Archive for March 2012
In Israel in the Second Iraq War: The Influence of Likud, former CIA Iraq analyst Stephen C. Pelletière observes:
…the process of involving Iran in the takeover of Iraq began before Bush took office, at the time of Bill Clinton. Clinton’s principal Middle East advisor, Martin Indyk, invited Tehran to send a delegation to Washington to advise on means of overthrowing the Ba’th. The Iranians complied, and, as a consequence, they were in the ground floor, so to speak, of the invasion planning. This enabled them to begin looking out for their interests.
In 1982, Indyk began working as a deputy research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). From 1985 Indyk served eight years as the founding Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think created by AIPAC to “do AIPAC’s work but appear independent.” In 2000, while serving as U.S. ambassador to Israel, Indyk’s security clearance was briefly suspended by the U.S. Department of State pending a State Department and FBI investigation into his handling of intelligence information.
Looking through who Google Ideas director Jared Cohen is following on Twitter, I came across this intriguing connection to the Israel lobby:
Scott Carpenter @JSCarpenter11
Principal, @GoogleIdeas, where thinking and technology tackle the thorniest problems. Previously founder and director of Project Fikra @washinstitute.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) was created by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) “to do AIPAC’s work but appear independent.” According to the think tank AIPAC built, Project Fikra is “a multiyear program of research, publication, and network-building designed to generate policy ideas for promoting positive change and countering the spread of extremism in the Middle East.” Or, as I have more accurately described the closely-related Fikra Forum, it’s basically “an Israeli forum for Arab democrats” surreptitiously pushing regime change in the Middle East.
Referring to Google Ideas director Jared Cohen’s involvement in regime change in the Middle East last spring, Stratfor’s Fred Burton emailed his colleagues:
“GOOGLE is getting WH [White House] and State Dept. support and air cover. In reality, they are doing things the CIA cannot do.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Google’s “think/do tank” is now targeting regimes closer to home:
‘There’s a reason the people in Cuba don’t have access to the Internet. It is because the government [couldn't] survive it.”
That was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio last week at a Washington conference titled “Cuba Needs a (Technological) Revolution: How the Internet Can Thaw an Island Frozen in Time.” The event was sponsored by Google Ideas, a for-profit venture of the giant Internet search enterprise, and the nonprofit Heritage Foundation.
If 2011 was The Year of the Arab Spring, 2012 is shaping up to be El Año de la Primavera Latina.
Business Insider reports:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a source to Stratfor Vice President Fred Burton since at least May of 2007, according to internal Stratfor emails leaked by WikiLeaks.
In an email dated May 1, 2007, Burton says that “BiBi [i.e. Netanyahu] believes he can unseat Olmert and there is a movement underway to do so.”
After an analyst sends a message to clarify, Burton responds:
BiBi (protect) has said that Olmert is “finished” Thursday.
In looking at my notes… it looks like BiBi is the one that wants the job very badly. He said, “it’s mine, I’ve shored up Likud [i.e. Israel's major center-right political party]. Thank you Fred for your support of Israel…”
In mid-May 2009— the week before Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama for the first time since both took office— an email discussed Obama’s Middle East policy and Burton wrote:
BB, being the man of honor that he is, intends to let Obama know (I’ve been told man to man) that he is the vanguard of the State of Israel, with the hell bent intentions (Bush like I may add) of neutralizing the Iranian nuclear menace, because he trusts this Presidency about as much as I do. For that, he gets my man of the year award.
As 2009 progresses Iran’s nuclear capabilities and a potential Israeli strike become the main topic of discussion. In a November 2009 email titled “Insight – Blowback ** internal use only **” Burton provides intel from both U.S. and Israel:
A very good source just informed me that extremely quiet discussions are underway between [the Department of Homeland Security] and the FBI on the blowback to the Jewish community, facilities, synagogues, day-cares, et al in the United States, in the event of an Israeli strike on Iran…
From my lips to your ears. I would imagine that my good friend BB Netanyahu told Obama what the Sword of Gideon has in store for the Iranian menace. I also have it on good word that BB trusts Obama about as much as he trusted Arafat or Waddi Haddad.
Considering Burton’s clear preference for the Israeli Prime Minister over the U.S. President, the following should raise concerns about the potential for compromising U.S. national security:
Stratfor provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
By Philip Giraldi
The Passionate Attachment
March 28, 2012
The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner reporting from Jerusalem on March 20th described Israeli government rage at a comment made by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton relating to the killing of three Jewish children in Toulouse France on the previous day. Ashton decried the killing but then tied it in to equally unfortunate deaths of children in other places, including Gaza. Her comment caused Netanyahu to explode, saying he was “infuriated” by the “comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli Defense Forces hitting “…terrorists who use children as a human shield.” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman quickly joined in, saying that Ashton should instead be thinking about the “children of southern Israel who live in constant fear of rocket attacks from Gaza.”
What readers of The Passionate Attachment have known since early March 2011 about Jared Cohen’s involvement in the “Arab Spring” uprisings has been confirmed by a Lebanese daily’s English language Internet site:
Top Google execs, including the company’s CEO and one of Barack Obama’s major presidential campaign donors Eric Schmidt, informed the intelligence agency Stratfor about Google’s activities and internal communication regarding “regime change” in the Middle East, according to Stratfor emails released by WikiLeaks and obtained by Al-Akhbar. The other source cited was Google’s director for security and safety Marty Lev.
The briefings mainly focused on the movements of Jared Cohen, currently the director of Google Ideas, a “think/do-tank” billed as a vehicle for spreading American-style liberal democracy. Cohen was also a former member of US Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and former advisor to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.
Email exchanges, starting February 2011, suggest that Google execs were suspicious that Cohen was coordinating his moves with the White House and cut Cohen’s mission short at times for fear he was taking too many risks. Stratfor’s vice-president of counter-terrorism Fred Burton, who seemed opposed to Google’s alleged covert role in “foaming” uprisings, describes Cohen as a “loose Cannon” whose killing or kidnapping “might be the best thing to happen” to expose Google.
In contrast to their fascination with less significant Wikileaks revelations, this narrative-changing story has been studiously ignored by almost all mainstream and so-called alternative media.
By Philip Giraldi
The Passionate Attachment
March 22, 2012
I’m sure that many have noted how successful Israel and its friends are at shifting the narrative. Palestinian statehood was made a non-issue by ignoring it in the media and concentrating instead on the largely fictitious threat being posed by Iran. Threats by Israel to attack Iran continue, to be sure, and have even increased in both volume and ferocity, but Israel is now creating a diversion in always useful Gaza. Israel has been staging airstrikes against Gaza and it is widely believed in the Israeli media that a new ground invasion is impending. The argument that Gaza is launching missiles into Israel is being trotted out anew, as it always is, but the homemade rockets have hardly had any impact whatsoever. Twenty-five Gazans have been killed in the Israeli response while no Israelis have either died or been seriously injured. So the conversation is not about what is happening with the Palestinians but rather about the terrible danger of rockets flying out from Gaza.
Reports the Independent on Sunday:
The money and blood pit that is Afghanistan – where the US and Britain have expended more than 2,100 lives and £302bn – is about to start paying a dividend. But it won’t be going to the countries which have made this considerable sacrifice. The contracts to open up Afghanistan’s mineral and fossil-fuel wealth, and to build the railways that will transport them out of the country, are being won or pursued by China, India, Iran, and Russia.
The potentially lucrative task of exploiting Afghanistan’s immense mineral wealth – estimated to be worth around £2trn, according to the Kabul government – is only in the early stages. But already China and India in particular are doing deals and beginning work. Facilities already established are being protected by local army and police, part of whose funding, and most of whose training, has been a US/UK responsibility.
So much for the Left’s argument that Washington’s “global war on terror” serves to advance the interests of U.S. corporations.
On March 5, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) introduced H.R. 4133 [.pdf], the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which was also cosponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Ca.) “to express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Israel strategic relationship, to direct the President to submit to Congress reports on United States actions to enhance this relationship and to assist in the defense of Israel, and for other purposes.”
One of the reasons for introducing the resolution is stated as follows:
The Middle East is undergoing rapid change, bringing with it hope for an expansion of democracy but also great challenges to the national security of the United States and our allies in the region, particularly our most important ally in the region, Israel. The past year has witnessed the fall of some regimes long considered to be pillars of stability in the Middle East and a rise in the influence of radical Islamists throughout the region.
Comparing the media handling of the debate over Iran with the lead-up to the war on Iraq, Stephen M. Walt observes in a recent Foreign Policy column that “most mainstream news organizations have let us down again.” In his “Top Ten Media Failures in the 2012 Iran War Scare,” Prof. Walt singles out five journalists for particular criticism:
#1: Mainstreaming the war. As I’ve written before, when prominent media organizations keep publishing alarmist pieces about how war is imminent, likely, inevitable, etc., this may convince the public that it is going to happen sooner or later and it discourages people from looking for better alternatives. Exhibits A and B for this problem are Jeffrey Goldberg’s September 2010 article in The Atlantic Monthly and Ronan Bergman’s February 2012 article in the New York Times Magazine. Both articles reported that top Israeli leaders believed time was running out and suggested that an attack might come soon.
#8: Letting spinmeisters play fast and loose with facts. Journalists have to let officials and experts express their views, but they shouldn’t let them spout falsehoods without pushing back. Unfortunately, there have been some egregious cases where prominent journalists allowed politicians or government officials to utter howlers without being called on it. When Rick Santorum announced on Meet the Press that “there were no inspectors” in Iran, for example, host David Gregory didn’t challenge this obvious error. (In fact, Iran may be the most heavily inspected country in the history of the IAEA).
Even worse, when Israeli ambassador Michael Oren appeared on MSNBC last week, he offered the following set of dubious claims, without challenge:
“[Iran] has built an underground nuclear facility trying to hide its activities from the world. It has been enriching uranium to a high rate [sic.] that has no explanation other than a military nuclear program – that has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency now several times. It is advancing very quickly on an intercontinental ballistic missile system that’s capable of carrying nuclear warheads.”
Unfortunately, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell apparently didn’t know that Oren’s claims were either false or misleading. 1) Iran’s underground facility was built to make it hard to destroy, not to “hide its activities,” and IAEA inspectors have already been inside it. 2) Iran is not enriching at a “high rate” (i.e., to weapons-grade); it is currently enriching to only 20% (which is not high enough to build a bomb). 3) Lastly, Western intelligence experts do not think Iran is anywhere near to having an ICBM capability.
In another interview on NPR, Oren falsely accused Iran of “killing hundreds, if not thousands of American troops,” a claim that NPR host Robert Siegel did not challenge.
Every one of those Walt identifies as examples of “media failures” — Jeffrey Goldberg, Ronen Bergman, David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell and Robert Siegel — either already has Israeli citizenship or would probably qualify for it under the Law of Return, which accords any Jew the legal right to assisted immigration and settlement in Israel, as well as Israeli citizenship.
Of course, being Jewish doesn’t necessarily mean that one is more susceptible to Israeli falsehoods about the alleged “Iranian threat.” After all, Glenn Greenwald is one of the journalists that Walt singles out for praise in countering the war propaganda. But we still need to ask if this is simply another case of “media failure”? Or are those in the media with an undisclosed bias helping to take America to another disastrous war for Israel?