in his yard. The tracks were bigger than his hand and bore the imprints of three claws.
"I've spent a lot of time in the Maine woods," Theberge said. "I've never seen a track like that."
When confronted with something that seems alien in the familiar surroundings of our homes, a primitive chill crawls up the spine. As evolved humans, we are at once terrified and fascinated by the unknown. We are a superior species, we reason, and thus we have control over our wildlife.
So when Leo
Michaud reported that something had crept from the woods behind his Wales
home and killed his Doberman pinscher, wildlife experts nodded knowingly.
It was a fisher, they said. A small but vicious animal with a nasty reputation
in the Maine woods. It was certainly not some exotic beast that crept
letters about the mystery creature have been coming in since a story about
the Doberman appeared in the paper. Almost nobody believes the ferocious,
I know what you're thinking. You live in Lewiston where the only wildlife to be seen is in the downtown area, right? You scoff. You mock. You laugh until coffee comes out your nose and hum the theme from "Deliverance."
Don't get too comfortable just yet, naysayer. A letter-writer named Jamie Tapley tells me he has twice seen a large, fearsome creature in his Sabattus Road yard. He reported the sighting and a Maine Game Warden called him back. The Warden's guess? It was a fisher.
"I researched fishers online and this thing is bigger than a fisher," Jamie said. "This thing is nearly as tall as my collie."
Earlier this week, I was talking to Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout about a completely unrelated matter. I happened to mention what I was hearing about this mystery creature. Strout turned quiet a moment. As it happened, he had received a call earlier that day from a woman on Old Greene Road in Lewiston. The woman had seen a strange creature near the power lines by her home. The critter was at least 18 inches high with a long tail and she wanted to know what it was.
"She drew me a picture," Strout said. "It didn't look like anything I've seen before."
The number of reports alone is enough evidence for me. I'm thinking I should take a week off, pitch my tent in the Wales woods and wait for an encounter with this mystery beast. Sooner or later, it would find me. If the creature were really mean, I might not be back. But I'm pretty sure I know what it would say in a news story about the tragedy.
"It looks like LaFlamme was eaten," said wildlife experts. "It was probably a fisher."Quake hits southeastern city
Saturday, August28 , 2004 - © 2004IranMania.com
LONDON, August 28 (IranMania) - An earthquake measuring 4 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale hit the city of Ravar in the southeastern province of Kerman on Saturday, Iran's State News Agency (IRNA) reported.
According to the seismological base of Tehran University's Geophysics Institute, the tremor occurred at09 : 02hours local time ( 0432GMT).
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