Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?
So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.
He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.
President Trump’s seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.
Trump no longer calls NATO “obsolete,” but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia’s Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.
If Tillerson is not bluffing, that would rule out any rapprochement in the Trump presidency. For neither Putin, nor any successor, could surrender Crimea and survive.
What happened to the Trump of 2016?
When did Kiev’s claim to Crimea become more crucial to us than a cooperative relationship with a nuclear-armed Russia? In 1991, Bush I and Secretary of State James Baker thought the very idea of Ukraine’s independence was the product of a “suicidal nationalism.”
Where do we think this demonization of Putin and ostracism of Russia is going to lead?
To get Xi Jinping to help with our Pyongyang problem, Trump has dropped all talk of befriending Taiwan, backed off Tillerson’s warning to Beijing to vacate its fortified reefs in the South China Sea, and held out promises of major concessions to Beijing in future trade deals.
“I like (Xi Jinping) and I believe he likes me a lot,” Trump said this week. One recalls FDR admonishing Churchill, “I think I can personally handle Stalin better than … your Foreign Office … Stalin hates the guts of all your people. He thinks he likes me better.”
FDR did not live to see what a fool Stalin had made of him.
Among the achievements celebrated in Trump’s first 100 days are the 59 cruise missiles launched at the Syrian airfield from which the gas attack on civilians allegedly came, and the dropping of the 22,000-pound MOAB bomb in Afghanistan.
But what did these bombings accomplish?
The War Party seems again ascendant. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are happy campers. In Afghanistan, the U.S. commander is calling for thousands more U.S. troops to assist the 8,500 still there, to stabilize an Afghan regime and army that is steadily losing ground to the Taliban.
Iran is back on the front burner. While Tillerson concedes that Tehran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump says it is violating “the spirit of the agreement.”
How so? Says Tillerson, Iran is “destabilizing” the region, and threatening U.S. interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.
But Iran is an ally of Syria and was invited in to help the U.N.-recognized government put down an insurrection that contains elements of al-Qaida and ISIS. It is we, the Turks, Saudis and Gulf Arabs who have been backing the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime.
In Yemen, Houthi rebels overthrew and expelled a Saudi satrap. The bombing, blockading and intervention with troops is being done by Saudi and Sunni Arabs, assisted by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.
It is we and the Saudis who are talking of closing the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which could bring on widespread starvation.
It was not Iran, but the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew the Baghdad regime and occupied the country. It was not Iran that overthrew Col. Gadhafi and created the current disaster in Libya.
Monday, the USS Mahan fired a flare to warn off an Iranian patrol boat, 1,000 meters away. Supposedly, this was a provocation. But Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif had a point when he tweeted:
“Breaking: Our Navy operates in — yes, correct — the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. Question is what US Navy doing 7,500 miles from home.”
Who is behind the seeming conversion of Trump to hawk?
The generals, Bibi Netanyahu and the neocons, Congressional hawks with Cold War mindsets, the Saudi royal family and the Gulf Arabs — they are winning the battle for the president’s mind.
And their agenda for America?
We are to recognize that our true enemy in the Mideast is not al-Qaida or ISIS, but Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, Assad’s Syria and his patron, Putin. And until Hezbollah is eviscerated, Assad is gone, and Iran is smashed the way we did Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, the flowering of Middle East democracy that we all seek cannot truly begin.
But before President Trump proceeds along the path laid out for him by his generals, brave and patriotic men that they are, he should discover if any of them opposed any of the idiotic wars of the last 15 years, beginning with that greatest of strategic blunders — George Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
Copyright 2017 Creators.com.
Two dozen former U.S. intelligence professionals are urging the American people to demand clear evidence that the Syrian government was behind the April 4 chemical incident before President Trump dives deeper into another war.
AN OPEN MEMORANDUM FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
Subject: Mattis ‘No Doubt’ Stance on Alleged Syrian CW Smacks of Politicized Intelligence
Donald Trump’s new Secretary of Defense, retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, during a recent trip to Israel, commented on the issue of Syria’s retention and use of chemical weapons in violation of its obligations to dispose of the totality of its declared chemical weapons capability in accordance with the provisions of both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“There can be no doubt,” Secretary Mattis said during a April 21, 2017 joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, “in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all.” To the contrary, Mattis noted, “I can say authoritatively they have retained some.”
Lieberman joined Mattis in his assessment, noting that Israel had “100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against [Syrian] rebels.”
Both Mattis and Lieberman seemed to be channeling assessments offered to reporters two days prior, on April 19, 2017, by anonymous Israeli defense officials that the April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack on the Syrian village of Khan Shaykhun was ordered by Syrian military commanders, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s personal knowledge, and that Syria retained a stock of “between one and three tons” of chemical weapons.
The Israeli intelligence followed on the heels of an April 13, 2017 speech given by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that, once information had come in about a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, the CIA had been able to “develop several hypothesis around that, and then to begin to develop fact patterns which either supported or suggested that the hypothesis wasn’t right.” The CIA, Pompeo said, was “in relatively short order able to deliver to [President Trump] a high-confidence assessment that, in fact, it was the Syrian regime that had launched chemical strikes against its own people in [Khan Shaykhun.]”
The speed in which this assessment was made is of some concern. Both Director Pompeo, during his CSIS remarks, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, during comments to the press on April 6, 2017, note that President Trump turned to the intelligence community early on in the crisis to understand better “the circumstances of the attack and who was responsible.” McMaster indicated that the U.S. Intelligence Community, working with allied partners, was able to determine with “a very high degree of confidence” where the attack originated.
Both McMaster and Pompeo spoke of the importance of open source imagery in confirming that a chemical attack had taken place, along with evidence collected from the victims themselves – presumably blood samples – that confirmed the type of agent that was used in the attack. This initial assessment drove the decision to use military force – McMaster goes on to discuss a series of National Security Council meetings where military options were discussed and decided upon; the discussion about the intelligence underpinning the decision to strike Syria was over.
The danger of this rush toward an intelligence decision by Director Pompeo and National Security Advisor McMaster is that once the President and his top national security advisors have endorsed an intelligence-based conclusion, and authorized military action based upon that conclusion, it becomes virtually impossible for that conclusion to change. Intelligence assessments from that point forward will embrace facts that sustain this conclusion, and reject those that don’t; it is the definition of politicized intelligence, even if those involved disagree.
A similar “no doubt” moment had occurred nearly 15 years ago when, in August 2002, Vice President Cheney delivered a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney declared. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.” The message Cheney was sending to the Intelligence Community was clear: Saddam Hussein had WMD; there was no need to answer that question anymore.
The CIA vehemently denies that either Vice President Cheney or anyone at the White House put pressure on its analysts to alter their assessments. This may very well be true, but if it is, then the record of certainty – and arrogance – that existed in the mindset of senior intelligence managers and analysts only further erodes public confidence in the assessments produced by the CIA, especially when, as is the case with Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction – the agency was found so lacking. Stuart Cohen, a veteran CIA intelligence analyst who served as the acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, oversaw the production of the 2002 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to make case for Iraq possessing WMD that was used to justify war.
According to Mr. Cohen, he had four National Intelligence Officers with “over 100 years’ collective work experience on weapons of mass destruction issues” backed up by hundreds of analysts with “thousands of man-years invested in studying these issues.”
On the basis of this commitment of talent alone, Mr. Cohen assessed that “no reasonable person could have viewed the totality of the information that the Intelligence Community had at its disposal … and reached any conclusion or alternative views that were profoundly different from those that we reached,” namely that – judged with high confidence – “Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer limit imposed by the UN Security Council.”
Two facts emerge from this expression of intellectual hubris. First, the U.S. Intelligence Community was, in fact, wrong in its estimate on Iraq’s WMD capability, throwing into question the standards used to assign “high confidence” ratings to official assessments. Second, the “reasonable person” standard cited by Cohen must be reassessed, perhaps based upon a benchmark derived from a history of analytical accuracy rather than time spent behind a desk.
The major lesson learned here, however, is that the U.S. Intelligence Community, and in particular the CIA, more often than not hides behind self-generated platitudes (“high confidence”, “reasonable person”) to disguise a process of intelligence analysis that has long ago been subordinated to domestic politics.
It is important to point out the fact that Israel, too, was wrong about Iraq’s WMD. According to Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli Intelligence Officer, Israeli intelligence seriously overplayed the threat posed by Iraqi WMD in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War, including a 2002 briefing to NATO provided by Efraim Halevy, who at the time headed the Israeli Mossad, or intelligence service, that Israel had “clear indications” that Iraq had reconstituted its WMD programs after U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998.
The Israeli intelligence assessments on Iraq, Mr. Brom concluded, were most likely colored by political considerations, such as the desire for regime change in Iraq. In this light, neither the presence of Avigdor Leiberman, nor the anonymous background briefings provided by Israel about Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, should be used to provide any credence to Secretary Mattis’s embrace of the “no doubt” standard when it comes to Syria’s alleged possession of chemical weapons.
The intelligence data that has been used to back up the allegations of Syrian chemical weapons use has been far from conclusive. Allusions to intercepted Syrian communications have been offered as “proof”, but the Iraq experience – in particular former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s unfortunate experience before the U.N. Security Council – show how easily such intelligence can be misunderstood and misused.
Inconsistencies in the publicly available imagery which the White House (and CIA) have so heavily relied upon have raised legitimate questions about the veracity of any conclusions drawn from these sources (and begs the question as to where the CIA’s own Open Source Intelligence Center was in this episode.) The blood samples used to back up claims of the presence of nerve agent among the victims was collected void of any verifiable chain of custody, making their sourcing impossible to verify, and as such invalidates any conclusions based upon their analysis.
In the end, the conclusions CIA Director Pompeo provided to the President was driven by a fundamental rethinking of the CIA’s analysts when it came to Syria and chemical weapons that took place in 2014. Initial CIA assessments in the aftermath of the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons seemed to support the Syrian government’s stance that it had declared the totality of its holding of chemical weapons, and had turned everything over to the OPCW for disposal. However, in 2014, OPCW inspectors had detected traces of Sarin and VX nerve agent precursors at sites where the Syrians had indicated no chemical weapons activity had taken place; other samples showed the presence of weaponized Sarin nerve agent.
The Syrian explanation that the samples detected were caused by cross-contamination brought on by the emergency evacuation of chemical precursors and equipment used to handle chemical weapons necessitated by the ongoing Civil War was not accepted by the inspectors, and this doubt made its way into the minds of the CIA analysts, who closely followed the work of the OPCW inspectors in Syria.
One would think that the CIA would operate using the adage of “once bitten, twice shy” when assessing inspector-driven doubt; U.N. inspectors in Iraq, driven by a combination of the positive sampling combined with unverifiable Iraqi explanations, created an atmosphere of doubt about the veracity of Iraqi declarations that all chemical weapons had been destroyed. The CIA embraced the U.N. inspectors’ conclusions, and discounted the Iraqi version of events; as it turned out, Iraq was telling the truth.
While the jury is still out about whether or not Syria is, like Iraq, telling the truth, or whether the suspicions of inspectors are well founded, one thing is clear: a reasonable person would do well to withhold final judgment until all the facts are in. (Note: The U.S. proclivity for endorsing the findings of U.N. inspectors appears not to include the Khan Shaykhun attack; while both Syria and Russia have asked the OPCW to conduct a thorough investigation of the April 4, 2017 incident, the OPCW has been blocked from doing so by the United States and its allies.)
CIA Director Pompeo’s job is not to make policy – the intelligence his agency provides simply informs policy. It is not known if the U.S. Intelligence Community will be producing a formal National Intelligence Estimate addressing the Syrian chemical weapons issue, although the fact that the United States has undertaken military action under the premise that these weapons exist more than underscores the need for such a document, especially in light of repeated threats made by the Trump administration that follow-on strikes might be necessary.
Making policy is, however, the job of Secretary of Defense Mattis. At the end of the day, Secretary of Defense Mattis will need to make his own mind up as to the veracity of any intelligence used to justify military action. Mattis’s new job requires that he does more than simply advise the President on military options; he needs to ensure that the employment of these options is justified by the facts.
In the case of Syria, the “no doubt” standard Mattis has employed does not meet the “reasonable man” standard. Given the consequences that are attached to his every word, Secretary Mattis would be well advised not to commit to a “no doubt” standard until there is, literally, no doubt.
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Division Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research
Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA
Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)
Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)
Brady Kiesling, former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, ret. (Associate VIPS)
Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003
Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.)
Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)
Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator (GG-12) HQ, Department of the Army
Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq
Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)
Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)
Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)
Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)
Readings in the Jewish Zionist Control of the United States: Interviews with Francis Boyle, James Petras, and Kim Petersen [Part 4]
Previously I argued that the phony war on “islamic terrorism”, the incessant attacks on and indictment of Islam as a violent religion, and the claim to bring so-called “democracy” to a region ruled by “dictators” are ploys for U.S. wars in the Middle East. Real motives instead, I further argued, are driving these wars with the objective to destabilize, remake, or destroy Arab societies, partition all states that are not in line with the U.S. and Israeli policies, and, in short, dismantle the Arab world. Two agendas converge to implement this effort.
The first has for a focus the aims of U.S. hyper-imperialism. Besides submitting the Arab nations to U.S. plans and military control, the quest for uncontested global hegemony is the core of this agenda. While such a quest is intrinsic to the making of the colonialist nature of the American state, the part related to the Arab world is a particular detail within the overall agenda. Explanation: The Arab regions in the Middle East and North Africa enjoy unrivaled geostrategic assets palatable to U.S. imperialism. However, targeting the Arab nations for war, destruction, and partition because of resources or geographic positions makes no sense in modern times unless a wider, deeper agenda is playing out in the U.S. calculation.
This raises a series of questions. What are the forces directing the Arab agenda of the United States? Are these forces responsible for the persistent hostility toward the Arabs and the active destruction of selective states? Did such a plan start with Kissinger-controlled U.S. foreign policy during the Nixon’s presidency or does it go further back in time? Were Sadat’s recognition of Israel, Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, Iraq’s American-induced invasion of Iran and Kuwait, and U.S. war on Iraq in 1991 the preparatory stages for that plan?
A vital question: Do such forces persuade or coerce the United States to oppose all equitable proposals to solve the Palestinian Question? And to close, who is keeping the interventionist agenda going? Who are the proponents of the Fascist Military Pacification Model the United States wants to impose on the Arab nations?
The second agenda belongs to Israel. Considering its complex logistics and interwoven interests with the global aims of the United States, this agenda is partly carried out by Israel and partly by the United States but with European and Arab vassals following orders. Israel’s agenda operates on nine levels each of which comes with own scope, parameters, and application tools:
General Level: To expand the scope of Zionist narratives on Palestine, so-called right of Jews to return to it, fake historical rights, and so on. Films, TV, false archeology, fake research books, internet, propagandists, and all type of media—even cookbooks—are the avenues for such efforts.
American Level: To preserve the duopoly system as is for easy management; keep the White House and Congress under tight Zionist control; keep the display of power as in AIPAC annual pageantries in order to demonstrate system’s obedience and Zionist control; conceive and implement U.S. foreign policy through American Jewish Zionists who occupy key posts in the American system.
America’s European Vassals Level: To keep European states under the U.S. umbrella for a stronger Israeli control.
Russian/Chinese Level: With over one million ethnic Russian Jews living in Israel, Israel has an advantage in Russia through organized Zionist lobbyists and oligarchs. The scope is to keep Russia out of the Middle East—it failed in Syria—and away from the Arabs. As for China, Israel provides American-designed military technology to increase influence thus preempting potential Chinese support for Arab causes.
International Level: The U.S. belligerent posturing toward North Korea is not its own. It is Israeli by all standards and terminologies. Explanation: N. Korea provided military technology to Iran and Pakistan. That is anathema to Israel. If N. Korea were to stop cooperating with countries deemed adversaries to Israel, the U.S. saber rattling would cease instantly. The other scope is to keep flaunting any U.N. resolution critical of Israel using the U.S. hegemon as a buffer.
America’s Arab vassals: The United States has practically ended, on behalf of Israel, the Arab system of nations through wars and interventions. Israel is now poised to submit all Arab regimes—not the peoples—to its military power and political will.
Regional Level: To maintain Israeli superiority by means of American military supplies, as well as its own. However, the United States is now doing the major job by smashing the Arab states–one by one. The partition of Sudan and the pending partition of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen are examples.
Palestinian Level: To implement the plan to settle the Palestinian Question on Israeli terms. This is how it works. Give the Palestinian a semblance of economic independence within the occupation regime; swallow what remains of historic Palestine; suffocate Gaza to death to stop the resistance; declare a “state” called “Palestine” in Gaza comprising lands taken from Egypt.
Israeli Level: To intensify the Zionization, fascistization, chauvinism, and racism of the Israeli Jewish society. This is important for the continuation of the Zionist project to create a “greater Israel”. Further, the Zionist project was not about creating a “homeland” for the Jews of Europe. It is about Zionist expansions and empire. According to this scheme, turning the racist ideology of and the colonialist core of Zionism into a permanent way of thinking could guarantee the continuation of Israel as a peculiar racist state.
What we want to see now is what did American Jewish Zionists do to rise to such an unprecedented power in the United States? There is a flipside to the coin. Was such a rise autonomous or dependent on factors rooted in the American system? In other words, who allowed Jewish Zionists to dominate the United States?
To answer, we need a starting point. Jewish Zionist propaganda would like the uninformed to believe that the United States was already in pre-Zionist sympathies at least since President John Adams.  An example of such propaganda outlets is the Zionist website Jewish Virtual Library. This so-called library made a compendium of U.S. presidents who, it claims, supported the idea of “restoring the lands of Israel” to its “people”. 
First, U.S. presidents prior to Theodore Roosevelt might have made favorable expressions to certain Jewish individuals. However, I view such expressions as apolitical, superficial, and ceremonial. Moreover, they had no bearing into the future—this was yet to unfold depending on world events. Nor did they set the path for Franklyn D. Roosevelt and his successor Harry Truman to prepare for the installation of a Zionist entity in Palestine. It seems that the “Library” wants to convey the idea that rational political processes brought the United States to side with Zionism and later with Israel. Now, recalling that such “sympathies” might have been made in response to solicitations by Jewish personalities, they were not the political convictions of the American system. However, they became so after Woodrow Wilson publically endorsed the British Mandate for Palestine.
Second, because the American system depends on ideological continuity, it is expected that Roosevelt’s anti-Arab racism and Zionist outlook would pass to his successors. Such passage would also confirm that new patterns of domestic power were emerging. Explanation: in U.S. political settings, the presidents of the imperialist state invariably adopt and further expand on the foreign policies of their predecessors.
The pretense that what those presidents expressed had amounted to recognition of “Jewish claims” on Palestine is baseless. Needless to argue, the fate of Palestine, then under Ottoman rule until the end of WWI, was not a subject for U.S. presidents to decide. Colonialism, however, was the only historical force able to divide conquered nations according to self-interest or consequent to political machinations. Yet, those expressions revealed something interesting— the cultural ignorance of U.S. presidents. Fixated on biblical stories, they interchanged the religious affiliation of Europeans of Jewish faith with the ancient Hebrews. With this, a historical falsehood had been established. Later, this would become the rationalized basis to install a settler state in Palestine.
When American Jewish Zionists twisted the arms of FDR and Harry Truman to make them agree to their demands, and when both presidents gave up under pressure, it became evident that a Jewish Zionist force was born. Under this premise, I view Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklyn D. Roosevelt as the primary facilitators of U.S. Zionism and its ascending power.
Harry Truman is another story. Although, the Zionist state was born under his watch, he was not that essential in the gestation of Zionism toward power. It is true, however, that Truman, a war criminal and opportunist who sold out to Zionists to garner their vote, was a catalyst in turning American Jewish Zionists into the masters of the United States. Explanation: the installation of Israel gave momentum to the emergent power of Zionists. Still, during the transition from European Jewish invasion of Palestine to the installation of Israel, Truman did nothing but to continue with the moral cowardice and treachery of Franklyn D. Roosevelt toward the Arabs.
To back the views I just presented, I will discuss in this part Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson; in the upcoming Part 5, I will discuss Franklyn D. Roosevelt.
Ever since New York Jewish Zionists supported his campaign for governor of New York, and later for president, Roosevelt, a racist and an avowed colonialist in the American tradition, set the stage for a long-lasting confrontational U.S. policy toward the Arabs. With that policy came the gradual elevation of American Jewish Zionists to the claimed status of “king makers” of American politics—especially in the making of foreign policy. Here I want to stress one aspect, which is how the hate of the Arabs became synonymous with the Jewish Zionist power. It works like this: If an American individual wants to run for office, he must declare or pledge in advance his support of Israel against all its “enemies”—the Arabs. On the other hand, opposing Israel (or Zionism) on any ground could mean losing elections and careers.
How did Theodore Roosevelt set the stage for a durable anti-Arab policy of the United States?
Let us reprise a quotation that appeared in Part 2. In a private meeting held in 1907, Roosevelt confided:
It is impossible to expect moral, intellectual, and material well-being where Mohammedanism is supreme. The Egyptians, for example, were a people of Moslem fellahin who have never in all time exercised any self-government whatever. Britain’s Lord Cromer, Roosevelt added, is one of the greatest modern colonial administrators, and he has handled Egypt just according to Egypt’s needs, military occupation, foreign tutelage, and Christian patience.  [Sic], [Italics added]
Roosevelt’s opinion on regions dominated by Mohammedanism—his word for Islam—was in tune with his bigoted ideology. Anyone, of course, is entitled to his opinion. But when an American president expresses racist remarks debasing peoples and their religion, the implication is enormous. Simply, it means that said president, his administration, and subsequent administrations would most likely take the same path. This is how political states stay in business. Eventually, a nurtured prejudice could evolve into state policy— the systematic destruction of the Original Peoples of the United States and the ideology of the Third Reich are examples. Consequently, it is not farfetched to say that Roosevelt’s prejudice had come a long way. Today, it has become the official philosophy of the United States.
A few decades after Roosevelt, John Kennedy, then a senator from New York, proved the assessment I just made. In search of the so-called Jewish vote, he had to go through the rituals of praise (allegiance) to Zionism and to exempt it from the disasters in the Middle East. In addressing a gathering at B’nai Zion Anniversary, he virtually licked the Zionist rear end without shame, pride, or, at least, a little cultivated historical and cultural knowledge. With his speech (1958), Kennedy proved beyond any doubt that 11 years after the installation of Israel (1947), the power of American Jewish Zionists had become a strong fixture in U.S. politics. He said:
This myth – with which you are all too familiar – is the assertion that it is Zionism which has been the unsettling and fevered infection in the Middle East, the belief that without Israel there would somehow be a natural harmony throughout the Middle East and the Arab world. Quite apart from the values and hopes which the State of Israel enshrines – and the past injuries which it redeems – it twists reality to suggest that it is the democratic tendency of Israel which has injected discord and dissention into the Near East. Even by the coldest calculations, the removal of Israel would not alter the basic crisis in the area. For, if there is any lesson which the melancholy events of the last two years and more taught us, it is that, though Arab states are generally united in opposition to Israel, their political unities do not rise above this negative position. The basic rivalries within the Arab world, the quarrels over boundaries, the tensions involved in lifting their economies from stagnation, the cross-pressures of nationalist – all of these factors would still be there even if there were no Israel. 
Comment: I could write a full dissertation on Kennedy’s speech and the excerpt I just cited . . . What Kennedy said is a classic example of political succumbence. It also shows how indoctrinations, political posturing, and the expected benefits from sycophancy seep from a political epoch to another. For instance, in his lengthy speech, he never uttered the words Palestine or Palestinians. And when he talked about the Palestinians kicked out of their lands by Jewish Zionist terrorists, he called them “Arab refugees”. (See pictures of Palestinians kicked out by Zionists in 1948). Beyond that, it confirms that the imperialist state had blindly embraced the Zionist narratives. And to close, it demonstrates a culture of obedience to Zionism, and acute prejudice against the Arabs. Above all, Kennedy’s speech highlighted the ascending power of American Jewish Zionism in the United States.
There is more. Kennedy externalized the standard political making of an American politician seeking office. When candidates confront the issue of Israel and the Arabs before Jewish Zionist gatherings, they invariably become arrogantly offensive toward the Arabs, but exceedingly flattering toward Zionism. (I added Italics to every sentence of the excerpt where a counter-argument can be made to demolish Kennedy’s assertions. I stop here, however, to avoid derailing this article.)
Let us go back to Roosevelt. When he made his racist feelings known, he appeared to have implied that only when Christianity is supreme, intellectual and well-being are guaranteed. In saying so, he gave Jewish Zionists the ideological weapons to fight Arab and Palestinian nationalisms.
To be noted, Roosevelt’ praise for Lord Cromer is revealing. In casting his praise with words such as, “the greatest modern colonial administrators”, he left no doubt that the guiding light of the United States is an ideology that glorifies colonialism and slavery while turning colonialist administrators into symbols of virtue and rectitude.
Aside from supremacist beliefs, Roosevelt’s use of the concept “Christian patience” lacks originality. He plagiarized Rudyard Kipling’s concept of “White’s man burden”. This observation is important: it shows how ideological contagion works. Knowing this little bit about Roosevelt’s sentiments, it should not be surprising, therefore, when he stated it is “entirely proper to start a Zionist state around Jerusalem.” 
The question one may ask, what were Roosevelt’s rationales and historic justification for a Zionist state “around Jerusalem”? Why is it “entirely proper to start a Zionist state”? What makes it proper: his ideology or bigotry? Why did he ignore the Palestinians who lived in, around, and beyond Jerusalem?
From studying how U.S. presidents interacted with Zionism and Israel, we may be able to draw some conclusions. For instance, from Theodore Roosevelt to Herbert Hoover, the trend was to mix theology, mythology, and colonialism. From FDR to George H. W. Bush the tunes changed to include the primacy of imperialism and the usefulness of Israel to America’s global agenda. From Bill Clinton to Donald Trump, theology and mythology resurfaced but this time the fuel is anti-Muslim Christian Zionism, anti-Arab Neocon Jewish Zionism, and the new plans to partition the Arab states.
It is known that the beginning of any process is a tone-setter for the next enterprise. Under this light, Wilson’s way of thinking about a Zionist state acquires special importance. It rested on four grounds: theological dogmas, Manifest Destiney beliefs, colonialist mindset, and on his conviction of the virtues of European colonialist states. When he (under suspicious circumstances  ), selected the Jewish Zionist Louis Dembitz Brandeis to be his informal advisor on foreign policy, he set the precedent for the rise of many Jewish Zionist advisors and chiefs of staff to presidents and vice presidents.  But when he appointed him to the Supreme Court, he initiated the process of the Zionist penetration into the American state.
To evaluate how Brandeis was working on the mind of Wilson, I am going to quote Jerry Klinger. Klinger is a Jewish Zionist propagandist and a founder of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation. In his article Judge Brandeis, President Wilson and Reverend William E. Blackstone changed Jewish history Klinger details the intellectual and ideological interactions Between Wilson and Brandeis:
Brandeis knew and understood Wilson. He understood what influences Wilson would respond to. He understood the soul of President Wilson. Brandeis was a master politician and courtroom manipulator of opinion and direction. Wilson needed to be appealed to on the basis of faith but not by faith alone would the President act. Wilson needed to be sure of his political base of popular support for his actions. He needed to be sure it was the right thing for America. He weighed his actions carefully and not impulsively. [Emphasis added]
He continues further down,
Wilson further understood through Brandeis that there were delicate negotiations going on in Britain for a declaration of intentions regarding Jewish interests once Britain had wrested control of Palestine from the Turks. [Emphasis added]
Most important for Brandeis was that Wilson understood he had significant grassroots American political and faith based support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Blackstone Memorial was an American document and not a British document. It was important for Wilson and Brandeis to show that they were not the followers of the British. American foreign policy was not shaped and directed by the British but by American interests. [Emphasis added]
Well, now that we know how Wilson had gotten his political education on the claims of Zionism, let us move forward. Brandeis is a master manipulator. Klinger’s statement that Brandeis convinced Wilson that “supporting the British plan for Palestine means that American foreign policy was not shaped and directed by the British but by American interests” was a winning tactic. It gave self‑importance to a United States. I view that tactic as an early indication of how American Jewish Zionists intended to manipulate the United States.
Did Wilson comply with the coaching imparted to him by Brandeis?
Certainly, in his book, The Elected and the Chosen: Why American Presidents Have Supported Jews and Israel, page 179, Denis Brian, an Irish Christian Zionist provides an adequate answer:
“Like many previous presidents, Wilson compared the Jews of the old testament with the colonists and the early history of America,”
He then goes on to quote Wilson directly:
Recalling the previous experiences of the colonists in applying the Mosaic Code to the order of their internal life, it is not to be wondered at that the various passages in the Bible that serve to undermine royal authority, stripping the Crown of its cloak of divinity, held up before the pioneer Americans the Hebrew Commonwealth as a model government. In the spirit and essence of our Constitution, the influence of the Hebrew Commonwealth was paramount in that it was not only the highest authority for the principle, “that rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,” but also because it was in itself a divine precedent for a pure democracy, as distinguished from monarchy, aristocracy or any other form of government. To think that I, the son of the manse, should be able to help restore the Holy Land to its people.”
Despite academic credentials and a university post, Wilson manifested clear intellectual confusion. First, he mingled between diverse categories of thought. Second, his mix-up was so severe that he bundled theology (divinity, etc.) with mythology as in his “various passages in the Bible”. And, if that were not sufficient, he added to the mixture a dose of political gibberish as in the dictions “pure democracy”, “monarchy”, etc. Then he resorted to colonialism as in his phrase “to help restore … etc.
Not only that, but his approach to important U.S. policy directions that structurally overlooked the existence of the Palestinians—the future victims of his planned “restoration” smacks of ignorance, dishonesty, callousness, and ethical perfidy. I wonder how Wilson would have responded to a question such as this: Mr. President, did you ever think to restore the Original Peoples of the United States to the lands you and your predecessors have stolen by fire, forced relocations, and extermination?
Next, I will discuss Franklyn D. Roosevelt and other issues.
Part 6: Interview with Francis Boyle
Part 7: Interview with James Petras
Part 8: Interview with Kim Petersen
- The Austrian Nathan Birnbaum coined the term Zionism in 1890. I view any prior similar ideology as pre-Zionist
- Jewish Virtual Library,
- Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945, University of North Carolina Press, 2008, p. 16
- JFK Presidential Library and Museum, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy at the B’nai Zion, February 9, 1958
- Quoted in Benjamin Glatt, Today in History: Teddy Roosevelt and the Jews, The Jerusalem Post, 2016
- Alleged Wilson’s adultery was seized to blackmail him. I’m no fan of hoaxes and allegations. However, unbiased research is needed to ascertain validity. The following link provides some background on this issue: The Making of Woodrow Wilson— An American Nero?
- Examples include Henry Kissinger, Samuel Berger, Irving Lewis Libby, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, etc.
*(Trump speaking at AIPAC. Image credit: Lorie Shaull/ flickr).
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said yesterday that the new anti-Hezbollah sanctions bill that the US Congress is considering would “greatly harm Lebanon and its people”.
Aoun told a delegation from the American Task Force for Lebanon, an organisation that includes Americans of Lebanese heritage and businessmen, that ”the draft law that is being prepared in Congress to slap new financial sanctions on Lebanese parties, institutions and individuals will greatly harm Lebanon and its people.”
The president pointed out that Lebanon is making the necessary contacts to prevent the issuance of the law and welcomed any effort by the American Task Force for Lebanon in this regard.
US Congress is planning to review additional and tougher sanctions against Hezbollah and all its affiliates and allies, a move that could have negative political and financial ramifications on Lebanon if the proposals pass without amendments.
The proposed law might for the first time target the Amal Movement led by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri as well as senior Hezbollah officials, headed by its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, members of his political bureau and parliamentarians.
Will we survive the next 90 days?
There remains one good thing to say about Donald Trump: he is not Hillary. The boneheaded cruise missile attack in Syria would have occurred even earlier under President Rodham Clinton and there would undoubtedly be no-fly and safe zones already in place. Oh, and Ukraine and Georgia would be negotiating their entries into NATO to make sure that old Vlad Putin would be put on notice and understand that the days of namby-pamby jaw-jaw-jaw that characterized the Obama Administration are now ancient history.
Apart from that, I can only observe dumbstruck how yet again a candidate promising peace and dialogue could be flipped so quickly. Or maybe he never believed in anything he said, which is perhaps more to the point. Be that as it may, we now, after only ninety days in office, have a neo-neocon foreign policy and the folks clustered around their water coolers in the Washington think tanks are again smiling. And as the ruinous Syrian civil war continues thanks to American intervention, there are probably plenty of high fives within Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu government. Bibi again rules the roost.
The Israelis are no doubt particularly delighted to hear Donald Trump’s latest factually exempt voyage into the outer reaches of the galaxy regarding Iran. Or perhaps The Donald is only having continuing digestive problems dealing with “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” when dining with mortified Chinese leader Xi Jinping while simultaneously launching cruise missiles intended to send a message to Beijing’s ally Russia. It is inevitably Iran’s turn for vilification, so Trump, while conceding that the Iranians have been compliant with the nuclear weapons agreement they signed, also felt compelled to add that they continue to be a threat and have not entered into the “spirit” of the pact. Apparently the spirit codicil was somehow left out of the final draft, an interpretation that will no doubt surprise the other signatories consisting of Russia, China and the European Union.
To make its point that Tehran is somehow a cheater, the White House has ordered a 90 day review of Iran policy which will empower hardliners in that country in upcoming elections as well as nut cases like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on this side of the Atlantic. Iranian opposition groups like the terrorist Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) are already rising to the challenge by floating phony intelligence while Graham is currently advocating a preemptive attack on North Korea, conceding that it would be catastrophic for every country in the region while noting smugly that the carnage and destruction would not reach the United States. Too bad that Pyongyang’s fury cannot be directed straight to Graham’s house in South Carolina.
Graham is reportedly a good dancer and multitasker who can pivot back to Iran effortlessly as soon as Pyongyang is reduced to rubble, so those who want to deal with Iran sooner rather than later should not despair. As things continue to go south nearly everywhere, tension in the Middle East will no doubt lead to a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Persian Gulf that will require yet another ham-handed show of strength by the United States of Amnesia. There will be a war against Iran.
There have been a couple of other interesting stories circulating recently, all demonstrating that when Benjamin Franklin observed that we Americans had created a republic, “if we can keep it,” he was being particularly prescient. Robert Parry has observed that all the fuss about Russiagate is misleading as the only country that interferes with the political process in the U.S. persistently and successfully while also doing terrible damage to our national security is Israel. He wonders when we will have Congress convening investigative commissions to look into Israel-gate but then answers his own question by observing that it will never happen given who controls what in the United States. “No one dares suggest a probe of Israel-gate,” he concludes, but it is interesting and also encouraging to note that some Americans are actually starting to figure things out.
One of the curious things relating to the Russiagate scandal is the issue of who in the U.S. intelligence community leaked highly classified information to the media, a question which somehow seems to have disappeared from whatever final reckoning might be forthcoming. The issue is particularly relevant at the moment because there are reports that the Justice Department is pulling together a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as part of a possible attempt to remove him forcibly from his refuge in Britain and try him for constituting what CIA Director Mike Pompeo describes as a “hostile intelligence service helped by Russia.” It all suggests that low hanging fruit is fair game while some “official” leakers at high levels are somehow being protected.
To cite another example of Justice Department hypocrisy, three current and four former U.S. officials leaked to Reuters last week’s story about a Russian think tank having created a plan to subvert the U.S. election. If that is so, their identities might be discernible or surmised. Why aren’t they in jail? Or is it that many in government now believe that Russia is fair game and are prepared to look the other way?
It is significant that the recent House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russiagate, featuring FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers, provided very little new information even as it confirmed troubling revelations that had already surfaced regarding the corruption of the nation’s security services. Given that former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) head John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) chief James Clapper have been most frequently cited as the Obama administration’s possible bag men in arranging for the generation, collection, dissemination, and leaking of information disparaging to Trump, why weren’t they also being questioned?
The latest focus on Brennan, an Obama/Clinton loyalist who might safely be regarded as the most likely candidate seeking to discredit Team Trump and reap the benefits from Hillary, explores some suspicions about what actually took place last year and how it might have been arranged. The story broke in The Guardian on April 13th, headlined “British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia.” The article rehashes much old information, but, relying on a “source close to UK intelligence,” it describes how Britain’s NSA equivalent GCHQ obtained information late in 2015 relating to suspect “interactions” between Trump associates and the Russian intelligence. GCHQ reportedly routinely passed the information on to its U.S. liaison counterparts, and continued to do so over the next six months. The information was supplemented by similar reporting from a number of European intelligence services as well as the remaining “Five Eyes”: Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
According to the Guardian source and reporters, who are clearly hostile to Trump, the collection was not directed or targeted but was rather part of random interception of Russian communications. This may or may not be true but it serves as a useful cover story if someone was up to something naughty. And it also makes one wonder about the highly incriminating British intelligence sourced “dossier” on Trump and his associates, which The Guardian strangely does not mention, that appeared in January. Another apparent Guardian source called GCHQ the “principal whistleblower” in sharing the information that led to the opening of an FBI investigation in July 2016, a suggestion that the British role was not exactly passive.
The article goes on to describe how John Brennan, then CIA Chief, was personally the recipient of the material passed hand-to-hand at “director level” because of its sensitivity. So the Guardian article is essentially saying that the information was both routine and extremely sensitive, which would seem to be contradictory. Brennan was reportedly then the driving force behind launching a “major inter-agency investigation” and he briefed selected members of Congress regarding what he had obtained. Shortly thereafter leaks began appearing in the British press followed subsequently by revelations in the media in the U.S.
An October request to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court reportedly was initiated after particularly damaging information was received from Estonia concerning Trump associate Carter Page and also regarding allegations that a Russian bank was funneling money into the Trump campaign. This led to an investigation of Page and the tapping into servers in Trump Tower, where the presidential campaign offices were located. Estonia, it should be noted, was particularly concerned about Trump comments on de-emphasizing NATO and strongly supported a Hillary victory so it is fair to speculate that the intelligence provided might have been cherry picked to make a particular case, but The Guardian fails to make that obvious point.
It is interesting to note how for the first time, in this media account, Brennan surfaces as the central player in the investigation of Team Trump. And it is perhaps not out of line to suggest that the European reporting of information on Trump associates was not exactly due to random collection of information, as The Guardian seeks to demonstrate. It could just as easily have been arranged at the “director level” by Brennan and his counterparts to disrupt the Trump campaign and enhance the electability of Hillary Clinton, which would have directly benefited Brennan and his inner circle as well as the Europeans, all of whom feared a Trump victory. Intelligence can be skewed, “fixed around a policy” or even fabricated and can say whatever one wants it to say so it is fair to suggest that the role of a politically committed John Brennan remains to be explored much more fully.
It is now being reported that Brennan will be summoned to give testimony at a closed House Intelligence Committee meeting on May 2nd. Hopefully his comments will be somehow leaked to the media plus those of James Clapper, who is also scheduled to appear. Nevertheless, one imagines that, as was the case in Comey’s first appearance, both former officials will spend most of their time refusing to confirm or deny anything.
The active participation of Brennan in the background to the 2016 electoral campaign is unprecedented and it is also suggestive of what America’s national security agencies have become, basically creatures of the White House. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Benjamin Franklin would undoubtedly deplore the fact that we have failed to keep the republic that the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us. That would be bad enough, but we are slipping into a pattern of foreign wars based on tissues of lies and deceptions by the very people who are in place to protect us, quite possibly exemplified by unscrupulous and ambitious ladder climbers like John Brennan, who was also the architect of Obama’s assassination policy. If we go to war because of suspected lack of “spirit” in our adversaries or merely because someone in the White House had a piece of chocolate cake and wanted something to talk about over his cup of espresso then we are doomed as a nation.
The signing of the first commercial contract between China and Iran to redesign Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor is a landmark event in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Cooperative Plan of Action (JCPOA) of July 2015.
The Arak plant was a major sticking point in the saga of the Iran nuclear issue. Its conversion for purely commercial / civil use is a vital template of the Iran nuclear deal. The US and Iran agreed that China could be entrusted with the sensitive task of converting Arak plant, and China which played a significant role in the negotiation of the JCOPA agreed to undertake that task.
It has taken almost two years to flesh out the commercial contract. The contract was signed in Vienna where the IAEA is headquartered. The timing of the contract is extremely interesting – on the eve of a meeting of the commission on April 25 in Vienna, which is expected to review the progress of implementation of the JCPOA.
Today’s meeting in Vienna, in turn, is invested with high importance as it will be the occasion for the US to formally present its perspective on the JCPOA before the international audience after Donald Trump became president. Does the US intend to stick to the JCPOA or does it have ulterior designs to undermine it? The answer to this big question will emerge at today’s meeting in Vienna.
In the run-up to today’s meeting, top figures in the Trump administration have spoken about the JCPOA. Most notably, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reported to the US Congress a week ago that Iran is complying with the terms and conditions of the JCPOA. Trump himself may say Iran is violating the “spirit” of the nuclear deal, but, importantly, Defence Secretary James Mattis underscored on Friday that not only is Iran sticking to the JCPOA but also that the 2015 agreement “still stands”.
Mattis’s remark resonates because he said this while on a visit to Israel and at a joint press conference with Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman. Clearly, despite its virulent opposition to the nuclear deal when it was under negotiation, Israel is now inclined to see the JCPOA as the best guarantee against Iran embarking on a nuclear weapon programme.
Conceivably, Trump who had threatened during the election campaign last year to tear up the Iran nuclear deal also sees things differently today. One principal reason would be that the US simply lacks international support to abandon the nuclear deal, which also carries the sanctity of UN approval. The European powers are pleased with Iran’s implementation of JCPOA. Russia strongly supports the JCPOA and with the signing of the commercial contract on Arak in Vienna yesterday, Beijing asserted that there is no question of going back on the nuclear deal.
However, the clout of the Israeli-Saudi Arabian lobbies in Washington cannot be ignored. These lobbies will do their utmost to cause disruptions in any normalization between US and Iran. They simply dread the prospect of US-Iranian normalization, which of course could phenomenally reset Middle East’s geopolitics.
Tehran has not gone into panic mode that Trump might tear up the JCPOA. It also understands the motivations driving the Trump administration’s allegations of Iran’s support of terrorism. Conceivably, if President Hassan Rouhani emerges victorious in the May 19 election, which seems almost certain, Tehran will use diplomacy and ‘soft power’ as its principal tools in turning the hostile external neighbourhood incrementally to its favour. (See my blog Iran’s presidential election takes predictable turn.)
Tehran will count on a savvy, street smart businessman like Trump to begin counting the loss to American interests at some point by continued self-denial of business in the Iranian market, especially when Russia and China are not wasting time to dip their fingers in the honey pot. (By the way, at a meeting yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed on stepping up Sino-Iranian ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ within the framework of One Belt One Road.)
For the present, though, Trump will tap into the Saudi fear of Iran to sell weapons to that country, extract petrodollars as investment in the American economy to create jobs as well as to promote American exports to the Gulf. In particular, Trump (and Wall Street) is besotted with the Saudi Aramco’s IPO, which is likely in 2018. The Saudis have an option to list the IPO in New York or London — or, by Jove, in Hongkong. Trump knows jolly well that the partial privatization could value Aramco at $2 trillion.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, Tillerson and Mattis made a beeline to Riyadh within the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. Don’t be surprised if Trump also packs bags and travels to Riyadh in the coming weeks. All in all, US-Iran normalization lies in the womb of time, but Trump’s advantage in the near term lies in making abrasive noises about Iran, which would play well in the Saudi court (and pacify Israel.) But the JCPOA as such will remain untouched.
US-instigated and propelled wars have continued to rage for 15 years in fulfillment of influential neoconservative ideologue Michael Ledeen’s envisioned “creative destruction” through “total war.” General Wesley Clark related the Bush administration’s intention, reported by a Pentagon friend, to “take out” seven countries: Iran plus six Middle Eastern and North African Arab countries – all of which happened to be unfriendly to Israel. Egypt and Jordan, which had peace treaties with Israel, were not on the list. Nor was oil a common denominator. The list included Lebanon, of interest only to Israel, not Exxon, and did not include the oil-saturated Gulf states that collaborate with Israel despite lip service paid the Palestinians. This agenda fits Israel’s long-term strategic game plan recounted in 1982 by Israeli Foreign Service senior official and Jerusalem Post journalist Oded Yinon to control the Arab world by shattering its countries into sectarian political shards emasculated as nations. As John Pilger titled two documentary films 25 years apart, “Palestine is Still the Issue” – the ever-bleeding heart of the Middle East.
The imperial monster behind this agenda is clearly non-partisan. Like the bullfight picadors weakening the bull in preparation for the matador, Bill Clinton had prepared Iraq for easy takedown with eight years of suffocating sanctions that killed an estimated half-million children. Obama/Clinton followed Bush with the wholesale destruction of Libya, a secular, socialist, well-developed nation with the highest human development index in Africa, and using weapons looted from Gaddafi’s arsenal, launched the Syrian war in collusion with the Saudis, Qatar, Turkey and Israel, each with its own motives, none of which Americans should support. However rationalized as oil-driven, currency-protecting or strategic moves on the global chessboard, the monumental financial, moral and societal costs of these wars vastly exceed any benefits, real or imagined. Without the regional conflicts long caused by Israel and relentless pressure and political extortion by the Israel lobby, most or all of these terrible debacles might well have been avoided.
But change – perhaps revolutionary change – seems in the air. Israel no longer exerts automatic mastery of her neighbors and the US government. As Gideon Levy titled his 2014 Haaretz article, “The World Is Sick of Israel and Its Insanities.”
Israel failed to prevent the Palestinian Authority from filing war crimes evidence with the International Criminal Court. The Israel lobby failed to stampede the US into attacking Syria. It failed to derail the nuclear negotiations with Iran. After an unbroken 44-veto win streak, it failed to strong-arm an American president into vetoing the 2016 UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements. It is desperately fighting a losing battle against the BDS movement despite mounting a full-court press in American universities, ecumenical faith communities, the mainstream media, and the academic and entertainment industries with its familiar, shrill accusations of “anti-Semitism” and dubious claims of indispensability to American “interests” and “shared values.” In an April 5, 2017 Portland, Oregon city council hearing to consider divestment from socially irresponsible corporations, a third of citizens testifying cited business practices enabling Israeli abuses of Palestinians as a divestment criterion. And on April 16, the reliably pro-Israel New York Times unexpectedly published an occupation-searing op-ed by Palestinian activist Marwan Barghouti, long-imprisoned in Israel for presumed complicity in three attacks that killed five people during the second intifada.
The Palestinian solidarity movement shows signs of burgeoning life, but with uncertain direction now that President Trump announced departure from 23 years of formal US insistence on the fraudulent two-state solution – “as long as both sides agree.” Agreement, of course, is the devil in substance as well as details. Palestinians have the rightful position under international law, but Israel has all the power in the relationship and has never come close to agreeing to anything remotely approaching justice. With Palestinians rendered helpless for 69 years, responsibility for justice falls by default upon “the international community.”
World opinion outside the US is not sanguine toward Israel. Not one among the four other permanent and 10 rotating UNSC members ever joined the US in those 44 UNSC votes. Israel is effectively a US protectorate clinging tenuously to its claims upon the American taxpayer to fund its occupation and its assurance of US protection in the UN from international justice, with a loose cannon in the White House inclined to unpredictable reactions when offended.
With pressure building and the impasse shaking loose, several possible developments are in play.
Trump’s ambiguity evoked immediate UN and Arab League declarations reaffirming a two-state solution as “the only way to achieve comprehensive and just settlement to the Palestinian cause.” But the long-stalled, tentative two-state “Geneva Initiative” blueprint developed through the interminable “peace process” – which largely ignored the refugee and diaspora population’s rights – is neither comprehensive nor just.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settlement Jewish Home Party, is pushing Netanyahu to abandon the idea of a Palestinian state altogether, abandon restraints and annex a settlement of 40,000 population near Jerusalem for starters.
Hamas and Fatah continue to press for an independent state, anticipating that a single state by annexation would merely create “one state, two systems” continuing Israeli control without even a token pretense of PA administration.
J street also opposes this. Annexation would dismantle the myth of democracy Israel projects to the world. J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami dreads the one-state model as “not a solution but a dissolution” since this would publicly formalize their apartheid system with a Jewish minority ruling over a Palestinian majority. He is right. But alternatively, were Israel to annex the Palestinian territories and provide constitutionally protected equal citizenship rights to all – which the Arab population would demand, supported by international pressure – this would end Israel as a self-definable “Jewish state.” The Jewish and Palestinian Arab populations of the combined areas are now approximately equal, and Palestinians exercising their right of return coupled with predictable exodus of Jews unwilling to live as equals with Palestinians will shift the demographic balance decisively.
With its collective identity embattled and its stability threatened by BDS, Israel is becoming increasingly desperate, arresting BDS founder Omar Barghouti, a non-citizen resident of Israel, for allegedly evading taxes on income from a Ramallah-based company for 10 years they hadn’t apparently noticed until now, and passing a law banning foreign nationals who support BDS from entry despite significant economic and public image risks. Most troubling to their control obsession, American Jews are no longer reliable Israel supporters. The recent annual AIPAC protest demonstration in Washington was the largest and most vociferous yet, conspicuously amplified by Jewish protesters.
Although this protest was Palestinian-organized with numerous well-known groups and figures, the media spotlight was captured by hundreds of young, spirited American Jews who made themselves newsworthy by blocking entrance to the convention center with a human chain and speaking with passion to the press, demanding freedom, equality, justice and dignity for Palestinians. The stated goal of their main organization, If Not Now, is “to end American Jewish support for the occupation.” Without unison on thorny related issues, their proximal focus is simply the intolerable here and now.
Logically and morally, Jewish voices deserve no special privilege. We all have the same duty to protect human rights. And almost all US taxpayers involuntarily supporting Israel are non-Jewish. But politically, American Jewish voices carry special weight in confronting AIPAC, ADL and 336 tax-exempt “Israel affinity organizations” depriving the US Treasury of tax revenues on $5-6 billion annually supplementing Israel’s current foreign aid allowance of over $3 billion. Anti-Zionist Jewish voices can dispel conflation of Palestine support with anti-Semitism and confer permission to the non-Jewish 97% to challenge Israel without fear of being so labeled. However imbalanced the media coverage of the protest, the size, energy and unequivocal repudiation of Israel by young American Jews may mark a turning point smoothing the path ahead for others.
However, the 2-edged sword here should not be overlooked. The largest, best-established Jewish organization challenging Israel is Jewish Voice for Peace. At the recent Portland hearing, six of 14 advocating divestment from companies enabling the abuse of Palestinians were JVP members. With annual budgets in the $3 million range, JVP is also the largest, best-financed organization within the Palestine Solidarity Movement, which provides it disproportionate visibility and influence. This influence is not without potential hazards.
JVP has endorsed strong positions including the BDS movement, which includes the right of return among its three bottom-line objectives. The right of return was declared by UN Resolution 194 in 1948, has been re-confirmed annually, and remains a yet-unfulfilled condition of Israel’s 1949 admission to the UN. This has been a major roadblock to conflict resolution. A 2009 survey by One Voice, an organization that tries to paper over conflicting goals to discover or manufacture appearances of Israeli/Palestinian agreement, nevertheless found the greatest disagreement on the right of return, with 95% of occupied Palestinians rating this, including compensation, as “essential” to a final resolution, an outcome rated “unacceptable” by 77% of Israelis.
Both JVP and upstart If Not Now are focused on ending the ugly occupation, a deformity on the face of Judaism. But what next? It is the Palestinians who for 69 years have suffered armed robbery, forced exile, political imprisonment, extrajudicial killing, continuous humiliation under apartheid within Israel, suffocating military occupation and blockade in their own land outside Israel, and who, as the oppressed people, have the inalienable right to determine the course and outcomes of their movement. The rights to redress and restitution belong to the victims and cannot as a matter of justice be parsed by the perpetrator or its friends. Full and fair justice for Palestinians will mean significantly restructuring Israel/Palestine. Will JVP be willing to go that far?
It is less a question of principles than of competing loyalties. Can people with personal, familial, cultural and/or financial stakes connected to Israel honestly follow the path to full justice? How many JVP members are potentially compromised by such ties? For example, JVP executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson’s husband, Jonathan Lebowitsch, is employed as a “solution architect” for an Israeli company, Check Point Software Technologies, founded by an IDF Intelligence Corps veteran. Imagining itself ever-threatened, Israel relies heavily on surveillance/security technology and would predictably intend to continue such intrusions to undermine Palestinian self-determination under any new political arrangement. What position would JVP take when faced with restoration of proportional Palestinian political power in historic Palestine with its transfiguring on-the-ground implications?
To be in solidarity as allies of an oppressed people, the rest of us including Jewish Americans must provide unequivocal support along whatever paths toward whatever goals of freedom, equality, justice and dignity under international law Palestinians themselves choose to seek, without efforts to steer them in other directions or toward lesser goals.
Whether within two genuinely equal states, a federation, or a unified single state with universal rights, this would not end the right of Jews to live there as their homeland but would end their current supremacy and privilege, just as the US is the homeland for people of many ethnicities and religions living (at least formally) in political equality. Israel could become a normal country rather than, as encouraged by IDF General Moshe Dayan, “like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” To be honest allies, I believe Jewish supporters of Palestinians must embrace this transformative vision.
Jack Dresser, Ph.D. is National vice-chair, Veterans for Peace working group on Palestine and the Middle East and Co-Director of Al-Nakba Awareness Project in Eugene, Oregon
Instead of repeating accusations against Iran, the US should fulfil its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in response to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments on the review of the lifting of sanctions.
In his letter to the Congress on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, acknowledged that Iran was compliant to the accord, but blasted the country as “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
Tillerson claimed that Tehran has been fueling various military conflicts in the Middle East, undermining US interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.
It was the first time that the Congress was informed on how Iran was fulfilling its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), usually referred to as the Iran nuclear deal, under the Trump administration. The State Department must update US senators on the issue every 90 days.
Zarif took to Twitter to respond to Tillerson’s claims, stressing that Washington should “fulfill its own commitments” as part of the deal.
“Worn-out US accusations can’t mask its admission of Iran’s compliance w/ JCPOA,” the Foreign Minister added as cited by Reuters.
Moscow commented on Tillerson’s claim by saying that secretary of state should have separated the allegations of terrorism and the nuclear deal as they “have nothing in common,” according to Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control.
“If the deal does not work, then specific complaints should be made regarding its functioning. The Americans can’t do this. The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], an independent participant in this process, confirms that the Iranians are implementing everything. Therefore, any claims are irrelevant here, it seems to me,” Ulyanov said.
Washington blames Tehran for supporting various groups that it views as terrorist organizations, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen.
Iran has also been backing the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, also sending military advisers and fighters to Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) there.
The Iranian nuclear deal, which took years to negotiate, restricted the nuclear ambitions of Tehran in exchange for lifting financial and oil sanctions.
The accord signed between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, the US, plus Germany) and the EU was touted as one of the main foreign policy achievements of the Obama administration.
However, Donald Trump called it “the worst deal ever negotiated” during his campaign for the White House.
A special inter-agency review of policy towards Iran will now look into if the lifting of sanctions against Tehran was in the interest of the US.
US Defense Secretary General James Mattis has arrived in Israel for talks expected to focus on Iran and Syria as well the strategic relations between Tel Aviv and Washington.
Mattis arrived in Tel Aviv Thursday afternoon from Cairo on the third leg of a week-long tour of the US allies in the Middle East.
Marking the first time he has visited Israel as the Pentagon chief, Mattis was greeted by an official honor guard at army headquarters in Tel Aviv on Friday morning.
He then met the Israeli minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, and is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
Mattis hopes to hear directly from Israeli leaders their concerns about regional issues, with Iran’s influence topping the list.
‘No doubt Syria has chemical weapons’
The conflict in Syria, where the US and Israel seek to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power, is also on the agenda, according to the prime minister’s office.
Israel was one of the first US allies to salute President Donald Trump for a recent missile strike on a Syrian airbase, where they alleged a suspected chemical attack originated.
Speaking during a press conference with Lieberman on Friday, Mattis said there can be “no doubt” that Syria has retained some chemical weapons and warned President Assad not to use them.
“There can be no doubt in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt,” he said.
The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been pushing to overthrow the Syrian government through the use of proxy militant forces in the country.
Iran has been lending advisory support to Syria in its battle against the foreign-backed militants, but has avoided direct military involvement in the conflict.
Known as the “Mad Dog,” Mattis has famously said the three gravest threats to US national security were “Iran, Iran, Iran.”
While in Riyadh on Wednesday, the Pentagon chief reiterated the Trump administration’s position that Iran seeks to “destabilize” the region.
He told reporters after meeting with senior Saudi officials that “everywhere you look if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran.”
US-Israeli ties reached a low point over the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, including the United States.
Former President Barack Obama pushed for the agreement, to the dismay of Netanyahu who argued it would only strengthen Iran in the region.
Israeli leaders were emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, who has described the nuclear accord as “the worst deal ever negotiated” and threatened to “rip it up.”
In his latest criticism on Thursday, Trump blasted the deal as “a terrible agreement” that “shouldn’t have been signed,” and accused Iran of “not living up” to its spirit.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu making opening remarks at a joint White House press conference with President Donald Trump on Feb. 15, 2017. (Screenshot from White House video)
The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Israel, of course.”
Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about “Russian meddling” in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate.
The problem is that if anyone mentions the truth about Israel’s clout, the person is immediately smeared as “anti-Semitic” and targeted by Israel’s extraordinarily sophisticated lobby and its many media/political allies for vilification and marginalization.
So, the open secret of Israeli influence is studiously ignored, even as presidential candidates prostrate themselves before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both appeared before AIPAC in 2016, with Clinton promising to take the U.S.-Israeli relationship “to the next level” – whatever that meant – and Trump vowing not to “pander” and then pandering like crazy.
Congress is no different. It has given Israel’s controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a record-tying three invitations to address joint sessions of Congress (matching the number of times British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared). We then witnessed the Republicans and Democrats competing to see how often their members could bounce up and down and who could cheer Netanyahu the loudest, even when the Israeli prime minister was instructing the Congress to follow his position on Iran rather than President Obama’s.
Israeli officials and AIPAC also coordinate their strategies to maximize political influence, which is derived in large part by who gets the lobby’s largesse and who doesn’t. On the rare occasion when members of Congress step out of line – and take a stand that offends Israeli leaders – they can expect a well-funded opponent in their next race, a tactic that dates back decades.
Well-respected members, such as Rep. Paul Findley and Sen. Charles Percy (both Republicans from Illinois), were early victims of the Israeli lobby’s wrath when they opened channels of communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the cause of seeking peace. Findley was targeted and defeated in 1982; Percy in 1984.
Findley recounted his experience in a 1985 book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, in which Findley called the lobby “the 700-pound gorilla in Washington.” The book was harshly criticized in a New York Times review by Adam Clymer, who called it “an angry, one-sided book that seems often to be little more than a stringing together of stray incidents.”
Since then, there have been fewer and fewer members of Congress or other American politicians who have dared to speak out, judging that – when it comes to the Israeli lobby – discretion is the better part of valor. Today, many U.S. pols grovel before the Israeli government seeking a sign of favor from Prime Minister Netanyahu, almost like Medieval kings courting the blessings of the Pope at the Vatican.
During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama, whom Netanyahu viewed with suspicion, traveled to Israel to demonstrate sympathy for Israelis within rocket-range of Gaza while steering clear of showing much empathy for the Palestinians.
In 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney tried to exploit the tense Obama-Netanyahu relationship by stopping in Israel to win a tacit endorsement from Netanyahu. The 2016 campaign was no exception with both Clinton and Trump stressing their love of Israel in their appearances before AIPAC.
Money, of course, has become the lifeblood of American politics – and American supporters of Israel have been particularly strategic in how they have exploited that reality.
One of Israel’s most devoted advocates, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, has poured millions of dollars in “dark money” into political candidates and groups that support Israel’s interests. Adelson, who has advocated dropping a nuclear bomb inside Iran to coerce its government, is a Trump favorite having donated a record $5 million to Trump’s inaugural celebration.
Of course, many Israel-connected political donations are much smaller but no less influential. A quarter century ago, I was told how an aide to a Democratic foreign policy chairman, who faced a surprisingly tough race after redistricting, turned to the head of AIPAC for help and, almost overnight, donations were pouring in from all over the country. The chairman was most thankful.
The October Surprise Mystery
Israel’s involvement in U.S. politics also can be covert. For instance, the evidence is now overwhelming that the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister Menachem Begin played a key role in helping Ronald Reagan’s campaign in 1980 strike a deal with Iran to frustrate President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to free 52 American hostages before Election Day.
Begin despised Carter for the Camp David Accords that forced Israel to give back the Sinai to Egypt. Begin also believed that Carter was too sympathetic to the Palestinians and – if he won a second term – would conspire with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to impose a two-state solution on Israel.
Begin’s contempt for Carter was not even a secret. In a 1991 book, The Last Option, senior Israeli intelligence and foreign policy official David Kimche explained Begin’s motive for dreading Carter’s reelection. Kimche said Israeli officials had gotten wind of “collusion” between Carter and Sadat “to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Kimche continued, “This plan prepared behind Israel’s back and without her knowledge must rank as a unique attempt in United States diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation.”
But Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, “he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.”
In a 1992 memoir, Profits of War, former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe also noted that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt.
“Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David,” Ben-Menashe wrote. “As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israel’s back.”
So, in order to buy time for Israel to “change the facts on the ground” by moving Jewish settlers into the West Bank, Begin felt Carter’s reelection had to be prevented. A different president also presumably would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon.
Ben-Menashe was among a couple of dozen government officials and intelligence operatives who described how Reagan’s campaign, mostly through future CIA Director William Casey and past CIA Director George H.W. Bush, struck a deal in 1980 with senior Iranians who got promises of arms via Israel in exchange for keeping the hostages through the election and thus humiliating Carter. (The hostages were finally released on Jan. 20, 1981, after Reagan was sworn in as President.)
Though the evidence of the so-called October Surprise deal is far stronger than the current case for believing that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign, Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. media have refused to accept it, deeming it a “conspiracy theory.”
One of the reasons for the hostility directed against the 1980 case was the link to Israel, which did not want its hand in manipulating the election of a U.S. president to become an accepted part of American history. So, for instance, the Israeli government went to great lengths to discredit Ben-Menashe after he began to speak with reporters and to give testimony to the U.S. Congress.
When I was a Newsweek correspondent and first interviewed Ben-Menashe in 1990, the Israeli government initially insisted that he was an impostor, that he had no connection to Israeli intelligence.
However, when I obtained documentary evidence of Ben-Menashe’s work for a military intelligence unit, the Israelis admitted that they had lied but then insisted that he was just a low-level translator, a claim that was further contradicted by other documents showing that he had traveled widely around the world on missions to obtain weapons for the Israel-to-Iran arms pipeline.
Nevertheless, the Israeli government along with sympathetic American reporters and members of the U.S. Congress managed to shut down any serious investigation into the 1980 operation, which was, in effect, the prequel to Reagan’s Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal of 1984-86. Thus, U.S. history was miswritten. [For more details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative; Secrecy & Privilege; and Trick or Treason.]
Looking back over the history of U.S.-Israeli relations, it is clear that Israel exercised significant influence over U.S. presidents since its founding in 1948, but the rise of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party in the 1970s – led by former Jewish terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir – marked a time when Israel shed any inhibitions about interfering directly in U.S. politics.
Wanted Poster of the Palestine Police Force offering rewards for the capture of Stern Gang terrorists: 1. Jaacov Levstein (Eliav), 2. Yitzhak Yezernitzky (Shamir), 3. Natan Friedman-Yelin
Much as Begin and Shamir engaged in terror attacks on British officials and Palestinian civilians during Israel’s founding era, the Likudniks who held power in 1980 believed that the Zionist cause trumped normal restraints on their actions. In other words, the ends justified the means.
In the 1980s, Israel also mounted spying operations aimed at the U.S. government, including those of intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who fed highly sensitive documents to Israel and – after being caught and spending almost three decades in prison – was paroled and welcomed as a hero inside Israel.
Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in the photo from his U.S. Naval Intelligence ID
A History of Interference
But it is true that foreign interference in U.S. politics is as old as the American Republic. In the 1790s, French agents – working with the Jeffersonians – tried to rally Americans behind France’s cause in its conflict with Great Britain. In part to frustrate the French operation, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts.
In the Twentieth Century, Great Britain undertook covert influence operations to ensure U.S. support in its conflicts with Germany, while German agents unsuccessfully sought the opposite.
So, the attempts by erstwhile allies and sometimes adversaries to move U.S. foreign policy in one direction or another is nothing new, and the U.S. government engages in similar operations in countries all over the world, both overtly and covertly.
It was the CIA’s job for decades to use propaganda and dirty tricks to ensure that pro-U.S. politicians were elected or put in power in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, pretty much everywhere the U.S. government perceived some interest. After the U.S. intelligence scandals of the 1970s, however, some of that responsibility was passed to other organizations, such as the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
NED, USAID and various “non-governmental organizations” (NGOs) finance activists, journalists and other operatives to undermine political leaders who are deemed to be obstacles to U.S. foreign policy desires.
In particular, NED has been at the center of efforts to flip elections to U.S.-backed candidates, such as in Nicaragua in 1990, or to sponsor “color revolutions,” which typically organize around some color as the symbol for mass demonstrations. Ukraine – on Russia’s border – has been the target of two such operations, the Orange Revolution in 2004, which helped install anti-Russian President Viktor Yushchenko, and the Maidan ouster of elected pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
NED president Carl Gershman, a neoconservative who has run NED since its founding in 1983, openly declared that Ukraine was “the biggest prize” in September 2013 — just months before the Maidan protests — as well as calling it an important step toward ousting Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2016, Gershman called directly for regime change in Russia.
Another key issue related to Israeli influence inside the United States is the role of the neocons, a political movement that emerged in the 1970s as a number of hawkish Democrats migrated to the Republican Party as a home for more aggressive policies to protect Israel and take on the Soviet Union and Arab states.
In some European circles, the neocons are described as “Israel’s American agents,” which may somewhat overstate the direct linkage between Israel and the neocons although a central tenet of neocon thinking is that there must be no daylight between the U.S. and Israel. The neocons say U.S. politicians must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel even if that means the Americans sidling up to the Israelis rather than any movement the other way.
Since the mid-1990s, American neocons have worked closely with Benjamin Netanyahu. Several prominent neocons (including former Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Meyrav Wurmser and Robert Loewenberg) advised Netanyahu’s 1996 campaign and urged a new strategy for “securing the realm.” Essentially, the idea was to replace negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab states with “regime change” for governments that were viewed as troublesome to Israel, including Iraq and Syria.
By 1998, the Project for the New American Century (led by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan) was pressuring President Bill Clinton to invade Iraq, a plan that was finally put in motion in 2003 under President George W. Bush.
But the follow-on plans to go after Syria and Iran were delayed because the Iraq War turned into a bloody mess, killing some 4,500 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Bush could not turn to phase two until near the end of his presidency and then was frustrated by a U.S. intelligence estimate concluding that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb (which was to be the pretext for a bombing campaign).
Bush also could pursue “regime change” in Syria only as a proxy effort of subversion, rather than a full-scale U.S. invasion. President Barack Obama escalated the Syrian proxy war in 2011 with the support of Israel and its strange-bedfellow allies in Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni-ruled Gulf States, which hated Syria’s government because it was allied with Shiite-ruled Iran — and Sunnis and Shiites have been enemies since the Seventh Century. Israel insists that the U.S. take the Sunni side, even if that puts the U.S. in bed with Al Qaeda.
But Obama dragged his heels on a larger U.S. military intervention in Syria and angered Netanyahu further by negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program rather than bomb-bomb-bombing Iran.
Showing the Love
Obama’s perceived half-hearted commitment to Israeli interests explained Romney’s campaign 2012 trip to seek Netanyahu’s blessings. Even after winning a second term, Obama sought to appease Netanyahu by undertaking a three-day trip to Israel in 2013 to show his love.
Still, in 2015, when Obama pressed ahead with the Iran nuclear agreement, Netanyahu went over the President’s head directly to Congress where he was warmly received, although the Israeli prime minister ultimately failed to sink the Iran deal.
In Campaign 2016, both Clinton and Trump wore their love for Israel on their sleeves, Clinton promising to take the relationship to “the next level” (a phrase that young couples often use when deciding to go from heavy petting to intercourse). Trump reminded AIPAC that he had a Jewish grandchild and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Both also bristled with hatred toward Iran, repeating the popular falsehood that “Iran is the principal source of terrorism” when it is Saudi Arabia and other Sunni sheikdoms that have been the financial and military supporters of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, the terror groups most threatening to Europe and the United States.
By contrast to Israel’s long history of playing games with U.S. politics, the Russian government stands accused of trying to undermine the U.S. political process recently by hacking into emails of the Democratic National Committee — revealing the DNC’s improper opposition to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign — and of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta — disclosing the contents of Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street and pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation — and sharing that information to the American people via WikiLeaks.
Although WikiLeaks denies getting the two batches of emails from the Russians, the U.S. intelligence community says it has high confidence in its conclusions about Russian meddling and the mainstream U.S. media treats the allegations as flat-fact.
The U.S. intelligence community also has accused the Russian government of raising doubts in the minds of Americans about their political system by having RT, the Russian-sponsored news network, hold debates for third-party candidates (who were excluded from the two-party Republican-Democratic debates) and by having RT report on protests such as Occupy Wall Street and issues such as “fracking.”
The major U.S. news media and Congress seem to agree that the only remaining question is whether evidence can be adduced showing that the Trump campaign colluded in this Russian operation. For that purpose, a number of people associated with the Trump campaign are to be hauled before Congress and made to testify on whether or not they are Russian agents.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other establishment-approved outlets are working with major technology companies on how to marginalize independent news sources and to purge “Russian propaganda” (often conflated with “fake news”) from the Internet.
It seems that no extreme is too extreme to protect the American people from the insidious Russians and their Russia-gate schemes to sow doubt about the U.S. political process. But God forbid if anyone were to suggest an investigation of Israel-gate.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.
© Sputnik/ Andrey Stenin
US complaints over how the nuclear deal on Iran is being implemented are irrelevant, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Mikhail Ulyanov, said Thursday.
On April 19, US President Donald Trump ordered a National Security Council-led interagency review of the JCPOA to evaluate Iran’s compliance with the deal, with US State Secretary Rex Tillerson stating that the nuclear deal “fails to achieve the objective of non-nuclear Iran.” Tehran, in its turn, stressed that the deal was an international treaty and cannot be changed, adding that Iran was fulfilling its obligations under the JCPOA.
“If the deal does not work, then specific complaints should be made regarding its functioning. The Americans cannot do this. The IAEA, an independent participant in this process, confirms that the Iranians are implementing everything. Therefore, any claims are irrelevant here, it seems to me,” Ulyanov said.
Ulyanov noted that it was necessary for Tillerson to separate the notions of terrorism and the nuclear deal, which have nothing in common.
The JCPOA was signed by Iran and the P5+1 countries — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States plus Germany in July 2015, ensuring the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program in return for the gradual lifting of sanctions against Tehran. The deal came into force on January 16, 2016, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran was ready to implement the program to reduce its nuclear potential. However, the United States imposed new sanctions against Iran in February 2017 after a medium-range ballistic missile test has been carried out by Tehran in late January.
The Donald Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran has been compliant with its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, and that the administration is reviewing whether a continued suspension of the sanctions serves the national interests of the United States.
In a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led inter-agency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States,” Tillerson said in a statement Tuesday.
The White House must send certification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA to Congress every 90 days, and it was the first issued by the Trump administration.
Tillerson, however, accused Iran of being “a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods,” and noted the administration would review the nuclear deal with that in mind.
Similar accusations leveled by US officials have in the past drawn strong reactions from Iranian authorities. Early this month, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi advised US Defense Secretary James Mattis against making such “unwarranted and malicious accusations against Iran.”
He said Washington should instead oblige its regional allies to halt their widespread financial, ideological, and military support for the terrorist outfits that have been plaguing several countries.
As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump frequently criticized the JCPOA as “the worst deal ever negotiated,” but offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, renegotiate its terms or keep it in place.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany – sealed the JCPOA in July 2015 following 18 months of intense negotiations.
Under the deal, which took effect in January last year, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic.
Iran has warned that it would restore its nuclear activities to the pre-JCPOA level, if the US fails to keep its end of the bargain.
At an international conference on nuclear policy in Washington last month, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini strongly defended the JCPOA, pointing out that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had confirmed Iran’s compliance five times.
Opponents of the JCPOA, including Israel and its allies in the US Congress, accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and insist that the deal would not guarantee that the country was not striving to that end any longer.
Iran has always said that it seeks to allay international concerns about its nuclear program which is peaceful and civilian.