The Passionate Attachment

America's unrequited love for Israel

Menace of hypocrisy: Neocon propagandist frets over Russia’s ‘weaponization of information’

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Maidhc Ó Cathail

RT Op-Edge

November 26, 2014

There was a strong whiff of hypocrisy in the Washington air on November 13 when the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) hosted a discussion of a report entitled ‘The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture, and Money’.

The Menace of Unreality is co-authored by Michael Weiss, editor-in-chief of the Interpreter, and Peter Pomerantsev, author of a forthcoming book asserting that Putin’s Russia is a post-modern dictatorship.

Introducing the discussion, NED’s Christopher Walker noted that the US Congress-funded Endowment hadn’t been involved in the production of the report but that it does have “close ties” to Weiss’s online journal and the New York-based think tank that funds it, the Institute of Modern Russia (IMR).

In the course of their report’s self-righteous criticism of the widespread “opaqueness” about who funds think tanks, Weiss and Pomerantsev disclose, in an aside, that their work is “funded by a think tank that receives support from the family of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.” Their critique of the weaponization of money, however, neglects to mention its funder’s conviction for embezzlement and money laundering.

In Washington, Weiss and Pomerantsev were joined in the discussion of their “counter-disinformation” report by an analyst from the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neoconservative advocacy group founded by Robert Kagan and William Kristol, whose earlier Project for a New American Century had played a key role in pushing the lies that led to the US invasion of Iraq.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

November 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm

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Behind the USS Liberty Cover-up

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
Consortium News
November 12, 2014

“The Day Israel Attacked America,” an investigation into Israel’s deadly June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty at the height of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, was aired recently on Al Jazeera America.

Directed by British filmmaker Richard Belfield, the documentary confirms not only that the attack on the U.S. Navy spy ship was deliberate — an undisputed fact long accepted by all but the most shameless Israeli apologists — but reveals, perhaps for the first time, how Tel Aviv was able to induce the U.S. government to cover up an attack that killed 34 and injured 171 of its own seamen by a supposed “ally.”

“It was especially tough for Lyndon Johnson, to date the most pro-Israeli American president in history,” the film’s narrator observed. According to Tom Hughes, the State Department’s director of intelligence and research at the time of the Liberty attack, “Johnson was in a very tough mood.”

As an indication of Johnson’s initial firm stance, Hughes recalled that Johnson briefed Newsweek magazine off the record that the Israelis had attacked the Liberty, suggesting that they may have done so because they believed that the naval intelligence-gathering ship had been intercepting Israeli as well as Egyptian communications.

A post-interview leak revealing that it was the President himself who had briefed the media about the attack on the Liberty alarmed the Israeli embassy in Washington and its friends in the major Jewish organizations, who intimated that Johnson’s Newsweek briefing “practically amounted to blood libel.”

The documentary’s narrator said declassified Israeli documents now show that “they were going to threaten President Johnson with ‘blood libel’ — gross anti-Semitism — and that would end his political career.”

“Blackmail!” retired U.S. Navy admiral Bobby Ray Inman frankly summed up Israel’s strategy to deal with Johnson. “[T]hey know if he is thinking about running again he’s going to need money for his campaign,” said Inman, who from 1977 to 1981 directed the National Security Agency, the U.S. intelligence agency under whose aegis the USS Liberty had been dispatched to the eastern Mediterranean. “So alleging that he’s blood-libeling is going to arouse the Jewish donors.”

The Israeli government hired teams of lawyers, including close friends of Johnson, the narrator added, and began an “all-out offensive” to influence media coverage of the attack, leaning on them “to kill critical stories” and slant others in Israel’s favor.

“There was a campaign mounted to see what could be done about returning Johnson to his normal, predictable pro-Israeli position,” Hughes said. “Efforts were to be made to remind the President of the delicacy of his own position, that he personally might lose support for his run for reelection in 1968.”

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

November 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm

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Using the Holocaust to justify war on Assad

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
RT Op-Edge
October 30, 2014

Since its creation after WWII, Israel and friends have been masters at manipulating emotions, endlessly invoking the memory of Hitler’s Germany as a pretext for starting further wars as in the recent Holocaust-themed propaganda against Syria’s government.

“The irony is that the Nazi holocaust has now become the main ideological weapon for launching wars of aggression,” Norman Finkelstein tells Yoav Shamir in “Defamation”, the Israeli filmmaker’s award-winning 2009 documentary on how perceptions of anti-Semitism affect Israeli and US politics. “Every time you want to launch a war of aggression, drag in the Nazi holocaust.”

If you’re looking for evidence in support of Finkelstein’s thesis today, you need look no further than the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibit of images of emaciated and mutilated bodies from contemporary Syria.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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Anti-Assad Warmongers Drag in the Holocaust

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
October 25, 2014

“The irony is that the Nazi holocaust has now become the main ideological weapon for launching wars of aggression,” Norman Finkelstein tells Yoav Shamir in “Defamation,” the Israeli filmmaker’s award-winning 2009 documentary on how perceptions of anti-Semitism affect Israeli and U.S. politics. “Every time you want to launch a war of aggression, drag in the Nazi holocaust.” If you’re looking for evidence in support of Finkelstein’s thesis today, you need look no further than the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibit of images of emaciated and mutilated bodies from contemporary Syria.

The small exhibit, entitled “Genocide: The Threat Continues,” features a dozen images said to be from an archive of 55,000 pictures allegedly smuggled out of the country by “Caesar,” a mysterious source who claims to have defected from his job as a Syrian military photographer after having been ordered to take photos of more than 10,000 corpses. Emphasizing the threat of an impending genocide, the reportedly conscience-stricken defector warns that a similar fate awaits the 150,000 people he says remain incarcerated by President Bashar Assad’s government.

“They’re powerful images, and viewers are immediately reminded of the Holocaust,” Cameron Hudson, the director of the museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide, was cited as saying in an Oct. 15 Associated Press report. Hudson, whose intriguing career in genocide prevention includes a stint as intelligence analyst in the CIA’s Africa Directorate, added, “They show a side of the Syrian regime that hasn’t really been really seen. You might have heard about it, read about it, but when you’re confronted with these images, they’re impossible to ignore.”

The museum’s promotion of these impossible-to-ignore, Holocaust-recalling images dates from a few months earlier, however. In his July visit to Washington that included a series of meetings with U.S. government and congressional officials, Caesar’s first stop was at the Holocaust Museum.

On July 28, Michael Chertoff, a member of the museum’s governing board of trustees, presented the purported defector to a small group of reporters and researchers. According to the Washington Post’s Greg Miller, this event was the first time that Caesar had appeared publicly to answer questions about the photos deemed by some human rights organizations as evidence of war crimes committed by Assad.

Chertoff, a co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act, hasn’t hesitated to invoke the Nazis either in support of the neoconservative-conceived “global war on terror.” In an April 22, 2007 Washington Post op-ed entitled “Make No Mistake: This Is War,” the then secretary of the Department of Homeland Security wrote, “Al-Qaeda and its ilk have a world vision that is comparable to that of historical totalitarian ideologues but adapted to the 21st-century global network.”

Commenting on the former DHS secretary’s close ties to Israel, Jonathan Cook notes in his book “Israel and the Clash of Civilizations” that Chertoff’s mother was an air hostess for El Al in the 1950s. “There are reports that she was involved in Operation Magic Carpet, which brought Jews to Israel from Yemen,” writes the Nazareth-based British journalist. “It therefore seems possible that Livia Eisen was an Israeli national, and one with possible links to the Mossad.”

Among the other members of the Holocaust Memorial Council noted for their staunch support of Israel and American interventionism are the pardoned Iran-Contra neocon intriguer Elliott Abrams and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

Writing in Foreign Policy’s The Cable on April 23, 2012, Josh Rogin drew attention to Wiesel’s pointed introduction of President Barack Obama at a ceremony in the Holocaust Museum. Comparing the Syrian president and then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the perpetrators of the Nazi holocaust, Wiesel implicitly criticized Obama’s supposedly obtuse inaction, “So in this place we may ask: Have we learned anything from it? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power?”

As Rogin, a reliable media conduit for anti-Assad interventionism, pointedly observed, the speech was reminiscent of another one Wiesel gave at the opening of the museum in 1993, when he urged then President Bill Clinton to take military action in Bosnia: “Similarly, that speech came at a time when the Clinton administration was resisting getting entangled in a foreign civil war but was under growing pressure to intervene.”

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

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Ted Cruz’s bible-thumping, carpet bombing Israel-centric foreign policy

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
October 7, 2014

Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer currently executive director of the Council for the National Interest, links to my article on the “In Defense of Christians” D.C. Summit in his latest UNZ Review column:

The disturbing thing about Cruz is that his foreign policy statements are awash in what must be a willful disregard of reality, but, as with the threatened government shutdown, he apparently knows what will sell with the Bible thumping America first crowd that he is primarily targeting. His latest leitmotif which he has been hammering relentlessly is the worldwide persecution of Christians, with the clear implication that it is uniquely a Muslim problem. It is also a line that is being pursued by the Israeli government and American Jewish groups, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is somehow a protector of Christianity.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer and political analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the US-Israeli relationship.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 7, 2014 at 3:03 pm

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The Israel Lobby ‘In Defense of Christians’?

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The UNZ Review
October 2, 2014

Having long since captured the sympathies of America’s evangelical Christians, Israel’s friends have recently been attempting to show empathy for the persecuted Christian churches of the Arab World in what appears to be a concerted effort to garner support for Tel Aviv’s regional aspirations. Only founded earlier this year, a previously obscure non-profit organization called “In Defense of Christians” suddenly attracted international headlines during its inaugural summit (Sept. 9-11). The stated purpose of the three-day Washington, D.C. gathering was to raise awareness about the plight of beleaguered Middle Eastern Christian communities whose continued existence is threatened by the advance of the Islamic State, or ISIS, and other takfiri groups.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

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“In Defense of Christians” — Or Israel?

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By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 11, 2014

The shady new non-profit “In Defense of Christians” (IDC), whose D.C. summit is making headlines thanks to reliable Israeli asset Sen. Ted Cruz, would appear to have been created to induce Christians to back further American intervention in the Middle East with the ultimate goal of advancing the Yinon Plan, i.e. the Israeli strategy of breaking up the entire region into ethnic or sectarian mini-states. As IDC executive director Andrew Doran recently wrote in the neocon National Review Online:

As I argued here last year, the intervention in the former Yugoslavia may serve as a compelling model today for Syria and now perhaps Iraq, but this would call for a willingness to see Iraq and Syria dissolved. For the moment, America clings, as it did at the outset of war in Yugoslavia, to nations that no longer exist.

Update: Neocon interventionist Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the pro-Israel Hudson Institute, was one of the main speakers [.pdf] at the IDC summit.

Update II: Yesterday, the neocon Washington Post noted that the IDC summit’s Middle Eastern Christian attendees didn’t necessarily share Doran and Shea’s enthusiasm for interventionism:

Doran said the cooperative spirit of the conference has been heartening, but that it does not mean that all are agreed on how the threat to Christians in the Middle East should be countered. One Orthodox leader on Tuesday (Sept. 9) declared his opposition to military action to stop the Islamic State militants, a view that is not likely widely shared at the conference, Doran noted. The next day, another called the Arab-Israel conflict the root of Middle Eastern chaos. He doesn’t speak for the IDC nor his brother patriarchs, said Doran, adding: “But I don’t think we would be inclined to censor that sort of comment. We welcome a diversity of thought.”

As the IDC statement in response to the booing of Sen. Cruz’s pro-Israel speech subsequently revealed, however, there is a limit to how much diversity of thought is really welcome “In Defense of Christians.”

Update III: In an Aug. 19 New York Times op-ed, Ronald Lauder asks “Who Will Stand Up for the Christians?” Unless one is to believe that the president of the World Jewish Congress is disinterestedly concerned about Christian suffering, there clearly is a concerted effort by pro-Israelis to exploit the persecution of minorities in the Middle East to induce “the strongest military power on earth” to intervene further in the region in order to advance Israeli hegemony.

Update IV: Kristina Olney, IDC’s Director of Government Relations and Outreach, previously served for two years as the Government Relations Associate at The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI). Dubbed “PNAC 2.0,” the FPI, like its neocon predecessor, was also co-founded by Israel partisans William Kristol and Robert Kagan.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer and political analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the US-Israeli relationship.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

September 11, 2014 at 10:32 pm

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