Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
Monday, August 30, 2004
Printer Friendly Version Fixed link to latest Page
New Movie Review: Alien vs. Predator
Picture of the Day
Moon in the Evening
The fallout continues in the "Pentagon-Israeli Spy" case. The "spy" has been named: Larry Franklin. He is characterised as a "low level" official in many accounts. As Juan Cole remarks in an article below, Franklin is anything but "low level"; he is the main man for the Pentagon on Iran, the man Rummie and Wolfie go to. We have collected quite a number of articles on this topic today. Is it the beginning of the end for the Neocons as some would like to think? Is it an internal fight between the Pentagon and the CIA as an official in the Israeli government suggests? Is it both of these and much, much more?
The uncritical support of many of the main personalities in the Bush Administration, be they Zionists or Christian fundamentalists, is no secret. US foreign policy since Bush took office has been colinear with Israel. One suggestion is that Franklin was in fact asking for feedback and suggestions on Iran policy from Israel. Given the hostility of Bush towards Iran in recent months, it certainly looks as if US Iran policy is being written in Tel Aviv.
The joke, of course, is the idea that there is "an Israeli spy", or even a ring of "Israeli spies", that are distinct from the Bush Administration itself.
The timing of the news coincides with the Republican Convention in New York, where hundreds of thousands marched yesterday to protest against Bush. Unfortunately, the only "opposition" to Bush in the November election comes from John Kerry who has said that he will continue to support Israel, threatening to be even more ardent in this support than Bush! Are we seeing a grand manipulation designed to fool us into thinking that the election of Kerry will make a difference? Most likely.
EDT Aug 29
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI has spent more than a year covertly investigating, including with the use of electronic surveillance, whether a Pentagon analyst funnelled highly classified material to Israel, officials said Saturday. Prosecutors were still weighing whether to bring the most serious charge of espionage.
Charges could be brought in the case as early as this week, said two federal law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. The case has taken so long in part because of diplomatic sensitivities between the United States and its close ally Israel, they said.
Although the information involved - material describing U.S. policy toward Iran - was described as highly classified, prosecutors could determine that the crime involved falls short of espionage and could result in lesser but still serious charges of mishandling classified documents, the officials said.
They said the still-classified material did not detail U.S. military or intelligence operations and was not the type that would endanger the lives of U.S. spies overseas or betray sensitive methods of intelligence collection.
The target of the investigation was identified by the two officials as Larry Franklin, a senior analyst in a Pentagon office dealing with Middle East affairs. Franklin, who did not respond to a telephone message left at his office Saturday, formerly worked for the Defence Intelligence Agency.
Efforts to find a home telephone number were unsuccessful.
In a statement late Friday, the Defence Department, without identifying anyone by name, said the inquiry involved someone 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."
Franklin works in an office overseen by Douglas Feith, the defence undersecrerary for policy. Feith is an influential aide to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld whose previous work included prewar intelligence on Iraq, including alleged ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida terrorism network.
In August 2003, Franklin and a Pentagon colleague were in the news after it was disclosed they had met two years earlier with Manuchar Ghorbanifar, who was among the Iranians who suggested to Ronald Reagan's administration in the 1980s that profits from arms-for-hostages deals be funnelled into covert arms shipments to U.S.-backed Contra rebels battling the leftist Nicaraguan government.
The investigation centres on whether Franklin passed classified U.S. material on Iran to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the highly influential main Israeli lobbying organization in Washington, and whether that group in turn passed them on to Israel. Both AIPAC and Israel deny the allegations.
The U.S. law enforcement officials stressed that the investigation is not yet complete and it remained possible that others could be implicated. They would not comment on whether that might include officials at AIPAC, which said it has been co-operating in the investigation.
"Any allegation of criminal conduct by AIPAC or its employees is false and baseless," AIPAC said in a statement.
In Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon issued a statement Saturday saying that Israel has no connection to the matter. Israeli officials say their government halted all espionage activities in the United States after the 1985 arrest of navy analyst Jonathan Pollard on charges of passing secrets to Israel.
"Israel does not engage in intelligence activities in the U.S. We deny all these reports," the statement said.
The investigation is being handled by U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty, whose Virginia district includes the Pentagon and whose office regularly deals with classified material, terrorism and other sensitive matters. The FBI's counterintelligence division and counterespionage prosecutors at the main Justice Department in Washington are also involved in the case.
The law enforcement officials said that until the past few weeks, the investigation has been kept under tight wraps and included use of sophisticated electronic surveillance techniques they would not further describe. They also would not say whether such surveillance was conducted inside the Pentagon itself, although it has involved at least one computer of Franklin's, they said.
The United States has strongly backed Israeli efforts to block nuclear development in Iran, with President George W. Bush including Iran with Iraq and North Korea as part of an international "axis of evil."
Yet his administration has battled internally over how hard a line to take toward Iran. The State Department generally has advocated more moderate positions, while more conservative officials in the Defence Department and some at the White House's National Security Council have advocated tougher policies.
Sharon's government has pushed the administration toward more toughness against Iran.
Israel in recent months has repeated expressed concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, with some senior officials accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons in violation of promises made to the United Nations. Last week, Iran threatened to destroy Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities.
Comment: This article lays out the basic elements which have to do with US policy vis-à-vis Iran, an issue that has been pushed by the neocons since the strategy was elaborated by Perle, Feith, Wurmser, et al in 1996 in their "A Clean Break" document written for then-Israeli PM Netanhayu.
Sharon has denied that Israel spies on the US - which is either a joke or reflects the reality that ties between the two countries are so close that spying isn't necessary. It may depend upon which level you are discussing. The recent case of New Jersey governor McGreevey and his Israeli boy-toy, who just happened to be a former Israeli military intelligence official, must just be a coincidence. For more such coincidences, we have the following:
Another potential Israeli spy, Larry Franklin, a desk officer in the Defense Department's Near East and South Asia Bureau, working under Douglas Feith as first reported by CBS, is suspected as the Pentagon mole, though some news sources state this is the first time since Pollard during the 1980's, one has been caught.
Spies Among Us
That number is off by at least eight-hundred. September 11, 2001 five Mossad assets were arrested celebrating the attack in New Jersey as the Twin Towers disintegrated. In January 2002, FOX News exposed a nationwide Israeli spy ring utilizing art students and mall kiosk workers in the hundreds, in addition to the use of moving companies as Mossad fronts in the United States.
Between September 11, 2001 and January 2002 we deported nearly 800 Israeli nationals suspected of spying on the US. This moving company manifestation continues both in organized crime and earlier this year more Israeli agents under the cover of moving company workers were caught in Tennessee attempting to smuggle out classified submarine fuel. We have the wire and phone tapping scandals by Israeli companies likewise exposed in this time frame. Then we have Golan Cipel, a confirmed Israeli Agent.
It's long been suspected that members of JINSA, (Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs) the authors of our current war in Iraq, the PNAC (Project for the new American Century) and organizations including AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) which lobbies congress and is considered the most powerful lobby in America and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), which acts as the Intelligence arm in the United States (The ADL has been caught multiple times, tried and convicted for illegal spying and harassment of American citizens) under the guise of fighting racism while it promotes, funds and protects this same racism in Israel. All of these agencies and several others have been involved in securing American support, funds and munitions on behalf of Israeli interests, to the detriment of American rights, American tax payments and International objectives.
To speak of such automatically brands the reporter or politician anti-Semitic, which is ironic because the ADL like the cat with the canary, writes the rules about what is anti-Semitic and what isn't. There is nothing anti-Semitic about protesting or pointing to our security breaches and undue influence on US policy, politicians, media, budgets and the Constitution. Rather it is anti-American not to object. It is our country after all. To date these organizations hide behind the Jewish faith, curbing any discussion in the mainstream press through accusations of anti-Semitism.
(Several pro-Israel but unconstitutional resolutions have been winding through congress stripping Americans of our 1st, 4th, 5th and 10th Amendment rights while protecting Israel from scrutiny including HR4230, HR3077 and S-625. These always appear benign and helpful on the surface. They are not.).
The Franklin spy scandal in Washington DC must be enormous for CBS to risk condemnation by AIPAC and the Christian Zionists. Other-wise it would be covered up like the aforementioned incidents of the past three years. AIPAC will swing into action and attempt to minimize this, denying of course everything. Israeli loyalists in the media will attempt to spin this as not damaging because Israel is our "friend"; don't be surprised by this. Ariel Sharon has bragged on at least one public occasion that Israel controls the US Media.
"While AIPAC claims it never heard of Larry Franklin, he is known to the Israeli intelligence community. He has appeared more than once at meetings with Israeli intelligence, especially with military intelligence, mostly in a group setting."--Ha'aretz Daily, Israel (08/29/2004)
Americans need to realize, only Israel continually gets caught spying on us, (Australia, New Zealand and other countries it Israel also denies spying on even after their agents are convicted and thrown in jail) selling our military secrets to communist countries and compromising our security. Britain doesn't do this. France doesn't do this. Canada doesn't do this, nor does Mexico and there would be hell to pay if they did. But as our "special" friend, Israel gets away with murder, espionage and every other sin at the expense of US security, credibility, taxes, morality and international standing.
The major problems facing American democracy, our constitution and freedom, all trace back to the same little country, the one we keep catching spying and selling our security, the same country both Bush and Kerry proudly and publicly swear their solidarity to our "friend" Israel.
This isn't about religion, nor is it about "fighting terrorism"; the issues remain the same if Israel is Catholic, Muslim or Buddhist. Religion continues to be used as a weapon to obscure and prevent discussion. As far as terrorism, it wouldn't exist in the Middle East if Israel ceased exterminating its neighbors, or if it adhered to the agreement establishing the State of Israel in 1948. Rather than live in peace and equality, Israel instituted a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
(Israel possesses the 4th largest military in the world with over 600 WMD's. Israel is not a helpless nor an oppressed nation. It defeated several nations in just six days and it has always, from day one outnumber the totality of all Arab country militaries by at least 3:1)
Terrorism exists because Israel's American enabler continually supplies it with UN injunctions, money and the weapons of oppression. Israel's problems find origin in its policies: apartheid, genocide, racism, elitism and ethnic cleansing, nothing more. It is that simple.
If Americans truly want to end terrorism, the solution begins in Palestine; it is called justice, not apartheid. Continuing to shield Israel isn't helping Israelis. It's killing them, morally, spiritually and physically. If Americans really care about the Israelis and want to save the Jewish people the biggest favor we can do is eighty-six all support until they learn to get along with their neighbors. Muslims, Jews and Christians existed together in relative peace for nearly 1900 years. Terrorism will end in the Middle East once the financial and political support of America ends. It's called tough love and it works whether we're speaking of unruly teenagers, alcoholics or rogue nations drunk on elitism, entitlement and racism.
The CIA consistently reports Israel is disruptive in American efforts to improve its relations with Arab Nations and on improving relations between Washington and Damascus. This may be one reason why a change of command at the CIA and the push to dismantle the CIA as obsolete is occurring in the Bush Administration currently under the control of hard-line neocons notorious for placing Israeli interests before American. Similar campaigns toward obsolescence are being waged by the same neocons against the other main obstacles to Israeli free reign: the United Nations and the World Court, both which consistently validate the CIA stance on this issue.
As Americans we need to decide whether we continue to cower in fear of being labeled anti-Semitic for standing up for our country, or pay the true price of freedom by fielding these accusations and exposing them for the BS they are. Which is more important: The Constitution, Freedom and the United States, or apartheid, terrorism and Israel?
I vote for America. What amazes me is how few of my countrymen agree. If the choice is between supporting Israeli apartheid and the United States our constitution and freedom, Israeli apartheid and racism win every time. I don't get it. What are we afraid of, a little name calling, being called racists for objecting to racism? Anyone who thinks will see this for the oxymoron it is.
There is nothing anti-Semitic about putting American interests first. We are American; we're supposed to. It's called self-preservation.
After thirty-seven years and nearly two-trillion in aid and munitions to Israel, it is time we put the United States first. This is easy. Simply follow the Constitution and apply the same standards we adhere to in the United States with our actions and support abroad. Apartheid, racism, oppression, ethnic cleansing are not American values. So why in Israel do we fund, defend and support them? Would not that money be better spent supporting our own (healthcare, education, Social Security etc...) rather than funding the sources and providing the reasons for terrorism?
As for Franklin, this whole affair and the very quick cover-up...three days, Cipel took four leads me to believe, he is the sacrificial lamb. The problems are still there: Feith, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Kristol Cheney and the rest of the gang who seem to believe the blood, reputation and integrity of Americans is worth their billions, power and agendas. I have a feeling the families of the slain would disagree.
Comment: So nix the idea that Israel doesn't spy on the US, but don't expect the major media to discuss it. However with "agents" in high places, will arresting one or two people, and deporting 800 others, really make a difference? Here is an article from February 2004 that shows that when one is able to read the Signs, reality holds few secrets. What is happening today is not new and is not the first time that Israeli agents have been caught with their hands on US secrets. Do the names Perle and Feith sound familiar?
Michael Saba, Special to Arab News
WASHINGTON, 28 February 2004 — Stephen Green, the author featured in last week's story, "The Article That Almost Wasn't" wrote in the foreword to "The Armageddon Network" 20 years ago, "What you are about to read is first a spy story. It involves, in the classic pattern, the apparent misappropriation of highly classified documents belonging to the US Department of Defense and unauthorized dissemination of these materials to a foreign government."
Green went on to say, "Those that are involved in the affair are still 'at large' and in fact currently hold senior positions in the Pentagon...." and also states, "this is an unfinished story of a possible cover-up and effort to abort the normal investigating and prosecutorial processes..." Green is still pursuing some of the same individuals who were featured in "The Armageddon Network" two decades ago but many other American journalists and media outlets refuse to confront this issue because even though it deals with illicit activities with a foreign country, that country is America's "sacred cow" — Israel.
Last week we noted that over 20 major publications had rejected Green's current article titled "The Pentagon's Internal Security Problem: Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Ledeen" featured in the online CounterPunch weekend edition of Feb.28-29 entitled "Serving Two Flags". [See next article- ed.]
Green's article begins by pointing out that neoconservatives in the Bush administration have effectively "gutted" traditional American foreign and security policy. He states that notable features of the new Bush doctrine include the pre-emptive use of unilateral force and the undermining of the principal instruments and institutions of international law including the UN all in the cause of fighting terrorism and promoting homeland security.
Green adds that some feel that the underlying agenda of the neocons is the alignment of US foreign and security policies with those of Ariel Sharon and the Israeli right wing.
Green asks whether the neocons, many of whom are senior officials in the Defense Department, National Security Council and the Office of the Vice President, had dual agendas while professing to work for the security of the United States against its terrorist enemies. He then proceeds to review the internal security backgrounds of some of the most prominent neocons and concludes that by looking at their security backgrounds, one can answer the questions that he poses in the article.
The individuals named in Green's article include Stephen Bryen, Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Let's take a closer look at these individuals and how Green compiled the information on each of them.
Stephen Bryen and Michael Ledeen currently serve on the United States-China Economic Security and Review Commission. Both were appointed by the Republican congressional leaders in early 2001 . Ledeen also serves as vice chairman of this China Commission. Additionally, according to Green, with the support of Department of Defense (DOD) Undersecretary Doulas Feith, Ledeen was employed as a consultant to the now infamous Office of Special Plans (OSP) in the DOD. Much has been written about the OSP and how major intelligence that led the US into the most recent war with Iraq was "cooked" in the OSP.
Green states that when a former senior FBI counterintelligence official heard of Bryen's appointment to the China Commission, he said "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 Top Secret codeword clearance to access nuclear technology.
Ledeen serving on both the China Commission and in the OSP would have access to classified materials and therefore would require high level security clearance.
Bryen and Ledeen have both been investigated by the US government extensively for improperly passing information to Israel.
In April of 1979 Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert Keuch recommended in writing that Stephen Bryen, a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee undergo a Grand Jury hearing to establish the basis for a prosecution of Bryen of espionage for Israel. The investigation conducted over a year had over 1000 pages of information documenting many issues regarding Bryan's relationship with Israel and leaking information to Israel.
In Green's article he points out that after Bryen was appointed by Richard Perle to a high level DOD position during the Reagan administration and received another security clearance, he was confronted various times by his colleagues and superiors including current Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage about his overzealous attempts to help export restricted technology to Israel.
Michael Ledeen was hired by the DOD as a consultant on terrorism in 1983 and his immediate superior was Assistant Secretary of Defense Noel Koch. Koch told Green that Ledeen had somehow obtained classified information that he should not have been allowed to see. Koch then informed his executive assistant that Ledeen was to be denied classified materials in the future.
In the mid-1990s Ledeen left the DOD and joined the National Security Council (NSC) as a consultant. In that capacity, Ledeen became a major player in the "Iran-Contra" scandal. Ledeen was noted for carrying messages to then Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Ledeen had his NSC security clearance downgraded while in that position. He moved downward from Top Secret to Secret. Also in Iran-Contra document Oliver North recommended that Ledeen "be asked to take periodic polygraph examinations". Noel Koch testified that he was suspicious of Ledeen because he learned that Ledeen was negotiating the sale of US basic TOW missiles for $ 2500 each when the normal cost to another foreign government was $ 6800 per missile. Throughout their governmental careers, Bryen and Ledeen have consistently been promoted to high-level defense and security positions by their fellow neocons; former Defense Advisory Board Chairman Richard Perle, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith.
Journalist Sy Hersh has reported that in 1970 while Richard Perle was working for Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington, Perle was caught by an FBI wiretap discussing classified information with an official at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. And according to the New York Times, in 1978 CIA Director Stansfield Turner asked Sen. Jackson to fire Perle after Perle was named as a recipient of an unauthorized disclosure of classified information. Perle is currently embroiled in various other scandals including an investigation into his business dealings with Conrad Black and the Hollinger Corporation. Perle serves on the board of Hollinger and allegedly received a multimillion dollar unreported payment which potentially violates the law.
Paul Wolfowitz was brought into the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) in 1973. He was known, according to Green, for his "strong attachment to Israel's security". In 1978 an investigation was conducted after, according to Green, Wolfowitz was "found to have provided a classified document on the proposed sale of US arms to an Israeli official through an AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) intermediary.
Also, according to Green, in 1990 when Wolfowitz was undersecretary for policy in the DOD under then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, an investigation was conducted that indicated "Wolfowitz had been internally promoting the export to Israel of advanced AIM9 -M air-to-air missles" which were a restricted security item.
Douglas Feith has long been a major supporter of Israel. In 1982 Feith was a Middle East analyst for the NSC initially working under NSC head Richard Allen in the Reagan administration. When Allen was replaced by Judge William Clark, he fired nine staff members including Feith. According to Green, Feith was fired because he had been the subject of an FBI inquiry into whether, without authorization, he had provided classified information to a representative of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Stephen Green cites credible individuals and substantive documents in his article on these five current (as this article was being written Richard Perle announced his resignation from the Defense Policy Advisory Board) US government and government-related organizations. Though some of the 22 media outlets that rejected his article claimed there was "nothing new" in his piece, there is, in fact, much new and previously unreported public information in his commentary. That new information includes the 1978 inquiry on Paul Wolfowitz, the circumstances behind the Feith firing in 1982 , the 1988 incidents concerning Bryen and the information on Ledeen provided by Noel Koch.
The most important point in the article is not just the interconnections of these five neocons. Perle hired Bryen 1981 to work at DOD. Wolfowitz hired Ledeen in 1981 as a special adviser. In 2001 Feith at DOD hired Ledeen as a consultant in the OSP.
Nor is it the assistance this group has given each other over the years. In 1973 Perle used his influence to help Wolfowitz obtain a job with the ACDA. In 1982 Perle assisted in hiring Feith at the DOD. In 2001 Wolfowitz helped Feith get his appointment at DOD and Feith appointed Perle as chairman of the Defense Policy Advisory Board.
And whatever sympathies these officials have to Israel is their own personal choice to which they have a right. Rather though, it is much more important that despite extensive investigations and files that exist on these individuals concerning leaking information to a foreign government, they continue to receive top level government positions and the highest level security clearances. It is not necessarily what is in these files that determines whether they receive security clearances, it is who does the hiring or appointing and whether the appointer feels that the appointee should receive the security clearance. And in the cases of Bryen, Ledeen, Perle, Wolfowitz and Feith, they each have usually managed to be the official that makes the decision about each other.
Former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Aikens in reviewing "The Armageddon Network" in 1984 said, "(The Armageddon Network) describes how high-placed American government officials have confused their loyalties; the story is a frightening one. Even more frightening is the failure of the American government to determine what damage has been done to the United States through their misguided action. The book is an instructive lesson on how the American government can be manipulated."
Comment: At this point, it seems that the idea of a lone agent within the US government passing secrets to Israel is simply ludicrous. And yet, it gets worse... Here is Green's original article and more about the "patriots" in the Pentagon.
By STEPHEN GREEN
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.
Comment: AIPAC! Why, golly, they are the same organisation implicated with Larry Franklin. Small world!
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 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 colleague 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 late 1980s....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 (-M 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.
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
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: We couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, the likes of Feith, Bryen, Wolfowitz, and Perle have sacrificed US interests for those of Israel, and they have been rewarded for it. As we continue our little investigation, we discover that the rabbit hole goes far deeper than any of us could imagine. Larry Franklin even has ties to at least one of the main characters in the Iran-Contra affair in the mid 1980's.
Gutman, THE JERUSALEM POST
The FBI is investigating whether a mid-level Pentagon official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Larry Franklin, passed classified material regarding internal policy deliberations on Iran to two staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who in turn provided the information to Israel.
Franklin, a colonel in the US Air Force Reserve, served in the past as an attache at the US embassy in Israel, one source told The Jerusalem Post.
A US Embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv said, "the Embassy has no comment on this issue."
Sources in Jerusalem said it is quite possible that Larry Franklin, the alleged Pentagon informant, met with AIPAC officials as part of routine conversations lobbyists always have with officials, but that it is inconceivable this is something that could be construed as espionage.
The FBI's investigation of Larry Franklin began not long after it was leaked that the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans sent two Defense officials, one of them Franklin, to Paris to meet with a dissident Iranian arms trader.
The latter, Manucher Ghorbanifar, played a central role in the Iran-Contra affair – in which Israel had a major involvement – in the mid 1980's.
The purpose of the meeting with Ghorbanifar was to undermine a pending deal that the White House had been negotiating with the Iranian government. At the time, Iran had considered turning over five al-Qaida operatives in exchange for Washington dropping its support for Mujahadeen Khalq, an Iraq-based rebel Iranian group listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department.
Franklin met Ghorbanifar through Washington's neo-con guru Michael Ledeen. Ghorbanifar at the time (before the invasion of Iraq), had spun the Pentagon men with unsubstantiated allegations of Iraqi transfers of uranium to the Iranian nuclear weapons program, according to The Nation magazine.
Franklin, and a Pentagon Islam expert Harold Rhode, had also played a key role in establishing the Defense's Office of Special Plans, and feverishly pushed for an American invasion of both Iraq and Iran, said The Nation.
One Iranian dissident living in Paris who knows Ghorbanifar, Franklin and Rhode, said the "Franklin Affair," is "fishy." He said that the US relies on Israel for intelligence on Iran, and due to the "zigzagging" of US policy on Iran, wondered what Franklin could allegedly smuggled to Israeli officials.
By Joshua Micah Marshall, Laura Rozen, and Paul Glastris
On Friday evening, CBS News reported that the FBI is investigating a suspected mole in the Department of Defense who allegedly passed to Israel, via a pro-Israeli lobbying organization, classified American intelligence about Iran. The focus of the investigation, according to U.S. government officials, is Larry Franklin, a veteran Defense Intelligence Agency Iran analyst now working in the office of the Pentagon's number three civilian official, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.
of Franklin is now shining a bright light on a shadowy struggle within
the Bush administration over the direction of U.S. policy toward Iran.
In particular, the FBI is looking with renewed interest at an unauthorized
back-channel between Iranian dissidents and advisers in Feith's office,
which more-senior administration officials first tried in vain to shut
down and then later attempted to cover up.
Reports of two of these meetings first surfaced a year ago in Newsday, and have since been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Whether or how the meetings are connected to the alleged espionage remains unknown. But the FBI is now closely scrutinizing them.
While the FBI is looking at the meetings as part of its criminal investigation, to congressional investigators the Ghorbanifar back-channel typifies the out-of-control bureaucratic turf wars which have characterized and often hobbled Bush administration policy-making. And an investigation by The Washington Monthly -- including a rare interview with Ghorbanifar -- adds weight to those concerns. The meetings turn out to have been far more extensive and much less under White House control than originally reported. One of the meetings, which Pentagon officials have long characterized as merely a "chance encounter" seems in fact to have been planned long in advance by Rhode and Ghorbanifar. Another has never been reported in the American press. The administration's reluctance to disclose these details seems clear: the DoD-Ghorbanifar meetings suggest the possibility that a rogue faction at the Pentagon was trying to work outside normal US foreign policy channels to advance a "regime change" agenda not approved by the president's foreign policy principals or even the president himself.
The Italian Job
The first meeting occurred in Rome in December, 2001. It included Franklin, Rhode, and another American, the neoconservative writer and operative Michael Ledeen, who organized the meeting. (According to UPI, Ledeen was then working for Feith as a consultant.) Also in attendance was Ghorbanifar and a number of other Iranians. One of the Iranians, according to two sources familiar with the meeting, was a former senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who claimed to have information about dissident ranks within the Iranian security services. The Washington Monthly has also learned from U.S. government sources that Nicolo Pollari, the head of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, attended the meetings, as did the Italian Minister of Defense Antonio Martino, who is well-known in neoconservative circles in Washington.
Alarm bells about the December 2001 meeting began going off in U.S. government channels only days after it occurred. On December 12th 2001, at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, America's newly-installed Ambassador, Mel Sembler, sat down for a private dinner with Ledeen, an old friend of his from Republican Party politics, and Martino, the Italian defense minister. The conversation quickly turned to the meeting. The problem was that this was the first that Ambassador Sembler had heard about it.
According to U.S. government sources, Sembler immediately set about trying to determine what he could about the meeting and how it had happened. Since U.S. government contact with foreign government intelligence agencies is supposed to be overseen by the CIA, Sembler first spoke to the CIA station chief in Rome to find out what if anything he knew about the meeting with the Iranians. But that only raised more questions because the station chief had been left in the dark as well. Soon both Sembler and the Rome station chief were sending anxious queries back to the State Department and CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, respectively, raising alarms on both sides of the Potomac.
The meeting was a source of concern for a series of overlapping reasons. Since the late 1980s Ghorbanifar has been the subject of two CIA "burn notices." The Agency believes Ghorbanifar is a serial "fabricator" and forbids its officers from having anything to do with him. Moreover, why were mid-level Pentagon officials organizing meetings with a foreign intelligence agency behind the back of the CIA -- a clear breach of US government protocol? There was also a matter of personal chagrin for Sembler: At State Department direction, he had just been cautioning the Italians to restrain their contacts with bad-acting states like Iran (with which Italy has extensive trade ties).
According to U.S. government sources, both the State Department and the CIA eventually brought the matter to the attention of the White House -- specifically, to Condoleezza Rice's chief deputy on the National Security Council, Stephen J. Hadley. Later, Italian spy chief Pollari raised the matter privately with Tenet, who himself went to Hadley in early February 2002. Goaded by Tenet, Hadley sent word to the officials in Feith's office and to Ledeen to cease all such activities. Hadley then contacted Sembler, assuring him it wouldn't happen again and to report back if it did.
The orders, however, seem to have had little effect, for a second meeting was soon underway. According to a story published this summer in Corriere della Sera, a leading Italian daily, this second meeting took place in Rome in June, 2002. Ghorbanifar tells The Washington Monthly that he arranged that meeting after a flurry of faxes between himself and DoD official Harold Rhode. Though he did not attend it himself, Ghorbanifar says the meeting consisted of an Egyptian, an Iraqi, and a high-level U.S. government official, whose name he declined to reveal. The first two briefed the American official about the general situation in Iraq and the Middle East, and what would happen in Iraq, "and it's happened word for word since," says Ghorbanifar. A spokesman for the NSC declined to comment on this and other meetings and referred The Washington Monthly to the Defense Department, which did not respond to repeated inquiries. Ledeen also refused to comment.
No one at the U.S. Embassy in Rome seems to have known about this second Rome meeting. But the back-channel's continuing existence became apparent the following month -- July 2002 -- when Ledeen again contacted Sembler and told him that he'd be back in Rome in September to continue "his work" with the Iranians (This time Ledeen made no mention of any involvement by Pentagon officials; later he told Sembler it would be in August rather than September.) An exasperated Sembler again sent word back to Washington and Hadley again went into motion telling Ledeen, in no uncertain terms, to back off.
Once again, however, Hadley's orders seem to have gone unheeded. Almost a year later, in June, 2003, there were still further meetings in Paris involving Rhode and Ghorbanifar. Ghorbanifar says the purpose of the meeting was for Rhode to get more information on the situation in Iraq and the Middle East. "In those meetings we met, we gave him the scenario, what would happen in the coming days in Iraq. And everything has happened word for word as we told him," Ghorbanifar repeats. "We met in several different places in Paris," he says, "Rhode met several other people -- he didn't only meet me."
Not a "chance encounter"
By the summer of 2003, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had begun to get wind of the Ghorbanifar-Ledeen-DoD back-channel and made inquiries at the CIA. A month later, Newsday broke the original story about the secret Ghorbanifar channel. Faced with the disclosure, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld acknowledged the December, 2001 meeting but dismissed it as routine and unimportant.
"The information has moved around the interagency process to all the departments and agencies," he told reporters in Crawford, TX after a meeting with Bush. "As I understand it, there wasn't anything there that was of substance or of value that needed to be pursued further." Later that day, another senior Defense official acknowledged the second meeting, in Paris, June, 2003, but insisted that it was the result of a "chance encounter" between Ghorbanifar and a Pentagon official. The administration has kept to the "chance encounter" story to this day.
Ghorbanifar, however, laughs off that idea. "Run into each other? We had a prior arrangement," he told The Washington Monthly: "It involved a lot of discussion, and a lot of people."
Over the last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee has conducted limited inquiry into the meetings, including interviews with Feith and Ledeen. But under terms of a compromise agreed to by both parties, a full investigation into the matter was put off until after the November election. Republicans on the committee, many of whom sympathize with the "regime change" agenda at DoD, have been resistant to such investigations, calling them an election-year fishing expedition. Democrats, by contrast, see such investigations as vital to understanding the central role Feith's office may have played in a range of a dubious intelligence enterprises, from pushing claims about a supposed Saddam-al Qaeda partnership and overblown estimates of alleged Iraqi stocks of WMD to what the committee's ranking minority member Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D-WV) calls "the Chalabi factor" (Rhode and others in Feith's office have been major sponsors of the Iraqi exile leader, who is now under investigation for passing U.S. intelligence to Iran). With the FBI adding potential espionage charges to the mix the long-simmering questions about the activities of Feith's operation now seem certain to come under renewed scrutiny.
Here is my take on the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal in the Pentagon.
It is an echo of the one-two punch secretly planned by the pro-Likud faction in the Department of Defense. First, Iraq would be taken out by the United States, and then Iran. David Wurmser, a key member of the group, also wanted Syria included. These pro-Likud intellectuals concluded that 9/11 would give them carte blanche to use the Pentagon as Israel's Gurkha regiment, fighting elective wars on behalf of Tel Aviv (not wars that really needed to be fought, but wars that the Likud coalition thought it would be nice to see fought so as to increase Israel's ability to annex land and act aggressively, especially if someone else's boys did the dying).
Franklin is a reserve Air Force colonel and former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst. He was an attache at the US embassy in Tel Aviv at one point, which some might now see as suspicious. After the Cold War ended, Franklin became concerned with Iran as a threat to Israel and the US, and learned a little Persian (not very much--I met him once at a conference and he could only manage a few halting phrases of Persian). Franklin has a strong Brooklyn accent and says he is "from the projects." I was told by someone at the Pentagon that he is not Jewish, despite his strong association with the predominantly Jewish neoconservatives. I know that he is very close to Paul Wolfowitz. He seems a canny man and a political operator, and if he gave documents to AIPAC it was not an act of simple stupidity, as some observers have suggested. It was part of some clever scheme that became too clever by half.
Franklin moved over to the Pentagon from DIA, where he became the Iran expert, working for Bill Luti and Undersecretary of Defense for Planning, Douglas Feith. He was the "go to" person on Iran for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and for Feith. This situation is pretty tragic, since Franklin is not a real Iranist. His main brief appears to have been to find ways to push a policy of overthrowing its government (apparently once Iraq had been taken care of). This project has been pushed by the shadowy eminence grise, Michael Ledeen, for many years, and Franklin coordinated with Ledeen in some way. Franklin was also close to Harold Rhode, a long-time Middle East specialist in the Defense Department who has cultivated far right pro-Likud cronies for many years, more or less establishing a cell within the Department of Defense.
UPI via Dawn reports,
Josh Marshall et al. have just published a piece in the Washington Monthly that details Franklin's meetings with corrupt Iranian arms dealer and con man Manuchehr Ghorbanifar, who had in the 1980s played a key role in the Iran-contra scandal. It is absolutely key that the meetings were attended also by Rhode, Ledeen and the head of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, Nicolo Pollari, as well as Rome's Minister of Defense, Antonio Martino.
The rightwing government of corrupt billionnaire Silvio Berlusconi, including Martino, was a big supporter of an Iraq war. Moreover, we know that the forged documents falsely purporting to show Iraqi uranium purchases from Niger originated with a former SISMI agent. Watch the reporting of Josh Marshall for more on this SISMI/Ledeen/Rhode connection.
But journalist Matthew Yglesias has already tipped us to a key piece of information. The Niger forgeries also try to implicate Iran. Indeed, the idea of a joint Iraq/Iran nuclear plot was so far-fetched that it is what initially made the Intelligence and Research division of the US State Department suspicious of the forgeries, even before the discrepancies of dates and officials in Niger were noticed. Yglesisas quotes from the Senate report on the alleged Iraqi attempt to buy uranium from Niger:
Journalist Eric Margolis notes of SISMI:
So Franklin, Ledeen, and Rhode, all of them pro-Likud operatives, just happen to be meeting with SISMI (the proto-fascist purveyor of the false Niger uranium story about Iraq and the alleged Iran-Iraq plot against the rest of the world) and corrupt Iranian businessman and would-be revolutionary, Ghorbanifar, in Europe. The most reasonable conclusion is that they were conspiring together about the Next Campaign after Iraq, which they had already begun setting in train, which is to get Iran.
But now The Jerusalem Post reveals that at least one of the meetings was quite specific with regard to an attempt to torpedo better US/Iran relations:
The Neoconservatives have some sort of shadowy relationship with the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization or MEK. Presumably its leaders have secretly promised to recognize Israel if they ever succeed in overthrowing the ayatollahs in Iran. When the US recently categorized the MEK as a terrorist organization, there were howls of outrage from scholars associated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (a wing of AIPAC), such as Patrick Clawson and Daniel Pipes. MEK is a terrorist organization by any definition of the term, having blown up innocent people in the course of its struggle against the Khomeini government. (MEK is a cult-like mixture of Marx and Islam). The MEK had allied with Saddam, who gave them bases in Iraq from which to hit Iran. When the US overthrew Saddam, it raised the question of what to do with the MEK. The pro-Likud faction in the Pentagon wanted to go on developing their relationship with the MEK and using it against Tehran.
So it transpires that the Iranians were willing to give up 5 key al-Qaeda operatives, whom they had captured, in return for MEK members.
Franklin, Rhode and Ledeen conspired with Ghorbanifar and SISMI to stop that trade. It would have led to better US-Iran relations, which they wanted to forestall, and it would have damaged their proteges, the MEK.
Since high al-Qaeda operatives like Saif al-Adil and possibly even Saad Bin Laden might know about future operations, or the whereabouts of Bin Laden, for Franklin and Rhode to stop the trade grossly endangered the United States.
The FBI has evidence that Franklin passed a draft presidential directive on Iran to AIPAC, which then passed it to the Israelis. The FBI is construing these actions as espionage or something close to it. But that is like getting Al Capone on tax evasion. Franklin was not giving the directive to AIPAC in order to provide them with information. He was almost certainly seeking feedback from them on elements of it. He was asking, "Do you like this? Should it be changed in any way?" And, he might also have been prepping AIPAC for the lobbying campaign scheduled for early in 2005, when Congress will have to be convinced to authorize military action, or at least covert special operations, against Iran. AIPAC probably passed the directive over to Israel for the same reason--not to inform, but to seek input. That is, AIPAC and Israel were helping write US policy toward Iran, just as they had played a key role in fomenting the Iraq war.
With both Iraq and Iran in flames, the Likud Party could do as it pleased in the Middle East without fear of reprisal. This means it could expel the Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan, and perhaps just give Gaza back to Egypt to keep Cairo quiet. Annexing southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, the waters of which Israel has long coveted, could also be undertaken with no consequences, they probably think, once Hizbullah in Lebanon could no longer count on Iranian support. The closed character of the economies of Iraq and Iran, moreover, would end, allowing American, Italian and British companies to make a killing after the wars (so they thought).
Franklin's movements reveal the contours of a rightwing conspiracy of warmongering and aggression, an orgy of destruction, for the benefit of the Likud Party, of Silvio Berlusconi's business in the Middle East, and of the Neoconservative Right in the United States. It isn't about spying. It is about conspiring to conscript the US government on behalf of a foreign power or powers.
Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
Laura Rozen directs our attention to the new Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, which has several new details on the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal in the Pentagon.
First, Franklin's passing of confidential documents to AIPAC was discovered because AIPAC was already under FBI surveillance for possible espionage for Israel.
So now the question is, what tipped the FBI to possible AIPAC spying efforts for Israel, and what is the substance of that investigation, which is apparently unrelated to the Franklin case?
Second, Franklin was flipped about a month ago, and admitted his Israeli contacts:
A raft of articles appeared on Sunday based on interviews with Franklin's colleagues, which attempted to spin him as spacey and naive. Here is a reserve colonel, a Ph.D., a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, a man who knows several languages, is tough enough to play hardball inside the Pentagon. And he's a woolly-headed idiot? How likely is that? He is clearly a lamb being fattened. Franklin worked for or hung out intensively with Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Luti, Abram Shulsky, Harold Rhode, David Wurmser and a host of other officials known for their pro-Likud sentiments. So he takes it into his head all alone to pass confidential information to the Israelis? How likely is that?
Another way of soft-pedalling the story is to claim that he is a low-level desk officer without real influence or power. But Franklin is the Iran desk officer for the Pentagon. If Wolfowitz has a question about Iran, he calls Franklin. That isn't a "low level" position without influence.
Further, we know from UPI and Knight Ridder that the FBI investigation is not limited to Franklin.
I haven't seen any more on the Jerusalem Post's tantalizing assertion that Franklin attempted to block the trading of Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorists to Iran in return for five high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives in Iranian custody. But here is an Agence France Presse report from last December that explains the negotiations.
AFP, Dec. 10, 2003:
By the time this article appeared, the al-Qaeda trade had already fallen through because powerful US politicians, some with Likud Party links, had intervened to protect the MEK.
This summer, 2003 NBC report is also suggestive:
Iran is reported to have Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in custody in summer of 2003, and to be entirely willing to hand him over to the US in return for some high-ranking MEK terrorists. But first the neocon network, including Franklin, Harold Rhode and Michael Ledeen, intervenes to stop the trade (see below). Then, mysteriously, everything that goes wrong in Iraq from about January of 2004 begins being blamed on Zarqawi (is it alleged that Iran let him go, to deliberately disrupt Iraq by blowing up Shiites? More likely, when Iran won't accommodate the Neocons because of the latters' ties to MEK, the neocons decide to smear Iran as "harboring" terrorists and "sending" them to Iraq. They know this path might even lead to a US war on Iran, which is what they want. That is one reason they did not want the prisoner exchange to succeed).
Comment: We see that Iran is the centre of this web of intrigue. Israel and the neocons have outlined their plans publically: first Iraq, then Iran and Syria, all in the name of making space in the Middle East for Great Israel. Israel wishes to push the US into more wars, fighting Israel's battles with US troops.
DC -- News of the investigation of Larry Franklin, a middle-level functionary
working for the Wolfowitz-Feith-Luti-Shulsky clique in the Pentagon, indicates
that we are now approaching a critical choice-point on the road to war
with Iran, and towards a synthetic terrorism attack inside the US which
would be used as an additional pretext to start such a war.
Comment: So, one hypothesis is that Franklin and the neocons are being exposed by military officers who understand that 1) the US is fighting Israel's battles, 2) they see the US is overstretched already in Iraq. These members of the military, perhaps in league with the CIA, which has been made the fall guy for neocon stupidity, may have outed Franklin in order to head off a "September/October" pre-election "surprise" that will drive the US into war with Iran.
How badly do the neocons and government of Israel want to topple the government in Iran? Here is an assessment.
Amayreh in the West Bank
Having succeeded in getting the United States to invade and occupy Iraq, Israel is now making efforts to instigate the Bush administration to deal with the "Iranian threat".
a high-ranking Israeli official urged the US "and the rest of the
free world" to deal with the "Iranian threat before it is too
possess a big arsenal of nuclear weapons - estimates range from 100 to
400 weapons and bombs - along with efficient delivery systems, including
a fleet of long-range American-supplied F-15 fighter bombers as well as
the medium range ballistic missile Yeriho.
Seeking to justify Tel Aviv's fixation on Iran, Israeli leaders are citing three reasons why Iran ought to dispose of its alleged would-be nuclear capability.
the Islamist nature of the Iranian regime, Iran's refusal to recognise
Israel and the Islamic republic's alleged support of resistance groups
fighting Israeli occupation and colonisation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip
and Arab East Jerusalem as well as part of Southern Lebanon.
that the sole motive behind Israel's currently evolving showdown with
Iran is the Israeli determination to "maintain its nuclear monopoly
and strategic supremacy in this region".
all depends on Ariel Sharon - an old war-horse who back in 1982 led Israel
into a disastrous invasion of Lebanon. One can only hope that this time
he will think twice," the military historian said.
Comment: Keep in mind that there are no "good guys" in this story. Kerry has no intention of getting out of Iraq, and has stated his intentions to remain 100% supportive of Israel.
Next we turn to the Israeli reaction to the Pentagon spy story.
www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-29 19:22:37
JERSUALEM, Aug. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- Israel has described suspected espionage as "internal US political story" aiming to slander US President George W. Bush before elections, Israel Radio reported Sunday.
"This is an American political story, an election story, a pre-convention story to try to slander and criticize US President George W. Bush. It has nothing to do with us," an Israeli security source was quoted as saying in Jerusalem.
Larry Franklin, the alleged Pentagon "mole" under investigation for passing classified material to Israel, did in fact have work ties with Jerusalem, but declared that the relationship did not go beyond standard diplomatic contact, said the report.The Franklin story, which broke on the eve of the Republican National Convention in New York, comes amid an attempt over the last few months to attack Bush, the report added.
The American TV network CBS reported Friday that the FBI has been conducting an ongoing investigation and is convinced that an official in the Pentagon has conveyed highly sensitive information to the Israeli government via two representatives of the AmericanIsrael Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
The network said that the mole, whom it described as a "trusted analyst of the Pentagon", passed on "secret White Housede liberations on Iran" to Israel last year.
Israel denied involvement in the affairs afterwards. A statement from the Prime Minister's Office released Saturday night said the government was not aware of the incident, adding that "Israel is not employing any intelligence assets in the United States".
Israel's Knesset (parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz said Israel have decided to halt all espionage activities against the United States since the arrest of American naval analyst Jonathan Pollard for passing on secretsto Israel in 1985.
"Following the Pollard crisis 20 years ago, there was a decision not to spy against the US government or its subsidiaries, and I am confident that this is still the case," Steinitz said.
Despite Israel's deep concern about Iran's nuclear program, it would not be tempted to break that ban, he stressed."Israel is very concerned... that the ayatollahs will acquire nuclear weapons," Steinitz said. "But if you think this mightchange our previous decision not to spy on the US, the answer is no."
Comment: Well, we have seen that despite the assurances of the Israelis, the spying has continued. Art students. Moving Companies. The gay lover of New Jersey's governor. Only an "anti-Semite" would accuse these Israeli "tourists" of spying!
August 30, 2004 - 8:34AM
Allegations of Israeli spying in the US are false and may be the result of internal conflicts between the Pentagon and the CIA, an Israeli cabinet minister said, but analysts admitted that even so, damage has been done to crucial ties between the two countries.
American officials said on Sunday the FBI has spent more than a year investigating whether a Pentagon analyst funnelled highly classified material to Israel.
The material described White House policy toward Iran. Israel says Iran - and its nuclear ambitions - pose the greatest single threat to the Jewish state.
Natan Sharansky, the first Israeli cabinet minister to speak in public about the matter, told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television that Israel enforces a ban on spying in the US.
"I hope it's all a mistake or misunderstanding of some kind, maybe a rivalry between different bodies," he said, singling out "the Pentagon and the CIA."
[...] Sharansky said the ban on espionage in the US dates to the scandal over Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew caught spying for Israel in 1985. Sharansky, who belongs to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's ruling Likud Party, said he has "personal experience" with the ban, but he did not elaborate.
"There are absolutely no attempts to involve any member of the Jewish community and any general American citizens to spy for Israel against the United States," he said.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office issued a denial on Sunday, saying "Israel does not engage in intelligence activities in the US".
The scandal dominated Israeli news media. In numerous interviews, both current and former Israeli intelligence officials said it was highly unlikely that Israel would have to spy on the US government.
Legislator Ehud Yatom, chairman of the parliamentary subcommittee on covert intelligence, said he expected the allegations to be quickly withdrawn.
"I imagine that within a few days the United States will come out with an announcement that Israel has no connection whatsoever with the supposed spy and his activities," he told Israel Radio.
Commentators feared the reports would revive allegations that American Jewish groups may have put Israel's interests above those of the US, and whether Israel's allies in Washington may have excessive influence over the White House.
"It breathes new life into the assertion that Israeli, and not American, interests led to the war in Iraq," wrote Nathan Guttman in the Haaretz daily.
"It revives the old charge that Israel is not an ally but a treacherous country, and the old saw that American Jews have a 'divided loyalty' problem."
Sharansky agreed. "There is no doubt that these publications are damaging, (and) even though they are false, they are damaging," he said.
Eitan Gilboa, professor of political science at Tel Aviv's Bar Ilan University, questioned the timing of the reports. Writing in the Yediot Ahronot daily, he said the reports might be an attempt to embarrass President George W Bush ahead of the Republican convention and presidential election.
Uzi Arad, a former senior official in the Mossad spy agency, said the allegations were leaked to hurt the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
"They way it was reported, they pointed out in which office (Franklin) worked," Arad told Israel Radio.
"They pointed at people like Doug Feith or other defence officials who have long been under attack within the American bureaucracy."
Feith is an influential aide to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. His previous work included prewar intelligence on Iraq, including purported ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and the al-Qaeda terrorism network.
In Jerusalem, an observer of US-Israel relations familiar with AIPAC's operations said it was quite possible the organisation had legitimate professional contacts with Franklin, but it was unlikely it took part in any wrongdoing.
"This would be clearly suicidal to a Washington lobbyist organisation, " he said on condition of anonymity. Nonetheless, he said that AIPAC was taking the matter "totally seriously" and feared the allegations could damage the group's standing in Washington.
Comment: We have seen that the main players in this drama have histories of passing classified information to Israel throughout their careers, and have done so with impunity. One wonders who has what in terms of sordid information about US politicians to make them so weak in the face of the Israeli threat.
How damaging the spy case will be depends upon whether or not the sleeping American public wakes up.
Unfortunately, the positions in the US seem to be set in stone. Bush lovers will remain the unquestioning servants of his fundamentalist Christian "ideals", denouncing the hundreds of thousands of Americans who marched in New York yesterday, as well as the other Americans who were there in spirit, as traitors and supporters of terrorism. Americans are losing the right to dissent. Dissent is becoming "un-American", and the consequences for those who choose to protest and proclaim their disagreement with imperial policies will become severe.
We have been warning our readers for two years that the US is repeating the dynamic of Germany in the 1930s. This is no joke, not for the Americans under the heel of fanaticism at home, nor for the rest of the world that looks on in horror.
www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-30 04:10:59
PARIS, Aug. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The French government has been mobilized on Sunday over the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq, denouncing the ultimatum of the kidnappers.
French President Jacques Chirac delivered a televised address to the nation at 18:30 local time (1630 GMT) on Sunday over the hostage crisis in Iraq.
"The government, under the authority of the Prime Minister (Jean-Pierre Raffarin), is fully mobilized. The Foreign Minister (Michel Barnier) leaves (Paris) immediately for the region to prepare the necessary contact and coordinate the efforts of our representatives" at the spot to win the liberation of the journalists taken in hostage in Iraq," announced Chirac.
Chirac demanded the liberation of Christian Chesnot and GeorgesMalbrunot, the two journalists kidnapped in Iraq and affirmed that"everything is done and to be done in the following hours and days."
Prime Minister Raffarin convoked earlier in one day two rounds of emergency meetings of top ministers including Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, Culture and Communications Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, Education Minister Francois Fillon and Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marieon the crisis.
"The situation is serious. We are devoting all our energy to obtain the release of our countrymen who have been appallingly taken hostage in Iraq," he said.
"We have already reinforced our initiatives in the region and we will continue to do so in the coming hours," he told a news conference after the second meeting.
French Interior Minister De Villepin called on "all those who have some kind of authority or responsibility for the fate" of the two newsmen for their liberation.
Islamic militants released a brief tape on Saturday showing two French journalists kidnapped recently in Iraq and said they were holding the men to protest a French law banning Islamic head scarves in schools, according to footage aired by Qatar-based ArabTV station Al-Jazeera.
The kidnappers from the Islamic Army in Iraq gave the French government 48 hours to overturn the law.
The two journalists, identified as Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale and Georges Malbrunot of Paris daily Le Figaro, went missing on Aug. 20 after leaving Baghdad for the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf, where US forces were fighting Shiite Muslim militants.
The French government issued on Match 17 in its gazette the controversial headscarf law, which was first voted through by the National Assembly (French lower house) on Feb. 10 and finally approved by the Senate on March 3 and then got promulgated on March 15.
The legislation of the law bill, banning conspicuous religious symbols, such as headscarves, Jewish skullcaps, large Christian crosses and even beards and bandanas if they are of religious nature, had been sharply protested after it was raised. Many marches were organized in Paris and in cities across the Arab world to try to resist its approval, seen as a form of discrimination and anti-Muslim.
France has about 5 millions Muslim, the largest in Europe.
Comment: So, let's get this straight. France, a country that has been in the forefront of international opposition to the Bush Reich, US uncritical support for Israel and expansionist plans, is once more becoming the target of "Islamic terrorists". Remember prior to the invasion and occupation of Iraq when a French ship was attacked by "Islamic terrorists"? It stank then of a Mossad operation, and this one stinks just as bad.
There is a curious link in this story to the French politician Nicolas Sarkozy, the former Minister of the Interior. In April of 2003, Sarkozy stirred up the hornet's nest and placed the issue of the hajib in the public discourse with a visit to the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF). It was a non-issue beforehand. The more cynical reader might think this was intentional on Sarkozy's part. He is a strong supporter of Israel (his Hungarian father was Jewish), as well as a strong supporter of the United States.
You might think he was setting Chirac up. Given that Sarko, as he is known in France, has designs on the French presidency in 2007, and that Chirac has given no indication that he wishes to step down, and that they are both from the same political party, one might think Sarkozy was trying to put his rival dans le merde to further Sarkozy's chances.
But all that is simply the irrational ramblings of conspiracy theorists, isn't it?
That it would later be used against Chirac and France in Iraq is surely coincidence. There are about ten times more Muslims in France than there are Jews. One does note that the Muslims do not hold the same positions of power in the government and media as the members of the French Jewish community, but that is certainly only due to their more recent arrival. The Muslims have not had the time to establish themselves.
Meanwhile, French Jews ahve been subjected recently to more and more attacks...from other French Jews:
Monday 30 August 2004, 15:15 Makka Time, 12:15 GMT
A man who has been arrested in connection with an arson attack on a Jewish social centre in France is Jewish and worked there, French police say.
The 22 August attack, which gutted the centre, was at first believed to be the work of an anti-Semitic group.
Although police on Monday refused to identify the man, investigators said the man had worked on occasion as a guard at the centre. They said management had wanted to fire him.
Investigators suggested that resentment over the loss of his job could have motivated the suspect, in his 50s, to torch the eastern Paris centre out of revenge, but that explanation was not confirmed.
The man - who was placed in preventive detention for up to 48 hours - was "more or less homeless" and "mentally unstable", sources said.
The Jewish centre was destroyed in a massive blaze, and swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans such as "The world would be pure if there were no more Jews" were scrawled inside.
The incident led the French government to declare war on racism and prompted a snap visit to Paris by Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who urged tougher punishment in France for the perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts.
Police said the fire could have been an "inside job", but were still looking into several theories.
The police statements seemed to confirm a report in Le Figaro newspaper on Monday, which said investigators were no longer treating the fire as an anti-Semitic attack, but were looking for a mentally unstable Jewish man.
Last month, a 23-year-old woman who claimed she had been the victim of a vicious anti-Semitic assault later admitted she had made up the entire incident and was given a four-month suspended sentence for lying about it.
Comment: Some of the most highly publicised "attacks" against in France recently have been discovered to be perpetrated by Jews, some by the "victims" themselves. Whenever these "attacks" are made public, French politicians fall over themselves to denounce "anti-Semitism", deploring such acts. The greater incidence of "anti-Semitic" attacks led Ariel Sharon, that great "man of peace", to urge French Jews to move to Israel, telling them that France was not safe. Of course, Sharon has done such a bang-up job of making Israel a safe haven for Jews that the country is facing a severe problem of emmigration, of Jews leaving the "promised land" to return home to safety.
The manipulations are so great that it is really hard for people to imagine the depths. For people who would not harm another human being, it is difficult to grasp that there are those who would even kill their "co-religionists" and blame it on the enemy in order to further their aims. This tactic has been used by Zionism for decades, as those who read this page regularly should be well-aware.
Further, the press is controlled by people whose interests are not the truth. Although one can make out a plausible scenario from today's articles on the why's of the outing of Larry Franklin, it may also just be a manipulation on the part of those who are slightly less extreme than Sharon, Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, and Bush. Waiting in the wings are the so-called "moderate" Jews, the Labour Party in Israel and the members of the American Jewish community who are appalled at the tactics of Sharon. But make no mistake about it, even if some of the tactics change if Kerry is elected, the alliance that has seen Israel dictating US foreign policy is not open to discussion.
NEW YORK — A sprawling political protest march yesterday snaked through the streets of Manhattan on the eve of the Republican National Convention, drawing hundreds of thousands of people who called for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and an end to the Bush presidency.
traversed 80 blocks through the heart of Manhattan, from Madison Square
Garden, where the convention begins today, to Union Square.
The crowd size was estimated by organizers to be 400,000. Unofficially, police put the number at about half that. The demonstrators marched loudly, banging drums, chanting and displaying signs and banners.
In addition to their opposition to President Bush and his administration's policies, the protesters expressed a plethora of grievances with placards and T-shirts.
"Impeach Clarence Thomas," read one T-shirt. "Shut up, white boy," declared another shirt, worn by a young Middle Eastern woman. "We're all Palestinians" was one young man's message. Some protesters carried the Palestinian flag.
Many of the demonstrators decried the war in Iraq and, in a now familiar refrain from Democrats, branded the president a "liar" who used duplicity to engage in the war.
There were sign-carrying "New York teachers against Bush" and "Gays against Bush," many of them also wearing "Kerry for President" buttons. One man wore a button with a swastika that read "Vote Republican."
Volunteers from the Democratic National Committee, also wearing Kerry buttons, stood along the cramped sidewalks, seeking to register voters.
The parade, organized by a group called United for Peace and Justice, started out at noon, led by film director Michael Moore and actor Danny Glover, both of whom are known for their strident criticism of all things Republican. The Rev. Jesse Jackson also joined the marchers.
Protesters spray-painted their messages on the streets and slapped their stickers on any surface available.
A massive police presence surrounded the demonstrators. Roads were blocked off, and squad cars moved about to keep the roads clear for the marchers. Packs of officers stood on every street corner along the route of the parade, which was, for the most part, orderly. Civil-liberties watchdogs on the streets praised the police for their restraint.
"This is calmer, police-wise, than it has ever been before," said Joshua Sanders, part of a group of legal monitors for the New York Civil Liberties Union. "The police are not nearly as aggressive as they have been in the past."
In one incident outside Madison Square Garden, 15 persons were arrested, including nine charged with felony assault on police officers. The arrests occurred after one protester, part of a group of self-described anarchists, ignited a papier-mache dragon. As police moved to detain that suspect, several other anarchists joined in the fray. One officer was struck above the left eye with a thrown bottle, a police spokesman said.
About 50 bicyclists were arrested at about 1:30 p.m. at a spot off the parade route. Witnesses said the bikers were riding two and three abreast when they ran into a police barricade.
Another man was arrested at Broadway and 34th Street after he assaulted a member of the Republican counterprotest group, Protest Warriors, known for its humorous signs that mock the leftist agenda. A protester wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt attempted to grab a sign held by a Protest Warrior, then took a swing at the pro-Bush activist who was standing along the parade route.
As he was being carried away by police, the anti-Bush protester said, "They're not one of us, they're making us look bad."
Tom Paladino, who heads the New York chapter of Protest Warriors, said several members of his group were assaulted and shouted down when they tried to join the anti-Bush march.
"We've marched in other rallies and we've had some hard times, but this one was just too dicey," Mr. Paladino said. He said that one anti-Bush protester grabbed a megaphone from his hands and smashed it on the street, and that at least 20 of his group's signs were destroyed by the protesters. He promised, though, that group members will continue to show up at the major anti-Bush rallies scheduled throughout the week.
The number of arrests reached more than 400 since Friday, when protests surrounding the Republican convention began.
Comment: Isn't it curious that none of the estimated 400,000 anti-Bush protestors were interviewed for this article, but a member of the Republican counterprotest group is quoted? The following article presents a rather interesting contrast to the idea of the peaceful and restrained police force that the Washington Times presents...
The NYCLU's press release says "Concerning the action in Times Square tonight in front of various theaters: It is the NYCLU's observation that police action was excessive.
The NYPD arrested people who were lawfully on the sidewalks and were not doing anything illegal. Many of those arrested were members of the media or legal observers."
Bruce Bentley, of the National Lawyers' Guild, says: "We had at least 3 of our legal observers arrested for standing on the sidewalk with a group of people who were given 15 seconds to disperse in a very crowded area. The police tactics are unfair. They are not willing to give people an opportunity to leave when they gave an order to disperse."
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators carrying colorful banners and shouting "no more Bush" took to the streets of New York on Sunday, the day before the Republican convention was to open, to decry the U.S.-led war in Iraq and President Bush's policies.
Organizers for United for Peace and Justice coalition estimated 400,000 people marched for more than five hours in summer heat and humidity. Police declined to estimate the size of the crowd, but it stretched out more than a mile along two main avenues in central Manhattan.
"I am just burning with anger about what our country is doing," said protester Cornelius Boss, an ex-Marine from Columbus, Ohio, about Bush's foreign policy.
Police said there were more than 200 arrests, all but 15 unrelated to the march. There was at least one clash between self-styled anarchists and police along the route, but protesters and police praised each other for mutual cooperation.
A small group of masked anarchists set fire to a float just one block from the Madison Square Garden convention site and hurled bottles at police in riot gear who rushed them and made 15 arrests, police said.
About 500 people have been arrested since anti-Bush protests began Thursday when AIDS activists stood naked in front of Madison Square Garden.
Comment: Two hundred arrests, and only fifteen of them were related to the march... This article also mentions "self-styled anarchists". One has to wonder what Bush and his gang have up their sleeves, keeping in mind that one of COINTELPRO's favorite tactics is to send in agents amongst the crowds to wreak havoc in the name of whatever group is protesting...
Sun Aug 29, 2004 10:31 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dozens of demonstrators heckled and jeered Broadway theatergoers on Sunday, seeking confrontations with Republican delegates who arrived in New York City to back President Bush's reelection bid.
Police arrested up to 60 protesters who assembled in Times Square at dusk chanting anti-Bush slogans after hundreds of thousands had marched in Manhattan to decry the president's policies before the Republican convention begins on Monday.
But individual protesters kept tensions high, some of them hissing or cursing at well-heeled couples heading to popular Broadway musicals like "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Fiddler on the Roof."
"Republican murderers go home and kill your babies!" one young man yelled at theatergoers, a far cry from local public service messages urging New Yorkers to "make nice" to party delegates in the city for the four-day convention, where Bush will be nominated for another four-year term.
A second protester shoved a middle-aged woman in a black cocktail dress, shouting:
"Bitch, go home! We don't want you here!" At one point, police cordoned off a city block after several dozen demonstrators jeered and razzed the incoming audience.
"We were talking to delegates as they came by. We were very calm," said Brendan, 23, an organic farmer from upstate New York, adding he was thumbing his nose at the crowd with other hecklers before police intervened. "You do anything a little out of the ordinary here and they arrest you."
Protest actions in front of New York theaters were some of the few taking place outside permitted demonstration areas.
The wild card in protests expected later this week is whether self-styled anarchists try to wreak havoc in the city with unannounced actions despite unprecedented security.
Whitesides, Political Correspondent
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Republicans open their national convention Monday with a tribute to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and a salute to President Bush by two of the party's best known moderates, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain.
"He has been tested and has risen to the most important challenge of our time, and I salute him," McCain said of Bush in prepared excerpts of his speech released by the campaign.
Republicans start the convention in an upbeat mood after a flurry of new polls showed Bush gaining ground and slightly leading his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
The four-day convention to nominate Bush for another White House term is being held in New York, less than 4 miles from the gaping hole where the World Trade Center once stood, in part to remind voters of Bush's leadership after the attacks.
Three victims' relatives will address the convention Monday and Giuliani, who was hailed for guiding the city through the aftermath of Sept. 11, is expected to focus on that day, its consequences and Bush's reaction.
Giuliani, McCain and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will appear Tuesday, are the stars in a lineup of moderate speakers designed to soften the party's conservative image and show a more inclusive face to swing voters in key states.
"In choosing a president, we really don't choose a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or liberal. We choose a leader," Giuliani said in his prepared remarks.
"And in times of danger, as we are now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision," he said, comparing Bush's fight against terror to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's battle with Nazi Germany and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union.
"George W. Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is and he will remain consistent to the purpose of defeating it while working to make us ever safer at home," Giuliani said.
McCain, who lost to Bush in a bitter Republican presidential primary struggle in 2000, has become Bush's regular campaign trail companion and will join him at a campaign event later this week.
J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent
The chilling sights and sounds of war fill newspapers and television screens worldwide, but war itself is in decline, peace researchers report.
In fact, the number killed in battle has fallen to its lowest point in the post-World War II period, dipping below 20,000 a year by one measure. Peacemaking missions, meantime, are growing in number.
"International engagement is blossoming," said American scholar Monty G. Marshall. "There's been an enormous amount of activity to try to end these conflicts."
For months the battle reports and casualty tolls from Iraq and Afghanistan have put war in the headlines, but Swedish and Canadian non-governmental groups tracking armed conflict globally find a general decline in numbers from peaks in the 1990s.
The authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in a 2004 Yearbook report obtained by The Associated Press in advance of publication, says 19 major armed conflicts were under way worldwide in 2003, a sharp drop from 33 wars counted in 1991.
The Canadian organization Project Ploughshares, using broader criteria to define armed conflict, says in its new annual report that the number of conflicts declined to 36 in 2003, from a peak of 44 in 1995.
The Stockholm institute counts continuing wars that have produced 1,000 or more battle-related deaths in any single year. Project Ploughshares counts any armed conflict that produces 1,000 such deaths cumulatively.
Comment: One has to wonder how useful such "peace" institutions are to anyone - except maybe politicians.
The Stockholm report, to be released in September, notes three wars ended as of 2003 - in Angola, Rwanda and Somalia - and a fourth, the separatist war in India's Assam state, was dropped from the "major" category after casualties were recalculated.
It lists three new wars in 2003 - in Liberia and in Sudan's western region of Darfur, along with the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq. These joined such long-running conflicts as the Kashmiri insurgency in India, the leftist guerrilla war in Colombia, and the separatist war in Russia's Chechnya region.
Other major armed conflicts listed by the Stockholm researchers were in Algeria, Burundi, Peru, Indonesia's Aceh province, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Israel, and Turkey. Their list also includes the U.S.-al-Qaida war, mainly in Afghanistan, the unresolved India-Pakistan conflict, and two insurgencies in the Philippines.
"Not only are the numbers declining, but the intensity" - the bloodshed in each conflict - "is declining," said Marshall, founder of a University of Maryland program studying political violence.
The continuing wars in Algeria, Chechnya and Turkey are among those that have subsided into low-intensity conflicts. At Canada's University of British Columbia, scholars at the Human Security Center are quantifying this by tackling the difficult task of calculating war casualties worldwide for their Human Security Report, to be released late in 2004.
A collaboration with Sweden's Uppsala University, that report will conservatively estimate battle-related deaths worldwide at 15,000 in 2002 and, because of the Iraq war, rising to 20,000 in 2003. Those estimates are sharply down from annual tolls ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 in the 1990s, a time of major costly conflicts in such places as the former Zaire and southern Sudan, and from a post-World War II peak of 700,000 in 1951.
The Canadian center's director, Andrew Mack, said the figures don't include deaths from war-induced starvation and disease, deaths from ethnic conflicts not involving states, or unopposed massacres, such as in Rwanda in 1994.
Comment: The figures probably also leave out deaths from other post-war effects such as DU poisoning. In other words, the reports of the peace researchers have little basis in reality. The death toll in Iraq alone is estimated by many to be tens of thousands. Add in those who were maimed or tortured - and the fact that America, the World's Peace Officers, were the ones doing the torturing - and the picture becomes far more grim.
Why the declines? Peace scholars point to crosscurrents of global events.
For one thing, the Cold War's end and breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989-91 ignited civil and separatist wars in the old East bloc and elsewhere, as the superpowers' hands were lifted in places where they'd long held allies in check. Those wars surged in the early 1990s.
"The decline over the past decade measures the move away from that unusual period," said Ernie Regehr, director of Project Ploughshares.
At the same time, however, the U.S.-Russian thaw worked against war as well, scholars said, by removing superpower support in "proxy wars," as in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Cambodia. With dwindling money and arms, warmakers had to seek peace.
The United Nations and regional bodies, meanwhile, were mobilizing for more effective peacemaking worldwide.
"The end of the Cold War liberated the U.N." - historically paralyzed by U.S.-Soviet antagonism - "to do what its founders had originally intended and more," Mack said.
In 2003 alone, from Ivory Coast to the Solomon Islands, 14 multilateral missions were launched to protect or reinforce peace settlements, the highest number of new peace missions begun in a single year since the Cold War, the Stockholm institute will report.
The recent record shows "conflicts don't end without some form of intervention from outside," said Renata Dwan, who heads the institute's program on armed conflict and conflict management.
Most new missions, half of which were in Africa, were undertaken by regional organizations or coalitions of states, often with U.N. sanction.
The idea of U.N. primacy in world peace and security took a "bruising" at U.S. hands in 2003, when Washington circumvented the U.N. Security Council to invade Iraq, Dwan noted. But meanwhile, elsewhere, the world body was deploying a monthly average of 38,500 military peacekeepers in 2003 - triple the level of 1999.
By year's end, the institute yearbook will conclude, "the U.N. was arguably in a stronger position than at any time in recent years."
The Age of Illusions: September 11, 2001 and beyond
Welcome to the Age of Illusions. Where illusion is illumination, perpetual war equals security, dissertation and dissemination of facts aids and abets the 'enemy', and being under the watchful eye of the government ensures your freedom.
One political candidate is a virtual clone for another; a double-edged sword in the scabbard of the controlling interests behind the glare of the limelight. Choices given to the electorate are limited. Those who choose to run for political office can only afford to do so with the blessings, and influx of donations, by wealthy influential donors whose only interest is their own self-serving agenda.
Political correctness affords countless excuses for the laxity of responsible behaviors by those who twist earnest scrutiny into a false form of discrimination or bigotry. Respect is demanded without being earned by those who only care about their own self-interests.
Situational ethics replace steadfast ethical conduct. Once again, self-aggrandizement is the primary factor for the decisions and actions taken.
Individual critical thought is considered abnormal and outside the socially acceptable boundaries of groupthink, and harassment of such individuals is tolerated and condoned. Questioning the actions of authority is tantamount to being an ungrateful, disloyal traitorous ingrate.
Cunning and guile determine a person's value more than inner strength of character. Betrayals born out of fear will become a form of self-preservation, and rewarded to move up in the new 'system' of the ages.
The mind controlevision spews out one-sided visuals, news reports and slanted editorial programs that fortifies and convinces the populace of the officially sanctioned versions of domestic and world events. Mindless and diversionary prime time programming consists of; brutally depicted mock sports 'entertainment', territorially inspired sporting events complete with near rabid fans, docudramas, sophomoric nonsensical sitcoms, hedonistic and thug music videos, semi-scripted 'reality' shows that depict the base tendencies of human behavior, shows that are marketed for the slapstick humor of painful faux pas', and programming filled with the pervasive conditioning process of violence and horror to the point of indifferent redundancy. Society then goes about emulating what they've viewed by acting out these implanted ideas in their everyday lives. Then we claim to be a divinely inspired nation. The mirror of denial truly only allows us to see just what we want to see.
The realm of perdition is littered with self-delusions, egocentric manipulations and a horde of thoughtless followers. The enticements of superiority's grandeur and worldly enrichment leads its disciples to willingly embrace a delusion of grandiosity promised by uncompromising and zealous leaders. History has shown this to be true.
The repetitive nature of past human miscalculations has incrementally, and exponentially, multiplied the number of victims who have trod down this very same path throughout human history. Only now, we possess the means in which to bring about our own extinction.
The crossroads are dead ahead and getting closer and closer with each passing moment. Which path will we take? Only time will tell. But the contemporary signs point to a dark and foreboding age of illusions...and worse.
27, 2004 Posted: 10:52 AM EDT (1452 GMT)
Privacy advocates, who scuttled an earlier plan to screen airline passengers, said they weren't sure the new system was much better.
"We remain puzzled over how the program will work and believe that several of the most basic problems with the original proposal remain," said LaShawn Warren, a legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Unlike the previous proposal, the new system announced Thursday will not seek to identify anyone other than known or suspected terrorists. Nor will it assign a risk level to travelers.
Civil libertarians complained that the earlier system would use information on passengers gleaned from commercial databases.
The government said a very limited test of the new system will be done to see if comparing passenger information against such databases can help to more accurately verify people's identities.
Under the new system, Secure Flight, the government will gather information about travelers from data collection companies that service the banking, home mortgage and credit industries.
Marcia Hofmann, staff counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said such verification can clear up confusion about people improperly flagged as possible terrorists.
She said the government still needs to put in safeguards so "there can be no abuse of information like that."
The new system is intended to verify the identity of domestic travelers by amassing information that passengers have given airlines and comparing it with records in government databases. The goal is to better screen travelers by using a larger pool of suspected terrorists than airlines had access to.
The government does not now provide airlines with complete terrorist lists for fear that such information could fall into the hands of U.S. foes, said David Stone, chief of the Transportation Security Administration.
Comment: Think about this - US Congressmen are being mistaken for alleged terrorists, and the government claims it hasn't yet provided airlines with complete terrorist lists...
"We will have the database under the umbrella of the government so we can have enhanced security and not have the release of the names into arenas where enemies can access them," Stone told reporters in a conference call.
Secure Flight is to begin testing in the next two months and will take a year to implement.
Airlines and commercial reservation services will provide an FBI-run center with passenger name records. That can include credit card numbers, travel reservation information, address, telephone number and meal requests, which can indicate a passenger's religion or ethnicity.
The Customs Service has used a similar method to screen passengers flying into or out of the United States.
After European countries raised privacy concerns, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge signed a treaty in May with 25 countries to protect passengers' privacy. The agreement limits the information that can be transferred and restricts the use of the information. [...]
BLAST KILLS 2 FROM U.S.
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - A powerful car bomb shattered the offices of a private U.S.-based security firm in downtown Kabul on Sunday, killing at least seven people, including two Americans. Afghan authorities blamed the attack on terrorists trying to disrupt the country's first direct presidential election Oct. 9.
"Two Americans, three Nepalese and two Afghan nationals, including a child, have been confirmed dead," said a statement by the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The explosion, in Kabul's Shar-e Naw district near the offices of several humanitarian aid agencies, ripped open a 3-foot-wide crater at the entrance of a walled compound of DynCorp Inc., an American firm that provides bodyguards for President Karzai and trains the Afghan national police [...]
DynCorp, a division of Computer Sciences Corp. of El Sugundo, Calif., was a victim even though the company had recently bolstered its own security in Kabul.
Many DynCorp employees are former members of the U.S. Green Berets, Napalese Gurkhas and other elite military units. In recent weeks, workers have built concrete barriers at the front of the DynCorp compound while guards patrolled the streets leading past the building.
Now let's look at contibutions to the political parties:
Comment: What is a company with a history like this even doing in Afghanistan? Well, if you sling a lazy half a million dollars to political campaigns, it can't hurt... Obviously, a "private security firm" is newspeak for a "mercenary firm". While these companies are subcontracted for the purposes of defense by DoD and other entities, the buck falls way short of Washington - which is a convenient out for those at the top. Also consider this "private security firm" is the 13th largest DoD contractor. Are those at the top in some way complicit or responsible in passport forgery, sex slave trading, illegal arms activities and (sanctioned) widespread pesticide spraying similar to the widespread use of agent orange in the Vietnam war?
Meanwhile the Ambassador to Iraq is attempting to shift $3.37 billion of the US rebuilding funds from basic utilities such as water and electricity into the more profitable area of "security"...
Mon Aug 30, 2004 04:40 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The new U.S. ambassador to Iraq wants to shift $3.37 billion in aid earmarked for water, sewage and electricity projects in the country to efforts to improve Iraq's security and oil output and create more jobs, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Ambassador John Negroponte, who took his post in June, issued his request in a cable last week to State Department officials, the newspaper said, citing unnamed U.S. officials familiar with the cable's contents. The money is part of $18.4 billion in reconstruction aid approved by Congress approved last November.
The proposal represents the State Department's first attempt to put its stamp on American reconstruction in Iraq since the Defense Department ceded authority to Negroponte in July, the newspaper said.
It said the changes might draw opposition from contractors that would lose money from such a reapportionment, as well as Iraqis in many parts of the country who want their water and power restored. Much of the money for rebuilding electric and water facilities has not been spent, so some of the transferred funds will probably come from contractors that have been awarded but remain at an early stage, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for Negroponte, Robert Callahan, declined to discuss the plan with the newspaper, but confirmed the ambassador sent the cable, which was being discussed by officials from various agencies.
More than $1.8 billion of the money would be used to improve Iraqi security, including the addition of 45,000 police, 16,000 national guard troops and 16,000 border guards, the newspaper said. Senior officials in President Bush's administration will meet this week to discuss forwarding the plan for the required Congressional approval, it said.
August 29, 2004
Trust me ... Mr Howard announces the election date.
The Prime Minister, John Howard, announced an October 9 election date today saying the six-week campaign would be one fought on the issue of trust.
Announcing the election date at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Mr Howard said it would be a decision for voters about who they trusted most to look after Australia and its economic future.
"This election, ladies and gentlemen, will be about trust," he told reporters.
"Who do you trust to keep the economy strong, and protect family living standards?
"Who do you trust to keep interest rates low?
"Who do you trust to lead the fight on Australia's behalf against international terrorism?"
Mr Howard said he would use the election campaign to outline plans to deal with challenges Australia faced over the next ten years.
Comment: As Gurdjieff writes in his book "Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson",
NEW DELHI (AP) - India on Sunday test-launched a nuclear-capable missile able to carry a one-ton warhead, the defense ministry said.
The weapon has a range of up to 1,560 miles - easily within striking distance of any of India's near neighbors - and is designed to carry both conventional and nuclear warheads.
The Agni II was launched at India's test range on the coast of eastern Orissa state, Defense Ministry spokesman Amitabh Chakravorty said.
The launch, the third trial of the Agni II, was witnessed by Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee and more than 100 scientists and military officials, ministry official B.S. Menon told The Associated Press. [...]
www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-30 09:38:32
CARACAS, Aug. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pledged Sunday to enforce an agriculture law that allows the government to tax and expropriate idle land and give it to poor peasants.
"In this new stage of the revolution, I demand strict application of the constitution and the land law... We are going after idle land and are going to put it to work," Chavez said on his weekly Sunday television program.
Chavez, who won a recall referendum on Aug. 15, ordered his military commanders to investigate large rural estates and report idle land not in productive use.
Chavez said enforcing the 2001 law more strictly was part of "deepening the revolution" his government has been pursuing in the last two years.
The Land Law, one of a bunch of laws introduced in 2001, imposes strict rules on what ranchers and farmers can produce on land, and sanctions idle land with taxes or by expropriation.
The law also permits the state to grant state-owned land to the homeless who will farm with the help of cheap state credits. But private land owners claim mistakes have been made in classifying land as state-owned or private, and critics warned of a new form of dictatorship in the country.
"The time has come for creating a democracy in the distribution of land in Venezuela," said Chavez. "We have to lend a hand to the worker and not to the person who keeps (the land) idle," Chavez added.
Chavez, who survived a coup in 2002 and months of street protests and strikes, said that he will try to negotiate with landowners to persuade them to voluntarily sell their land to the government.
"We aren't enemies of the landowners, nor do we want to burn them or to invade their property," Chavez said. "I call on all those who own lots of idle land, let's talk."
According to a 1998 census, 60 percent of Venezuela's farmland,or nearly 179,200 square kilometers, was owned by less than 1 percent of the population. The survey said 90 percent of farmland given to peasants in a 1960 reform program reverted to large landholders.
The opposition, which still contests the results of the recall,says that Chavez is increasingly authoritarian and is dividing the country along class lines.
Chavez's supporters say he is the first president in years to care for Venezuela's poor majority.
A moderate earthquake occurred at 05:35:16 (UTC) on Monday, August 30, 2004. The magnitude 5.1 event has been located OFFSHORE BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)
A four-point-zero earthquake rattled parts of Monterey County last night,
but there were no reports of damage or injuries.
A dispatcher with the Monterey County Sheriff's Office says the quake was NOT even felt at the dispatcher center in Salinas.
DOUGLAS, Wyo. - A minor earthquake rattled east-central Wyoming on Sunday afternoon but apparently caused no damage.
The quake brought some Douglas residents out of their homes to compare notes with their neighbors.
The temblor struck at 12:49 p.m. and measured 3.8 magnitude, the National Earthquake Information Center in Denver said.
The center classified the quake as minor and fairly shallow. The epicenter was 10 miles north-northwest of Douglas.
In 1984, a quake measuring 5.5 magnitude shook the area, causing slight damage.
While most of Wyoming's earthquake activity occurs in the state's northwestern corner and far west boundary, the Wyoming State Geological Survey has noted a history of earthquakes in central Wyoming, particularly southwest of Douglas near Laramie Peak.
Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!
We also need help to keep the Signs of the Times online.
Check out the Signs of the Times Archives
Fair Use Policy
Contact Webmaster at signs-of-the-times.org