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The twentieth anniversary of 9/11 last Saturday has raised many of the usual issues about what actually happened on that day. Were hijacked airliners actually crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or was the damage in New York City attributable to explosives or even some kind of nuclear device? These are fundamental questions and the so-called “Truthers” who raise them have been inspired by their reading of the 585 page 9/11 Report, which is most charitably described as incomplete, though many would reasonably call it a government cover-up.

I have long believed that unless one actually sees or experiences something first hand the description of any event is no better than hearsay. The closest I came to “seeing” 9/11 was the panicked evacuation of a CIA office building, where I was working at the time. Another related bit of 9/11 narrative also came from two close friends who were driving into work at the Pentagon when they each independently observed what appeared to be a large plane passing over their cars and striking the building. I consider the sources credible but was it an airplane or a missile? And I was not there to see it with my own eyes, so I am reluctant to claim that my friends actually saw something that in retrospect might have been misconstrued.

Critics of the physical and engineering aspects of the accepted narrative certainly have a great deal of expert evidence that supports their case. The way the towers fell as well as the collapse of Building 7 nearby are suggestive of something other than the impact of an airliner near the top of the structure, but I am no expert in the science of the matter and have avoided expressing a view regarding it.

Apart from what happened, I have always been more intrigued by “Who done it?” I found the 9/11 Report to be conspicuously lacking in its failure to cover possible foreign involvement, to include the Saudis, Pakistanis and the Israelis. Indeed, President Joe Biden has taken steps that have resulted in the declassification and release of 16 pages of the notorious 28-page redaction of documents relating to any possible Saudi role. The document consists of interviews with Saudi student Omar al-Bayoumi, who reportedly helped support several hijackers.

The Saudis are being sued by 9/11 survivors, but it is unlikely that anything really sensitive will ever be exposed, as explained by investigative journalist Jim Bovard. Indeed, the documents released last Saturday did not demonstrate that the Saudi government itself played any direct role in 9/11, though it is clear that wealthy Saudis and even members of the Royal Family had been supporting and funding al-Qaeda. It is also known that that Saudi Embassy and Consulate employees in the U.S. had funded the alleged hijackers.

Friends who were in CIA’s Counterterrorism Center at the time of 9/11 tend to believe that the Saudis were indeed supporting their fellow citizens while in the U.S. but were likely not knowledgeable regarding any terrorist plot. They observed, however, that there was considerable evidence that Israel knew in advance about what was impending and may have even been instrumental in making sure that it succeeded.

The evidence of Israeli involvement is substantial, based on the level of the Jewish state’s espionage operations in the U.S. and also its track record on so-called covert actions simulating terrorist attacks designed to influence political decision making in foreign countries. But, of course, in reporting on the 9/11 tragedy no one in the mainstream media did pick up on the connection, inhibited no doubt by the understanding that there are some things that one just does not write about Israel if one hopes to remain employed. That is true in spite of the fact that the Israeli angle to 9/11 is without a doubt a good story, consigned to the alternative media, where it can be marginalized by critics as a conspiracy theory or the product of anti-Semitism.

In the year 2001 Israel was running a massive spying operation directed against Muslims either resident or traveling in the United States. The operation included the creation of a number of cover companies in New Jersey, Florida and also on the west coast that served as spying mechanisms for Mossad officers. The effort was supported by the Mossad Station in Washington DC and included a large number of volunteers, the so-called “art students” who traveled around the U.S. selling various products at malls and outdoor markets. The FBI was aware of the numerous Israeli students who were routinely overstaying their visas but they were regarded as a minor nuisance and were normally left to the tender mercies of the inspectors at the Bureau of Customs and Immigration.

The Israelis were also running more sophisticated intelligence operations inside the United States, many of which were focused on Washington’s military capabilities and intentions. Some specialized intelligence units concentrated on obtaining military and dual use technology. It was also known that Israeli spies had penetrated the phone systems of the U.S. government, to include those at the White House.

All of that came into focus on September 11, 2001, when a New Jersey housewife saw something from the window of her apartment building, which overlooked the World Trade Center. She watched as the buildings burned and crumbled but also noted something strange. Three young men were kneeling on the roof of a white transit van parked by the water’s edge, making a movie in which they featured themselves high fiving and laughing in front of the catastrophic scene unfolding behind them. The woman wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police, who responded quickly and soon both the local force and the FBI began looking for the vehicle, which was subsequently seen by other witnesses in various locations along the New Jersey waterfront, its occupants “celebrating and filming.”

The license plate number revealed that the van belonged to a New Jersey registered company called Urban Moving Systems. The van was identified and pulled over. Five men between the ages of 22 and 27 years old emerged to be detained at gunpoint and handcuffed. They were all Israelis. One of them had \$4,700 in cash hidden in his sock and another had two foreign passports. Bomb sniffing dogs reacted to the smell of explosives in the van.

According to the initial police report, the driver identified as Sivan Kurzberg, stated “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The five men were detained at the Bergen County jail in New Jersey before being transferred the FBI’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which handles allegations of spying.

After the arrest, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Urban Moving System’s Weehawken, NJ, offices. Papers and computers were seized. The company owner Dominick Suter, also an Israeli, answered FBI questions but when a follow-up interview was set up a few days later it was learned that he had fled the country for Israel, putting both his business and home up for sale. It was later learned that Suter has been associated with at least fourteen businesses in the United States, mostly in New Jersey and New York but also in Florida.

 
Blinken Blinks

Critics of the foreign and national security policies of the Joe Biden regime were quick to note that the American soldiers being pulled out of Afghanistan were no doubt a resource that will be committed to a new adventure somewhere else. There was considerable speculation that the new model army, fully vaccinated, glorious in all its gender and racial diversity and purged of extremists in the ranks, might be destined to put down potentially rebellious supremacists in unenlightened parts of the United States. But even given an increasingly totalitarian White House, that civil war type option must have seemed a bridge too far for an administration plagued by plummeting approval ratings, so the old hands in Washington apparently turned to what has always been a winner: pick a suitable foreign enemy and stick it to him.

It is of course generally known that when Joe Biden was running for president, he committed himself to making an attempt to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015 which placed limits on the Iranian nuclear program and also established an intrusive inspection routine. In turn, the Iranians were to receive relief from sanctions related to the program. In 2018 President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement based on the false argument that Iran was cheating on the arrangement and was secretly engaged in developing a weapon. Trump’s neocon supporters on the issue also argued without any evidence that Iran was intending to use the agreement as cover for its efforts to accumulate enriched uranium, guaranteeing that they would be able develop a weapon quickly when the inspection regime expires in 2025.

The Trump move was, of course, backed by the Israel Lobby and it was widely seen as deferring to Israeli interests at a time when the agreement was actually good for the United States as it blocked an unfriendly country’s possible nuclear proliferation. Unfortunately, a US government’s bowing to Israel is not exactly unusual and the withdrawal was subject to only limited criticism in the mainstream media.

Joe Biden, who has described himself as a Zionist, is no less prone to pandering to Israel than is Trump. When he raised the issue of JCPOA during his campaign in a bid to appeal to his party’s progressives, he also caveated the move by indicating that the agreement would have to be updated and improved. The talks in Vienna, which Iran and the US are indirectly engaged in, have been stalled for several months due to Iranian elections and over Washington’s insistence that Iran include in the agreement restrictions on the country’s ballistic missile program while also ceasing its alleged interference in the political turmoil in the region. The interference charge relates to Iranian support of the completely legitimate Syrian and Lebanese governments as well as of the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have been on the receiving end of Saudi Arabian aggression supported by Washington.

As Iran insists that any return to status quo ante be based on the existing agreement without any additions, to include relief from sanctions which Washington has rebuffed, it has been clear from the beginning that there is nowhere to go. Recently it has been argued in neocon and media circles (essentially the same thing) that the new conservative president of Iran Ebrahim Raisi means that no arrangement with Iran can be trusted and they point to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that suggest that Iran has started to enrich admittedly small amounts of uranium. To add to the confusion, there have been some reports suggesting that Israel deliberately targeted and destroyed IAEA monitoring equipment in a June raid to make clear assessments of nuclear developments more difficult to obtain.

To finish the charade, which was not expected to result in anything, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, traveling Germany to mend fences over the Afghanistan debacle, has now warned that the US is getting “closer” to giving up on renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal. Blinken declared to reporters that “I’m not going to put a date on it but we are getting closer to the point at which a strict return to compliance with the JCPOA does not reproduce the benefits that that agreement achieved.”

When Blinken refers to benefits he is now of course meaning the full package of demands being made by Washington, which, as noted above, go far beyond the original intention of the agreement. As Iran has repeatedly insisted that it is only willing to discuss the original formulation which would provide for them some sanctions relief, something that Blinken certainly knows, he evades the issue of Washington being the spoiler in the Vienna talks.

Now that Afghanistan has fallen with considerable blowback to the fortunes of the Biden Administration, the situation with Iran becomes potentially more important, even while recognizing the Iran does not threaten the United States or its actual interests in any way. Biden-Blinken are clearly interested in sustaining a purported vital interest in the Middle East so troop levels throughout the region can be maintained. There is a commitment with Baghdad to remove all US “combat troops,” however that will be defined, by year’s end, but there are also American soldiers in Syria fighting a war and large military bases in Kuwait, Doha, and Bahrain. The US also maintains a skeleton presence of air force personnel in Israel as well as large arms supply depots.

To justify all that an enemy is essential and Iran fits the bill. And it should surprise no one that steps are now being taken to confront the evil Persians in their home waters. The United States Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet announced last week that it will create a special new task force that will incorporate airborne, sailing and underwater drones to confront Iran. In the announcement the spokesmen revealed that in coming months drone capabilities would be expanded to cover a number of chokepoints critical to the movement both of global energy supplies and worldwide shipping, to include the crucial Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of all oil passes. It also will presumably include the Red Sea approaches to the Suez Canal as well as the Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen.

The systems being deployed by what has been dubbed the 5th Fleet Task Force 59 will include some recently developed innovative technologies, to include underwater, long range, and special surveillance drones. Armed drones will use the same platforms and some of the drones will be small enough to be fired from submarines, which will confuse points of origin and permit plausible denial by Washington if they should be used to deter or intimidate the Iranians.

So, the fall of Afghanistan might be seen as welcome after all these years of mayhem, but it may have opened the door to heightened tension in the nearby Persian Gulf. Washington-Biden-Blinken are intent on proving to the world that in spite of Afghanistan the United States is nobody’s patsy. Unfortunately, putting the screws to Iran yet again is no solution to Washington’s inability to perceive its proper role in the world. The lesson that might have been learned in Afghanistan and also Iraq apparently has already been forgotten.

 

I find as a general rule that sweeping generalizations coming out of the media and punditry about anything are frequently wrong. As a former intelligence officer, I find it amusing to read articles in the mainstream media that blithely report how the latest international outrages are undoubtedly the work of CIA and the rest of the U.S. government’s national security alphabet soup. The recurring claim that the CIA is somehow running the world by virtue of a vast conspiracy that includes the secret intelligence agencies of a number of countries, while using blackmail and other inducements to corrupt vulnerable politicians and opinion makers, has entered into the DNA of journalists worldwide, frequently without any evidence that the current crop of spies which includes an increasing number of not-trained-as-spies paramilitary officers is capable or even interested in doing anything that complicated.

One might reasonably object that running the entire world, particularly on a coercive fashion, is a big job and nobody has the resources to address hundreds of “problems” simultaneously. But, nevertheless, any way you slice it, the myth of the Agency being all-powerful and also uniquely malevolent is pervasive, to include the tale that it and the other national security elements conspire to effectively control both American presidents and the mainstream media.

Non-Americans, if anything, are even more persuaded that America’s intelligence community knows all and is in a certain sense directly or indirectly responsible for whatever occurs worldwide. A highly educated Turkish diplomat who became a close friend insisted to me that there was a big computer located in Washington that had complete information on everyone in the world included in its files. Ironically, that observation was somewhat humorous in 1988, but it is closer to today’s reality of total government control and massive cyber intrusion conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency.

To be sure, one can and certainly should oppose the policies enabling regime change that the Agency has been associated with worldwide but there is a context to all the mayhem that must be understood. First of all, de facto regime change is now practiced openly by the U.S. government under the direction of the President of the United States and his close associates. Witness, for example, what took place in Ukraine and what is being attempted in Syria. State Department and USAID manipulations, unleashing of the allegedly non-governmental National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and direct military intervention are the preferred tools since 2001 and they all take place relatively transparently. One might say that what the CIA used to do is now being done out in the open.

Indeed, the various iterations of the Authorization to Use Military Force and also the Patriot and Military Commissions acts give the government a free hand in terms of how it responds to the rest of the world and also to its errant U.S. citizens, to include assassinations of names on lists prepared in the White House and death by drones in response to “profiling,” which overwhelmingly kills mostly innocent civilians. Recall for a moment how Senator John McCain and neocon State Department officer Victoria Nuland passed out cookies in Maidan Square in Kiev as part of a \$5 billion dollar successful subversion program to overthrow Ukraine’s pro-Russian government. And Syria was a direct military intervention with the openly stated intention of replacing the Al-Assad government. It should also be noted that both interventions took place under the smooth talking Barack Obama, as well as the disastrous overthrow of Libya’s government, which turned one of Africa’s few prosperous regimes into a hell hole. And the exercises in regime change occurred even though none of those countries threatened the United States in any way.

Those policies and others are set by this country’s civilian leadership to include the president, secretary of state and national security council and, when necessary, they are imposed on CIA and other national security related government agencies by their own political leadership as most recent directors have been political appointees, not professional intelligence or law enforcement officers. The Agency, which bureaucratically speaking works for the president, does not hold stop to hold referenda among its employees to determine which foreign policy option they prefer any more than soldiers in the 101st Airborne are consulted when they receive orders to deploy. Nearly all current and former intelligence officers that I know are, in fact, opposed to the politics of U.S. global dominance that have been pretty much in place since 9/11.

Based on my own experience, the often-cited fundamental evil of the intelligence community was seldom visible, though that appears to have changed somewhat since 9/11, to include the enhancement of the organization’s paramilitary role, the creation of secret prisons and the use of torture. Given the CIA’s presumed invincibility and the taint surrounding how it operates, it has frequently become low hanging fruit for those in government and the media who want to find someone to blame when things go wrong. The problem with the criticism often being levelled is that it is far too sweeping and generic. In reality, there are two distinct CIAs. The first is the place where something approaching 20,000 intelligence collectors and agent handlers, analysts, technical officers and other support personnel work. They are career employees who collect and analyze the information which is then passed on to the consumers, most important of whom is the president and his foreign policy plus national security staff. Professional intelligence officers work hard to be objective, but those people surrounding the top officials are highly political and serve as filters for the information. They frequently ignore or otherwise reject intelligence if it does not fit their idea of what is important. It is that rejection that creates Vietnams, Afghanistans and Iraqs. Consequently, it is the divide between producer and consumer where there is most often a problem and when there is real corruption of the system it usually comes down to a few individuals who are politically motivated.

Ironically, much of the damage comes when officials with access to intelligence and security resources go rogue. Recent claims of national security state interference in U.S. elections should be taken very seriously indeed, as they threaten the very basis of democratic elections, an issue that it unfortunately under siege coming from many directions. The recent coordinated attempt by John Brennan of the CIA that included the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence amounted to an illegal covert operation organized and executed by the top officials in the U.S. intelligence and national security community to defeat the Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump. Clapper, Brennan and former FBI Director Jim Comey appear to have all played critical leadership roles in carrying out this conspiracy and they may not have operated on their own. Almost certainly what they may have done would have been explicitly authorized by the Clinton campaign and also by the then serving President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his national security team.

 
Taliban want to talk but US is reluctant

President Joe Biden’s departure from Afghanistan was the right thing to do even if it was handled disastrously. And he now has the opportunity to do some other “right things” that are in some ways related to the recently concluded fiasco in Central Asia in that the White House for too long has believed that it has the authority to intervene globally given its often cited authority as both “exceptional” and “Leader of the Free World.” One thinks immediate of the sanctions regime which is used repeatedly to punish foreign governments that do not conform to American and Western European norms on issues like homosexuality, “choice,” and even immigration. The current edition of sanctions, naming individuals, businesses and government entities, runs to hundreds of pages. It is updated and added to regularly by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

It has repeatedly been demonstrated that sanctions do not accomplish anything and they in fact disproportionately punish the most vulnerable people in the country being targeted, depriving them of food and medicine while their leaders have plenty of both. Sanctions do not compel countries to change their foreign and domestic policies and, in fact, frequently generate a measure of sympathy, producing popular support for regimes that are perceived as being unfairly attacked by the United States. Many argue that the authoritarian regime in Cuba has largely survived because many Cubans despise the extensive US imposed sanctions on their country.

So one longs to see an end to sanctions and an increase in face-to-face discussions between representatives of foreign countries to resolve problems without killing people and crippling economies. But sanctions are only one element in America’s ongoing war against the world, which admittedly is going badly. Whenever one gets into discussions about the decline of America’s ability to positively influence developments around the world a number of issues tend to surface. Some critics who look beyond what is being reported in the media or parroted by government spokesmen recognize that it is actually the policies being pursued by the White House and Congress that are out of sync with what is actually happening in Asia, Africa and Latin America, being more driven by often partisan establishment-acceptable narratives than by genuine interests.

The problem starts at the top with certain perceptions about how the United States ought to deal with the world but it is exacerbated at the working level where actual contact with foreigners takes place. The perceptions themselves have unfortunately been shaped by the media and by neocon or neoliberal ideologues to include Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and the current incumbent Tony Blinken as Secretaries of State and National Security Advisers.

But there is a more serious problem in that many in Washington as well as in the media and among the public do not understand why we should have ambassadors and foreign embassies at all. Ambassadors have existed as interlocutors between communities since ancient Sumer formed the first local governments in Mesopotamia but they became institutionalized and protected in ancient Greece, where hoplite warfare required total mobilization and produced a huge number of fatalities because it was not possible to run away in armor. War was generally speaking catastrophic in the ancient world, with entire defeated populations made into slaves and fields and crops devastated in warfare to induce starvation. Ambassadors were from the beginning granted a special immunity which enabled them to talk to enemy spokesmen to attempt to resolve contentious issues without resort to arms.

Beyond that, in the Middle Ages and ever since, Ambassadors have been sent to reside in foreign capitals to provide some measure of protection for traveling citizens and also to defend other perceived national interests, including trade. Ambassadors are not soldiers, nor are they necessarily the parties of government that ultimately make decisions on what to do when dealing with a foreign nation. They are there to provide a mechanism for exchanging views to create a dialogue while at the same time working with foreign governments to avoid conflict, whether over trade or politics. They should be bridge-builders who explain how American politics function, how the American government works, and at the same time educate Americans on how the country they are based in sees the United States.

By all these metrics, the US diplomatic effort has been a failure and, at the end of the day, the United States taxpayer spends astonishing sums of money to support its global representational and security structures that provide little in return, rarely experiencing any notable successes and letting the reputation of the US decline due to sheer ineptness. But, beyond that, the worst part is the perception that if the White House really dislikes a nation the best way to deal with it is not at all so they opt to close the Embassy and cut off all face-to-face contact.

The United States for many years had no Embassy in Cuba, which only reopened in 2015. It has no Embassy in Iran or in Syria, both countries that the US should be talking to as there is concern over war possibly breaking out in that region, largely due to hostility coming both from Jerusalem and Washington. And the current situation is Afghanistan suggests that the mistake of having no representation will be replicated in dealings with the new government in Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman has opened the door to a positive relationship with Washington, based on diplomacy and trade without a military occupation, saying “America should have only a diplomatic presence in Kabul. We have communication channels with them and we expect them to reopen their embassy in Kabul and we also want to have trade relations with them.” But not so fast! Washington is saying something else. Presidential chief of staff Ron Klain was skeptical about recognition for a Taliban government, saying: “I don’t think anytime soon. I don’t know if we will ever recognize their government.” He added that “What we know is that the Taliban says they’re going to form a government, we’ll see what that looks like, we’ll see what kind of credentials they present. More importantly, we’ll see what their conduct is. Do they honor their commitments, to allow freedom of travel? Do they respect human rights?”

Other government sources have revealed that the US has used its leverage over world finance to freeze billions of dollars in Afghan government reserves while also blocking possible International Monetary Fund loans. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has admitted that Washington is using its power over the monetary system to put pressure on the Taliban.

 

The evacuation of Americans and at least some vulnerable Afghans from Kabul has ended without further mishap, though questions remain about who might have been left behind in the poorly planned and executed operation. A badly damaged President Joe Biden has sought to regain the high ground by swearing vengeance against the presumed perpetrators of the suicide bombing that killed 13 American marines and sailors and the Pentagon has already claimed the assassination by drone of two possible accomplices. But exactly how additional retribution will play out given the absence of any significant applicable military resources in the states surrounding landlocked Afghanistan is not clear. Some are even questioning the attribution of the attack to a group identified as IS-Khorasan, which, it is claimed, has taken credit, even suggesting that there were others who might have benefitted from a signal being sent to the departing United States as well as to the Taliban, which is struggling somewhat to form a viable and recognized government.

At a minimum, security screening by the Taliban on their side of the airport would seem to have been either lax or deliberately porous. As far as is known, Taliban irregulars and their allied militiamen from the Haqqani group provided the security screen that might have been able to identify and isolate suicide bombers as they approached the entrances to the airport. Indeed, there should have been a high alert status in place as there had been multiple warnings about a possible bombing atempt, apparently based on highly reliable intelligence that was fully shared with the Taliban.

The Taliban denied any role in the bombings and it is being widely reported that they are enemies of the IS-K, making the attack an internal matter between Afghans and an international group of terrorists, but that judgement is not exactly cast in concrete. One assumes that as there was solid intelligence on the impending attack, it would be helpful if it were to be made public to enable one to review some of it, if only to provide some clarity as to who was behind the bombing. Otherwise, the U.S. national security state will yet again respond with force and will be tasked with going around the world searching for dragons, which would serve no interest apart from the desire for revenge.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Pat Lang, who has extensive experience in counterterrorism in the Middle East and Central Asia and is a keen observer of developments in Afghanistan, suggests that there has been a historic “willingness of the jihadi groups to cooperate…to demonstrate to the Islamic world what victory looks like. The jihadis hope this will generate a worldwide wave of recruitment and action that will cause the countries of the West to crumble as the Weimaresque Afghan government crumbled. The Biden Administration clearly wanted to think that they could split off the Taliban from the other jihadi groups through their self interest in material goals such as international recognition, foreign aid money, access to the banking world, etc. In fact the jihadis want the destruction of what I have described as the post Treaty of Westphalia world of rule bound nation-states in favor of whatever version of sharia they favor in a world wide ‘umma (Islamic theocracy) Do they believe that is possible? They do… Should we expect more and bigger attacks? We should.”

Indeed, Lang’s observation is supported by the developments that led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 in the first place, where a Taliban government was accused of providing a refuge as well as other material benefits to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Bin Laden, then as now, was widely believed to be behind the 9/11 attacks, though there is considerable and growing skepticism about what actually took place twenty years ago. Indeed, there have been persistent reports that the Taliban has been protecting and even cooperating with al-Qaeda affiliated remnants since then to this day.

So where will all of this go? First of all, one must reckon with the political aspect of what is taking place. Biden’s evacuation is now perceived very negatively by the American people, even if many agree that getting out of Afghanistan was and is the right thing to do. Biden’s defense, which is being echoed by all the government players involved in the fiasco as well as the media, is that what took place could not have been foreseen. That is, of course, a lie as the intelligence was quite clear and has been accumulating for the past ten years regarding Afghan government corruption and the dismal condition of the country’s army. Did no one in Washington read the doleful reports issued by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) or the CIA and Embassy sitreps?

To recover politically Biden and his team must do something kinetic that will be cheered on by the media and public alike, which means something risky or particularly bold. That is where the danger comes in. It means that there will be intervention or bombing somewhere and, unfortunately, the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett just happened to be in Washington late last week as the crisis in Afghanistan was unfolding and he undoubtedly gave Biden and Blinken advice, most particularly about Iran and a developing power vacuum in the region that the Iranians might seek to exploit. Time to attack is now, per Bennett, but can a fearful and vulnerable Biden be convinced? One suspects we will have the answer to that very soon.

Philip Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

 
America and Israel together against Iran

Afghanistan is not exactly history quite yet as there still will be a lot final adjustments on the ground as well as the usual Vietnam-syndrome war of words that inevitably follows on yet another American-engineered foreign catastrophe. But the recriminations will go nowhere as there is certainly enough mud to stick on both major political parties that make Washington their home, and neither wants to be embarrassed to such an extent that anyone will actually demand change.

Regarding Afghanistan itself, I often recall hearing from a CIA friend of mine who served as the last Chief of Station in Kabul in the 1970s before the start of the Mujaheddin insurgency against the Marxist-Leninist government that was then in place eventually forced the US Embassy to close. He remarked how liberated the city was, full of smartly dressed attractive women and well-turned-out men going about their business. Though there was considerable repression in rural areas, education was highly prized by the people in the cities while many aspects of fundamental Islam were made illegal.

All of that came to a crashing halt when the United States and Saudi Arabia supported the Mujaheddin and eventually created al-Qaeda in a bid to damage the Soviets, who had intervened in the country and were backers of the Kabul regime headed by Babrak Karmal. Zbigniew Brzezinski was the “brain” behind the plan, in part to do payback for the Soviet role in Vietnam and in part because Zbig apparently had difficultly in separating his attachment for Poland, at the time part of the Soviet empire, from his role as national security adviser for Jimmy Carter, President of the United States of America.

To be sure, wars that are unsuccessful, like Vietnam and Afghanistan, do generate a certain blowback. It was regularly observed that the 1990-1 US-led Desert Storm operation followed by a victory parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City helped the United States recover from Vietnam fatigue. That meant that it would not hesitate to again use armed force to enforce its often touted “rules based international order,” best translated as US global hegemony.

Some might suggest that the best thing to do about Afghanistan is to learn from it. Hold senior officials and officers responsible for the egregious errors in judgement that led to disaster. But that will never happen as the top levels of the US government operate like a large social club where everyone protects everyone else. A Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller who has called for accountability at senior levels has already been relieved of his command and is leaving the service, a warning from above to others who might be similarly inclined to be outspoken.

So, with all that in mind, the best was to make Afghanistan go away is to begin preparations for the next war. Since that is so, how lucky is President Joe Biden to have a visit at this very critical moment from Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who presented the president with a “new strategic vision” for the Middle East. In preparation for the visit, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the prime minister’s visit “will strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel, reflect the deep ties between our governments and our people, and underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Psaki, who conflates the deep ties between the Democratic Party and its Jewish donors with a “partnership,” predictably said everything demanded of her, only stopping short of turning in her application to join the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

Bennett met on the day before the White House meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and also separately with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. It is not known how many standing ovations were given to Bennett by the simpering US officials, but it is presumed that they were necessary as filler for the event because Austin and Milley in particular are notably inarticulate and poorly informed. The lumpish Austin did, however, echo Psaki in coming out with the usual message, telling Bennett that the Pentagon is absolutely “committed” to ensuring Israel can “defend itself” against the Iranians, that “The administration remains committed to Israel’s security and right to self-defense. That is unwavering, it is steadfast and it is ironclad.”

Bennett was engaged in delivering his timely message that the fall of Afghanistan has actually made everything in that part of Asia more dangerous, meaning that the US and Israel should prepare to fight Iran when it seeks to take advantage of the situation. More to the point, Bennett also made time to meet with the omnipotent Israel Lobby as represented by the head of its most powerful component, Executive Director Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The actual discussion with Biden and who-knows-who else in the room was also predictable, minus only that Biden did not feel compelled to go down on his knees as he did with visiting outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his chief of staff Rivka Ravitz in early July. Perpetual victim Israel was presented by Bennett as facing hostilities coming from its southern border where Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. Neither Bennett nor Biden mentioned the enormous advantage in military power that Israel already possesses, as was evident in the conflict that took place three months ago, an 11-day war that left 265 dead in Gaza, including many targeted children in apartment blocks, while only 13 died in Israel.

Bennett had two principal objectives. First, he was looking for a commitment from Biden not to re-engage with Iran in the nuclear proliferation treaty Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) unless it is greatly “improved” to include peripheral regional issues as well as eliminating any uranium enrichment. As Iran is prepared to accepted the status quo ante and nothing more, Bennett knew perfectly well that his insistence on a broader agreement would be a game-breaker. And second, as a consequence of that expected commitment, he wanted assurances that the US will not withdraw its remaining forces from Iraq and Syria and would support Israel fully if it should choose to attack Iran.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan has also been pushing the White House to admit Israel to the so-called Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israelis to travel freely to the United States without having to obtain a visa. The program usually requires reciprocity which would mean that Israel would in turn have to admit all American travelers, but the Jewish state insists on reserving the right to block Arab and Muslim Americans for no reason whatsoever. It is presumed that Bennett discussed the issue with Blinken.

 

President Joe Biden is being praised in some circles because he finally ended the war in Afghanistan that in all likelihood should never have begun. President George W. Bush initiated the conflict on a series of lies about 9/11 and the Taliban role in that attack and what followed. After bringing about regime change, he decided to remake the country into a western style democracy. President Barack Obama subsequently allowed a “surge” which actually increased the militarization of the conflict and made things worse. The joint effort produced no free elections but delivered instead tens of thousands of deaths and a huge hole in the US Treasury. Bush and Obama were followed by President Donald Trump who actually promised to end the war but lacked the conviction and political support to do so, handing the problem over to Biden, who has bungled the end game but finally done the right thing by ending the fiasco. Biden also has been right to accede to a withdrawal of the last US combat troops from Iraq by year’s end, a move that will considerably ease tension with the Baghdad government, which has been calling for such a move since last January.

But America’s war on those parts of the world that resist following its self-defined leadership is not about to go away. An interesting recent article in the foreign policy establishment The Hill written by a former senior CIA operations and staff officer Douglas London sees an Orwellian unending war against major adversaries Russia and China. Derived from his own experience, he concludes that sustained and enhanced clandestine actions should now replace conventional military forces confrontation, which has been somewhat outdated as an option due to the development of relatively cheap missile technologies that have undermined classic conventional weapons. Some of the clandestine activity he appears to recommend would undoubtedly fall under cover of classic espionage “plausible denial,” i.e. that the White House could disavow any knowledge of what had occurred, but sabotage and cyber-attacks, particularly if implemented aggressively, would quickly be recognized for what they are and would invite commensurate or even disproportionate retaliation. This would amount to an all-out semi-covert war against powerful adversaries which could easily escalate into a shooting war.

The London article is an interesting insight into the thinking of those in both the Democratic and Republican parties who continue to argue that the United States is threatened by largely asymmetrical warfare being conducted by what are regarded as “autocratic” regimes in Moscow and Beijing as well as by non-governmental terrorist groups that is seeking to undermine confidence in US policymakers, the “democratic” government system and the stability of its other institutions.

That the White House is listening to at least some of the complaints coming from the neoconservatives and neoliberals calling for more “democracy promotion” and “regime change” would appear to be the case as there have been renewed calls for greater engagement in various fora, to include NATO leadership now urging the alliance to stand up to Russian “aggression.” The US has meanwhile also called on “friends” in the Middle East to block any attempts by China to establish “military bases” in that region, with the State Department arguing that “The current assessment is that China has a global strategy of pursuing military installations all over, including in the Middle East.” The United States, by one estimate, has nearly 1100 military bases worldwide while China has only one in Djibouti.

Admittedly this time, the US will have to go about its usual school bully behavior without much in the way of allies. The Europeans will not show up as they are disgusted with American vacillation and inability to anticipate obvious developments, as was the case in Afghanistan. Israel and Saudi Arabia will likely line up, or pretend to, while also continuing their collaboration with radical groups that Washington would prefer to avoid.

To be sure there are many in Washington who would be quite happy to continue the US naval build up in the South China Sea while also sending ships to the Black Sea to cruise defiantly off the Russian coast. And then there is also Iran and its ally Syria, both of which continue to be targets of opportunity for sabotage, covert action and the Israeli Air Force, which last week again attacked Syria after penetrating Lebanese air space. So there are always wars and rumors of wars available, which is precisely what the US military-industrial-congressional complex wants to sustain. And in so doing they know that they will have the mainstream media on board, which has the same objective.

But still, it is important to have a plausible threatening enemy, and China is still somewhat over the horizon in that context. So, you turn to the one-size-fits-all option, which is “international terrorism,” preferably Islamic, to continue to empower the central government and fatten one’s friends in the national security industry. And it doesn’t hurt along the way to label some domestic opponents in the same fashion to guarantee one’s political supremacy for the foreseeable future. It’s a win-win.

So, the Biden Administration is either inadvertently or by design setting up the next chapter in its “America goes to war” narrative even as it has not yet figured out how to extricate the soldiers it has sent to assist in the evacuation of Kabul and who are now potential hostages at the airport surrounded by heavily armed Taliban.

But key figures in the Administration and elsewhere inside and outside the government are already looking beyond that, arguing that the new Afghan state will become a terrorist haven and those radicals will look to the United States for a target, as al-Qaeda reportedly did. Jamil Jaffer, founder and executive director of the National Security Institute at George Mason University argues that “There’s no question that the return of the Taliban opens up space in this new Islamic emirate for al Qaeda to return, rebuild a base, and for other groups associated or previously associated with al Qaeda, like ISIS, to return to the region. Jihadi fighters of all stripes will now once again make Afghanistan their home, as they did in the lead-up to 9/11.”

Indeed, some of those “experts” are seeing the twenty years spent in Afghanistan as a plus as it kept in check those extremists who might have been inclined to act in Europe and the US. That of course ignores the continued existence of many other unsettled parts of the world where terrorists of various kinds have been able to flourish successfully without feeling any need to bomb New York. Senators Lindsey Graham and Mark Warner have warned of a likely resurgence in terrorism, as have both General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Graham laments that “The likelihood of an attack coming from Afghanistan now is through the roof.” The Department of Homeland Security has also done its bit, warning that possible Afghanistan-derived attacks from Islamic extremists on or near the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 event “could serve as a catalyst for acts of targeted violence.”

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan, Joe Biden, Taliban, Terrorism 
How about some accountability for Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen?

If you want to know how the United States wound up with “government by stupid” one need only look no farther than some of the recent propaganda put out by members of Congress, senior military officers and a certain former president. President George W. Bush, who started the whole sequence of events that have culminated in the disaster that is Afghanistan, is not yet in prison, but one can always hope.

Regarding the current crisis, former FBI special agent and 9/11 whistleblower Coleen Rowley cited Richard W. Behan who mused over “How perverse we have become. We chastise President Biden for a messy ending of the war in Afghanistan and fail to indict George Bush for its illegal beginning.” She then observed, in her own words on Facebook, “So Rehabilitated War Criminal Bush can maintain his legacy as stalwart statesman as he cutely dances with Ellen DeGeneris and Michelle Obama on television screens. Washington is just a big fact-free political show where the blame game winners are the best manipulators.”

I would add to that the hubris of the “Mission Accomplished” banner on the tower of an aircraft carrier as Bush, wearing a flight suit, inaccurately announced victory and an end of combat in Afghanistan, presumably so he could focus on his new war in Iraq. As the Taliban had not attacked or threatened America, had no means of doing so, and were even willing to turn over “their guest” Osama bin Laden to US justice after the bombing of the USS Cole in late 2000, they were hardly a formidable foe. The Bush Administration refused the offer to surrender bin Laden on four occasions before 9/11 and once more five days after the attack because it wanted a war. Given all of that backstory, what Bush and his posse of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Tenet, Feith, Powell and Libby did was indisputably a war crime. And they followed up with fake intelligence to justify a second war against Saddam Hussein, who had also sought to avoid war by offering to go into voluntary exile. The Nuremberg tribunals considered aggressive war against an unthreatening nation to be the ultimate war crime. That would make it an ultimate war crime times two, not to mention the killing of civilians and torture that went along with it. And President Barack Obama added to that toll by subsequently destroying an unthreatening Libya. Unfortunately, many of those war criminals from the Bush and Obama cliques who are still alive are sitting fat and pretty in retirement or in lucrative private sector positions while the only ones who have been punished are the whistleblowers who tried to stop the madness.

George W. Bush is not particularly good at apologies so it is not surprising that he did not deliver one regarding the war he unnecessarily started and even more unnecessarily prolonged through the US occupation. In his view, the US should now remain in Afghanistan and he claims to be worrying about what will happen to Afghan women in particular and to the growing number of refugees, who he opines should be allowed to enter the United States. His statement includes a tip of the hat to the armed forces: “Many of you deal with wounds of war, both visible and invisible… And some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day, we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage. You took out a brutal enemy and denied Al Qaeda a safe haven while building schools, sending supplies, and providing medical care. You kept America safe from further terror attacks, provided two decades of security and opportunity for millions, and made America proud. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will always honor your contributions.”

The delusional Bush makes it all sound like a mission of mercy which inter alia destroyed a ruthless enemy preparing to strike and kept America free of terror, none of which is true but it certainly sounds nice. But what is really interesting is how the fall of Afghanistan is being used by some to hype Bush’s war on terror, making the case that it is now more important than ever to strengthen US counterterrorism efforts. Which is another way of saying, “keep the cash flowing!” Those who have a vested interest in the war on terror are warning that the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan has raised concerns relating to a possible resurgence of terror groups that might once again use the country as a home base. The frequently wrong on every issue General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that “the United States could now face a rise in terrorist threats from a Taliban-run Afghanistan.”

Of course, if that were the case, Afghanistan might well face a bout of heavy strategic bombing by the United States, so there is not exactly an incentive for them to do something that provocative. Nor do they have the resources to act outside their own borders and they presumably would not welcome any of their “guests” provoking another US invasion.

Milley’s dumb comments on Afghanistan, to include the astonishingly wrong claim that US intelligence did not report in extenso the sorry state of the Afghan Army and the imminent collapse of the government, demonstrate that ignorance on major issues relating to foreign policy is not limited to those who call themselves Republicans. Secretary of State Tony Blinken insists that the retreat from Kabul is not a replay of Saigon, nor were the withdrawal plans, such as they existed, “botched.” Word in Washington is that Blinken will be the designated fall guy for the disaster to protect his boss.

Apart from the Afghanistan fiasco, stupid extends to how the government operates, particularly in Congress. In a recent memo to supporters and constituents Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who heads the Senate Intelligence committee described his top priorities. Three of them are quite interesting. They are: “(1) Root out anti-government extremism, including the white nationalist militias who participated in the January 6th insurrection at our Capitol; (2) Rebuild intelligence community agencies and departments that were understaffed and under-resourced in the previous administration, and (3) Depoliticize our intelligence-gathering apparatus, so these tireless and patriotic public servants can stay above the partisan fray and focus on their jobs: defending the American homeland.”

 

Few Americans are aware of the fact that no U.S. government official, to include congressmen, can in any way mention or discuss Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which is estimated by some observers to consist of as many as 200 tactical nuclear weapons which can be delivered on target by air, land or sea. The prohibition is spelled out in a Department of Energy “classification bulletin” graded Secret, which was issued on September 6, 2012 and bears the file number WPN-136. The subject line reads “Guidance on Release of information Relating to the Potential for an Israeli Nuclear Capability.” It would be interesting to learn exactly how the text of the memo reads, but in spite of repeated attempts to obtain a copy under the Freedom of Information Act, the entire body of the document is completely blacked out.

What is known in that the memo is basically a gag order, presumably issued by the Barack Obama Administration to block any official from making a comment that might be interpreted to mean that the federal government recognizes that Israel has nuclear weapons. The silence over the Israeli arsenal dates back to an agreement made by President Richard Nixon with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. In its most recent manifestation, President Barack Obama, when asked if he knew of “any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons,” responded “I don’t want to speculate.” He was, of course, lying.

The bulletin’s first known victim was Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear policy specialist James Doyle who in 2013 wrote a sentence suggesting that Israel had a nuclear arsenal. It appeared in an article entitled “Why Eliminate Nuclear Weapons?” which had been security cleared by Los Alamos and appeared in the journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. An unknown congressional staffer demanded a review and Doyle had his home computer searched before being fired.

Israel, as is so often the case, gets a free pass on what is for others criminal behavior. Its nuclear program was created by stealing American uranium and weapons technology. Preventing nuclear proliferation was in fact a major objective of the U.S. government when in the early 1960s President John F. Kennedy learned that Tel Aviv was developing a nuclear weapon from a CIA report. He told the Israelis to terminate their program or risk losing American political and economic support but was killed before any steps were taken to end the project.

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

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

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

Milchan admitted in the interview that “I did it for my country and I’m proud of it.” He was not referring to the United States. He also said that “other big Hollywood names were connected to [his] covert affairs.” Among other successes, he obtained through his company Heli Trading 800 krytons, the sophisticated triggers for nuclear weapons. The devices were acquired from the California top secret defense contractor MILCO International. Milchan personally recruited MILCO’s president Richard Kelly Smyth as an agent before turning him over to another Heli Trading employee, future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for handling. Smyth was eventually arrested in 1985 but insofar as is known neither Milchan nor Netanyahu has ever been questioned by the FBI regarding the thefts.

Israel’s nukes are now in the news because of an Op-Ed that surprisingly appeared in the New York Times on August 11th written by Peter Beinart entitled “America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes.” Beinart wrote that “Israel already has nuclear weapons. You’d just never know it from America’s leaders, who have spent the last half-century feigning ignorance. This deceit undercuts America’s supposed commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, and it distorts the American debate over Iran. It’s time for the Biden administration to tell the truth.”

 
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran

America’s foreign policy is a funny thing, except for the fact that it is no laughing matter. Given the recent sentencing of whistleblower Daniel Hale for revealing to the media that the US military’s drone program kills innocent civilians including many children 90% of the time, one has to wonder what the “humanitarian” Joe Biden Administration is up to. Hale will presumably serve 45 months in a federal prison though the actual time in the slammer might be closer to 18 months if he behaves and submits to counseling.

Biden’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama was equally a plague on whistleblowers while also attacking a non-threatening Libya and Syria and overthrowing an elected government in Ukraine, so one has to suspect that there must be something in the Democratic Party’s DNA that induces megalomania. Or maybe there is a hallucinogenic chemical additive in the White House’s water supply, secretly placed by those damned Russians, which produces delusions of grandeur.

The central problem is that for the federal government in Washington, just killing people is not per se a crime as long as it is “bad” people being killed. As long as some government approved procedure is adhered to, it is apparently an intrinsic right of the United States to go to some faraway country that does not threaten America and with which the US is not at war and kill someone in response to some vaguely stated policy. That is what the Global War on Terror backed up by the Authorization to Use Military Force is all about. No one in the government is ever punished for killing people, even including Obama’s offing of American citizens like the Awlaki father and son, droned to death in Yemen. Indeed, within recent memory the only two soldiers who were imprisoned for war crimes in Afghanistan were pardoned subsequently by Donald Trump.

Joe Biden certainly is doing the long overdue right thing by virtue of his withdrawal from Afghanistan and through his agreement to bring home all American combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year. But what about Syria, a continuing US presence for which there is no justification at all in the form of any threat to American interests beyond a contrived argument that President Bashar al-Assad must go to make way for “democracy”?

Indeed, one might argue that the belligerent impulse that has prevailed driven by the so-called neocons and neoliberals persists in the Biden Administration. The top three officers in the State Department are Zionists, one of whom, Victoria Nuland, was the architect of the overthrow of the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich in 2013. The shift by the neocons to the Democratic Party could have been foreseen as many leading figures in the movement did not trust Donald Trump to be belligerent enough and rallied against him behind the #NeverTrump banner. And one should recall that the neocon movement’s founders were hardline and pro-Israel Democrats, several, including the notorious Richard Perle, serving on the staff of Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson of Washington back in the 1970s.

The transition to a neoconnish foreign policy has also been aided by a more aggressive shift among the Democrats themselves, largely due to “foreign interference” being blamed for the party’s failure in 2016. Given their mutual intense hostility to Trump, the doors to previously shunned liberal media outlets have also now opened wide to the stream of neocon-ish self-proclaimed foreign policy “experts” who want to “restore a sense of the heroic” to US national security policy. Eliot A. Cohen and David Frum are favored contributors to the Atlantic while Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss were together at the New York Times prior to Weiss’s resignation last November. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote in 2016 that “It is time for some moral straight talk: Trump is evil incarnate,” is a regular columnist for The Washington Post together with Max Boot, while both she and William Kristol appear regularly on MSNBC.

The fundamental unifying principle that ties many of the mostly Jewish neocons together is, of course, unconditional defense of Israel and everything it does, which leads them to support a policy of American global military dominance which they presume will inter alia serve as a security umbrella for the Jewish state. As a result, the leitmotif of the neocon movement has consisted of its repeated calls for the United States to attack Iran. Every major Jewish foundation that expresses foreign policy views sees Iran as the enemy and that viewpoint has also prevailed among both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who have been corrupted by Israel Lobby money.

One never sees in the mainstream media any analysis of why and how the Iranians actually threaten the United States or a vital American interest, unless one defines protecting Israel as such. And on that issue, there has been no one more assiduous in “protecting Israel” within the US government that Dennis Ross, who is currently a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Ross was a fixture in senior national security positions relating to the Middle East under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. As an ardent Israel firster, Ross was dubbed “Israel’s lawyer” by colleagues and was once admonished in a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who interrupted him when he was arguing in extenso on behalf of Israel. She said that in the future when she wanted the Israel-Likud position from him she would ask for it. Ross is inevitably co-author of an Israel puff piece book “Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny.”

Ross has recently written an article for Bloomberg Opinion that demonstrates just how demented some high level Israel promoters are while also showing that there are no limits when it comes to advancing the perceived interests of the Jewish state. It is entitled “To Deter Iran, Give Israel a Big Bomb” with the subtitle that “The best way to ensure Tehran doesn’t gain the capability to make a nuclear weapon is for the US to empower its ally.”

Ross is not optimistic about the chances that the US will rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015, which Donald Trump, in a major pander to Israel, withdrew from in 2018. Indeed, Ross has been against the agreement since the git-go, parroting the Israeli argument that it was a diversion whereby Iran would be able to secretly develop a weapon. The Biden Administration, led by Secretary of State Tony Blinken and his deputy Wendy Sherman, have persisted in in their drive to add new restrictions to expand the agreement, including restraining Iran’s alleged threatening behavior in the region and its ballistic missile program.

 
Philip Giraldi
About Philip Giraldi

Phil Giraldi is a former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. In addition to TAC, where he has been a contributing editor for nine years, he writes regularly for Antiwar.com. He is currently Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and resides with his wife of 32 years in Virginia horse country close to his daughters and grandchildren.


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