AIPAC Celebrates 47th Birthday in
its corporate history is that it emerged "from a small pro-Israel public
affairs boutique in the 1950s." AIPAC's leader, Isaiah L. "Si" Kenen,
did indeed work a small lobbying shop within a larger "store" called the
American Zionist Council. In the 1960s the Justice Department and
found that the AZC was laundering millions of overseas contributions
from the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency in Jerusalem into the U.S.
political system. The AZC used this to fund think-tanks, lobbying
efforts for arms and aid, and a sophisticated
campaign to take over Madison Avenue, academia, civic groups, and
major public opinion-makers. The AZC ran afoul of the 1938 Foreign
Agents Registration Act, which requires any individual or group in
America acting on behalf of a foreign principal to publicly declare
relevant activities. In November 1962, the DOJ
ordered the AZC to begin registering as an Israeli foreign agent.
Exactly six weeks later, on Jan. 2, 1963, Isaiah Kenen, Isadore Breslau,
Joseph Ottenstein, and 30 others jumped the burning AZC ship and
incorporated the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [.pdf] in
Foreign Policy 12/18/2009
The Trade Deal You Haven't Heard About
Middle East Forum
a year or two at an early stage in his career, I commuted to and
from our adjacent offices each morning and evening with Martin
Indyk, later a top peace-process official of the Clinton
administration at the Camp David negotiations and now vice
president for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. I had
just left the Rand Corporation to work at AIPAC, the main
pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington.
Even in those pre-Oslo days of 1982 to 1983,Martin was a True
Believer in the idea of a grand land-for-peace bargain between
Israel and moderate Palestinians. Reviewing each day the latest
installments in the Middle East epic as we rolled down Rock
Creek Parkway, we argued all the way. I heaped scorn on any
solution that required Israel to trust Palestinian intentions,
and I held that Israel's security could only be based on a
qualitative military edge and the balance of power. I told
Martin that he and our mutual friends Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller,
and Dan Kurtzer, though with the noblest of intentions, were
pursuing an illusion.
to know more about those idyllic drives with Martin Indyk. At
that time Rosen and Indyk were both elbow deep in a little known
espionage/theft of government property
incident investigated by the FBI. AIPAC obtained classified
US gov't information about American industries negotiating
against a so called "free trade" agreement from Israeli minister
of economics Dan Halpern. Their ability to use it against the
industry of their fellow countrymen cost the
billion, 100,000 jobs a year and severely corrupted the
sanctity of advice and consent process of governance.
Until AIPAC, Rosen and Indyk (and Israel's other unregistered
foreign agents) are held accountable for such ongoing
transgressions against the American people, there won't be any
peace in the Middle
East. Just an ongoing theater of blood, despair and
corruption, with taxpayers footing the production costs.
Radio Interview - KZYX & Z, 90.7, 91.5, Mendocino County Public Radio
Iran, Israel, Subsidies, Sanctions
Today on KZYX radio
Jeffrey Blankfort discusses his groundbreaking analysis of a Pew
Research poll of Council on Foreign Relations members, which finds them
less supportive of current US-Israel relations than the general public.
Later in the program Blankfort and Grant Smith discuss findings from the
new IRmep book "Spy Trade: How Israel's Lobby Undermines America's
Economy" and the current AIPAC drive for economic sanctions and military
strikes on Iran.
in CounterPunch: "What
the US Elite Really Thinks About Israel"
Full Radio Interview
(MP3) (55 minutes)
The Israel Lobby Celebrates Espionage in New York
lobbying assistance for this minority soon arrived in the hands of
Israeli Minister of Economics Dan Halpern. According to a recently
FBI interview transcript (PDF, restored by the author) Halpern
mysteriously obtained a 300-page classified US Trade Representative
report prepared by the International Trade Commission and secretly
delivered it to AIPAC during a 1984 coordinating meeting. Halpern later
refused to divulge to the FBI how he obtained the secret report, stating
it "would be impossible within the professional ethics of his diplomatic
position" to identify the source. The report contained the most
sensitive trade secrets and market data of the American industries
fighting hardest against the trade deal. It is still considered so
sensitive by the US Trade Representative that it remains
to this day.
According to Dan Halpern's 1986 FBI interview, which occurred only
after he claimed diplomatic immunity from prosecution in coordination
with the US State Department, the possession of the report by the
Israeli government and AIPAC "caused no economic damage to any US
business or interest...the entire issue seems to have received more
attention than it deserved." A quarter century later, Halpern's analysis
(echoed by AIPAC staff interviewed by the FBI) doesn't hold up...More
Illegal Settlements in America
the most important nucleus of the Israeli government's power in America
lies far outside its Washington DC embassy, official consulates, or
properly registered FARA entities. The Conference of Presidents of Major
Jewish Organizations consists of only two key paid employees according
to its 2008
charitable tax return (PDF). Like the AZC under Ben-Gurion's
mandate, the Conference of Presidents has only one true role: corralling
American organizations into a
power base for the Israeli government. The Conference of President's
roster now includes such curiously named organizations as the American
Friends of Likud and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
alongside old AZC mainstays such as the ZOA and Hadassah. As mandated by
bylaws (PDF), all Conference of Presidents member organizations are
part of AIPAC's executive committee, forming a combined grassroots
lobbying might far more intimidating to the Justice Department than the
Yet in reality, Israeli government's newest lobbying venture is nothing
more than a rebranded AZC, the stealth foreign agency relationships
remain, some hidden, others not. One visible geographic linkage to the
Israeli government is the Conference of Presidents offices which are
located at the same 633 Third Avenue New York address as the World
Zionist Organization's American Section...More
November 25, 2009
The Israeli Settlement Freeze
BBC News - Arabic: Palestinians
have now rejected the idea of a partial Israeli
settlement freeze, will this come as a surprise to Washington?
Grant F. Smith, IRmep: Well, Washington
should have expected just such a refusal. If we look at what envoy
Mitchell has said, he's declared that this is the biggest step that any
government in Israel has taken in the past, this temporary, very
partial, settlement freeze. But of course, that's not correct. Back in
2005, Israel actually withdrew from settlements,stopped building
settlements, in Gaza. And so the Palestinian position of insisting on a
complete settlement freeze is much more in line with expectations from
News - Arabic: How will this question of
Israeli settlements and the effort to restart peace talks likely unfold
in the United States? Does it look like a Palestinian refusal?
Grant F. Smith, IRmep: Well, as
you know, the Israelis have a tremendous advantage. Back in 2005, the
World Zionist Organization was found by an Israeli prosecutor [and
reported} in the UN to be engaged in illegal settlement development.
Yet this same organization is in the same office as the chief Israel
lobby in New York. So they have a tremendous capacity for making small
gestures, and then when those gestures are refused, raising a lot of
press and political opposition [in the US] saying that the Palestinians
are being unreasonable. So that's to be expected.
BBC News - Arabic: Does Mitchell's acceptance
of a partial, temporary freeze lessen the Obama administration's demand
for a full unilateral settlement freeze?
Grant F. Smith, IRmep: I don't think
so. I mean Obama was very clear in asking--in the American interest--for a unilateral and complete settlement freeze. Netanyahu refused that
for many months. I think that the US [and] President Obama
are being remarkably sincere and clear in how
damaging this Israeli settlement activity is.
But Israel can count on the power of its vast lobby in the United States
to restrain any real pressure, such as shutting down aid, loans,
charitable contribution flows, etc. So Obama is fairly limited in what
he can do.
News - Arabic: Are the Palestinians damaging their cause?
Are they being intransigent?
Grant F. Smith, IRmep: I think
they are doing a remarkable job in getting their story out. In showing
the effect of the economic blockade, which is devastating the
Palestinian economy, of getting more journalists and alternative media
in to see what's actually happening. By just simply breaking the
deadlock on information flow, the Palestinians have done a remarkable
job in just the past couple of years.
Classified US Trade Docs from Israeli Embassy
A FBI file reveals the
Israeli embassy passed stolen classified US government information to
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In 1984 Israel and
AIPAC jointly lobbied Congress to secure preferential Israeli access to
the US market against widespread American industry opposition.
Under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) organizations
acting as agents of foreign principals in a political capacity in the US
must openly declare their relationships to the FARA registration unit of
the Counterespionage Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to IRmep research director Grant F. Smith, AIPAC FARA activity
disclosures are long overdue. "Based on our research, AIPAC is simply
the rebranded American Zionist Council. Today all American voters and
industry groups should have access to nearly a hundred FARA activity
reports detailing AIPAC's other secret activities on behalf of Israel.
Americans are legally entitled to this information under FARA."
11/10/2009 Radio France Internationale
- Theme of the Day
Illegal Settlements and the Obama/Netanyahu Meeting
The situation in the Middle East has always been
complex, what are the mechanisms now available to president Barak Obama
to try to convince prime minister Netanyahu to accept the proposal he is
making to relaunch a new peace process in the Middle East?
Obama is trying to break with the past and have
everything out in the open. Before, in
the Bush administration, the Clinton administration, the administrations
of Reagan and Carter, there were always secret accords between the
United States and Israel. Obama was very explicit the last time he
spoke to the US leaders of the Israel lobby like AIPAC when he said
basically "look, these secrets and private accords didn't produce any
progress toward peace during the Bush administration, so, from now on,
we're going to have more openness in the relationship, and if there are
conflicts, these will have to be aired, not hidden."
(MP3) (Foreign Language)
Declassified FBI File Alleges an Israeli Intelligence Agent Worked at
An agent of the Israeli
intelligence service worked on the staff of the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC) according to a newly declassified FBI file.
An August 13, 1984 secret
communication from the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) to the FBI
director states, "WFO files disclose that AIPAC is a powerful
pro-Israel lobbying group staffed by U.S. citizens. WFO files contain an
unsubstantiated allegation that a member of the Israeli Intelligence
Service was a staff member of AIPAC." The newly declassified document
may be downloaded from the
Israel Lobby Archive.
The secret FBI file was
declassified and released to the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern
Policy (IRmep) under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. IRmep
sought the FBI files to file a third amicus brief urging Judge T.S.
Ellis not to dismiss charges against two AIPAC staffers under the 1917
Espionage Act. The DOJ dropped espionage charges against former AIPAC
staffers Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman on May 1, 2009.
Why Does AIPAC Spy on Americans?
According to the Jewish
Telegraphic Agency, Steven J. Rosen will be allowed to move ahead with
his civil defamation lawsuit against the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC). Rosen and fellow AIPAC employee Keith Weissman were
indicted under the 1917 Espionage Act in 2005 along with Department of
Defense Employee Col. Lawrence Franklin for passing classified national
defense information. Franklin pled guilty, but Rosen and Weissman's case
never went to trial. US attorneys gave up (PDF) after the presiding
judge made a successful prosecution unlikely.
Rosen's 2009 civil lawsuit contends that AIPAC defamed him when its
spokesperson claimed that he "did not comport with standards that AIPAC
expects of its employees." Rosen's many filings in court reveal that his
fundamental case is that AIPAC commonly circulates and distributes
classified US government information when it suits the organization's
purpose in lobbying for Israel. AIPAC defamed him, he alleges, by
claiming he was somehow unique.
Selective Money Laundering Enforcement at Treasury
Treasury Department's assistant secretary David Cohen
addressed the American Bankers Association on Monday. Cohen implored
the assembled executives to understand that money laundering sometimes
involves "good money being put to bad use," a standard the G7 Financial
Action Task Force adopted way back in 1989. Cohen outlined Treasury's
efforts to "detect, deter and deny" money launderers access to the
financial system by naming and shaming "facilitators" from the Gulf
petroleum producers to Mexico. He also warned that there would be "reputational
and legal consequences" for banks that didn't pull at the yoke of
expanded Treasury powers assumed under
Executive order 13224 (PDF).
Audience members were
visibly uneasy during camera pans. There was little interest in
questioning the Treasury's new employee. Perhaps with good reason. James
G. Carr, the chief federal judge in northern Ohio, recently ruled that
was acting unconstitutionally when it froze a US charity under
suspicion of terrorist ties. US courts are only beginning to weigh in on
the vast new powers assumed by Treasury. Until now there has been little
visibility into its overseas activities. Treasury maintains that the
Bank Secrecy Act, a money laundering law, empowers it to
deny FOIA requests.
If Cohen and his
AIPAC approved mentor Stuart Levey truly wish to test their ability
to fight the largest
unaddressed remaining terrorism motivator in the Middle East, they
could score a "slam dunk" without trampling on the Constitution or even
leaving US shores. Since 1977 US nonprofit charitable corporations and
individual donors have helped
launder $50-60 billion into illegal West Bank settlements, violating
criminal statutes and
Israeli laws. If Cohen wants to "name and shame" the kingpins
financing the construction that undermines the Obama administration's
policy, he can start with bingo entrepeneur
Irving Moskwitz and diamond magnate
US Exports to Arab World: Missiles replaced Merchandise
According to Robert Fisk
at The Independent, Arab states are quietly
ditching the US dollar in their energy trade. The gradual reduction
of dollar reserves could have a devastating effect on the value of the
dollar and ability of the US Treasury to finance the national debt.
price of gold is rocketing skyward the Israel lobby is no doubt quietly
celebrating. Over the past decade, a multi-tiered strategy aimed at
getting Americans to see the Middle East as a battlefield rather than a
marketplace has slowly unfurled with devastating results.
The subtle racism
inherent in such sloganeering as "reducing
our dependence on foreign oil" has an unwelcome counterpart--Arabs
reducing their demand for American consumer and industrial
goods. AIPAC sponsored legislation such as the
Act, the perennial Saudi
Accountability Act (urged and funded by such financial geniuses as
Hank Greenberg of AIG) as well as the Dubai Ports debacle and tag team
efforts by the US Treasury and New York DA have finally accomplished
their long term objective: an Israel
centric US Middle East trade policy that
alienates valuable partners and locks American exporters out of market
driven demand in exchange for captive taxpayer funded US military
corrupted US-Israel Free Trade Area--steadily reduced the US share of
the booming 22 country Arab League import market from 12.77% in 1997 to
a mere 8.55% in 2008. What should be a natural trading partner for
energy hungry America is instead a desert--though not for competitors.
Arab import demand quadrupled from $158 billion in 1997 to $608 billion
Why Illegal Settlement Money Laundering is still "Off the Table"
week District Attorney Robert Morgenthau
announced pursuit of a bank allegedly involved in Iranian assets
transfer. The ninety year old Manhattan District Attorney already
prosecuted Lloyds TSB over the transfer of $300
million in Iranian cash.
Morgenthau's tight coordination with a secretive new US Treasury unit
led by Stuart Levey follows a pattern of highly selective Israel lobby
tag team law enforcement that began back in the 1940s.
Rosen Accuses AIPAC of Espionage
Steven J. Rosen's defamation lawsuit against
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is now entering a
critical phase. A series of cross-filings stakes out the critical court
terrain. Rosen intends to show that obtaining and leveraging classified
U.S. government information in the service of Israel is common practice
at AIPAC. He claims it was unfair for AIPAC to fire and malign him in
the press after he was indicted on espionage charges in 2005. AIPAC's
defense team is committed to getting the case thrown out on
technicalities before it goes to trial early next year...
Americans, on the other hand, must
continue to wait for the day that the DOJ finally begins enforcing
sensible laws still on the books such as the Foreign Agents Registration
Act, the Logan Act, the Commercial Espionage Act, and others that create
foreign lobby accountability, improve policymaking, and preserve
American industrial innovation. The only current relief from AIPAC's
onslaught against America may be that family legal troubles could delay
its slow march to entangle the U.S. military in an ill-advised and
costly attack on Israel's archnemesis, Iran.
The Kennedys vs Israel's Lobby
accolades for the late Ted Kennedy and his support of Israel mask the
generally unknown conflicts fought by the senator's older brothers. It is
likely that lessons from the fiercest of all battles, fought behind the scenes
by President John F. Kennedy alongside his brother and Attorney General
Robert, guided the younger sibling's political choices. Details of the JFK-RFK
duo's effort to register the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC)
parent organization, the American Zionist Council (AZC) as an Israeli foreign
agent were shrouded in mystery until declassified in mid-2008.
The first congressional junket to Israel
junkets to Israel have become such fixtures in Washington, DC, that few
Americans now question their curious origins.
These periodic pilgrimages were once contentious and of such dubious
legality for AIPAC's founder he had to tread a cautious line between
Congress, the Executive, the State Department, and US Department of
Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) enforcement section.
FARA was passed in 1938 to protect Americans from undue influence over
Congress by foreign lobbies. It netted up assorted Communists with
Soviet connections and Nazis corresponding with the Reich in the 1940s.
They were prosecuted not for their activities, but rather their failure
to properly notify Americans of their true foreign government sponsors,
and required disclosures at a public FARA office visited often by
Why Would Arab Nations
Sign Trade Deals with Israel?
would induce Arab countries to normalize trade relations with
When the US negotiated the US Israel Free Trade Area in 1984,
when you were still at AIPAC, and
you'll remember that AIPAC got a hold of the classified USTR
report for that negotiation, you
negotiated a deal which reversed the
trading relationship from a US surplus to a $71
billion deficit to
the US, equivalent to about 100,000 jobs per year. It
locked out agricultural products from the US, Israel
has become a huge problem in terms of commercializing patented
clinical dossiers from pharmaceutical
companies, and counterfeit drugs, it's
used access to the US market to build a diamond export market
which funds illegal settlements.
If that's the way Israel treats
friends, why would Arab countries want to
subject themselves to opening up to all that?
that's a highly tendentious way of describing free trade
arrangements. I'll simply point out that several Arab
countries already have free trade agreements with the United
States, Jordan, Bahrain, Morrocco. The Egyptians would
love to have a free trade agreement with the United States, and
there are special agreements made in cooperation with the
Israelis, Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs) which the Egyptians
are certainly benefiting from, providing thousands of jobs as
the result of a freer trading relationship. And the fact
is that the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement served as a wedge
that opened up the Congress to Free Trade Agreements throughout
the world, including the NAFTA agreement.
No doubt there are some
downsides to it, but otherwise it's been a very positive thing.
Bingo! U.S. donors fund illegal Jewish Settlements
Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), a think tank
focused on the intersection between US policy towards the Middle East
and law enforcement, has documented the case that charities are engaged
in violating both US policy and international law. IRmep filed Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) petitions to obtain information on the
charities' activities with the US Internal Revenue Services (IRS), and
used the records, in addition to eyewitness accounts of what the funds
were being used for, to brief both the US Departments of Justice and the
Treasury. They also filed a formal complaint with a New York District
Attorney in 2008, who has not yet responded to the legal move, claiming
that the information provided is "under review."
The IRS records and subsequent investigations obtained by IRmep also
showed that money was being laundered to fund the occupation. For
example, former high-profile lobbyist and conman Jack Abramoff, who was
sentenced to four years in prison in 2008 on criminal felony charges,
laundered money into Capital Athletic Foundation, which funds an illegal
settlement called Beitar Illit, as well as weapons and sniper rifles for
Later, IRmep filed
Freedom of Information Act requests with both the Treasury Department
and the IRS to find out if the agencies were cracking down on the
charities. The Treasury Department rejected the request under the Bank
Secrecy Act; the IRS cited privacy laws and refused to comment further.
"It is the elephant in the room in all discussions--the raw power of
groups funding [the occupation] versus formal US policies,"
director of IRmep told MENASSAT.
So why isn't the Obama administration doing more to reign in these
Pharmaceuticals and Israeli Trade Agreement
to a petition filed by the Institute for Research:
Middle Eastern Policy [IRmep] to the US Trade Representative, Israel has
violated important provisions of the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement for
years. The bilateral trade agreement signed in
1985 gave Israel privileged market access to the United States. The
[IRmep] petition cites a number of trade violations focused on
intellectual property theft over a period of twenty years.
Grant Smith: The ability of Israel to benefit from access to the
US market without tariffs has been immense. It's created a gem diamond
industry for them, it's created a massive
military industrial export capacity for them, it's creating a massive
PressTV: During US Israel FTA negotiations in 1984 the Israeli
government, along with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
obtained a classified 300 page document containing trade secrets,
market share, product logistics and other industrial intellectual
property submitted by seventy-six US companies opposed to the treaty
with Israel. Only seventeen lobbied for it.
Years later patented American innovations continue to privately flow to
Israeli manufacturers, namely Israeli generic pharmaceutical makers who
then sell billions of dollars of drugs into the American market.
Grant Smith: As you can imagine, patent medicines are extremely
costly to develop, and those are trade secrets. US companies,
pharmaceutical companies are upset by the weak "data exclusivity"
provisions offered by the [Israeli] Ministry of Health, because they see
their data is not exclusive, it is being leaked almost immediately and
used to their disadvantage.
Inside US Trade
Group To Use
Section 301 Process To Highlight U.S.-Israel Relations
A non-profit group focused on U.S.-Middle
East policy plans for the second time to use the petition process
under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to call into question
Israel's status as a U.S. ally, the group's director said this week.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative this month rejected the
petition by the group, the Institute for Research: Middle
Eastern Policy, Inc. (IRmep), which alleged IPR violations and
technology diversion and called for a suspension of the U.S.-Israel
free trade agreement.
Grant Smith, IRmep's director, said he plans to file another
petition in the near future.
"We're confident that we're able to build a stronger petition when
the moment's right," he said.
USTR Reponse to petition to suspend
Cleveland and San Francisco Independent Media Center
Colombia Buying Obsolete Israeli Fighter Jets?
In 2007 Colombia
awarded Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) a contract worth more than
$150 million to upgrade its aging fleet of Kfir fighter jets. The first
upgraded batch began arriving in June. But why is Colombia buying the
package now? The influence of Israel's lobby in the US Congress and the
troubled fighter plane's history are key to understanding the deal...
By paying off IAI and laying the groundwork
for future Israeli weapons purchases, the Colombian government clearly
hopes to win the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) to help pass the FTA. It is currently stalled over Colombian
human rights questions. AIPAC has lobbied for bilateral free trade
between the US, Oman, and Qatar as ways to break the Arab boycott of
Israel. The 1985 US-Israel FTA, which has cost $71 billion and 100,000
American jobs a year, was the first bilateral agreement ever signed by
the US. According to former deputy director of research Martin Indyk,
only AIPAC had the muscle to push such an unpopular and costly deal
Subsidies for Israel, Sanctions for Iran
Congress can't have it
both ways on taxpayer-funded sanctions and rewards. If gasoline imports
indirectly support Iran's nuclear ambitions, then $2.775 billion in cash
for conventional U.S. weapons and military technology clearly allows
Israel to focus on development and deployment of its illicit nuclear
arsenal. Recently released CIA files long ago forecast that such an
arsenal would not only make Israel more "assertive"
but also more
reluctant to engage in bona fide peace initiatives. Cutting the massive
indirect U.S. subsidization of Israel's nukes and insisting that Israel
sign the NPT would go further in averting a nuclear arms race and
conflicts in the region than targeting hapless Iranians at the gas pump.
It would also demonstrate to the American public that the president and
Congress, even under the pressure of AIPAC, won't blatantly violate U.S.
foreign aid laws by publicly pretending Iran, rather than Israel,
the region's nuclear hegemon.
Cleveland and San Francisco Independent Media Center
AIPAC Bill will
Destroy More American Jobs
legislated restrictions on US businesses and workers already cost
100,000 American jobs per year. New AIPAC legislation targeting Iran
could lead to further jobs loss."
An AIPAC effort in
Congress seeks to cut off U.S. loans to some American companies doing
business with India and Iran. US exports to Iran have boomed from $85
million in 2004 to $683 million last year as US grain and other
foodstuffs find eager Persian buyers.
AIPAC sponsored amendments to the draft fiscal 2010 State and foreign
operations appropriations bill will give members their first chance to
vote on Iran sanctions since that country's presidential election on
Rep. Mark Steven Kirk ,
R-Ill. said the AIPAC legislation targeted Reliance Industries, a large
energy company based in India that reportedly has provided Iran with as
much as a third of its refined petroleum. Kirk will offer the measure
when the House Appropriations Committee takes up the draft bill. Kirk
is the top 2008 recipient of Israel stealth political action committee
(PAC) contributions according to the Washington Report on Middle East
Affairs. He received $91,200 during the 2008 election cycle and more
than $221,000 over his career. The Superior Court of the District of
Columbia is still debating whether to regulate AIPAC as a political
action committee after it was shown secretly directing such funding in
violation of US campaign finance laws in the 1980s and 1990s.
Smith, the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy
(IRmep) was critical of Kirk's move and the legislation's sponsor. "AIPAC
has a history of pushing policies that ultimately harm US workers and
the American economy. The flawed US-Israel bilateral trade agreement
has cost the US 100,000 jobs per year over the last decade. Other
legislative initiatives pushed by the Israel lobby have negatively
impacted the US share in the Arab market, which dropped from 12.77% in
1997 to 8.55% in 2008. American workers don't want to become innocent
victims of AIPAC's trade and foreign policy adventures."
Nuclear Weapons Key to Israeli Retention of Captured Territory
newly declassified 1960 report on Israel's nukes underscores role in
foreign policy "assertiveness."
"Possession of a nuclear weapon capability, or even the prospect of
achieving it, would clearly give Israel a greater sense of security,
self-confidence, and assertiveness...Israel would be less inclined than
ever to make concessions..." are conclusions of a
CIA Special National
Intelligence Estimate released on June 5, 2009.
December 1960 intelligence analysis, parts which are still classified,
offers timely context as the Obama administration struggles to slow
booming settlement activities in lands Israel captured during preemptive
attacks in 1967.
DOJ reverses AIPAC espionage case guilty plea
and jail time?
On May 14, US attorneys
quietly filed a sealed motion (PDF) "as to Lawrence Anthony Franklin" in
the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Ellis then granted a hearing for
June 12 at 9AM. On June 2, they filed a sealed memorandum about
Franklin. Though sealed motions are of course secret, it is likely that
under the watchful eye of Eric Holder the DOJ's political appointees are
arranging yet another special favor for the Israel lobby in order to
steer around the Obama pardon dilemma.
As is now customary, any
potential future downsides and details of such a sealed deal are not
allowed to be publicly debated. Just as quiet clemency for Schwimmer and
Greenspun paved the way for weapons smuggling to Iran, this quiet effort
will undoubtedly yield some future crisis...
AIPAC Defamation Lawsuit threatens to Pierce Veil of Secrecy
Observers of this
vestigial legacy of the AIPAC criminal trial may hope that Rosen's
attempts at securing "major discovery" will shed additional light on
AIPAC's activities. Whether or not Rosen's filing is several years too
late, growing public awareness of the costs of AIPAC's many stealth
activities are already a highly positive outcome of his lawsuit.
Is the US-Israel Free Trade Agreement Harming America? Myths vs
The US-Israel Free Trade
Area (UIFTA) became law in 1985, but ongoing violations of American
intellectual property rights and trade laws are fueling heavy losses of
American jobs. As the US economy declines many are trying to separate
myths from facts about America's first bilateral trade agreement:
Myth: The US Israel Free Trade Area (UIFTA) delivers
Fact: Since 1985 US trade with Israel shifted from a
surplus to a cumulative $71 billion deficit (adjusted for inflation).
The $7.8 billion US deficit with Israel in 2008 equals 126,000 US
manufacturing related jobs. UIFTA is the only bilateral pact producing
multi-billion dollar losses to the US every year over the last decade.
Myth: UIFTA is supported by US industries and
Fact: During 1984 negotiations seventy-six leading
American companies such as Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Sunkist, Hunt-Wesson
Foods and organizations such as the AFL-CIO, American Farm Bureau and
the US Bromine Alliance testified against the UIFTA. Only seventeen
organizations -- most with no direct economic stakes -- testified in
favor. More recently pharmaceutical, agricultural and other industry
associations have continued to lobby against unfair Israeli trade
Myths vs Facts
Brochure (PDF) History
Petition to Suspend
The Phony War on Terror
so-called War on Terror may be extremely profitable for weapons
manufacturers, private military corporations, and the venal pro-war
pundits they fund, but who else does it benefit?
Big Oil, says the antiwar left. But the "no blood for oil" adherents too
may be misinformed, according to one leading analyst of the Iraq war.
"Contrary to the view of most American progressives that oil, and
specifically the interests of Big Oil, is the primary mover, there is no
evidence that the major US oil corporations pressured Congress or
promoted the war in Iraq or the current confrontation with Iran," James Petras argues in The Power of Israel in the United States.
"To the contrary: there is plenty of evidence
that they are very uneasy about the losses that may result from an
Israeli attack on Iran."
And as for the American people, or at least those lucky enough to hold
their jobs in the coming Wall Street-induced depression, they will be
paying dearly in greatly increased taxes for their government's folly
for the foreseeable future.
Considering all this, it is difficult not to concur with the conclusion
policy paper published by the Institute for Research: Middle
Eastern Policy (IRmep) that the War on Terror has been
"for the most part, extremely damaging to US
05/15/2009 Israel Lobby Archive
Glenn Amendment Prohibits US foreign assistance to
Congress debates foreign aid legislation, it's time to remember nuclear
nonproliferation restrictions on US taxpayer funded expenditures.
Former astronaut and
Senator John Glenn
amended aid legislation in 1977. Since then, the US may not provide
civilian or military aid to any
foreign country trafficking nuclear technology outside the international
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards. Recent confirmations by
US officials that Israel is a nuclear weapons state
mean that unless President Barak Obama signs a special waiver to the
Speaker of the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, no US
foreign aid may legally be delivered to Israel in 2010.
the Israel Lobby
Archive 1977 Glenn
(Source: HeinOnline--91 Stat 620 1977)
US foreign aid law, as amended
Cornell US Legal Code website )
Israel's Nuclear Closet
It seems that the Obama administration is
beginning to show it means
business. This reader helps relieve some of my ignorance:
There is a very simple reason why we have to pretend that Israel
does not possess nuclear weapons- the Non Proliferation Treaty.
Under the treaty and US law, a non-signatory to the treaty (such as
Israel) who acquires nuclear weapons is
prohibited from receiving any foreign aid or military aid (the
last estimates I saw were that Israel receives about a quarter of
the US's entire foreign aid budget, and half of our foreign military
aid budget). So there you go.
More See also:
Will Obama Break the Law for Israel's Sake? And the
Israel Lobby Archive
review by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad
Resurrecting "America's Defense Line"
Supporters of the Israel
lobby have long maintained that the reason it does not have to register
as an agent of a foreign government is that its funding and composition
are indigenous to the US. Even critics such as Mearsheimer and Walt have
declared its operations "as American as apple pie." However, as Smith
reveals, the lobby was only able to turn into the powerhouse it is today
because of the start-up funding it received from Israel and its ability
-- through stonewalling, deception and subversion of the legal process
-- to stave off the State Department and the Department of Justice's
attempts to have it registered as a foreign agent. In fascinating detail
supported by hundreds of declassified documents (reproduced in the
Appendix) Smith reveals the various mechanisms it employed to avoid the
purview of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The lobby's
greatest success -- to propagate the myth that Israel and the US have
identical interests and common enemies -- would not have been possible
had the Department of Justice succeeded in securing its compliance with
FARA. This law requires entities registered under it to mark all their
informational material with the disclaimer that their author is the
agent of a foreign government.
Legal Challenge to AIPAC Trade Deal cites Heavy Loss of American Jobs
and Trade Secrets
A legal filing to the
United States Trade Representative (USTR) calls for suspension of the
US-Israel Free Trade Area. The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern
Policy (IRmep) "Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974" filing includes
previously unreleased internal International Trade Commission (ITC)
files recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and
testimony from US counterintelligence agencies and concerned American
The IRmep's legal challenge, representing
concerned industries and associations from 37 states committed to
stamping out Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations quantifies
how ongoing trade secrets theft from US military, pharmaceutical,
chemical and agricultural industries directly translate into American
jobs losses. Input-output table exhibits derived from US Census Bureau
data reveal that American jobs losses caused by the trade pact widened
from 50,000 in 1999 to 126,000 in 2008. A comparative analysis against
more beneficial bilateral trade agreements shows that canceling the
US-Israel FTA would produce an immediate net economic benefit to the
United States while fortifying rules based global trade and intellectual
Jane's Harman Us
taped a few years ago, our gal was talking to someone at the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has long controlled a great many
American politicians; its website quotes
the New York Times assessment of it as "the most important
organization affecting America's relationship with Israel." In fact,
AIPAC so emphasizes "Israel" at the expense of "American" that
the Kennedy Administration, among
others, insisted it
register as an agent of a foreign government.
conversation with this foreign agent concerned two of its officers whom
the Feds accuse of espionage. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman will
finally stand trial this June; the FBI alleges that they forwarded
classified information from a source at the Pentagon to the Israeli
U.S. Muslim Group seeks
to nix U.S.-Israel Free Trade agreement
pharmaceuticals companies, which often argue that Israel should pass
stricter legislation to protect intellectual property, have received
support from an unexpected corner recently: the Institute for Research:
Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), a U.S.-based Muslim organization, has
filed an urgent petition to the United States Trade Representative
demanding the immediate suspension of preferential Israeli access to the
U.S. market under the Free Trade Area agreement.
In a 92-page legal filing the organization claims that Israel repeatedly
violates intellectual property rights in the military and pharmaceutical
industries, among other allegations...The
petition contains numerous examples of alleged Israeli violations of
U.S. intellectual property rights in various areas. These include some
overtly political claims, for instance, that illegal settlements are
being financed through the export of cut diamonds to the U.S.
is taking the petition seriously. The U.S. is already pressing Israel,
with the encouragement of pharmaceutical giants, to enact stricter
intellectual property protections...
official from one of the ministries involved in the issue said that the
US Trade Representative is obligated to respond to every petition. He
said the institute's petition set a dangerous precedent for transforming
Israel's professional dispute with the USTR into a political one.
Under U.S. law, the USTR must make public any investigation against
Israel within 45 days.
04/21/2009 Radio France Internationale
Palestinian State Top Obama US Middle East Policy Priority
King Abdullah of Jordan met this week in Washington with President
Barak Obama. The monarch was the first Middle East leader invited to
visit during the new administration. The dialogue permitted the US
president to expand upon his new policies for the region. Obama invited
the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Leader
Mahmoud Abbas as well as the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The
triple meetings signal Washington's firm course toward the two-state
solutions in the Middle East: Israel and Palestine. The analysis of
IRmep director Grant Smith:
They are firmly backing this desire to put a two state program
a Palestinian state alongside Israel, before all else. They are trying
to shore that up by meeting with different sides at
the same time in separate meetings.
announcement there was a push for an exclusive Obama-Netanyahu
meeting, Obama rejected that kind of program for a more open dialogue
with parties to the conflict in Washington simultaneously. That's a
huge change, and members of the Obama cabinet have clearly
program is for two states, side by side, that's the track we're
pursuing," neither the overt preference, nor siding openly with the
Israelis as we saw in the Bush administration.
IRmep Center for Policy and Law Enforcement Filing
Suspend the US-Israel Trade
92 page legal filing urges the United States Trade Representative (USTR)
to immediately suspend preferential Israeli access to the US market.
In 1983 the Israeli
Prime Minister and American Israel Public Affairs Committee (American
Israel Public Affairs Committee) lobbied the Reagan administration for
preferential Israeli access to the US market. In spite of overwhelming
opposition from US agricultural, industrial and citizens groups over
Israel's weak protection for intellectual property rights, the US-Israel
Free Trade Area was signed into law in 1985.
violations tainted negotiations of the agreement in 1984 when the FBI
discovered that AIPAC obtained a copy of the secret report "Probable
Economic Effect of Providing Duty Free Treatment for U.S. Imports from
Israel, Investigation No. 332-180."
The still classified
300 page report was compiled from business confidential market share,
cost, and other closely held information solicited by the International
Trade Commission for USTR use in negotiations.
Throughout the 1980s
and 1990s US intelligence agencies uncovered
Israeli networks illicitly acquiring and transferring intellectual
property on US weapons systems. Purloined intellectual property for
missiles, imaging technology and other weapons was subsequently
incorporated into Israeli systems. Some Israeli systems were then
exported to rogue regimes and rivals American manufacturers avoided
under US arms export prohibitions.
For each of the past
three years, the Israeli Ministry of Health and pharmaceutical
manufacturers have been placed on USTR watch lists for practices that
cost US manufacturers billions of dollars. But calls for enforcement of
trade rules have generated no results. Worse, proceeds from ballooning
Israeli cut diamond exports to the US have been used to finance illegal
West Bank settlements in contravention of Obama administration policy.
Full Filing (PDF, 5.8 MB)
Filing with no Appendix (164 KB)
Summary Filing (29 KB)
2, 2009 Conference Announcement
"Memories of Iraq"
Leading Iraq specialists from the US and
abroad will discuss the foundations of the Iraqi state and society in
public memory. Paper presentations and general discussion from
Nadje Al-Ali (University of London), Orit Bashkin (University of
Chicago), Magnus Bernhardsson (Williams College), Hamit Bozarslan (Ecole
de hautes etudes, Paris) Geraline Sluglett (University of Utah), Reidar
Visser (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs). Workshop
information and RSVP
The Samson Gambit
former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy ordered AIPAC's parent
organization to register as a foreign agent has the Israel lobby
been as existentially threatened by rule of law in America....
issue isn't whether AIPAC failed its lobbyists by jettisoning them
in a panic; it is whether the Department of Justice failed Americans
when it didn't indict the entire American Israel Public Affairs
04/06/2009 Radio France Internationale
Finally Dismisses "War on Terror" Policy
Monday President Obama stopped in Turkey during his European tour.
Turkey is the largest NATO and Muslim ally of the US. In Ankara
President Obama sought to restore relations frayed by Turkey's refusal
to serve as a base for the US invasion of Iraq. In an address before
the Turkish Parliament he declared
firm US support for Turkey's candidacy in the
European Union, a move immediately rejected by
France. For an analysis of the importance of
Turkey for Washington and the new administration we present Grant Smith,
director of the IRmep:
Turkey is a focal point revealing redefined US
Middle East policy. In particular [Obama] has dispensed with the
slogan "war on terror" and more, in Turkey
he clarified that there is no
US war against Islam. We think he is
trying to dispose of the entire Bush
administration policy framework.
Simultaneously there is
a realignment of regional relations. For example, the
distance between Turkey and Israel has widened
after the Israeli rampage in Gaza. Also the
US is restarting direct communications with Iran. This seems to
be a more productive US consideration of
Syria, Turkey and Iran oriented toward diplomacy rather raw military
Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch via PRNewsWire
Israeli Nuclear Arsenal Prohibits US Foreign Aid Under Symington
declassified US Army report titled "The Joint Operating Environment
2008" identifies Israel as a nuclear weapons power. Specifically the
US Army highlights "a growing arc of nuclear powers running from
Israel in the west through an emerging Iran to Pakistan, India, and
on to China, North Korea, and Russia in the east." Jimmy Carter
became the first former President to confirm in 2008 that Israel has
secretly financed, developed and deployed an undeclared arsenal of
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 as
amended by the Symington Amendment of 1976 and the Glenn Amendment
of 1977 prohibit US military assistance to countries that acquire or
transfer nuclear reprocessing technology outside of international
nonproliferation regimes. Israel, unlike Iran, is not a signatory to
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If Congress wishes to provide
US taxpayer funded foreign aid to Israel in compliance with US law,
it may do so only under a special waiver from the office of the
President as in the case for Pakistan. More
Trial for AIPAC Employees Indicted Under Espionage Act
Shutting down the current US v Rosen and
Weissman case before it goes to trial would similarly short circuit rule
of law in the United States. Only a public trial can reveal whether
AIPAC lobbyists crossed a red line in their advocacy activities. An open
trial may reveal whether there was an effort to leverage classified
information into US military action against Iran, or whether mainstream
media and the public are manipulated by lobbyists selectively
"Quietly folding this prosecution would
promote a growing perception across America that some organizations and
individuals are free to break the law with impunity, at great cost to
law abiding citizens." said IRmep Director Grant F. Smith. "Based upon
the alleged activities raised by the indictment our supporters from 37
states urge the Department of Justice to proceed to trial. Doing
otherwise could have grave consequences for governance in America."
Israel's government abuses Free Trade Agreement with US
Free trade agreements (FTAs)
are supposed to help American businesses improve their profits, create
more jobs and build their industries by opening new markets for export
of their products with foreign countries under rules based trade. The US
has FTAs with 20 foreign nations, including six added in 2006, Bahrain,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Morocco, and Nicaragua. Israel lobbied
for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the US in 1984 and it was
approved in 1985. But since then, according to a study conducted by the
Washington DC based Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRmep)
of documents released only last year, the United States has lost more
than $71 billion in the deal and the equivalent of an average of 100,000
jobs in each of the past 10 years alone.
This is a
staggering discovery considering that the United States is today in one
of the worst economic depressions in its history and that the American
unemployment rate continues to rise, now past 8.2 percent nationwide.
WJJG Chicago Radio
Espionage and the US-Israel Trade Agreement
Chicago radio host Ray Hanania and Grant Smith discuss
an upcoming IRmep report about the US-Israel Free Trade Area (FTA):
1. Impact of AIPAC and the Israeli government's acquisition of business
confidential information provided by concerned US industries
to the US Trade Representative during negotiations;
2. Ongoing commercial espionage in weapons systems design,
pharmaceutical clinical dossiers, and other intellectual property;
3. Why the agreement is the only bilateral FTA producing multi-billion
dollar yearly deficits now totaling $71 billion and negative jobs
impact of 126,000 manufacturing related jobs;
4. Measures the Obama administration should take as
it begins reevaluating FTAs against the new trade agenda.
The program is now available for download as an
.mp3 audio file.
Obama, Iran and the Israel Lobby
This week Al Jazeera English is broadcasting
a special report about the Obama administration, regional policy and the
Israel Lobby. Al Jazeera has an audience reach of over 120 million
households in more than 100 countries. The program is also available on
demand via YouTube:
Empire - Part 1 (25 min)
US policy in the Middle East and the "Special Relationship" with Israel.
Host Marwan Bishara and Avi Shlaim, Aaron David Miller, Adam Shatz,
Ilan Pappe, MJ Rosenberg, Harry Lonsdale, Earl Hilliard, and Grant F.
Empire - Part 2 (22 min)
The forced neoconservative
convergence of US-Israel strategy in the Middle East through the
post 9/11 "war on terror". Avi Shlaim, Jim Lobe, Anotoli Levin, Stephen
Walt, and Hani Shukrallah.
Radio France Internationale
Does the Obama Troop Withdrawal
Radio France: What is the
significance of the announced troop withdrawal from Iraq?
Grant F. Smith: We'll have to see.
Moving from the current number to 50,000 seems like an improvement, but
who's going to remain in all those super bases
that have been constructed in Iraq? Will large
numbers of combat forces be re-categorized
as "advisors?" Will later negotiations turn them into
a permanent force like US troops in South Korea? We really need
to wait and see what happens on the ground.
Radio France: But isn't the Status of Forces Agreement
stipulation that US forces stop engaging in combat a positive step?
Grant F. Smith: What if major
violence breaks out in an area like Mosul? It's pretty hard to see US
forces remaining on the sidelines if something like that happens. Also,
we've seen recent reports of US troops in combat with Iraqi police and
military forces. The situation on the ground isn't as clear
as the SOFA.
Radio France: What about the Obama administration goal to extend
a hand to the region, particularly to Syria and Iran?
Grant F. Smith: Again, it is too
early to tell if the rhetoric will catch up to reality. Some Obama
administration figures continue to insist that Iran completely halt its
civilian nuclear energy program. That's not much
different than the Bush administration. Also, if you look at
Obama appointees streaming into the State
Department and Cabinet, what you see is that although they hail from the
Democratic side of the aisle, their writings, rhetoric, and world views
are not significantly different than the
Bush Administration. So, as before, we have to
see some accomplishment on the ground before we believe
all of the soaring
Should AIPAC Decide What's Classified?
The consequences of the alleged AIPAC
espionage now on its way to trial could have been far worse. We now know
that Israel solicited American approval to attack Iran over its civilian
nuclear program and sought both overflight rights and advanced munitions
from the United States. Both requests were denied on the basis of U.S.
national security interests. If Rosen and Weissman's parallel
intelligence-collection project had gone undetected and actually
succeeded; the FBI was investigating their
movements since at least 1999. AIPAC might have been able to leverage the NDI through press,
pressure, and propaganda into permission for Israeli or even U.S.
strikes against Iran. Perhaps with J. William Leonard in tow, AIPAC's
abuse of national defense secrets will succeed the next time around. But
the fallout from attacking yet another country on false pretexts is
unfathomable. This is why Americans observing mainstream pundits and
assorted ideologues trumpeting the current course of the long-delayed
AIPAC espionage trial as a victory for freedom of the press should
ponder this: is it really in our best interests that Israel and its
American lobby be empowered to classify or declassify American secrets
at their whim?
Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch via PRNewsWire
AIPAC Trade Secrets Leak Led to $71 Billion Export Loss
The ITC compiled "business confidential"
information and intellectual property solicited from US corporations and
industry associations into a classified report for the negotiations. But
on August 3, 1984 the Washington Post broke the news that the FBI was
investigating how AIPAC obtained one of the fifteen numbered and tightly
controlled copies of the classified report. The ITC later confirmed it
was also obtained by the Israeli government.
Since the agreement was signed in 1985, US
trade with Israel shifted from surplus to a cumulative $71 billion
deficit (adjusted for inflation). The 2008 $7.8 billion deficit with
Israel was equivalent to 126,000 US manufacturing related jobs. It is
the only bilateral FTA producing multi-billion dollar losses to the US
every year for the last decade but total losses are still unknown.
According to IRmep director Grant F. Smith the agreement was the
beginning of a chain reaction of intellectual property theft documented
by industry associations and US counterintelligence agencies: "US
corporations were betrayed by the leaks of their intellectual property
during treaty negotiations in 1984. US pharmaceutical, defense and other
industries continue to lose billions in revenue to Israeli copy-cat
merchandise. We are only beginning to fully understand the larger impact
of AIPAC and the Israeli government's ongoing acquisition of classified
US information." More
Will Obama Violate the Symington Amendment to Advance Israeli Nuclear
don't need Barack Obama to "speculate" on what former President Jimmy
Carter already confirmed on May 25, 2008: Israel possesses an arsenal of
150 nuclear weapons. Why does Obama trot out the discredited
policy of "strategic ambiguity,"
in which Israeli and U.S. officials
officially refuse to confirm or deny the existence Israeli nuclear
weapons, at this early moment? For one reason alone: to break the law.
The 1976 Symington Amendment prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any
country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology
outside international safeguards. Israel has never signed the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). If U.S. presidents complied with the
Symington Amendment, they would not deliver yearly aid packages to
Israel totaling billions of dollars. Presidents make-believe that
Israeli nuclear weapons don't exist so Congress can legally continue
shoveling the lion's share of the U.S. foreign aid budget to Israel. But
this thin pretense is now over. Since Carter's revelation, press outlets
such as Reuters chat openly about how Israel's nukes mean that it does
not qualify for U.S. aid. But like Harry Markopolos incessantly nagging
the SEC about Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, fourth-estate and
nuclear-activist calls for compliance continue to be rebuffed by
government agencies. Denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests
about Israeli nukes has always been an integral tactic in preserving
this hoary old ruse.
Centre for Research on
American Finance and the End of Empire: Time for Lessons from
International Fellow Tanya Cariina Hsu
was the best con game in town: get paid well for selling vast amounts of
risk, fail, and then have governments fix the problem at the expense of
the taxpayers who never saw a penny of shared wealth to begin with.
There is no easy solution to this crisis, its effects multiplying
like an infectious disease. Ironically,
least affected by the crisis are Islamic banks.
They have largely been
immune to the collapse because Islamic banking prohibits the acquisition
of wealth via gambling (or alcohol, tobacco, pornography, or stocks in
armaments companies), and forbids the buying and selling of a debt as
well as usury. Additionally, Shari'ah banking laws forbid investing in
any company with debts that exceed thirty percent.
institutions have not failed per se as they deal in tangible assets and
assume the risk" said Dr. Mohammed Ramady, Professor of Economics at
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals. "Although the Islamic
banking sector is also part of the global economy, the impact of direct
exposure to sub-prime asset investments has been low" he continued. "The
liquidity slowdown has especially affected Dubai, with its heavy
international borrowing. The most negative effect has been a loss of
confidence in the regional stock markets." Instead, said Dr. Ramady, oil
surplus Arab nations are "reconsidering overseas investments in
financial assets" and speeding up their own domestic projects.
2/1/2009 World Bulletin - Turkey
Dennis Ross Chairmanship of Israeli Government Funded Think Tank Could
Torpedo Iran Envoy Job
Former Clinton Administration Middle East
diplomat Dennis Ross is under consideration as US State
Department envoy to Iran. Ross is currently the
chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI) in
Jerusalem, established by the Jewish Agency in 2002. Ross
could face legal challenges under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration
Act, or FARA, if he enters US government service.
FARA protects the American people and
Congress from stealth propaganda and foreign lobbying through strict
public disclosure filings. The Jewish Agency has repeatedly surfaced
during investigations in the US. In the 1960s the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee uncovered a network of stealth Jewish Agency
"conduits" financing grassroots Israel lobby
startup groups through the American Zionist Council (AZC). During 1963
hearings the Senate revealed the equivalent of $35 million
went toward US lobbying, including $38,000 to American
Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) founder Isaiah Kenen
between 1960-1961...Since 2002 former American diplomat Dennis Ross has
filed no FARA activity declarations. This could be a problem according
to IRmep director Grant F. Smith. "The US Department of Justice has
always asked US recipients of Jewish Agency funding -- whether the
American Zionist Council and its US executives, or the Jewish Agency's
New York office -- to register as agents of a foreign principal. With
US-Iran diplomacy and restoration of productive relations looming so
urgently, now is certainly not the time to resurrect foreign agent
Appointment of Dennis Ross to Iran Portfolio would be Disastrous
Qualifications for Obama's
Top Iran Diplomat
President Barak Obama has passed over naming
Dennis Ross to top Middle East or Iran policy jobs.
This is an intelligent move. Ross has
been correctly associated as a major negative
factor in the failed Clinton administration
peace negotiations. Ross has also been perceived to be too much in
the service of the objectives of the state of Israel and its US lobby to
effectively negotiate on behalf of broader American interests.
His recent policy paper "Strengthening the Partnership: How to Deepen
U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge" (chartered by
an AIPAC affiliated think tank) is a short
roadmap for US military confrontation with Iran. It advocates blockades
(an act of war which has brought poverty to Gaza) and ultimately
military strikes on Iran. But US policy outcomes toward Iran are neither
a foregone conclusion, nor should they mirror failed Israeli strategies.
Any "super" US envoy to Iran
needs proper qualifications and reputation.
They will have to have to gain the confidence
of the Iranians and American voters. He or she must be
deeply knowledgeable about the region and
willing to engage in bona fide negotiations,
rather than merely insisting on unilateral concessions under the
veiled threat of military force. An American envoy must also
break with the curious but useless tradition of "strategic ambiguity"
regarding the Israeli nuclear arsenal. To do otherwise makes it look as
though the United States is merely asserting
Israeli nuclear hegemony over the region rather than
Pro-Israel Pardons and Leniency Too Costly to Continue
If President Bush is wavering or Barack
Obama is considering pardons upon entering office, historical precedent
indicates that pardons for crimes perpetrated in the name of Israel are
costly but yield no benefits. Kennedy's unintended leniency provided a
green light for financing the Israeli nuclear weapons program. The Marc
Rich pardon produced nothing but embarrassment for Clinton and is now a
possible nomination hurdle for Eric Holder. A pardon of Jonathan Pollard
would probably result in intensified unauthorized transfers of sensitive
national defense information to Israel in the future. A Rosen and
Weissman pardon would signal that the Israel lobby may freely pursue
covert action to use the U.S. military against Israel's enemies. Tough
diplomacy, unfettered law enforcement, and reasonable penalties for
criminal violations are historically the only proven techniques for
keeping the Israel lobby in check. More
Memo to the President:
Break the Chain of Violence Starting within the US
Retire the "War on Terror" and launch "Rule
of Law Initiative"
and its aftermath was an embedded American
problem; its resolution
had nothing at all to do with Africa.
Much of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East is the product of
another "peculiar institution" the Israel lobby in the United States.
While president Lyndon Johnson did much to drive forward civil rights,
immunity granted in secret to the Israel
lobby was an enormous step backward for the United
States. The lobby's subversion of the
Foreign Agents Registration Act was like a
broken window leading to the decline of a prosperous neighborhood.
Soon a culture of impunity took over leading to Israel lobby
money laundering, election fraud,
nuclear secrets theft,
commercial espionage and most recently,
infiltration of the Pentagon in the interest of touching off a US
military conflict with Iran.
lobby is currently attempting
to reframe the Israeli blockade and attacks killing civilians as steps
toward solving the "Palestinian" problem (and
part of the "War on Terror"). The incoming Obama
administration now must do what no US president since
John F. Kennedy has tried to do: enforce
the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the Espionage
Act, and stop condoning through pardon the "broken windows" of the
lobby. Only then will
America be ready to return to its pre-1948 status as an honest
broker and force for positive change in the region.
In March, IRmep will
a new briefing book to prosecutors
and law enforcement officials about how US
laws already on the books
can protect America if properly enforced.
More importantly, it will show tactics for
resisting politicization and outside interference with law enforcement
agencies that has
plagued counter espionage and FARA enforcement. This
will allow DOJ, with the
critical support of the president, to begin
rebuilding US credibility while fixing the "broken
windows" that have led to American
ongoing repression of Palestinians.
Continue (Year 2008 Research and