Israel Caught Election-Meddling

Facebook has banned an Israeli lobbying firm for posting fake news intended to disrupt elections.

By John Friend

A mysterious Israeli-based political consulting and lobbying firm was recently banned from Facebook for spreading fake news and disinformation designed to interfere with and disrupt elections in various countries around the world.

According to Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy for Facebook, 65 Israeli accounts, 161 pages, dozens of groups, and four Instagram accounts were recently purged by the social media giant, which has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years.

In the aftermath of the purge, Facebook explained that the individuals associated with the banned accounts were tied to Archimedes Group, a Tel Aviv-based tech startup whose reported CEO, Elinadav Heymann, previously served as a spokesman and adviser in the Knesset, the unicameral legislative body in Israel. Heymann was also a senior intelligence agent in the Israeli air force and had worked as the director of the pro- Israel lobbying group European Friends of Israel, a major player in Brussels and the European Union political scene.

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The Archimedes Group’s official website appears to have been taken offline in the wake of the scandal, and individuals associated with the mysterious firm have refused to answer questions from the media. Prior to Facebook identifying the group as engaging in election interference and spreading disinformation, the firm’s website boasted that it had played “significant roles in many political campaigns, among them presidential campaigns and other social media projects all over the world,” and that the organization specializes in using “every advantage available in order to change reality according to our client’s wishes,” The Times of Israel reported recently.

Gleicher accused the Archimedes Group of leading a campaign of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” designed to target Facebook users in a number of countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

“The people behind this network used groups of fake accounts to run pages, disseminate content, and to act to artificially increase engagement and make the content more popular than it was,” Gleicher stated.

According to Facebook officials, the Archimedes Group spent roughly $800,000 on fake Facebook ads going back to 2012. The ads were paid for using Brazilian reals, Israeli shekels, and U.S. dollars over the years, with the most recent ad purchase having occurred last month.

“Our team assessed that because this group is primarily organized to conduct deceptive behavior, we are removing them from the platform and blocking them from coming back,” Gleicher announced.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Examining the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of Israel, at the AFP Store.

Many Israelis assigned to intelligence units during their mandatory military service leave the military with specialized knowledge and skills, including the use of avatars or fake identities on social media, social media influencing campaigns, and other tech skills. Once in the private sector, there are countless Israeli-based technology firms that specialize in online marketing, social media campaigns, and other online services, many with duplicitous motives such as spreading disinformation and manipulating foreign elections.

“IDF intelligence likes to use avatars,” an unnamed source inside the Israeli government explained to The Times of Israel. “They use them against Israel’s greatest enemies and they’re extremely effective. The problem is that you have all these young people who served in the 8200 intelligence unit and who know how to create fake profiles, and when they leave the army some of them say, ‘I want to make money,’ and they sell their skills to whoever will pay them.”

ISRAELI ACTIVITY ON THE DARK WEB

In related news, the FBI announced that just prior to Facebook purging the Israeli-based company for social media manipulation and spreading disinformation, yet another Israeli team involved in setting up and operating an illegal online marketplace on the so-called “darknet” had been arrested.

Two Israelis were arrested at the beginning of this month on charges of money laundering conspiracy, the AP reported. A grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted the two Israelis, who were eventually arrested, one in France and the other in Israel. The team apparently made over $15 million in their illegal scheme, which involved operating an online market place known as “DeepDotWeb.”

“DeepDotWeb” reportedly “provided users with access to marketplaces where vendors sold everything from illegal narcotics such as fentanyl, heroin, and crystal methamphetamine, to assault rifles, malicious software, hacking tools and stolen financial information,” according to the AP report.

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Many advanced Israeli technology firms and startups are organized, managed, and funded by individuals who formerly served in the Israeli military or intelligence agencies, and who many times have deep connections to the military and political establishment in the Jewish state. The Mossad, Israel’s primary intelligence agency, even has a technology innovation fund called Libertad, which invests in startups, technology companies, and other private-sector businesses in order to facilitate economic growth and innovation, particularly in businesses that are of strategic importance to the Israeli state and intelligence community.

Libertad announced recently that it was actively seeking out investment opportunities from a wider variety of technology firms than it has previously, and has encouraged Israeli startups and other firms to apply for funding.

“We have decided to expand the fund’s scope and open it to a wide range of technologies,” Libertad’s CEO recently stated. “Over the past two years, we have received many applications. Each of the companies was examined, focusing on their innovative technology, the quality of their team, and the shared potential from the investment. We made several strategic and high-quality investments and have already seen the benefits they bring to the Mossad. We now call on additional companies and entrepreneurs to approach us. We will be happy to work with the right entrepreneurs.”

Libertad aims to invest in companies specializing in a variety of fields, including financial technology, automation, 3-D scanning and printing, AI, machine learning, online privacy, smart city technologies, and many other areas related to high tech.

John Friend is a freelance author based in California.




Israel Provoking Nuclear War Between Pakistan and India?

Is Israel provoking nuclear war between Pakistan and India because of the fact that India is its main weapons-buyer? The little nation proves the effective killing power of its weaponry by using it to slaughter innocent civilians in Palestine. 

By Dave Gahary

Israel may not have much to worry about in regard to retaliation when they lob U.S.-made weaponry on innocent civilians in the open-air concentration camp of Gaza, but the dangerous game they are perilously playing in South Asia has the potential of sparking an atomic war between that region’s nuclear-armed adversaries, India and Pakistan.

As reported Feb. 28 in the UK’s Independent under the title “Israel is playing a big role in India’s escalating conflict with Pakistan,” Robert Fisk explains why it is that the little, nettlesome, bellicose state’s actions are pushing us all toward Armageddon.

At the heart of the matter is money. India, Israel’s “largest weapons market” in 2017, paid $700 million for “Israeli air defense, radar systems, and ammunition, including air-to-ground missiles—most of them tested during Israel’s military offensives against Palestinians and targets in Syria.” This information makes clearer the reason Israel slaughters humans like penned lambs: It is to test their weapons and improve their chances for a sale.

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Israel, a country of 9 million (75% Jewish, 21% Arab, 4% other), is ranked No. 10 in the world’s top 10 largest arms exporters—behind the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, and Ukraine—no doubt helped along by the billions U.S. taxpayers are forced to fork over to the non-ally every year. This fact no doubt confounds the world’s thinking class, who are aware that the Jewish state comes in at 25 out of 174 countries ranked by median and mean wealth per adult.

With that as a backdrop, this latest imbroglio was kicked off by what’s being referred to as the 2019 India-Pakistan standoff. A Pakistan-based “terror” group conducted a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy, slaughtering more than 40 soldiers. Two weeks later, on Feb. 26, a dozen Indian fighter jets bombed the “terrorist” camp in the Pakistan-controlled area of Kashmir, eventually leading to the downing of an Indian jet and the capture of its pilot, who has since been returned.

Tensions remain high, however, with India threatening to fire at least six missiles into Pakistan and Pakistan promising its own missile strikes “three times over.” Only via concerted efforts by D.C., Beijing, and London have the threats been ratcheted down.

Significantly, this is the first such clash in Kashmir since the last war there in 1971. Kashmir—the main cause of all major conflicts between the two countries—was hotly contested even before India and Pakistan won their independence from Britain in 1947. Kashmir was free to choose between India or Pakistan, and the local ruler’s choice of India led to a two-year war. The fact that some Indian-administered states in Kashmir are more than 60% Muslim ensures Kashmir will remain a disputed area. It has already led to the two countries going to war three times as well as experiencing several conflicts and military standoffs.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Examining the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of Israel, at the AFP Store.

Although violence in Kashmir has vacillated for 30 years, the death of a 22-year-old militant leader in 2016 sparked massive protests across the region. Following the funeral, attended by thousands, clashes with troops kicked off a week-long cycle of violence that resulted in the deaths of more than 30 civilians and many more injuries. The result has been a steady rise in violence in Kashmir, which saw over 500 civilians, security forces, and militants killed in 2018, “the highest such toll in a decade.”

To promote its war machines, Israel has been supporting India’s government in its battle against so-called Islamists, selling them the Israeli government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.’s SPICE (Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective) 2000—used to blow the limbs off of countless unarmed Palestinian men, women, and children to enhance its marketability—which turns 2,000-pound warheads into “smart bombs” by using the Global Positioning System, most recently utilized in the tit-for-tat Indian “terrorist” bombing.

Israel also conducts joint exercises with India in the Negev Desert, imparting to their guests all the skills they acquired in Gaza and other civilian-thronged battlefronts. So cozy have they become that “a 45-strong Indian military delegation” was stationed at several Israeli air bases.

Given its long history of displaying utter disregard for human lives—from the Lavon Affair to the USS Liberty to 9/11—Israel stoking tensions in South Asia should keep us all awake at night.

Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See the website erasingtheliberty.com for more information and to get the new book on which the movie will be based, Erasing the Liberty.




Trump Risks War Over Iran Oil Embargo

President Trump’s Israeli petroleum gambit imperils his re-election chances and invites war.

By Dr. Kevin Barrett

Has the White House gone insane? On April 21 The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is ending its waivers exempting Iran’s biggest oil customers from Israeli- instigated U.S. sanctions.

Over a year ago the Trump administration, demonstrating its subservience to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced it would “drive Iran’s oil exports to zero.” That was supposed to have happened by the end of the first week of November 2018. But shortly before the “most biting sanctions ever imposed” were scheduled to come online, Trump exempted Iran’s leading oil customers. The list of nations that buy Iranian oil begins with China, India, and Korea, which together purchase almost half of the total output. Next are Turkey, Italy, and Japan. All six nations were exempted.

Why did Trump tear up his own sanctions last November? Because none of Iran’s customers were going to respect them. As Bloomberg reported on Aug. 2, China—by far Iran’s largest oil recipient—rejected Trump’s request to forego Iranian crude. Tehran’s second-biggest oil customer is India. In early October, one month before Iran’s oil trade was supposed to be driven “to zero,” India said it would ignore U.S. sanctions.

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In July, even before China and India rebuffed Trump, Turkey had led the way in rejecting the Israeli-American plan to sanction Iran. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the planned sanctions “inappropriate”—and was seconded by President Recep Erdogan, who made it clear that Turkey would continue purchasing Iranian oil.

Trump’s November 2018 decision to back off from the sanctions was wise. His April 2019 decision to reverse himself and try to enforce the unenforceable was a monumental blunder.

Will China, Iran’s biggest oil customer, obey Trump? Hardly.

“We think that China can’t and won’t back down this time, and we could easily see an increase of Chinese oil imports from Iran up towards maybe 1 million barrels per day,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Group. “There will also be an increasing amount of oil exports out of Iran which will go ‘under the sanctions radar’. . . . It will drive Iran closer to China and enable China to settle yet more oil in renminbi.”

As China and other countries thumb their noses at the U.S., it is American prestige and credibility—not Iranian oil exports—that will be driven to zero. And as the world finds ways to trade outside of U.S. dollars, the U.S. dollar will be driven, if not to zero, at least toward a valuation closer to that of toilet paper than gold.

But even though everyone expects near-universal noncompliance with the sanctions, oil prices are soaring. Why is that? If Iran will keep selling its oil, maybe even in larger amounts, shouldn’t oil prices remain stable or decline? The answer is that sanctions, no matter how toothless, signal hostility, increase the odds of trade wars or even shooting wars, and spook the futures markets. If there is even a 20% probability of a huge trade war, and a 5% probability of a major U.S. attack on Iran, which Iran would respond to by shutting down the Persian Gulf, the oil futures markets turn bullish as high-rollers gamble on the long-shot possibility that oil prices might shoot through the roof.

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Once it becomes clear that nobody is respecting the sanctions and American consumers find themselves paying higher energy prices in a stagnating economy, Trump will face a tough choice: either back off once again, thereby shredding what little credibility the U.S. may still have, or double down by “enforcing” the sanctions, thereby eliciting a tit-for-tat response from China, India, and Iran’s other customers. That’s a recipe for an all-out trade war that would cripple economies around the globe just in time to ruin Trump’s re-election chances in 2020.

The real architect of U.S. anti-Iran sanctions is Netanyahu, though. The Israeli prime minister is gambling that Trump will be forced into a corner and will have no choice but to start a shooting war with Iran—a war that would likely be set off by yet another Israeli false flag. Such a war would be disastrous for the U.S. Like the Iraq war it would help destroy the Middle East in service to Israeli expansionism, while sapping America’s blood, treasure, and prestige.

Trump probably doesn’t understand how he is being played. He has so much to think about that he doesn’t have time to analyze such issues in depth. Instead, he relies on advice from his financial backers—casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the Kushner family, and the rest of the Kosher Nostra—and their hired guns—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

By listening to people who hope to benefit from another disastrous Middle Eastern war, Trump is dooming his own presidency—and leading his country toward the abyss.

Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is an Arabist-Islamologist scholar and one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. From 1991 through 2006, Dr. Barrett taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin. In 2006, however, he was attacked by Republican state legislators who called for him to be fired from his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to his political opinions.


Related, from American Free Press Issue 17 & 18:

Israeli Prime Minister Dictating American Foreign Policy on Iran

By Richard Walker

Washington’s policy of pleasing Israel has continued unabated with a State Department decision to sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps by declaring it a terrorist organization.

It was an unprecedented move, representing the first time the U.S. applied a foreign terrorist organization tag to another country’s army. The decision was not considered a wise one by some senior U.S. military figures. It was opposed by Russia, China, and many of America’s NATO allies, especially Turkey. It may well complicate and place at risk American forces in the region after Iran retaliated by branding the U.S. Central Command a terrorist group, similar to ISIS.

The State Department announcement was applauded by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other hawks, including National Security Adviser John Bolton. It had the characteristics of yet another gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, coming as it did at the time of his re-election victory. It also followed a recent decision by President Donald Trump to approve Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan Heights, which is rightfully Syrian territory according to international law.

While this latest move was clearly designed to satisfy Israeli demands by piling even more sanctions on Iran, it stood in stark contrast to Washington’s diplomatic love affair with North Korea, a nuclear state that poses a significant risk to South Korea and the large U.S. military contingent stationed there.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who has been a vocal critic of Israel’s interference in the affairs of the Middle East, condemned the U.S., saying it risked destabilizing the region. It is not the first time he has taken issue with Washington’s Middle East interventions. In 2018, Erdogan described U.S. sanctions against Iran as illegal, a position supported by the UN, and made it clear he would not abide by them.

Turkey happens to be a major trading partner with Iran and imports a lot of its oil. It is likely Erdogan will not recognize the latest Washington penalties, nor will Russia, China, and the EU, all of which have been opposed to Washington’s increasing determination to punish Iran since Trump took office. Most European nations believe the developing U.S. strategy was demanded by Netanyahu and the warmongers in his cabinet that favor a war with Iran. Some experts have hinted that the anti-Iran posture of the State Department was the outcome of a secret pact between Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and his close friend, Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman.

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Sanctions against Iran have never proved effective and have only hurt the Iranian people, whom Washington claims to care about it. They have become deeply resentful of a U.S. policy that risks conflict, seeing it as one influenced directly by Washington neocons linked to Tel Aviv.

George Galloway, a former British parliamentarian for 30 years, described the State Department’s decision as a “dangerous escalation” that will further sour relations between the Trump White House and our allies, especially in Europe.

“It is the equivalent of declaring the U.S. Marine Corps a terrorist organization, though with much less justification given that Iran hasn’t invaded another country for centuries. Washington’s description of Iran as ‘expansionist’ is enough to make a horse laugh given the worldwide projection of U.S. bases and military hardware around the world—and around Iran,” Galloway added.

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The bottom line is that Iran does not pose an existential threat to the United States or to a nuclear- armed Israel, which has one of the most formidable arsenals in the world. Instead, it has a young, vibrant population that most surveys have shown would like better relations with America. That cannot happen while Netanyahu uses Iran as a political punching bag and the Saudis promote anti-Iran sentiment through lobbyists who purchase support in Congress. Sanctions do not hurt the Iranian military. The latest ones will embolden religious hardliners in Tehran and in the upper ranks of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

For those of us who have watched Trump try to fulfill his campaign promises to withdraw America from Middle East conflicts, it is puzzling that he keeps being dragged back into the region by allies, especially the Saudis and the Israelis. It should be clear to him that a war with Iran is something both those allies in particular would like, but it would be disastrous for the region and for America. It could create a firestorm across the Middle East and drag in Russia, which is an Iran ally.

Trump has handed off a lot of Middle East policymaking to Kushner, a family friend of Netanyahu and bin Salman. The Saudi-Israel nexus has also been promoted by neocons from both parties in Congress and especially by National Security Advisor John Bolton. It may be time for Trump to seize the reins of Mideast policymaking and talk personally and directly with Iran, as he has done with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.




More New ‘AIPACs’ Popping Up

Concern that Israel is losing its grip on U.S. politicians is breeding even more pro-Zionist lobby groups.

By Philip Giraldi

New organizations dedicated to “defending” Israel are proliferating due to concerns that the American people are finally waking up to the fact that they have been getting ripped off by a vast Zionist conspiracy for the past 70-plus years. Ironically, while it has become possible to criticize Israel even in the mainstream media, the United States government itself has become more firmly in the grasp of the Israel lobby, most recently manifested in bills passed by Congress pledging undying love and affection for war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu and all his works. This has been due in large part to the effective lobbying by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which met in Washington in March and drew 18,000 of its supporters to both show up and lobby their congressmen.

The congressional love affair with Israel has been accompanied by billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer-provided Danegeld per annum plus a de facto commitment to send American soldiers to fight and die for Israel even if Netanyahu starts a war for no reason whatsoever.

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By one estimate there are 600 groups operating in the United States with the objective of promoting Israel’s interests. They run the gamut, politically speaking, and include leftward leaning organizations, like J Street, that aggressively support a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine while at the same time ignoring the fact that Israel has expanded its settlements in such a fashion as to make a Palestinian state unrealizable. On the extreme right is a group founded in 2010, which calls itself the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), headed by none other than Bill Kristol, former editor of the now thankfully defunct Weekly Standard magazine. The ECI board included Rachel Abrams, wife of pardoned felon Elliott Abrams, who is currently seeking to destroy Venezuela.

ECI is largely inactive at the present time, but when it was launched it claimed to be the most pro-Israel of all pro-Israel groups, which would be quite an achievement. It was most active in 2010-14 when it ran full-page ads against liberal advocacy groups, attacked the Occupy Wall Street movement for being anti-Semitic, and criticized individual congressmen for not being sufficiently pro-Israel. In 2013 the group came out against the proposed appointment of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense because he had once mildly criticized Israel.

The recent controversy over comments critical of Israel and its lobby made by newly elected Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has sparked a wave of pro-Israel activism in and around Congress. At the end of January a new political group was formed by several prominent veteran Democrats, “alarmed by the party’s drift from its longstanding alignment with Israel.” The new group, which is calling itself the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMI), will support Democratic Party candidates who “stand unwaveringly” with the Jewish state.

The group, which is headed by Mark Mellman, a leading Democratic Party pollster, already has some “substantial” funding from the usual Jewish Democratic Party donors and it is interested in assisting potential candidates who are unambiguously supportive of Israel because of “shared values” and its contribution as “one of America’s strongest allies.” The website promises: “We will work to maintain and strengthen support for Israel among Democratic leaders including presidential and congressional candidates as well as with the grassroots of progressive movements. We are committed to doing so because we recognize that America’s relationship with Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East, is a mutually beneficial one based on shared values and shared interests.”

Due to the fact that the common values and interests are difficult to identify—as they hardly exist and Israel is neither an ally nor a democracy—it might be tough sledding to convince skeptics of the actual value of the relationship for Americans. Instead, one suspects that the group will rely on the usual appeals to tribal or religious sentiment and citations of the holocaust coupled with threats of anti-Semitism leveled against those who question the formula. In reality, DMI, which will be active in state primaries, will likely create incentives through development of a funding mechanism for potential candidates who are enthusiastic about Israel while withholding funds from those who are not.

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And there will be opposition to the snake oil DMI is selling, not only from Omar. She and Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib of Michigan both support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and there are also a number of other new congressmen who will not hesitate to criticize Israel when it uses lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators. There are also reports that Democratic Party-declared presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Julian Castro have all confirmed they didn’t attend the AIPAC conference this year, possibly linked to a call by the leading progressive grassroots organization MoveOn for a boycott. Opinion polls also indicate that Democrats who sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians is at an all-time low of 19%.

Another new bipartisan pro-Israel political action committee was also launched in March in Washington. Pro-Israel America is headed by two former senior AIPAC staff members, Jonathan Missner and Jeff Mendelsohn. It is intended to provide political donations to candidates from either major party who adopt pro-Israel positions. On its initial list, it endorsed a total of 27 candidates— 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans—all of whom have demonstrated a willingness to support pro-Israel legislation in Congress.

The list predictably includes Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.); Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the majority leader in the House; Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the Foreign Affairs Committee’s ranking Republican.

A press release from Pro-Israel America composed by Mendelsohn stated its mission: “The best way to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship is to elect pro-Israel candidates to Congress, and that requires political action from the thousands of Americans who care deeply about this issue.”

The Pro-Israel America website, which is still under construction, will reportedly encourage small donations to political campaigns, unlike the usual practice of bundling to create large contributions. Potential donors will be able to go to the website, evaluate candidates based on their pro-Israel credentials, and then contribute directly to their campaigns.

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Finally, there is a third new online group called Jexodus, headed by a swimsuit model named Elizabeth Pipko, that is trying to convince Jewish voters to leave the Democratic Party and become Republicans because the GOP is now the party of Israel. It is hard to argue with that, as President Donald Trump has now moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared that God elected Trump to save the Jews from Iran. There will likely be even more concessions to Netanyahu in the lead-up to America’s own upcoming election in 2020.

All of the pro-Israel groups taken together constitute a veritable political juggernaut that seeks to advantage Israel and benefit it directly without regard for the damage done to American democracy and to actual U.S. interests. They should rightly be seen as organizations that regard their loyalty to the United States as negotiable, but they try to obfuscate the issue by claiming, wrongly, that there exist compelling reasons why Israel and the U.S. should continue to be best friends.

As Americans increasingly begin to appreciate how Israel is in fact a serious liability, that line will not continue to sell very well, no matter how many congressmen and tame journalists are bought and no matter how many new groups pop up like mushrooms funded by Jewish billionaires. Change is coming.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Pandering Politician for Prez?

South Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg wants to be president, but first he has to show his love for Israel—and he is working sickeningly hard to do just that.

By Philip Giraldi

There is a war for the soul of the Democratic Party being waged, but don’t expect that it will be over soon. A handful of Democratic representatives, which includes Rashida Tlaib, born in Michigan to Palestinian parents, and Somalia-born Ilhan Omar have opened the barn door and the conjoined issues of Israeli dual loyalty and the corruption of American government by Zionist money have escaped into the open. Now that the discussion has begun in a serious way it will not be easy to restore the status quo ante, though the entire Democratic Party leadership and the related media is working overtime to make the issues go away.

The Democrats are hobbled by having numerous adherents who are nominally progressive but actually highly selective in terms of the constituencies they serve. One of the recently announced candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 is South Bend, Ind. Mayor Peter Buttigieg, who is the very model of an unrepentant liberal. He is a homosexual, legally married to his boyfriend, and he has worked assiduously to court the black vote. He appeared in early April at a Rev. Al Sharpton National Action Network convention meeting in New York where he spoke and then answered questions. He revealed to the gathering that he used to say “all lives matter” but had stopped using the expression when he realized that it might be used to “diminish the experience of African-Americans.”

Sharpton, a prominent black entitlement huckster with a shady history, has been one of the leading advocates for reparations for black Americans. At the convention, Buttigieg and the other Democratic candidates present indicated that they would support a bill, which has been proposed in Congress that would authorize further “study” of the issue.

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It would be difficult to top Buttigieg’s cringingly pathetic performance before someone as morally challenged as Sharpton, but he manages to do so in his analysis of what is going on in the Middle East, where he places his own personal ambition clearly ahead of any compassion for the victims of violence and suppression. Or rather, all of his compassion is for the Israelis rather than their victims.

Israel works hard to influence the United States at all levels, including at local and state government levels where candidates for office can expect to be grilled by Jewish constituents regarding their views on the Middle East. Buttigieg has undoubtedly gone through this process, understanding perfectly well that his answers would determine what kind of press coverage and level of donations he would receive in return. Also, the “right answers” on Israel would be essential for anyone seeking to make some impact in national politics.

The Israel lobby’s most successful propaganda program for indoctrinating politicians like Buttigieg is its sponsorship of free “educational” trips that are carefully coordinated with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and are both organized and paid for by one of the many pro-Zionist organizations active in the United States. Buttigieg’s trip, which included a number of American mayors, took place last May under the sponsorship of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). It was a time when Gazans were demonstrating against Israeli oppression and the Israelis were responding with gunfire, killing 60 unarmed demonstrators on one day alone.

Curiously, Buttigieg seems to have somehow missed what was going on just miles away from his guided tour. He subsequently described how he believes that Israel can serve as a model, something that he had learned from his visit. “Seeing the way that a country can be on the one hand very intentional, very serious, and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness … I think that’s a very important lesson that hopefully Americans can look to when we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us.”

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Buttigieg also blamed Hamas for the misery in Gaza, not the Israeli blockade, its shooting of protesters and its bombing of schools, hospitals, power plants and water treatment facilities. If it seems as if Buttigieg was pandering to a Jewish audience because he was thinking of running for president, that is almost certainly because that was indeed the case. He did an interview with his sponsors at AJC after he returned home, in which he enthused about Tel Aviv:

I was in a very modern city surrounded by people going about their lives. Seeing how people fit those things together was illuminating and, in many ways, moving. There’s a sense there that no matter what challenges there are in the community or in the society, they can’t wait for security issues to be resolved. People live their lives, they’re pretty clear-eyed about what is going on around them. And at the same time, you don’t let that take over. … The sense that we were in a very safe and very peaceful place … .

Some of Buttigieg’s commentary, including his condemnation of Hamas, was nearly incoherent:

I think there’s a risk that Israel could come to be regarded as a partisan issue, and I think that would be really unfortunate. One of the first things you realize when you get on the ground is this is not a left versus right issue. At least it shouldn’t be. We met a lot of people from the Israeli left who have complicated and nuanced views of what is going on [including the] … relationship with Iran. Unfortunately, these things are reduced into a black and white picture sometimes in the American media. [We got] a more nuanced idea of what is happening on the Palestinian side. So one of the first things that was very clear to us was the extent to which there really is not a unified or single voice for the Palestinian … people. Most people aren’t aware of the difference between what’s happening in Gaza run by Hamas in a way that is contributing to a lot of misery there …

Buttigieg favors strengthening America’s already indecent one-way relationship with Israel and putting more pressure on the Arabs “to live up to their responsibilities,” saying to AJC that:

I think the security and intelligence cooperation [between the U.S. and Israel] is obviously vital, certainly something that is as important for American interests as much as Israeli interests. There may be some opportunities perhaps not under the present administration but over time to be a constructive voice in inducing some of the other players in the region to accept greater responsibility. … There’s certainly a chance for the U.S. to exert influence and be a constructive player when it comes to a lot of states in the region that frankly just haven’t lived up to their responsibilities.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Examining the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of Israel, at the AFP Store.

Buttigieg is the type of American that Israelis love. Ignorant of what is going on in the Middle East, he enthusiastically swallowed all of the misinformation that he was being fed by his hosts. Ambitious to a fault, he knows that having Jewish money and media power behind a presidential nomination bid would be a major asset, while questioning what Israel does is the road to failure.

It is particularly odd that he was in the middle of a highly militarized national security state that was shooting dead protesters and didn’t seem to notice what was going on around him. And, of course, the Palestinians are always at fault.

As the Democratic Party base is drifting away from knee-jerk support of Israel, Buttigieg’s cynically calibrated gambit might well turn out to be in vain. It will be interesting to see how love of Israel will play out in the lead-up to 2020.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Where Trump’s and Bibi’s Interests Clash

“What Bibi wants, Bibi gets,” writes Pat Buchanan. But war with Iran is not what either U.S. national interests or Trump’s political interests want or need.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

On Monday, President Donald Trump designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, the first time the United States has designated part of another nation’s government as such a threat.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist group.

With 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria, often in proximity to Iranian units, this inches America closer to war.

Why did we do it? What benefit did the U.S. derive?

How do we now negotiate with the IRGC on missile tests?

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Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu took credit for Trump’s decision, tweeting, “Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iran aggression and terrorism. … Thank you for accepting another important request of mine.”

Previous “requests” to which Trump acceded include moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, declaring Jerusalem Israel’s eternal capital, closing the Palestinian consulate and cutting off aid, and U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, as sovereign Israeli territory.

What Bibi wants, Bibi gets.

One hopes his future requests will not include a demand that we cease dithering and deliver the same “shock and awe” to Iran that George W. Bush delivered to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

With Bibi’s election win Tuesday, his fifth, the secret Mideast peace plan Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been laboring on these last two years is likely to be unveiled.

Yet it is hard to see how Jared’s baby is not stillborn.

Bibi is not going to accept a Palestinian right of return to Israel, or a sharing of the Holy City with a Palestinian state ruled by a successor of Yasser Arafat. And as Bibi fought Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal of the 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza, he is not going to order the removal of tens of thousands of Jewish settlers from homes on the West Bank.

Indeed, on the eve of his reelection Tuesday, Bibi promised Israelis he would begin the annexation of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

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As for Trump, he is the most popular man in Israel. And he is not going to force Bibi to do what Bibi does not want to do and thereby imperil his major political gains in the U.S. Jewish community.

Given the indulgence of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party for BDS, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement, and the divisions among Democrats over Netanyahu’s expansionism, the president’s pro-Israel stance has proven a political winner for the GOP.

But while a U.S. war with Iran may be what Bibi wants, it is not what America wants or needs.

Consider what 20 years of U.S. wars in the Mideast have cost this country, as China has stayed out of the region and pushed its power and influence into Asia, Africa and Europe.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. New at the AFP Store.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban have regained control of more territory than they have held since 2001, and they are negotiating with the Americans for a withdrawal of our remaining 14,000 troops.

Cost of the Afghan war: 2,400 U.S. dead, 32,000 wounded, $1 trillion sunk, and the U.S. on the precipice of a potential strategic defeat.

So dreadful has become the five-year Yemeni civil war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed regime they ousted that the U.S. House and Senate have invoked the War Powers Act and directed Trump to terminate U.S. assistance for the Saudi intervention.

In Libya, where a U.S.-led NATO intervention overthrew Colonel Gadhafi in 2011, a renegade general now controls two-thirds of the country and is mounting an assault on Tripoli. U.S. soldiers and diplomats fled the capital last week.

In Syria, President Bashar Assad, with the support of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, defeated the U.S. backed-rebels years ago.

The Syrian Kurdish militia we partnered with to crush ISIS have been designated as terrorists by the Turks, who promise to annihilate the Kurds if they try to return to homes along the Turkish border.

As for Turkey itself, President Erdogan says he will take delivery this summer of a Russian-made S-400 air and missile defense system.

Go through with that, says the U.S., and we cancel your order for 100 F-35s. The justified U.S. fear: Russia’s S-400 system will be tested against America’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter, the F-35.

If Turkey does not cancel the S-400, a NATO crisis appears imminent.

In Iraq, where 5,000 U.S. troops remain, the government has both pro-U.S. and pro-Iran elements in Baghdad, and mutual designation of the IRGC and CENT-COM as terrorist organizations can only present hellish problems for America’s soldiers and diplomats still in that country.

Bottom line: Though Bibi and John Bolton may want war with Iran, U.S. national interests, based on the awful experience of two decades, and Trump’s political interests, dictate that he not start any more wars.

Not a single Middle East war this century has gone as we planned or hoped.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? and Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, all available from the AFP Online Store.

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Who’s After Golan Heights Riches?

Prominent American neocons and the state of Israel have their eyes on Syrian energy reserves.

By Richard Walker

A planned push by U.S. senators to recognize Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights hides an effort by rich, powerful neocons and their Israeli backers to seize energy riches from what international law declares is part of Syria.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) toured the Golan Heights on March 11 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and declared that the Golan Heights had a rich Jewish history and was part of the state of Israel. Had he checked history books and a map of the region he would have learned that the Golan Heights are situated in southeastern Syria, bordering the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s main source of drinking water. He would also have discovered that they were illegally seized by Israel in the 1967 war and have been illegally occupied ever since. The Golan Heights is therefore not part of the state of Israel and never was.

Netanyahu has directed the building of extensive Jewish settlements on the Golan Heights, but it is not the first time Jews have tried to populate the area. In 1894, efforts to colonize the Golan Heights by Jewish banker Edmond de Rothschild were thwarted by Arabs and Ottoman Empire laws restricting foreigners from settling the area.

None of this seems to matter to Graham and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the trio at the forefront of arguing that Congress should pass legislation giving Israel the Golan irrespective of international law. In tandem with their effort, the U.S. State Department has stopped referring to the area as Israeli-occupied territory and instead calls it Israeli “controlled territory.”

Netanyahu, facing criminal prosecution and an upcoming election, would love nothing better than a U.S. declaration that the Golan Heights is now Israel’s. His friends in Washington, including President Donald Trump’s son-in-law advisor Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appear ready to give him that gift. But there is a sinister motive for a sudden gifting of the Golan Heights to Israel, and it has its genesis in plans that took shape years before Trump entered the White House. It concerns a neocon strategy, ongoing now for almost a decade, to access oil and gas riches under the Golan Heights.

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It began with powerful neocons and their friends in Israel deciding that the best way to get full control of the Golan Heights was to call for regime change in Syria so that there would be no Syrian leadership around to continue petitioning the UN on the issue. Despite many UN resolutions telling Israel to give back the territory, it has refused to do so, with Washington’s backing on the Security Council.

In recent years, Netanyahu has done everything possible to take down the Assad regime in Syria, even training and arming al-Nusra terrorists. He also ordered hundreds of bombing runs against targets in Syria, arguing that he was eliminating Iranian and Hezbollah forces there.

His security issue was a ruse. In 2011, a little-known American company called Genie Energy, based in New Jersey, was granted rights to illegally explore 153 square miles of the Golan Heights for oil and gas. It was part of the IDT Corporation until it was registered as a separate entity on the New York Stock Exchange.

The membership of Genie Energy’s Strategic Advisory Board testified to its neocon lineage. Prominent on the board were Dick Cheney, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, former CIA director James Woolsey, senior partner in Genie Energy Jacob Lord Rothschild, billionaire hedge funder and member of the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Michael Steinhardt, Bill Clinton’s energy secretary Bill Richardson, and Larry Summers, Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. The Israeli subsidiary of Genie is now run by former Israeli Gen. “Effie” Eitam, a close buddy of Netanyahu who lives in one of the large Jewish settlements on the Golan Heights. Eitam is an extreme religious figure who has recommended removing all Israeli Arabs from Israel.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. New at the AFP Store.

By 2013, as the war in Syria raged and the U.S. pushed for regime change with Israel’s backing, Netanyahu and Genie Energy knew from surveys of the Golan Heights that it held massive energy reserves. It was confirmed by a geologist with Afek Oil & Gas, Genie Energy’s Israeli subsidiary.

With Trump in the White House, there has been a renewed push by Genie Energy and its Israeli backers to convince members of the Senate to change policy on the Golan Heights to favor Israel, claiming it is really Jewish territory and is therefore strategic to the defense of the state of Israel. Missing from the storyline is the massive wealth waiting to be snapped up.

Ryan Zinke, Trump’s former interior secretary, who is under federal investigation, knew about the energy potential in the Golan Heights when he visited the region in 2017. He met with Eitam, who was then a politician running Afek. Eitam said their meeting had been arranged by a friend in Montana, and that they never discussed energy issues, a story few believed.

It’s unlikely the back story of Genie Energy will dissuade anyone in the Senate or the White House from doing Netanyahu’s bidding, especially after Graham declared that the Golan Heights was already part of the state of Israel and had a rich Jewish history. He deliberately ignored the fact that it is illegally occupied territory with a rich Syrian Arab history.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.




Israeli Accountability Begins Now

Spying for the Israeli government has turned into a “get-out-of-jail-free card.”

By Philip Giraldi

Recently returning to the U.S. on a flight from Venice, too-bored-to-read syndrome drove me to watch a movie. I chose “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which recently won an Academy Award for lead actor Rami Malek, who truly did turn in a memorable performance in a film that was otherwise plodding and predictable. As the credits were rolling, I noticed that the movie’s executive producer was none other than Arnon Milchan, an Israeli media billionaire who has spent most of his career in Hollywood. My immediate thought was, “Why is this scumbag still making movies in Hollywood? Why isn’t he in jail?”

Milchan earned my opprobrium the easy way, by spying for Israel to the detriment of the country that has made him rich and relatively famous, which is the United States of America. The Milchan tale is just one part of the successful effort by Israel to obtain the technology and raw materials for its secret nuclear arsenal. Preventing nuclear proliferation was a major objective of the U.S. government when in the early 1960s President John F. Kennedy learned from a CIA report that Tel Aviv was developing a nuclear weapon. He told the Israelis to terminate their program or risk losing American political and economic support but was killed before any steps were taken to end the project.

Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage.” The 2005 report stated that, “Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.”

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The Mossad frequently uses so-called sayanim in its espionage, which means diaspora Jews that it recruits on the basis of a shared religion or concern for the security of Israel. The threat coming from Israeli embassy operatives inside the United States is such that the Department of Defense once warned that Jewish Americans would likely be the targets of intelligence approaches.

Israel accelerated its nuclear program after the death of Kennedy. By 1965, it had obtained the raw material for a bomb consisting of U.S. government-owned highly enriched weapons-grade uranium obtained from a company in Pennsylvania called NUMEC, which was founded in 1956 and owned by Zalman Mordecai Shapiro, head of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Zionist Organization of America. NUMEC was a supplier of enriched uranium for government projects but it was also from the start a front for the Israeli nuclear program, with its chief funder David Lowenthal, a leading Zionist, traveling to Israel at least once a month where he would meet with an old friend, Meir Amit, who headed Israeli intelligence. NUMEC covered the shipment of enriched uranium to Israel by claiming the metal was “lost,” losses that totaled nearly 600 pounds, enough to produce dozens of weapons. Such was the importance of the operation that in 1968 NUMEC even received a private incognito visit from spymaster Rafi Eitan.

Also, there was physical evidence relating to the diversion of the uranium. Refined uranium has a technical signature that permits identification of its source. Traces of uranium from NUMEC were identified by Department of Energy inspectors in Israel in 1978. The Central Intelligence Agency has also looked into the diversion of enriched uranium from the NUMEC plant and has concluded that it was part of a broader program to obtain the technology and raw materials for a nuclear device for Israel.

With the uranium in hand, the stealing of the advanced technology needed to make a nuclear weapon is where Milchan comes into the story. Milchan was born in Israel but moved to the United States and eventually wound up as the founder-owner of a major movie production company, New Regency Films. In a Nov. 25, 2013 interview on Israeli television Milchan admitted that he had spent his many years in Hollywood as an agent for Israeli intelligence, helping obtain embargoed technologies and materials that enabled Israel to develop a nuclear weapon. He worked for Israel’s Bureau of Science and Liaison Acquisition division of Mossad, referred to as the LAKAM spy agency.

Milchan, a long-time resident of the United States who clearly still has significant business interests in this country as evidenced by “Bohemian Rhapsody,” explained in his interview, “I did it for my country, and I’m proud of it.” He also said that “other big Hollywood names were connected to [his] covert affairs.” Among other successes, he obtained through his company Heli Trading 800 krytons, the sophisticated triggers for nuclear weapons. The devices were acquired from the California top-secret defense contractor MILCO International. Milchan personally recruited MILCO’s president Richard Kelly Smyth as an agent before turning him over to another Heli Trading employee Benjamin Netanyahu for handling. Smyth was eventually arrested in 1985 and cooperated in his interrogation by the FBI before being sentenced to prison, which means that the federal government knew all about both Milchan and Netanyahu at that time but did not even seek to interview them and ultimately did nothing about them.

I would like to think that the next time Milchan arrives at Los Angeles International Airport on business he will be met by federal marshals and FBI agents before being whisked off to some nice, quiet place for a chat. But don’t bet on it. Milchan is possibly no longer traveling regularly to the U.S., though he retains a residence in California, and his “confession” suggests that he believes himself to be bulletproof. He has also recently been involved in a bit of controversy in Israel itself, where the police have recommended that he be charged with bribery connected with the ongoing investigation of corruption by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Milchan, it seems, spent one million shekels ($250,000) on luxury items that he gave to Bibi as a reported quid pro quo to exempt his substantial income from taxes when he returned to Israel to live in 2013.

In an interesting additional element to that story, the police investigation determined that in 2014 Netanyahu approached then-Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene and arrange for a long-term American visa for Milchan, who was at the time dealing with difficulties relating to his U.S. status, possibly due to the 2013 admission that he had been spying. In any event, the visa was granted and Milchan continued to make more movies, and money, in Los Angeles.

The tragedy is that spying for Israel appears to be regarded as something like a victimless crime, but in the case of Milchan it was dead serious, involving as it did nuclear proliferation on behalf of a nation that might generously be described as aggressively paranoid. And note that Netanyahu, the very “statesman” who received 29 standing ovations from Congress, was also involved in the major Mossad operation to steal from the United States. In fact, even though the Israelis continue to rob America blind, it is extremely difficult to be punished for doing so.

Kingdom Identity

Prosecutions for Israeli spying are so few because the Department of Justice is unwilling to pursue them, according to a retired FBI agent who claimed that hundreds of potential prosecutions were rejected for political reasons. The actual convictions involve crimes so egregious that they cannot be ignored or covered up, like conversations overheard at lunch, as when Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin provided intelligence on Iran to American Israel Public Affairs Committee staffers Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen, as well as to officials in the Israeli embassy. Franklin went briefly to jail and was recently reported to be waiting tables in West Virginia.

U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard, America’s most damaging spy of all time, stole enough top-secret codeword material to fill a room before he was arrested and convicted. He obtained Israeli citizenship while in prison and is now free on parole, living in New York City. Apart from that, nada!

Time to change all that. Milchan and others are not friends of the United States but quite the contrary, and deserve to be treated like any other spy. The American people should demand that the government begin to recognize that fact and act accordingly. Telling Hollywood that it is not good PR to keep allowing Israeli spy Milchan to make millions is a possibility, but sanctioning him to put him out of business would be an even better place to start.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Civil Rights Award Yanked Over ‘Anti-Semitic’ Remarks

Leftists are okay with Angela Davis’s terroristic background but rescinded their decision to grant her a human rights award due to her support of the BDS movement and of Palestinians’ human rights. Apparently only some humans should have rights.

By S.T. Patrick

Angela Davis has led a career and a life that has attracted controversies, criticisms, and bans. The most recent was a rescinding of the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award given by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI). Citing that Davis’s opinions and remarks do not “meet all of the criteria on which the award is based,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin decided against the October decision to present the award to Davis.

BCRI’s decision comes at a time in the nation’s history when political correctness and the wildly shifting levels of “acceptable speech” reach a new, more disturbing apex on what appears on a weekly basis. Davis’s new crime of opinion—or “thought crime,” in the words of 1984 author George Orwell—was that she has been a longtime vocal supporter of Palestinian rights and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

BCRI’s decision to rescind the award is surprising, as Davis’s views on Israeli state policy and the ideology of Zionism are not new. In his 1992 book Chutzpah, attorney Alan Dershowitz famously described Davis’s response when he asked her for a public statement in support of a list of political prisoners being held in the USSR.

Davis told Dershowitz that none of the people on his list were political prisoners. “They are all Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism,” Davis explained.

Davis, an icon of the 1960s Black Panther Party, has also referred to the Israeli “occupation” of Palestine and has compared the Israeli treatment of Palestinians to American police shootings of African-Americans. She comes from a larger-than-life era where slogans, key words, and political posters ruled the day. She, like many others from that same era, speaks in anecdotes and analogies.

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In 1969, Gov. Ronald Reagan (R-Calif.) attempted to have Davis banned from teaching at California universities because of her affiliation with the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). She was twice a candidate for vice president on the CPUSA ticket in the 1980s when Reagan was president. She left the CPUSA when it supported the Soviets’ 1991 “August Coup” attempt. The coup was led by communist hardliners attempting to wrest control from Mikhail Gorbachev.

In the new millennium, Davis has worked largely in support of the prison abolition movement. She co-founded Critical Resistance (CR) to build a groundswell of grassroots supporters dedicated to working against the “prison-industrial complex.” CR’s efforts are focused on building “engaged communities” that can educate and heal people rather than caging them.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. Now at the AFP Online Store.

There has been a reflexive reaction by conservatives to support the rescinding of the award. In a parallel story, there has also been conservative (and some liberal) support to admonish Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her comments explaining both the definition of an Israeli lobby and her criticism of politicians who, for financial reasons, would adhere to the demands of a foreign lobby. President Donald Trump ridiculously called for Omar’s resignation.

Criticizing Davis and Omar is certainly within the bounds of free speech in a constitutional republic. The danger comes in the quick, negative labeling of people and politicians. When Republicans are irrationally labeled as “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” or “jingoistic,” they rightly balk and demand retractions. So, is the quick labeling of Davis and Omar as “anti-Semitic” a tit-for-tat for Republicans wanting to turn the linguistic tables? If it is, it’s a petty lesson that will not be learned, no matter how many times it is taught. Instead, mouthpieces from both parties should realize how unconstructive it is to promote labels over arguments and verbal stings over vast solutions.

The rescinding of Davis’s award was a sloppy public relations faux pas by local politicians who believed they were doing the politically correct thing for the sake of political correctness, to maintain their wholly unoffensive PC cred. Rather, what they did was discover that the game isn’t real, and the maneuvers are contrived. Truth is truth and courage is courage, no matter what words are used in their explanations.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected] He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication carried by the AFP Online Store.




House Passes ‘Intolerance’ Resolution

Recent comments by Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar spurred Congress to violate the spirit of the First Amendment.

By John Friend

On March 7, just after AFP went to press, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning “anti-Semitism,” anti-Muslim discrimination, and bigotry against minorities “as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.”

The resolution, the second such resolution approved by the House in the past two months that explicitly denounces “anti-Semitism,” came in response to comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Somali-born freshman congresswoman who has been critical of the pro-Israel lobby and the potential dual loyalty members of Congress hold in relation to Israel. Omar’s statements have been widely condemned by government officials, congressional representatives, media pundits, and political commentators across the political spectrum as “anti-Semitic” in nature, despite the entirely legitimate points she has raised.

It is important to note that Omar never once mentioned “Jew” or “Jewish” in either of her purportedly controversial statements.

Omar first ran afoul of the pro-Israel lobby and its supporters in Washington when she said support for Israel and its powerful lobby was “all about the Benjamins” [i.e., Benjamin Franklin as he is pictured on a $100 bill] meaning the huge donations legislators receive from the pro-Israel community.

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On March 3, Omar again ran into trouble when she took to Twitter in response to comments made by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) that Omar had “mischaracterized support for Israel.” Omar tweeted: “I should not be expected to have allegiance/ pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

The recently passed resolution expressly condemns the so-called “anti-Semitic trope” regarding “dual loyalties,” arguing that such accusations “generally have an insidious and pernicious history.

“Whether from the political right, center, or left, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, racism, and imputations of dual loyalty threaten American democracy and have no place in American political discourse,” the resolution declares.

It goes on to explicitly denounce white supremacists, citing the Unite the Right rally as an alleged violent manifestation of white supremacy, the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. in June 2015 carried out by a young man with white nationalist views, and the more recent mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh carried out by a radicalized man who reportedly stated he “wanted all Jews to die.” The resolution describes “anti-Semitism” as a “centuries-old bigotry and form of racism faced by Jews simply because they are Jews,” and states that “it is a foreign policy priority of the United States to monitor and combat anti-Semitism abroad.”

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump appointed Elan Carr, a Jewish former prosecutor based in Los Angeles, to serve as the special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, an official position in the State Department which “was created by law and designed to protect the Jewish people throughout the world,” according to Carr. The position had been left unfilled by the Trump administration for the previous two years.

The House resolution passed by a vote of 407 to 23, with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) simply voting present. The 23 “No” votes came exclusively from Republicans, including notable figures such as Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Mo Brooks (R-N.Y.), Mike Conway (R-Texas), and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), among others.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. New at the AFP Store.

The resolution was initially designed to exclusively denounce “anti-Semitism” and to call Omar out by name as trafficking in “anti-Semitic tropes” that are “contrary to American values.” After pushback from a number of progressive Democratic allies of Omar, the resolution evolved into a broader denunciation of multiple forms of bigotry and discrimination, including “anti-Semitism,” Islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination against minorities, prompting the “No” votes from Republicans.

The pro-Israel community also expressed mixed emotions to the resolution, with some organizations and leaders praising the bill and others more critical. The Anti-Defamation League praised the resolution. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt—whose organization pressured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take action—announced his organization was pleased that the House “took a firm stance against anti-Semitism, including making an explicit statement rejecting the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and other vile slurs that have been used to persecute Jews for centuries,” according to a press release issued by the organization. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, on the other hand, was critical of the resolution.

“While we commend Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to bring to the floor the issue of anti-Semitism within its ranks, the politically expedient resolution failed to call out Representative Omar by name and failed to take into account the historically unique dimensions of the anti-Semitic themes trafficked by Rep. Omar,” the organization said in a statement.

John Friend is a freelance writer based in California.




Buying Back the Iron Dome

U.S. taxpayers are being ripped off as U.S. Army buys back what we paid to develop.

By Philip Giraldi

Even if one spends years exploring the dark corners infested by Israel’s agents and its diaspora proxies in their successful effort to control much of Capitol Hill and the White House, it is still possible to be shocked by the effrontery of what many have dubbed the 51st state.

In early February, the U.S. Army announced that it would be buying Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile system to protect American troops against incoming rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds. The sale means that the United States, which has the largest and most advanced defense industries in the world, is now agreeing to buy some of its military hardware from Israel rather than producing its own equivalent version.

The Iron Dome was developed and produced by Israeli government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems company with some assistance from Raytheon in the United States. It has been operational since 2011 and was deployed to intercept mostly homemade incoming rockets from Hamas during Israel’s large-scale ground and air attacks on Gaza in 2012 and 2014 as well as in the more recent bloody clashes along the border fences that separate Israel from Gaza, which have killed nearly 3,000 Arabs.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inevitably took credit for the sale, describing it as “a great achievement for Israel and yet another expression of the strengthening of our powerful alliance with the U.S.” The U.S. Army is committed to buy two Iron Dome batteries for deployment next year for $373 million as a first phase of a possible $1.7 billion procurement to develop an enhanced mobile missile defense capability. It is believed that the purchase could lead to far bigger deals if Rafael proves able to upgrade Iron Dome to defeat the more complex battlefield threats envisioned by the Pentagon.

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There are a number of problems related to the agreement to purchase Iron Dome. First of all, there is some dispute about whether it actually works. Israeli government sources unsurprisingly claim that it does, but some critics believe that its actual success rate might be considerably lower than the 90% that is being claimed by Rafael and by the Israeli government based on 1,700 reported interceptions. It has been observed that intercepting an incoming bottle rocket is a relatively easy task compared to an artillery or mortar round, which have lower trajectories and less flight time, making locking in the system’s radar more difficult. And, as Iron Dome has not been used with any frequency against enemies firing military-grade rockets, mortars or artillery, so the testing of it has not been fully subjected to the actual field conditions if the U.S. Army were to deploy the system.

The second problem involves the purchase itself. According to a report examining the Iron Dome project, the United States has already provided at least $5.5 billion of the development costs of the system since it was first proposed in 2010. In 2018, Congress provided an additional $705 million to the Israeli government for various missile defense projects, which included Iron Dome. That means that Washington is buying back a system that it paid to develop and is therefore paying for it twice. This is a wonderful way to do business for Israel, but it is a complete rip-off of the American taxpayer. The fact that no one in Congress is complaining is perhaps attributable to the willingness of the government to do favors for Israel, including favors that undercut the U.S.’s own defense industries, as Israel will undoubtedly use reports of the sale to boost its own efforts to market the product worldwide.

A third problem is the cost effectiveness of the system, even if it does work. Each Iron Dome battery will cost close to $125 million, but actually using the system is also expensive. Each Iron Dome-compatible Israeli-developed Tamir missile costs between $50,000 and $150,000, and two are normally used to counter each incoming target. In operations against homemade rockets emanating from Gaza, that means that $100,000-$300,000 is spent to destroy a projectile that might have cost less than $1,000 to make if one is dealing with resistance groups, insurgencies, or terrorist organizations that might be improvising their armaments. And, as the supply of missiles is depleted either in training or in actual combat, it will be necessary to go back to Israel for more, creating a regular cash flow for government-owned Rafael.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. New at the AFP Store.

When all is said and done, if the U.S. Army has no defense against low-level missile and projectile attacks and Iron Dome is the only tested option available, then there would be a certain desirability to obtain the system for deployment in parts of the world where the military faces that kind of threat. But, as is often the case when it comes to Israel, one has to suspect that politics are quite likely behind the purchase, most particularly in the form of Pentagon officials and congressmen who are desirous of enhancing the benefit packages that Israel receives from U.S. taxpayers.

The bottom line should be the bottom line. If the United States has contributed more than $6 billion to the development of Israel’s military antimissile defenses and actually needs Iron Dome, there should be payback. The two batteries should be freely provided to the U.S. Army as a thank you from the grateful people of Israel for the unprecedented financial aid totaling $134 billion since 1948, as well as the virtually unlimited political cover for Israel’s bad behavior that the American people have provided for the past 70-plus years. Perhaps someone on Capitol Hill or in the White House should remind Netanyahu of the $38 billion that Congress has just approved for Israel on top of all the money that has already gone to Iron Dome. This presents a wonderful opportunity for Israel to finally demonstrate its willingness to do something for the United States, a reciprocity which its powerful American lobby always boasts about but which has never actually been the case in practice.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.


More Middle East news, from American Free Press Issue 9&10:

Israel, Neocons Push War With Iran

Major European leaders boycott event in Poland attended by U.S., Israel, Saudis

By Richard Walker

War was on the agenda of a recent anti-Iran conference in Poland where Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the Trump administration shared with him and his Arab allies, especially the Saudis, a desire for war with Iran.

Hours later, his spokesman walked back the statement, claiming Netanyahu had used English, which was not his first language, and what he really meant was that they were all keen to combat Iran. The excuse was ridiculous given that Netanyahu speaks fluent English. He wanted everyone to know what was agreed.

The two-day conference was organized by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner attended, along with Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Major European leaders boycotted the event, suspecting it would be used by neocons to promote a war with Iran and to attack the Iran nuclear treaty that is still supported by the EU, Russia, and China.

Their suspicions were well-founded. A European diplomat, who spoke to this writer on condition of anonymity, said many European Union (EU) figures felt that the event was an insult to Europe and that its planning was murky from the start.

“EU policymakers were incensed that Netanyahu and MBS were brought into an EU capital to promote war,” he said. “They were unhappy that MBS was present, given his recent history and his war crimes in Yemen. No one was shocked by Netanyahu’s grandstanding because we all know his shtick. The consensus was that if Washington wanted to promote war, it should have done it in Washington, Riyadh, or Tel Aviv.”

Kingdom Identity

The diplomat thought it was “unfortunate” that Pence used the occasion to attack his European allies for their continued support of Iran’s international nuclear agreement. He added that this “loose behavior” had the potential to drive a wedge between Europe and the United States.

There was some speculation on the fringes of the conference, as well as in Israel, that Netanyahu’s war drumbeat was a wag-the-dog strategy, as he faces serious fraud and corruption charges at home, with a national election likely in May or June.

There was fear in some European institutions that Netanyahu and MBS have now found neocons in Washington like Bolton who are willing to take the U.S. to war in the Middle East. The event certainly raised the specter of a return to neocons dominating American foreign policy. Bolton is on record advocating the bombing of Iran, and his past history of promoting wars has been well documented.

Fellow neocon Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, attended the conference to advocate for regime change in Iran, something he has done in the past. He is a paid backer of MEK— Mujahideen e-Khalq—a group designated by the U.S., the EU and Canada as a terrorist organization until 2013. It has organized bombings in Iraq and has had links to Mossad and the CIA. Its origins are Marxist, which makes it a strange bedfellow in its relations with the likes of Giuliani and Bolton. For two decades, it has spent large sums of money using Washington lobbyists to promote its cause and to find backers like Giuliani.

Some observers complained that the conference was hijacked by warmongers, with former Polish ambassador to Afghanistan Piotr Lukasiewicz telling Mideast news agency al Jazeera that Poland “lost control over the general message of the conference.”

While the event was taking place a suicide bomber killed 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Blame was quickly levelled at Jundullah, the Party of God, a Sunni terror group affiliated with al Qaeda. It has known links to Mossad, the CIA, and especially Saudi intelligence, which has been paying al Qaeda fighters to undertake operations in the Saudi war in Yemen and in Iran. The timing of the attack was regarded by Iran as significant, coming as it did while the Warsaw conference was taking place.

Deep State, Chaffetz
Available from the AFP Online Store.

The growing role of neocons in U.S. foreign policy is at odds with Trump’s promises to stay out of wars abroad. Some of those neocons include right-wing Zionist Elliott Abrams, who has been given a prominent role in the Venezuelan crisis. He has been linked in the past to covert operations in Latin America and was an Iraq war adviser and cheerleader. However, Bolton is the most prominent figure with the scope to develop a plan with Israel and the Saudis to draw Iran into a conflict.

Last September, he startled Pentagon chiefs when he demanded a battle plan for Iraq after several mortar shells were fired into the Green Zone in Baghdad. Bolton regarded the episode, in which there was no damage and no one was hurt, as an act of war.

Russia could also be drawn into a Mideast war should one be launched against its ally, Iran, because such a conflict would spread quickly into Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, where Moscow has allies and military assets.

Netanyahu and Bolton, and now Pence, keep lying that Iran is secretly working on a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the map. If they and the Saudis can convince Trump that this is true, the chances of war will increase exponentially. In the wake of the Warsaw conference, Netanyahu’s mouth got him in trouble again when he was quoted in leading Israeli newspapers accusing the Poles of a role in the Holocaust. Netanyahu claimed he was misquoted, but his denial was dismissed by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieck, who canceled a trip to Jerusalem for a major European conference.

Richard Walker is the nom de plume of a former New York mainstream news producer who grew tired of seeing his articles censored by his bosses.




Russian Presence Feared in Mideast

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz warns that the Russians are back—and looking to threaten Israel.

By Richard Walker

A warning that Russia has returned to the Middle East to threaten Israel is just one of many alarming claims coming from Israel and from figures in the U.S. military who have added China to the mix.

Mor Altshuler in Israeli’s leading newspaper, Ha’aretz, has warned that Russia is back after 45 years specifically to threaten Israel, and that its expanding Russian naval presence could interrupt Israel’s energy plans in the eastern Mediterranean and hold them hostage. She also questioned the Trump administration’s commitment to Israel: “Are all the players on our side playing with clean hands? Frankly, I must say that soon I might start missing Barack Obama.”

Her warning was very much in keeping with a growing fear within the Israeli political and military establishment that there is a changing strategic environment in the eastern Mediterranean where Israel has a small coastline with the Mediterranean Sea, compared to countries it considers enemies, such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria.

Some believe that the Trump administration has become too isolationist, yet Israel believes it should be able to project its power into the eastern Mediterranean region, both militarily and in pursuit of claiming rights to gas fields under the sea. It is the prospect of energy riches, as much as exerting a strong military footprint that shapes Israeli opinion. However, without a strong U.S. naval presence in the region to rely on, Israel has begun to feel vulnerable, and more so since Russia has a large Mediterranean fleet based on the Syrian port city of Tartus. In comparison, Israel possesses a small naval force.

According to NATO sources, on a recent trip to Tel Aviv, National Security Advisor John Bolton got an earful from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the threat posed to Israel by Russia and by China’s big spending to buy friends and influence in the eastern Mediterranean. Netanyahu complained that the U.S. no longer has any of its fleets based in the region and that Israel was being closed in by its enemies.

The eastern Mediterranean has taken on greater significance for Israel and for other nations in the region, especially Turkey, since the discovery of large gas deposits off the island of Cyprus, which is equally controlled by Greece and Turkey. Israel and Egypt quickly signed a deal with the Greek Cypriots and Egypt to pipe gas to Arab nations and to Europe via Greece, thereby bypassing Turkish and Russian pipelines. The Turks weren’t long in deciding that they had rights to drill for energy in the waters around Cyprus, and they announced that they even had plans for a large naval base in the north of the island. The announcement panicked the Greeks, who controlled most of Cyprus, and the Israelis. Turkey, with perhaps the largest coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, was in effect saying to Israel, “Not so fast.” It was a warning that did not go down well in Tel Aviv. The prospect of future naval clashes between Israel and Turkey quickly dampened the enthusiasm of the big U.S. and French oil giants, who were anxious to get their hands on a share of the riches by handling exploration and the building of pipelines.

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. New at the AFP Store.

While the energy issue is undoubtedly important in explaining Israel’s growing unease, there are bigger issues at play that define why Israel feels it faces an existential threat. Neocons have for some time added to Israel’s fear by claiming that the Trump administration is failing in its duty by not ordering Turkey to abandon building a large naval base on Cyprus. In fact, the Trump administration has preferred a hands-off policy. Turkey is, after all, a NATO member, and it has a right to build a base if it wishes. There is no indication that the Trump White House has any desire to intervene no matter how much Israel is pressing for action.

The critical issue driving Israeli fears is that it cannot manipulate Russia. It therefore sees the alignment of Russia with Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran a serious threat to its power. But that aside, there is also the agenda of some in the ranks of the U.S. military who feel that Russia and China have an agreed strategy across the Middle East. Commander Tony Chavez, a member of the globalist group Chicago Council on Global Affairs, argues that Russia is determined to control the region, as evidenced by the fact that in September 2018 it held the largest Mediterranean naval exercise since the Cold War. He also points to China’s growing use of ports across the eastern Mediterranean as part of a new policy to confront U.S. power.

While Israel and its neocon backers in Washington press for a return of a powerful U.S. naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, it seems that, for now, that is not going to happen.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.




Let Us Prey

Are evangelical politicians crafting U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East to fulfill biblical prophecy? You decide.

By Philip Giraldi

There are an estimated 30 million fundamentalist Christians in the United States, constituting something like one-half of all regular churchgoers. Most Christian fundamentalists are also dispensationalists, which means they think that Christianity is going through phases, or dispensations, that will lead to the rapture of true believers into heaven followed by the wrath of God descending on those who refuse to see the light. Many dispensationalists fervently hope that the End of Days—when all will be resolved through the Second Coming of Christ—will take place soon. For many, the expectation is that it is imminent.

Because the gathering of Jews back into the Middle East is believed to be an essential precondition for the Second Coming, dispensationalists are also frequently self-described as Christian Zionists (CZ), which means in practice that they literally believe that Jews are the Chosen People of God with all that might imply. As a result, CZ are, politically speaking, strong and totally uncritical supporters of the state of Israel, though their support is conditional as they also believe that the Jews, like everyone else who does not welcome the return of the Messiah and convert, will go straight to hell after the final battle of Armageddon is fought against Satan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have consequently described Christian Zionists as “. . . scum. But don’t tell them that. We need all the useful idiots we can get right now.” CZ are powerful friends of Israel who will be used and eventually discarded when no longer needed.

Religious fundamentalists have a powerful presence in the Donald J. Trump White House. At the top level of policy making, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are prominent evangelical Christians who are outspoken in how their religious beliefs shape their perceptions of what the United States should and must do in its interaction with other less enlightened nations, particularly in the Middle East.

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A speech made by Pompeo at the American University in Cairo on Jan. 10 suggests how Christian Zionist beliefs impact policy making in Washington. In it, Pompeo reveals his own peculiar vision of what is taking place in the Middle East, to include the impact of his own personal religiosity, and his belief that Washington’s proper role in the region is to act as “a force for good.” Pompeo asserted, “This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian. . . . In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and the Truth. And it’s the truth, lower-case ‘t,’ that I’m here to talk about today. It is a truth that isn’t often spoken in this part of the world, but because I’m a military man by training, I’ll be very blunt and direct today: America is a force for good in the Middle East.”

During a January 2018 trip by Pence to Israel, his eighth trip to that country but the first as vice president, a speech before the Knesset reportedly first required the removal of all Arab members, who had expressed their disapproval of what they knew was coming. Pence told the all-Jewish remaining legislators, “We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight. We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.” And Pence even had a crumb to throw to the audience back at home regarding the impending move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, saying, “Our president made his decision, in his words, ‘In the best interests of the American people.’ ” Pence concluded with, “The miracle of Israel is an inspiration to the world. And the United States of America is proud to stand with Israel and her people, as allies and cherished friends.”

The scary thing is that Pompeo and Pence likely believe their own rhetoric. It would be hard to compress so much nonsense into a few sentences without looking completely ridiculous, but both men in their zealotry seek to convey a measure of rectitude relating to a whole basket of untruths without even breathing hard. First of all, describing the U.S. as a force for good in the Middle East is to ignore the deaths of hundreds of thousands—possibly even millions—of Muslims in a vain attempt to democratize the region. And the American people have never endorsed the relationship with Israel in any way and do not “stand with Israel” out of any conviction. Recent opinion polls suggest that most Americans are quite ambivalent about Israel and what it represents in spite of having been on the receiving end of more than 50 years of incessant propaganda extolling falsely “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. New at the AFP Store.

In truth, the Israeli special relationship is something that has been created and fostered by a corrupted-by-cash political class and a media supported by a powerful and unscrupulous domestic lobby backed up by an oligarchy of pro-Israel billionaires.

As for values and causes, Americans would be appalled if they were to witness the misery inflicted on the Palestinians by the Israelis. Right over wrong? Good over evil? Where is the justice for the Palestinians? Israel’s government is itself evil—an apartheid state that denies benefits to its own citizens if they adhere to the wrong religion. Tyranny? That’s what occurs in the West Bank and in the strangling of Gaza every single day.

In response to the Pence visit, Jane Eisner of the Jewish newspaper The Forward warned that, “Trump has handed Israel policy to evangelicals. That’s terrifying.” As a liberal Jew, her concern was that U.S. policy would be driven by some potentially dangerous evangelical beliefs that certain conditions, to include complete Jewish control over the West Bank—described as Judea and Samaria—should be satisfied solely to fulfill biblical prophecies.

Matt Brooks, who heads the Republican Jewish Coalition, disagreed with Eisner, saying, “They always highlight the fact that [they are] evangelicals, as if that’s a pejorative when in fact [Pence, Pompeo and other evangelicals] are motivated first and foremost by shared values with Israel. And not just by the shared values, but the important efforts of collectively standing up to threats of Iran, pushing back on ISIS, and on radical Islam, or whether it’s being a critical democratic foundation in a very dangerous place. There are so many places where U.S. and Israel’s interests intersect.”

Brooks is, of course, making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Israel and the United States have virtually no real common interests and the arguments being made to the contrary are essentially fraudulent. And the question of whether Pompeo and Pence actually believe that the Second Coming is imminent is essentially moot. They share the conviction that the state of Israel must be protected at all costs, a view that certainly shapes their policy recommendations regarding the Middle East. That view also has an impact on policy toward Israel’s neighbors, with Iran in particular being vilified as the purely evil foe, a “cancerous influence,” according to Pompeo, that is increasingly seen as allied with Satan and which will be destroyed in Armageddon. Pence also doubled down on Iran in his Knesset speech, inaccurately calling it “the leading state sponsor of terror . . . a brutal dictatorship . . . seeking to dominate the Arab world . . . devoted more than $4 billion to malign activities in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere . . . supported terrorist groups that even now sit on Israel’s doorstep . . . and, worst of all, the Iranian regime has pursued a clandestine nuclear program.”

An openly racist Israel is hardly inspirational with its persistent playing of the victim card while it cynically exploits Christians like Pompeo and Pence to provide it with money, arms, and political cover at the expense of all Americans, most of whom do not share their religious beliefs.

Israel is no actual ally of the U.S., has never sent its soldiers to fight alongside Americans, and is hardly even a friend as evidenced by its record of interfering in U.S. domestic politics to receive billions of dollars annually from the American taxpayer. Nor would its recurrent theft of U.S.-developed high tech and defense secrets stand much scrutiny. But the two Mikes were most likely not briefed on all that stuff, besides which, they have probably received instructions on cherishing Israel directly from God.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Israel Running Risks in Trying to Exploit U.S. Exit from Syria

With the U.S. withdrawal of its forces from Syria will Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recklessness lead to confrontation with Russia? 

By Richard Walker

In an effort to exploit the planned exit of U.S. special forces and mercenaries from Syria, Israeli officials are promising to continue bombing that country in violation of international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as saying it would be business as usual, but he might want to consider the fact that Russia will not allow him free rein to bomb Syria as he likes. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear to him that there are some lines he should not cross. One is killing or targeting Russian military personnel in Syria. Another is Russian personnel becoming collateral damage of Israeli attacks on other targets.

In the past three years, Israel has bombed Syria several hundred times in a clear breach of international law. It claims that its bombing of a sovereign state is justified by its need for defense. Of course, this is a false legal argument.

UN Charter 51 states specifically that a UN mandate is required by any country wishing to launch a war against another, and if self-defense is used as justification, the country launching a war must have been attacked. Syria has never attacked Israel, but as with so much of Israel’s foreign policy, it has been willing to flout international law, because Israelis know there will be no repercussions for its lawlessness. There are few countries in the region that have not been the target of Israel’s air force or of its assassination squads.

President Donald Trump’s decision to fulfill his electoral promise to take troops out of Syria has angered Israel because it has consistently used U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict as a cover for launching hundreds of air and ground strikes into Syria and Lebanon. With the White House announcement of the pullout, Netanyahu and members of his hard-right cabinet announced that attacks on Syria would continue unabated and might be increased.

Israel’s strategy has been to exploit the Syrian conflict to target Iranian military advisers and Iranian-backed militias who have been fighting ISIS, al Qaeda, and the al-Nusra Front alongside Syrian and Russian military forces. In contrast, ISIS has never been Israel’s priority. In fact, Israel has armed, trained, and provided medical care to al-Nusra fighters. It has been focused on killing Iranians, hoping to goad Iran and Hezbollah into a full-blown conflict that would draw in the U.S. military and Netanyahu’s new allies, the Saudis. In that respect, Netanyahu likely has a backer in National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has made it clear he would like to bomb Iran. Netanyahu, nevertheless, has been accused by Israelis of bombing Syria and hyping an Iran threat from there to deflect from corruption charges he faces at home as new elections get closer.

With the U.S. pullout, Israeli military planners are facing a new and potentially deadly issue, namely the continued presence of Russian forces and their S-400 missile batteries. Those, and the S-300 batteries Moscow gave the Syrian government, have already had a limiting effect on Israeli air incursions into Syrian airspace. Russia’s military has warned Israel that there will be serious consequences if it targets Russian forces or if Russian military personnel are casualties of an attack on Syria or Iranian targets.

There is no love lost between Putin and Netanyahu following the shooting down of an Ilyushin IL-20M Russian surveillance plane over Syria in 2018. The downing of the plane resulted in the deaths of 15 Russian personnel on board.

Is there a plan to confront Russia in Iran? More at the AFP Online Store.

The propeller plane, a flying command post, was shot down by missiles fired from older Russian S-200 anti-aircraft batteries operated at the time by the Syrian military. Russian military investigators, however, quickly determined that blame lay with Israel. According to Russian experts, two of four Israeli jets that entered Syria to carry out attacks used the cover of the larger II-20M. An S-200 missile fired at the jets locked instead on the larger Russian plane. Israel, as it always does, blamed the Syrian military, but operators of highly advanced S-400 batteries protecting the Russian Kheimim Air Base in Syria had recorded everything.

According to reports, Putin was so angry with Netanyahu’s and Israel’s denials that he immediately upgraded Syria’s S-200 batteries to the S-300.

The U.S. exodus will reduce American military traffic in the region, allowing Russian and Syrian missile operators to concentrate on all Israeli military fighter aircraft exiting Israel en route to Syria.

Gideon Levy, a leading columnist with Ha’aretz, one of Israel’s prominent news outlets, was alarmed after the downing of the Russian plane. He warned Israel that its actions in Syria were “reckless” and would “come with a price.” His views were not given an airing by the U.S. mainstream media, more than likely because they were highly critical of Israel’s Syria interventions.

With the U.S. withdrawal, Netanyahu’s tendency to recklessness could well lead to a confrontation with Russia over the skies of the Middle East.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.




How to Start a World War

Provoking an “incident” or a false flag would be the best way to keep the U.S. in the Middle East forever, for Israel’s benefit. Philip Giraldi warns that “the current lineup of administration hotheads is so devoid of scruples that it might well be planning to either provoke or false-flag the United States into the longed-for war against Iran.”

By Phil Giraldi

The White House decision to withdraw American troops from Syria as soon as possible may or may not be on track depending on whom one believes. But one thing that is for sure is that the recent suicide bomber attack in Manbij, Syria, which killed four Americans and has been attributed to ISIS, has inspired the opponents of the drawdown to renew their claim that the terrorist group is still an active threat to the United States. President Donald Trump is now being subjected to heavy bipartisan and media pressure to reverse his decision.

It is perhaps a coincidence that the attack should take place not long after the White House announcement of the withdrawal, thereby giving ammunition to those who wish to stay in Syria, admittedly illegally, for the foreseeable future. Or is it perhaps something else? Why, one must ask, did ISIS do something against its own interests by attacking Americans and thereby increasing the odds that U.S. armed forces would remain in Syria? Wouldn’t it have been preferable to just let the American military leave, thereby eliminating one enemy from the playing field?

Former arms inspector Scott Ritter, in a detailed analysis of what is going on in Syria, has asked those questions and comes up with an explanation. Far from being an enemy of ISIS, the U.S. has actually served to protect the group. American presence in northeast Syria, where the ISIS remnants are still holding on, has actually prevented the final destruction of the terrorist group. Without the U.S. serving as an impediment, the armed forces of Syria aided by Russia and Iran would have already crushed ISIS in its remaining enclaves.

Thus it is, against all conventional wisdom, the United States that is serving as ISIS’s protector, and the group staged the bombing deliberately with that in mind because it is better from their viewpoint to have American forces remain. They also clearly understood enough about American politics and its media to realize that they would be giving fuel to those in Congress and among the mainstream punditry to put more pressure on Trump to have the troops remain in place.

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That is how you start a war, or at least keep one going. It is called deception, or, when carried out by a state actor, a false flag in that the event is capable of being misinterpreted or mis-attributed to produce a desired result. There have been numerous deception operations throughout history used to start wars. The battleship Maine was not blown up by the Spaniards in Havana Harbor in 1898, but it served as a useful pretext to start a war that stripped Spain of its colonies. The Zimmerman telegram in World War I was a phony, but it helped bring the U.S. into the war against Germany. More recently there were the two Gulf of Tonkin incidents, both lies, which dramatically increased American involvement in Vietnam. And one should not forget the largely fabricated humanitarian and national security arguments made to attack Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

If one goes by the message coming out of the White House and State Department, it would appear that the next country being targeted by the U.S. for regime change is Iran. And the best way to start the war would be to have the Iranians, or someone pretending to be the Iranians, attack a U.S. naval vessel in the Persian Gulf. If it were carried out by, let us suggest, the Israelis or Saudis, both of whom have motive to do so, it would be a false-flag operation leading to war. It would also be a false flag if the U.S. itself were to carry out the attack pretending to be Iranians. One recalls from the movie “Patton” the general’s hatred of the Russians and his rant at the end of the film, “In 10 days I’ll have us at war with those sons of b****** and I’ll make it look like their fault.” There are, unfortunately, many in D.C. who would support such an approach, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Some observers are concerned that the current lineup of administration hotheads is so devoid of scruples that it might well be planning to either provoke or false-flag the United States into the longed-for war against Iran.

Unfortunately, to a certain extent, Iran is playing into the scheming by America’s hawks. Early in December, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to stop all shipping passing through the Strait of Hormuz if Washington moves to block Iranian oil exports when sanctions kick in early in May. He said, “If someday, the United States decides to block Iran’s oil, no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf.”

Ten Myths About Israel, Ilan Pappe
Outspoken Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. New at the AFP Store.

Washington for its part is also upping the ante, having sent an aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, to the Persian Gulf recently as part of a “show of force.” Iran has also beefed up its forces by deploying a considerable naval force to the Indian Ocean near the Persian Gulf, ready to move into the strait and close it if ordered to do so. Iran claims that it “completely controls the strait.”

As nearly 30% of all seaborne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz with the Stennis and Iranian forces on standby in the same area, the possibility of a fight starting either deliberately or by accident is growing. In early December, State Department Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook declared during a press conference that Washington would “not hesitate to use military force when our interests are threatened . . . the military option on the table.”

One does not have to suggest that either the United States or one of its alleged allies in the Middle East will inevitably take the low road and stage an incident, but the possibility remains it will occur to someone that this would be the easiest path to war. Others, who want war but are more cautious in terms of how they will initiate it, are probably waiting for the May 5 deadline when the U.S. embargo on Iranian oil sales kicks in. Iran will be forced to react, and the U.S. is no doubt preparing to strike back. We will thereby have a new war that serves no one’s interest apart from Israel and the Saudis and which will potentially devastate the region.

The American people will have to do the actual fighting and dying while also paying the bills afterwards and will emerge as the biggest losers.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.