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12/22/2008 Yahoo News via PRNewsWire
DOJ and Treasury Rebuff Calls to Investigate Alleged $60 Billion Israel Money Laundering Ring

On November 21, 2005, US Department of Justice officials convened in the Russell Senate Office building for a presentation about this indirect terrorism generator and how US nonprofit money laundering could be stopped under existing criminal statutes.

However since 2005 the leadership of the US Treasury Department's Internal Revenue Service and Terrorism and Financial Intelligence units have repeatedly rebuffed requests for investigation and related inquiries. For three years the Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and New York based US Attorneys have formally refused to show investigatory interest in these publicly substantiated money laundering allegations. More

Pay to Play Mideast Policy Over? Pay to Play is the Name of the Game
AntiWar.com 12/16/2008 The Jerusalem Post 12/16/2008
Grant F. Smith Douglas Bloomfield
smithg.jpg (3545 bytes)"Saban and the Middle East � not Blagojevich and Illinois � are why this sudden and unexpected law enforcement intrusion into the quiet realm of pay-to-play matters. The hapless governor of Illinois enjoys neither Saban's finesse nor prosecutorial immunity. But Blagojevich's gambit does direct unwanted attention to larger pay-to-play forces in continuous operation behind the scenes in Washington. The scandal may take pressure off Obama to acquiesce to the subtle but omnipresent mandates of the Israel lobby. After all, Obama, with his decisive, grassroots-powered win, doesn't appear to owe Saban or AIPAC's team any political debts for past services rendered. " More "It's hardly an accident that AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, requires its top lay leaders to also be big-time campaign contributors. AIPAC may not dole out money itself, but it understands how money opens the doors for its citizen lobbyists.

IF MONEY taints the system, sunshine is the best disinfectant, and full disclosure is essential. What we have today isn't glatt kosher, but it is legal. It could be so much better. Until there is full public financing of campaigns, politicians will continue soliciting contributions in staggering sums.  More

11/28/2008 AntiWar
Indicted former AIPAC Official joins a Think Tank

The government has gone easy on the AIPAC defendants, and their former employers. An apparent attempt was made by some in the Justice Department to indict not only Rosen and Weissman, but AIPAC itself. This was quashed by the chief prosecutor, Paul J. McNulty � who has since gone on to graze in greener pastures � and the case was limited from the outset: only Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman were charged.

As Grant F. Smith shows in his recent book, AIPAC's organizational forerunner as Israel's Capitol Hill amen corner � the AZC, American Zionist Council � was financed almost entirely by overseas sources, i.e. Israel, and yet was not required to register as an agent of a foreign government. Particularly fascinating is his original research into the findings of Senator J. William Fulbright, remembered today as an acerbic critic of the Vietnam war, who investigated and uncovered financial conduits running from Israeli government agencies to AIPAC in its AZC incarnation.

Everybody knows AIPAC is indeed an agent of a foreign government, i.e. the Israelis. What most don't know, however, is that, unlike all others, it is exempt from complying with the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This immunity � the legal genesis of which Grant traces in his fascinating account � created an opening for the Israeli government and its various overseas agencies to act with impunity within our borders...More

Wall Street Journal Market Watch11/24/2008 Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch via PRNewsWire
Registered Foreign Lobby Goes Stealth

Six decades ago Americans working as registered Israeli foreign agents launched New York, Washington and Los Angeles "Israel Office of Information (IOI)" branches. Newly declassified records document IOI actions that forever changed foreign government lobbying on Capitol Hill. The 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was strictly enforced at that time to shield the US Congress and American citizens from the effects of foreign propaganda and stealth lobbying. FARA required biannual disclosure of all propaganda activities on behalf of foreign principals to the DOJ. Beleaguered by reporting requirements and citations for deficient declarations, IOI director Isaiah L. Kenen coordinated shifting Israel lobbying away from FARA oversight, as he later noted in his book Israel's Defense Line... More

11/1/2008 AL-EQTISADIAH Newspaper
November 6, 2008 Washington Summit  to Remove Barriers to US-Arab Investment Flow

The U.S. Treasury Department will seriously consider the most prominent features of Islamic banking, a necessary step before attempting to effectively tap regional capitalIf successful, it could help address the financial crisis still coursing through the arteries of the global economy which has baffled a full spectrum of economic experts. The action represents a fundamental shift in perceptions about Islamic banking in the wake of efforts to stabilize financial flows during the global financial upheaval, forcing American officials to consider in depth principles that underpin Islamic banking while leaving behind caustic rhetoric linking this type of exchange with terrorism...

Daniel Best, an economic analyst with the Reuters news agency says a large number of Middle Eastern investors are reluctant to invest in U.S. financial markets after the attacks of September 11, 2001... They feared being unjustly linked to the activities of radical Islamic groups. Grant Smith, supervisor of the IRmep, an American research group focused on policy and bilateral US-Middle East economic development stressed the important principle of reciprocity between the Gulf and American investors,  "Regional investors have not yet forgotten the U.S. reaction to the Dubai Ports World proposal to invest and manage port facilities, which was nullified on the basis of vitriol and unfounded accusations."

"Sovereign wealth stock and investment funds are among the fastest growing sectors in the Islamic financial system.  If American government officials expect to tap their potential they first need to align themselves to basic precepts which underlie Islamic banking: high moral principles. At the present time, rebuilding confidence and returning to bilateral relations based on higher ethical standards are first steps toward improving capital flows."

10/18/2008  Radio France Internationale - Bush Administration-Iraq Occupation Agreement
Proposed Status of Forces Agreement would Handcuff Incoming President

RFI: In Iraq thousands of supporters of the influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gathered to demonstrate against the according being negotiated between Washington and Iraq that would extend the presence of US troops beyond its current mandate which expires at the end of the year.  The opposition believes this accord will perpetuate the US occupation.  Others insist that the government is becoming a puppet of George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice.  This pact is not only polemical in Iraq, but also in the United States.  That's the opinion of Grant Smith, director of the IRmep in Washington DC.

Grant Smith: It is as controversial in the United States as it is in Iraq, particularly between the presidential candidates.  On this side of the Atlantic, the campaign of Barak Obama has apparently advised Iraq not to sign any agreement approved only by the administration before regime change in Washington.  In Baghdad, it is being seen as yet another extension of the right of foreign troops over the right of civilians, after so many problems particularly with unaccountable private military contractors and military tactics which have unfortunately wounded and killed many innocents .  I am very doubtful that the Bush administration will be able to sign, in their waning months, an accord of such a long duration, of such a concrete nature, that would impact and limit to such a degree the freedom of movement of an incoming administration.  Supplement early draft US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement [PDF]

10/08/2008 KZYX - Pacifica Radio Talk Show about "America's Defense Line"
Why Presidential Candidates Don't Talk about Israel's Nuclear Weapons

Blankfort:  ...we see it yesterday in the debates playing out...

Smith: Right, everyone is reading from the script.  And, of course, some of the things you'd actually need to discuss within the context of all of this effort to demonize and portray Iran now as an immanent threat to the United States, some of the key factors you would have to discuss go right back to this period (the formation of AIPAC).  Well, what about Israel's nuclear weapons?  What about the fact that Jimmy Carter is the first former president to confirm that yes, in fact they do have their own arsenal?  An arsenal which, by the way, many of the same people around these earlier lobbies were active in financing and diverting attention from?  How can you have a discussion about regional non-proliferation if you don't even acknowledge the fact that this country has its own substantial arsenal?  The fact you can't be open or discuss any of these things is making the debate and making the presidential discussion of regional policy "other worldly" to say the least. Audio Download (MP3)

Dissident Voice 10/01/2008 - Book Review of "America's Defense Line"
The Israel Lobby and the Patriot's Predicament

,,,The facilitating strategy for financing and supporting Israel in the United States was and continues to be media manipulation and denying relevant venues to dissenters.  Recognizing the influence of the corporate media, the Lobby executed a comprehensive public relations campaign in the 1960s funded by Israeli money involving �cultivation of editors� and public relations professionals, funding elite university professors, book publishing and grassroots local media pressure groups spread across the United States. This short but amazing 1962-1963 public relations document is reprinted in the appendix. Its many vestiges are still clearly visible in US mainstream media today... More

Dissident Voice 09/16/2008
From Irgun to AIPAC: Israel Lobby's US Treasury Follies Hurt America

AIPAC and its associated think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), were instrumental in lobbying the president for the creation of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence unit early in 2004. The Israel lobby also vetted Stuart Levey who President Bush approved to lead the new unit. TFI claims to be "safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats." However its actions--and more important, inactions--reveal it to be a sharp-edged tool forged principally to serve the Israel lobby.

TFI has taken no actions to undercut one nexus of money laundering in the Middle East unveiled in 2005 by Israeli prosecutor Talia Sasson and exposed by USA Today. Even mainstream print outlets such as Reuters continue to wonder aloud why US tax exemptions are offered for illegal overseas activities. Although Stuart Levey has made multiple official visits to Jerusalem to liaise with Israeli government officials, when formally asked under a Freedom of Information Act request to reveal how TFI was tackling the reported $50-$60 billion laundered from the US through Israel and into illegal West Bank settlements, TFI politely demurred.  TFI claims that Levey's US-taxpayer-funded missions to Israel must be kept secret from the American public in order to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act, which ironically is an anti-money-laundering law. This is not to say that TFI is a black box to everyone. Invited guests and members of WINEP have received many intimate briefings from TFI officials and consultants--possibly more than the entire US Congress. More

Wall Street Journal Market Watch09/05/2008 Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch via PRNewsWire
Senator Biden Wrong: AIPAC Does Represent the Government of Israel

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden publicly chastised the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Accused of not backing AIPAC sponsored legislation, Biden told reporters, "They think they know the Senate better than I do. They don't know the Senate better than I do...AIPAC does not speak for the State of Israel."

The outspoken Senator Biden, often compared to president John F. Kennedy, is wrong. Newly declassified documents reveal that before his death, JFK's most pressing concerns were registering the Israel lobby as foreign government agents and inspections of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.

Isaiah L. Kenen worked as the registered foreign agent of the Israeli Ministry of Affairs in New York until he established what would become AIPAC in 1951. In his words, Kenen left because "Israelis began looking for a lobbyist to promote the necessary legislation...would I leave the Israeli delegation for six months to lobby for aid on Capitol Hill?" More

8/22/2008  Radio France Internationale - Analysis US Troop Withdrawal from Iraq
McCain-Obama Middle East Policy Converges

RFI: The White House has just revealed details about an accord to withdraw US troops from Iraq by the year 2011.
This information was released by an Iraqi negotiator who revealed the two countries had advanced negotiations including a clause that withdrawal would be accelerated, This is conditioned upon the posture of the next president of the United States, which will be determined at the voting box this fall. Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy based in Washington DC with this analysis:

Grant Smith: Iraq's Maliki has always expressed a desire to define a US troop withdrawal. From the standpoint of Republicans, news of a definitive US troop withdrawal is good news for their efforts to retake the White House in fall. According to recent polls, a majority of American voters want the troops out. What needs to be examined with care are residual forces, and US military capabilities and how they might continue to be situated in "super bases" that are scattered throughout Iraq. On the Democratic side, Obama's main policy until now has been withdrawing from Iraq to resituate US forces in Afghanistan. Both candidates campaign within the so-called "War on Terror" issue framework. If the troop withdrawal is real, this means Obama's and McCain's major Middle East policy strategies, if not tactics, are now essentially identical.

The question as to whether withdrawal is simply a campaign-driven public relations effort or a bilateral agreement that will be enforced and verified is open.  We believe this is simply campaign driven rhetoric. [Editor's Note: in past news media appearances, IRmep has predicted that US troops will be stationed in Iraq for the next three decades] Update Draft US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement [PDF]

8/20/2008 Reuters via PR Newswire
Declassified Old Documents Shed New Light on AIPAC Espionage Prosecution

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 -- More than one thousand documents released under Freedom of Information Act filings reveal details of a secret battle that raged between founders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and top US law enforcement officials. The new book "America's Defense Line: The Justice Department's Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government" reproduces and analyzes these files and their troubling implications for rule of law in the United States. "America's Defense Line" also reveals stunning details of a preferential deal engineered within the highest levels of the US Department of Justice over the course of three years and implemented in 1965 -- but kept secret from the American public until today. Old documents and new analysis from the Center for Policy and Law Enforcement raise many questions about the upcoming October 2008 AIPAC espionage trial.  More

8/20/2008 AntiWar.com
Why Bush Will Pardon AIPAC for Espionage

In 2005, Col. Lawrence Franklin was indicted alongside two executives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for allegedly violating the 1917 Espionage Act. Franklin later pled guilty to passing AIPAC a classified presidential directive and other secrets concerning America's Iran policy. AIPAC then allegedly forwarded the highly sensitive information to Israeli government officials and selected members of Washington's media establishment. This covert leaking appears to be just one of many AIPAC programs designed to encourage tougher U.S. policies toward Iran, from financial boycotts to naval blockades and possibly even military strikes.

It hasn't worked out very well for Franklin. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Curiously, Franklin remains free pending the outcome of the repeatedly postponed criminal trial against AIPAC's Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. On Oct. 28, 2008, the prosecution is scheduled to appeal the ruling judge's order that it prove the alleged leaks harmed the United States. This is a far tougher standard of proof than the Espionage Act actually requires. Nevertheless, observers and critics hope the trial will provide insight into Middle East policy formulation, but there is diminished reason for this hope. A passel of musty documents from an earlier, long-secret Department of Justice attempt to hold the Israel lobby accountable was declassified on June 10, 2008. The files reveal that stalling tactics, and most critically, regime change in Washington, provide ample opportunity for the Israel lobby to subvert due process.  More

8/11/2008 IRmep Opportunity Cost Analysis
The US-Israel Free Trade Agreement: Due for Cancellation?

Signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was our very first FTA.  Nearly a quarter century of trade flowing under the agreement reveals a number of negative, yet entirely predictable outcomes.

Adjusted for inflation the agreement has delivered a $62.65 billion dollar cumulative American trade deficit with Israel.  Trade, roughly at parity before the agreement was penned, shifted in favor of Israeli exports to the US by the early 1990s.  This imbalance accelerated after the post 9/11 economic downturn. It is likely to be permanent.  Net losses follow unfavorable terms embedded in the treaty at the insistence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the lead organization of Israel's lobby in the United States. 

The selection of Israel for the first agreement made little sense outside of AIPAC, important trading partners such as Canada, Mexico and even Colombia had much more to offer the US in terms of comparative advantage. However, AIPAC successfully pushed Israel to the front of the line.   It also worked to ban US agricultural exports, a key component of subsequent FTAs, from the agreement.  US manufacturing industries suffered similar strictures.  More

7/16/2008  Radio France Internationale - Analysis US-Iran Nuclear Negotiations
Exhausting other Options, Bush Administration turns to Diplomacy

RFI: The United Status surprised many around the world when it announced that a high level official of the US State Department will for the first time attend international negotiations with Iran this coming weekend.

The Under Secretary of State William Burns will attend, along with top European Union diplomat Javier Solana, a planned meeting with the principal Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili Saturday in Geneva.

The objective of these contacts, other participants include France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and China, is that Iran abandon its nuclear program which the West charges is for making atomic weapons.

Until now Washington rejected directly attending talks while Iran engaged in uranium enrichment. The participation of Burns represents a change. A change which has diverse explanations, according to Grant Smith, Director of the IRmep, a center of independent analysis headquartered in Washington.

RFI: How large and significant is this change. Does it represent a change in policy or a change in White House strategy?

Grant Smith: It is a forced change. We've seen Iran become very explicit about responding to threats: they will not accept a limited attack or an air raid, without burning down the entire region. They are now militarily committed to suspending all traffic in the Gulf. So it is now very clear that there is no way to incrementally raise the pressure on Iran with limited military strikes.

So Bush has two real options. Authorize a massive military attack comprised of forces much larger than he committed to Iraq, or return to the negotiating table. At this moment, they are opening maneuvering room, again for the first time, for the diplomatic option. It is because they have no other options. If they don't want to see petroleum reach a thousand dollars per barrel and see refining and transport infrastructure in the Gulf destroyed then they basically must sit down and talk.   More

Audio File (MP3) foreign language broadcast
7/14/2008 Common Dreams
Is There an Oil Shortage? Ismael Hossein-zadeh, Drake University

The popular perception of the recently skyrocketing oil price is that there is an oil shortage in global energy markets. The perceived shortage is generally blamed on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC) for "insufficient" production, or on countries like China and India for their increased demand for energy, or on both.

This perception is reinforced, indeed, largely shaped, by the Bush administration and its neoconservative handlers who are eager to deflect attention away from war and geopolitical turbulence as driving forces behind the skyrocketing energy prices. more

06/25/2008  Argus Leader - Senator James Abourezk
Talking to Terrorists: at Home and Abroad

"I should add that I would resent anyone, George W. Bush or Shelly Rubin, telling me whom I can talk to and whom I can't talk to. I hope that we haven't reached that stage yet in our democracy.

There is, however, one small problem with one of Harriman's sources, Shelly Rubin, who is now head of the Jewish Defense League. Rubin is the widow of Irv Rubin, one of the founders of the JDL, which has been described by the FBI as a "violent extremist Jewish organization." One needs only to Google the Jewish Defense League for a list of the crimes it has committed within the United States, including being suspected by the FBI in the murder of one of my staff members - Alex Odeh - in Orange County, California. Her husband, Irv Rubin, was in jail when he died, charged with plotting to blow up a mosque in California, as well as an office of Congressman Darrell Issa. Asking Rubin about me would be very much like asking the Mafia if the FBI is being too tough on them."
more

06/23/2008  Data File
War Induced Inflation Hitting Americans Hard at the Gas Pump
Massive government spending on the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is fueling inflation that many Americans are encountering at the gas pump.  But the new energy crisis is affecting Americans much more harshly than European consumers. 

Bush administration fiscal and monetary policies have caused the value of the US dollar to plunge. This has driven international petroleum producers to seek options for trading their crude in more stable currencies, driving down demand for artificial dollar reserves. Skittish international investors are seeking safer and more responsible financial havens for investment.   Although generally underreported in the United States, the plunging value the dollar means Americans are suffering disproportionately from war induced inflation.  Over the past five years they've faced average yearly petroleum cost increases of 29% even as Congress passed subsidies spurring demand for the domestic manufacture of highly fuel inefficient vehicles.  Europeans experienced a more manageable 19% average annual petroleum price increase and more options created by heavy EU investment in non-automotive centric transportation infrastructure.

Arab American News06/06/2008  Arab American News
AIPAC report reveals long history of activities harmful to U.S.
Washington, DC.  Members of the press, bloggers and law enforcement officials could request a free copy of a special 200 page report on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during the annual AIPAC Policy Conference held this week in Washington, DC. more
06/02/2008  Think Tank Watch - Fifty Years of Disinformation
AIPAC's Near East Report and the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program Coverup
Former President Jimmy Carter confirmed that when he was president intelligence briefers advised him Israel possessed 150 nuclear weapons.  Back when the United States was fighting for the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty AIPAC founder Isaiah Kenen and his associates worked hard to steer NPT attentions away from Israel.  In his November 2, 1961 Near East Report, Kenen parroted the Israeli government's line that the Dimona nuclear reactor was being built for peaceful purposes.  Kenen utilized a tactic many US public relations professionals used when examining pretexts for the US invasion of Iraq, a well-place "expert" source:

"No bombs Possible.  Meanwhile, many asked whether the Israel reactor could really produce sufficient plutonium, a nuclear weapon component, to construct a bomb.   Science editor William L Laurence of the New York Times deflated these reports, on Dec. 25, when he wrote that 'the plutonium produced in a small nuclear reactor of 24,000 thermal kilowatts is very minute indeed...and 'completely useless for bomb material.'  The basic facts, if fully understood, would make it clear why only great industrial nations, particularly the United States and Soviet Russia, can be full-fledged members of the 'atomic club.'"

Disclosures by Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu revealed that the reactor would ultimately be cooled and configured to operate at 120-150 megawatts, capable of producing enough enriched materials for up to 12 nuclear bombs per year. In March of 1968, the Mossad surreptitiously acquired 24 tons of uranium ore from West Germany, ostensibly bound for an Italian company, but illicitly diverted by sea to Israel. By 1969, Israel had quietly emerged as a full blown nuclear power. By 1979 the Israelis even tested a low yield nuclear artillery shell, which was detected by an American spy satellite despite the cloudy conditions. Not until 2008 would a former US president confirm for the first time that Israel had developed an arsenal of 150 nuclear weapons.  Isaiah Kenen and the Israel lobby prevailed with a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. US and Israeli officials would neither confirm nor deny the existence of Israeli nukes.  Kenen received over $38,000 from Israel to publish the Near East Report during this critical period.  Jimmy Carter broke with self-censorship last month.  Americans must now ask what other damaging policies have been institutionalized at great cost to American interests.

5/23/2008  Think Tank Watch - Ignoring the Demand Side of Fuel Prices
2006 Flashback: Heritage, Brookings and AEI Blunders on Iraq and Petroleum Prices

The AEI, Heritage, Brookings Policy PumpIn a January 2006 report on the future of petroleum, IRmep made several predictions based on supply, and more importantly, demand side factors driving higher prices.  Now a university economics case study, the report predicted that:

  1. Congressionally mandated tax subsidies spurring artificial SUV and pickup truck sales to end users who did not need their capacity attributes would dramatically shift the gasoline demand curve;

  2. The US Energy Information Administration "underestimated future petroleum prices" and should be ignored.  The EIA's rosy scenario of petroleum prices rising gradually to $65 by 2030 was driving dangerously unrealistic vehicle manufacturing in the US;

  3. Top tier think tank policy preoccupation with national oil entities, blinkered supply perspectives, and terrorism continue to be as valueless to average Americans as their public relations campaign and policies for war in Iraq launched between 1996 and 2002.

Full 2006 Report
5/21/2008  Think Tank Watch
Saban Superdelegate Scheme Jeopardizes AIPAC National Security Council Appointees
Saban AIPAC appointee candidatesThe exposure of Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban's efforts to secure superdelegate support for Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton could spell disaster for AIPAC political appointees.  Martin Indyk, Dennis Ross, and Kenneth Pollack who lead AIPAC policy front organizations would very likely receive National Security Council and US State Department positions if Clinton becomes president.  The public exposure of Saban's scheme to secure support of two superdelegates in exchange for a US $1 million contribution to the tax exempt nonprofit 527 group Young Democrats of America may have broken various lawsHaim Saban was a key financial donor to Bill Clinton's campaign for the presidency, AIPAC's numerous campus outreach programs, as well as the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.  Saban's desperate quid-pro-quo reveals how critical securing influential positions for its groomed and vetted operatives in an incoming Clinton administration is to AIPAC.  Given their past performance in government, this team would likely stall and undermine Middle East peace initiatives, turn a blind eye to illegal Israeli West Bank colonization, and possibly launch a military campaign against Iran.
5/9/2008  Radio France Internationale - Analysis US-Israel Corruption Scandal
Olmert Scandal May Prevent Necessary Territorial Concessions During Bush Visit
RFI:  The Justice Ministry of Israel confirmed that prime minister Olmert is under criminal investigation for receiving suspected bribes paid by an American businessman before he assumed power. The money was allegedly revived in through an illegal transfer.  Olmert has announced that he would resign if found guilty of corruption, but nevertheless denied violating the law. The White House indicated that legal matters affecting Israel were an internal Israeli matter that will not affect George Bush's visit to the Middle East next week.

Nevertheless various analysts believe that the judicial inquiry could weaken Olmert even more the middle east peace plan pushed by Bush.

Grant Smith, is director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington.

Grant Smith:  When both sides are weakened, in the case of Fatah and different Palestinian parties in conflict, and the same in the Knesset and the parliamentary system they can always lose the prime minister in a vote of no confidence. When there is a sufficient level of disturbance, they can't really pursue any peace initiatives or painful concessions that require more unity.

Israel has a history of sudden high level scandals that surface when territorial concessions are on the table. In the case of Ariel Sharon, when plans for Israel's military withdrawal from Gaza were being placed on the table, corruption charges began surfacing against his family.
Audio File (MP3) foreign language broadcast
5/5/2008 Secretary of State Rice Speech at the AJC
Important First Test in Applying the "Rice Doctrine"
During a speech to a meeting of the American Jewish Committee on April 29, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced an important new doctrine for classifying and prosecuting terrorists:

"When Israel was besieged by terror in 2001 and 2002, it was the United States that insisted that Israel had the right to defend itself. When people used to say, and we now forget that they did, "Well, you see, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter," it was the United States that said: No, that is wrong. No, the intentional murder of innocent people is wrong, and you cannot hug Hezbollah and Hamas and say that you are fighting al-Qaida."

Until Rice's clarification, the US has not been consistent in defining that terrorists also operate within the sphere of allies or groups the US generally does not prosecuteThe new "Rice Doctrine" is a welcome advance but faces an early test - the long delayed extradition of three terrorists who attacked US State Department facilities in Eqypt.

A key State Department role in the world is public diplomacy.  In 1953 the United States Information Agency was established to expand the cultural and educational exchange of the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  In the summer of 1954, Israel conducted a covert false-flag operation in Egypt code named "Operation Susannah." Israeli agents trained by the IDF launched terrorist bombing attacks against U.S. -, British-, and Egyptian-owned targets in Egypt.  US Information Service libraries in Alexandria and Cairo were targeted.

The event was covered up by the Israeli government for decades, but the new Rice doctrine clearly applies.  The US must now seek the extradition of Marcelle Ninio, Robert Dassa and Meir Zafran for prosecution as terrorists.  In 2005 Israel gave them military ranks in recognition of their "service to the state". However, as the last surviving members of the Operation Susannah terror attacks, their prosecution in the US will be an important first test of the Rice doctrine. 

See also William James Martin's "Condoleezza Rice:The Secretary who came in from the Cold War"

2008 University of MD-Zogby International Poll
Case Closed:  Policy Drives Negative Views of United States in the Arab World

Israel, rather than Iran or Al Qaeda, is perceived as the looming threat to the Arab world according to a recently released opinion poll conducted in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  Despite long term neoconservative rhetoric emanating from the Bush administration that the region "hates the US for its values" statistically significant findings of this 2008 poll suggest that policy is driving growing distrust and opposition to both the US and Israel in the region.  What confusion does exist in the Arab world is whether hidden objectives truly driving regional policies originate in Washington or Tel Aviv.

Survey PowerPoint Presentation (PDF)
4/10/2008 Radio France Internationale - Analysis
Transferring the Iraq Debacle to the Next President

RFI:  The president of the United Status, George W. Bush, suspended the withdrawal of troops from Iraq that was scheduled for this summer. He was supporting the chief of command in Iraq General David Petraeus who recommended the suspension due to incremental violence in the past weeks.

According to Grant Smith, director of Research at IRmep, no one should expect significant changes to the policy of the United States in Iraq in the next eight months before Bush leaves office.

Grant Smith:  Since the beginning there have been no admissions of errors, and no admissions of the need for strategic reconsiderations. Every single US military leader who has presented opposition or disagreement has been fired.  Bush is sending a very clear signal to the world and to US citizens that he's decided to let the next administration deal with the US military occupation of Iraq. 

Audio File (MP3) foreign language broadcast
3/19/2008 Radio France Internationale - Analysis
Five Years Later: Costs of Iraq Hit Home in the US

RFI: President George Bush defends the military invasion of Iraq and affirms that the war for liberty will be won...

Segment of George Bush: ...War critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing the war in Iraq.... 

RFI Translation: Bush...So now they are saying that the war is costing too much...we have heard exaggerations about the costs of this war.  No one will dispute that this war has had a high cost in lives and treasure.  But these costs are necessary when we consider the costs of  a strategic victory of our enemies in Iraq....

RFI: Bush affirms that the invasion in 2003 was a sound decision, and that it is a battle America can and should win.   The president's legacy now rests on the outcome of the war on Iraq which started five years ago tomorrow.  This speech may be one of the last George Bush makes about Iraq as president.   Let's turn to comments about the president's speech to Grant Smith of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, DC.

Grant Smith: He is desperately trying to avoid any discussion or measurements made based upon his pretexts for the US invasion of Iraq.   He also wants to solidify a larger base of support around the concept that the war on Saddam Hussein in 2003 was the correct decision.  This is now contrasted against the position of Democratic Party  candidates, in particular Barack Obama, who is saying that it was a mistake to invade, and that mistake is affecting the US economy in a very negative way, underneath the broader sentiment that all of the stated reasons for invading were never legitimate. 

It [Bush's speech] was predictable.  It was basically the same old justification roped to the tired and simplistic rhetoric that there is some sort of massive global "war on terror" in the world and that Iraq formed some kind of front.  In terms of public opinion in the US, there's not only much credulity in this, but few even pay much attention any more to this type of speech.  Voters are turning toward fall elections in which, for the first time ever, they'll have a true referendum on the entire Iraq war, its costs and its consequences.

Audio File (MP3) foreign language broadcast
Republic Broadcasting Network  3/1/2008 Talk Radio - Republic Broadcasting Network
The Lobby, Elliot Abrams and Israel's Nuclear Weapons
Elliot AbramsDr. Kevin Barrett: ...regardless of what Elliot Abrams (Deputy National Security Advisor) might think, I think it's frightening.
Grant Smith: Well, it is frightening...when you look at someone like Elliot Abrams, and this deadly alliance that he is embracing, again, he wrote a book called "Faith or Fear" before going into the Bush Administration, and this is the key guy, the guy who is negotiating Middle East "peace", but this is a man who writes about missing anti-Semitism as a cohesive force for his movement, he talks about how, absent military calamity, there's no cement anymore for holding Israel together, he lays all of this out in his book Faith or Fear. In other words, this is a guy who at the core of his policy approves of conflict and embraces all of this hateful ideology as a pillar of his own power base...when you have someone who is thinking in this way at the pinnacle of power in the US, and this man is, more than anyone, part of the Israel lobby family, part of the AIPAC family, the epitome of AIPAC. It just shows you how twisted and corrupt US policymaking has become.
Dr. Kevin Barrett: ..{nuclear weapons are] an outrageous double standard it seems to me. Grant, you didn't really discuss very much about this ridiculous double standard regarding the weapons of mass destruction in your books, what is your opinion on that?
Grant Smith: I think Seymour Hersh wrote the last (best) book on the subject when he discussed it, I think his book came out in 1982...he not only talks about it from the fact that Israel had to do a lot of undercover things to get the nuclear weapons that it had, but he mentions that, just like having a stealth lobby in the United States, having nuclear weapons gives it veto power, and it gives [Israel] the ability to say to the United States constantly, "look, we really don't want to have to unleash these weapons, but I tell you, Iraq's giving us a lot of problems, Egypt is giving us a lot of problems...." So, basically, having nuclear weapons gives Israel more leverage over the United States, though ostensibly we're not the target...
Dr. Kevin Barrett: Well hopefully not. During the Cold War apparently the Russians smuggled some suitcase nukes into some cities...
Grant Smith: ..in the (book) "The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy"...you can talk about suitcase bombs and other tactical positioning of nuclear weapons. But the fact that there really is this hammer over the United State's head, which is that if we don't use our own resources, military might, financial and political influence, to follow policy mandates from Israel, they can always say "hey, we might be forced to actually use these..."
That's probably one of the most important developments on a regional level since the whole concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) back in the Cold War: the fact that a smaller country has effective veto power over the military actions of a larger country, and can even motivate it, to some extent by possessing nuclear weapons and the threat that it might use them against conventional foes.
Audio File (MP3)
2/24/2008 Talk Radio - The Todd Feinburg Show
AIPAC vs the Foreign Agents Registration Act
Radio host Todd Feinburg, named three times to Talkers Magazine's list of the Top 100 Most Important Talk Hosts in America, interviews Grant Smith about the book "Foreign Agents".

Todd Feinburg: The Todd Feinburg Show, Grant Smith is here.  He's the director of Research at IRmep, located in Washington DC.  His book is Foreign Agents, going after the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for violating, Grant believes, and his organization believes, the laws that control this sort of lobbying by foreign influenced entities.  And it sounds like you're really, it's another alarm Grant, in the long series of complaints that the US government has fallen prey to special interests without being balanced out by what the best interest of the US is, i.e. the following our laws and doing things the way they are supposed to be done here.  Is that a fair assessment?
Grant Smith: Yeah, I think it is.  And it falls into a very important area of policy obviously because we are talking about matters of life and death.  To have an organization of this size and influence be so intransparent is problematic.
Todd Feinburg:  How is it intransparent...how is it opaque?  Doesn't it have to report?  Like any other organization would....?
Grant Smith: Very minimal reporting for some of the financial aspects of how many donations, what were the overall expenditures, salaries of the directors, but those are not important.  What would be interesting would be the specific activities lobbying for the Iraq war.  What are specific activities across the United States generating support for military strikes on Iran.  Those are items of extreme importance that if it were registered under FARA it would have to disclose... 

Audio File (MP3)
  1/30/2008
Espionage in the 21st Century
Steven Aftergood Grant Smith
Espionage remains "a very real threat to U.S. national security," a House Judiciary Committee panel was told this week.

"Since the end of the Cold War, there have been 78 individuals arrested for espionage or espionage-related crimes and since the 21st century began, there have been 37 individuals arrested in the US as agents of foreign powers," according to David G. Major, a former senior FBI official who is now President of the private Counterintelligence Centre.

In his January 29 testimony (pdf), Mr. Major presented a convenient tabulation of "Agents of Foreign Powers Arrested in the United States in the 21st Century."

But his list erroneously includes Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who are charged with unauthorized receipt and disclosure of classified information.

They are not accused of espionage, nor does the U.S. Government argue that they are agents of a foreign power.
To the contrary, prosecutors acknowledged in a January 30, 2006 court filing (pdf) that it is a "fact that the defendants were not agents of Israel, or any foreign nation."
smithg.jpg (3545 bytes)David G. Major got it right. The alleged activities of Rosen and Weissman as stated in the superseding indictment, court docket filings and credible press accounts are clearly "espionage-related crimes".

1. Documents were allegedly passed to Israeli officials, who initially fled the country.

2. The alleged targeted effort was to affect US policy toward Iran, to Israel's benefit.

The FAS needs to stop treating this as some sort of "freedom of speech" issue, and begin to accept the very inconvenient and painful truths surrounding the case.

The open minded can review the book "Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal".

1/18/2008 IRmep Opportunity Cost Analysis
Is the "Project for a New American Century" Killing off the US Economy?

The plunging US economy and drastic efforts by the Bush administration to stimulate consumption through a $145 billion package raise an important question, "how did we get into such dire economic straits?"

In the year 2000 neoconservative ideologues called for a major overhaul of US military strategy in their policy paper "Rebuilding America's Defenses".  This followed their 1998 call for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq on "weapons of mass destruction" pretexts.  The overall economic implications have been disastrous.  Core goals for the incoming Bush administration mandated by PNAC advisors included securing forward military bases in the Middle East and increasing military spending from 3% to 4% of GDP (absent some catalyzing "Pearl Harbor" type event). 

9/11 and the subsequent "Global War on Terror" have provided their pretext for a radical increase in US military spending to finance US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and hostile posturing toward Iran.  This resource misallocation has reverberated throughout the entire economy, cutting off investment in growth industries and overall middle class American wealth creation.  While it is highly debatable whether the administration's ground wars in the Middle East have increased American security, the long term economic impact of run-away military spending no longer carries any mystery:

  • Military spending (cited from the OMB financial statements) will consume 6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2008, double the level of the 1990's.

  • Military spending will have grown on average 13.36% per year (2001-2008) while the US economy has only grown 2.24% per year.

  • Tax revenues collected from individuals increased 6% per year over the last five years, while tax revenues from businesses have grown 23% per year to pay for increased military spending; this still has not been enough to close the yawning budget deficit.

  • Military spending will contribute to a US budget deficit of $10 trillion by 2010 (if not sooner) double the 1997 deficit. 

  • Mismanagement and malfeasance (including corrupted mortgage markets) and military industrial resource misallocation has hobbled the US economy to a forecast rate of only 1.2% GDP growth in 2008, a quarter the growth level of the year 1999.

This is the end result of the "Global War on Terror" and policies of the "New American Century".  Louder and even more vacuous calls to "support the troops" and other red herring can no longer hide the massive damage wrought upon American households and businesses.

1/12/2008 The Israel Lobby and Congress
The Price of Willful Ignorance
Artur Davis and Eric Cantor Grant Smith
"John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt are at it again, attempting to poison the well of American politics with their misleading depiction of an Israeli stranglehold on presidential candidates and elected officials like us....It is uncertain if Mearsheimer and Walt understand that their attack on the 'Israel lobby' sounds an ugly tone. One wonders if their outrage over what they patronizingly call the 'lobby' extends to American corporations, or unions, or to the evangelical community, or the black community, all of whom vigorously engage the political process in pursuit of their values. If their disdain is as selective as we suspect, what a shameful aspersion on a faith and a nation. " smithg.jpg (3545 bytes)"Congress used to house leaders of sufficient stature to question and investigate foreign lobbying.  Senator Fulbright investigated the Israel lobby in 1963 discovering $5 million dollars laundered in from the Jewish Agency in Israel to fund startup lobbying, public relations, and think tanks to target Americans advocating policies perceived to be 'against Israeli interests'.  This seed has grown into a juggernaut that few now dare cross. US corporations, unions, and religious organizations have a right to lobby, however the Foreign Agents Registration Act requires all foreign lobbyists to register.  The Israel lobby refuses. Eric Cantor has taken $112,230 in Israel PAC donations over his career; Arthur Davis has taken $80,067.  Congress is very well paid not to understand this problem.  However average Americans are beginning to perceive the foreign agency that Fulbright uncovered forty years ago."
1/10/2008 Economic Espionage and Trade
What is the True Cost of US-Israel Trade?
Mitchell Bard Grant Smith
"The [US-Israel] relationship extends beyond the federal government to the state and local level. A milestone in these contacts occurred with the 1984 creation of the Texas-Israel Exchange, promoting projects in agriculture. Since then, at least 23 other states have signed agreements with Israel to increase cooperation in trade, tourism, research, culture and other activities of interest to individual states. The financial benefits to the states from bilateral agreements can also be substantial, considering that 17 states exported at least $100 million worth of goods to Israel in 2006, and three exported more than $500 million, with New York leading the way with $4.6. billion." smithg.jpg (3545 bytes)"Trade is a great example of the 'benefits' of Israel to the US. But Texas exports prove nothing. In the late 80's, US-Israel trade was roughly in balance. In 1984 the US and Israel signed a "free trade agreement" and between 1989 and 2006 the US cumulative trade deficit ballooned to almost a $50 billion deficit with Israel. The FBI investigated AIPAC in 1984 because it had acquired confidential International Trade Organization documents on the US negotiating position. Presumably, AIPAC then used that information against the United States.  This unfavorable trade deal is symbolic of the huge cost of this relationship to the US and how the lobby does business."
1/8/2008 Radio France Internationale - Interview
Bush Visit to Palestine Tragically Late

RFI: President George Bush will begin a series of meetings in the Middle East. We are joined by Grant Smith of the IRmep in Washington:

Grant Smith: The objective is to underscore some reinitiating of a peace process, and that there are expectations of the Palestinians and Israelis.  President Bush signaled, almost for the first time, to the Israelis that their illegal colonies are not acceptable and he started to generate real pressure that we've not seen for most of his years as president.

Equally, the scheduled visit to Palestinian territories gives added legitimacy to the idea that in some fashion it must become part of a viable state for Palestinians, a positive move.

Audio File (MP3)
1/7/2008 Foreign Agents crime linked to Marc Grossman
Israeli-Turkish-Pakistani-US Nuclear Secrets Smuggling Ring?

An FBI translator under gag order, Sibel Edmonds, has charged that former Ambassador Marc Grossman participated in a money laundering and international nuclear arms secrets smuggling ring, according to the London Times.  Grossman was the former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, assistant secretary of state for European affairs during the Clinton administration and undersecretary of state for political affairs between 2001-2005. Grossman is now vice chairman of The Cohen Group, a Washington DC based consulting firm founded by former Clinton secretary of defense, William S. Cohen.

Sibel Edmonds has been placed under an unprecedented gag order by a federal judge, ostensibly to protect US "state secrets".  Congress has refused to allow Edmonds to testify in public, and mainstream US broadcast news outlets have not yet taken her up on her offer to divulge details on yet another ring of alleged rogue foreign agents committing crimes on US soil and abroad.

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