In October 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates coined a generic term to describe the most challenging combatants when waging unconventional warfare. He called them simply “the people in between.” Those people, a dominant force in mainstream American media, comprise a fifth column in support of those skilled at waging war by way of deception.
The term ‘fifth column’ originated in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s to depict forces that clandestinely undermine a populace—from within—to aid an external enemy. The term was later cited as a rationale for interning citizens during WWII, including Germans in the U.K and Japanese in the U.S. Israelis routinely refer to Arab-Israelis as a fifth column residing within what Tel Aviv describes as the Jewish state.
Though misapplied in practice, the term remains an apt depiction of how internal influence can be wielded by a hostile force. In the Information Age, this fifth column focuses on those ‘in between’ domains where modest numbers can wield outsized influence. Television news is optimal as modern-day media operates “in between” a populace and the facts they require for a system of governance reliant on informed consent.
The dominant influence of pro-Israelis in mainstream media is not the focus of this article. Here the focus is Wolf Blitzer at Cable News Network who typifies how “the people in between” manipulate public opinion in plain sight and, to date, with legal impunity.
While working as a Washington correspondent for Jerusalem Post (1973-1990), Blitzer served as an editor of Near East Report, a publication founded by Isaiah Kenen, a registered foreign agent of Israel, who also founded the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC coordinates a network of transnational political operatives known loosely as “the Israel lobby.” Neither AIPAC nor Blitzer has yet registered as a foreign agent in the U.S.
The son of Polish Ashkenazi émigrés, Blitzer first emerged on the media scene in 1989 with the publication of Territory of Lies, an account of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard that The New York Times obligingly included in its list of “Notable Books of the Year.” Reviewer Robert Friedman described Blitzer’s sympathetic treatment of Pollard’s treason (the theft of more than one million classified documents) “a slick piece of damage control that would make his former employers at AIPAC (not to mention Israel’s Defense Ministry) proud.”
As a writer for Hebrew language newspapers in the 1970s, Blitzer wrote under the name Ze’ev Barak—Hebrew for “wolf lightning.” The Blitzer media presence first emerged with his CNN coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Initially a military reporter for CNN, he became a fixture on television news as CNN’s Clinton-era White House correspondent until 1999 when he became a high profile CNN anchor.
Since August 2005, CNN (marketed as “the most trusted name in news”) has featured the former AIPAC editor broadcasting from a White House-associative studio set branded as “The Situation Room.” CNN colleague John King deploys a similar credibility enhancing set by broadcasting from “The State of the Union.”
Abuse of the Public Trust
On one key media principle U.S. law is clear: the airwaves belong to the public. The nation’s Founders knew that the preservation of self-governance depends on an informed populace. That’s why modern-day lawmakers enacted legislation to ensure that media outlets are not concentrated in a few hands, enabling a fifth column to shape public opinion around a predetermined agenda.
Little could America’s first lawmakers have known that an ideologically aligned few would concentrate broadcast media in the hands of those who share an undisclosed bias. When Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fell ill in Israel, Blitzer’s broadcast originated from Jerusalem. Likewise when Israel invaded Lebanon in July 2006. Blitzer again relocated to Israel to focus viewer attention on the situation there.
As Tel Aviv sought to expand the war to Iran, several anti-Zionist rabbis appeared in Tehran alongside Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who echoed their wish that Zionism be “erased from the pages of history” (widely reported as a wish to “wipe Israel off the map”). Rather than interview these dissident rabbis, Blitzer featured David Duke, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan. Rather than associate the Iranian president with anti-Zionism, Blitzer used the Situation Room to associate him with racism and anti-Semitism.
Between the U.S populace and the facts they require for informed consent lies an “in between” domain. In that realm is found a network of like-minded fifth column operatives whose pro-Israeli bias works unseen—yet in plain sight—to shape public opinion around a predetermined agenda. That agenda-shaping “news” routinely features commentators from think tanks who share the same bias.
What is the reach of this media-induced corruption of informed consent? According to CNN’s August 2009 advertising in The New York Times, this cable network delivers trusted news to 70.6 million television viewers in the U.S. What’s been the cost in blood and treasure of this undisclosed bias—not just to the U.S. but also worldwide?
The most trusted name in news featured National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in September 2002 when she issued a fact-free warning about Iraqi WMD: “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” From the Pentagon’s perspective, “the people in between” are waging unconventional warfare. From the perspective of this enemy within, the only unconventional aspect of their deception is the fact that a long-deceived public is now learning about it—many of them for the first time.
The displacement of facts with what a populace can be induced to believe is the very threat to personal freedom that the Founders sought to escape. The only modern aspect of this ancient form of warfare is the reach of the media technologies with which such deception can now operate—as with CNN—on a global scale.
In unconventional warfare, beliefs are deployed as weapons by those waging war by way of deception. Does anyone recall Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda? Iraq’s biological weapons laboratories? The Iraqi meetings in Prague with Al Qaeda? Iraq’s purchases of yellowcake uranium from Niger?
All were alleged true but later proven false or, worse, fabricated. Yet all were widely believed. In combination, those beliefs induced a consensus to wage war in Iraq in response to a mass murder on U.S. soil.
The battlefield has shifted. Ground warfare is secondary. Likewise for airstrikes, naval support and covert operations. Physical operations are all downstream of information operations. False beliefs come first. Psyops precede missiles, and bombs. Hardware ranks a distant third. Foremost are the consensus shapers who manipulate perceptions until a critical mass of phony intelligence is reached. Then comes war.
People are preeminent. Wars are won by those skilled at creating consensus opinions. Where is modern-day warfare waged? Not on the ground; nor in the air or on the seas. The shared mindset is this combatant’s theater of operations. Their battlefield is the shared field of consciousness. Deceit is not new to warfare. What’s new is the technology that enables psyops on a global scale.
The military remains subordinate to politics. But politics are subordinate to those skilled at manipulating consensus beliefs. Decision-making is no better than the information on which decisions depend. Likewise for decision-makers. That’s why U.S. lawmakers have long been targeted by the Israel lobby. [See: “How the Israel Lobby Took Control of the Congress”]
With law-making dependent on information, these mindset manipulators can operate atop the chain of command. In a system of law reliant on informed choice, self-governance can readily be replaced in plain sight by manipulated beliefs and consensus opinions. Thus the motivation for media dominance by Zionists in the U.S., Canada, Germany and elsewhere.
When waged across four key areas, such “Information Operations” can displace democratic lawmaking with a predetermined agenda. Here’s a quick look at each area: geopolitical, strategic, operational and tactical..
Duplicity in Plain Sight
The geopolitical realm is where the “framing” of future conflicts first emerges. The Clash of Civilizations first appeared in 1993 as an article in Foreign Affairs. Three years later, when this thematic framing emerged as a book, more than 100 NGOs were prepared to promote its conflict-of-opposites theme as a sequel to the Cold War—and a prequel to a “global war on terrorism.” That consensus belief emerged just as A Clean Break appeared with its proposal to “secure the realm” (Israel) by removing Saddam Hussein.
Strategically, to evoke a war requires a plausible Evil Doer and a credible provocation. The global branding of the Taliban emerged in the “field” in March 2001 with destruction of the ancient Buddhas at Bamiyan. Widely portrayed as a “cultural Holocaust,” that high-profile act put Afghanistan’s previously obscure Taliban on everyone’s list as certifiably evil. The missing piece: the mass murder of September 11, 2001.
Strongly provoked emotions facilitate the displacement of facts with what “the mark” can be induced to believe—particularly in the presence of Evil Doer pre-staging. The combination of (a) evocation (religious extremism), (b) provocation (911) and (c) association (the Axis of Evil) enhanced the capacity to deceive—fueled by false reports of Iraqi WMD and even ties between the secular Saddam and the fundamentalists of Al Qaeda (they detested each other).
When waging war on the public’s shared mindset, the power of association is one of the most effective weapons. Thus the potent imagery of the peaceful Buddhas at Bamiyan destroyed by violent extremists. Thus too the associative impact of Colin Powell’s appearance at the U.N. Security Council when his credibility was deployed—like a weapon—to spread lies about Iraq’s biological weapons. Not only was Powell “the mark” – so were the U.N. and the U.S.
Operationally, by the time the U.S. was induced to invade Iraq, 100-plus Israeli Mossad agents had been operating in Mosul for more than a decade. Soon after the invasion, several moderate clerics were murdered, enhancing the capacity to provoke a conflict-of-opposites between extremist Shias and more moderate Sunnis, a key to evoking the destabilizing insurgency.
As Information Operations proceed at the geopolitical, strategic and operational level, tactical deceit and misdirection provide key support. A recent provocation—the invasion of Gaza—was scheduled by Tel Aviv between Christmas and the inauguration of a U.S. President who promised change. That timing ensured minimal capacity to criticize.
As critics of Israeli policy emerged in universities, the Anti-Defamation League and its international network mounted an intimidation campaign on a high-profile campus that silenced academics worldwide. [See: “Treason in Plain Sight?”]
To succeed, Information Operations require both deceit and denial of access to the facts required for informed consent. How else can anyone explain the perception that the Zionist state is a democracy—and even an ally?
Democracy assumes that all of us collectively are smarter than any of us individually. Thus the need for an unbiased media to provide the facts with which we can reason together. Thus, in turn, the need for pro-Israeli dominance of mainstream media by those skilled at waging war by way of deception. Thus what we now see portrayed in that domain: a world turned inside out where the aggressor is portrayed as victim and the predator as prey.
With consensus beliefs the upstream target, democracy becomes the downstream casualty. To protect the informed consent essential to liberty requires that those waging war on our shared mindset be made transparent. This method of warfare is ancient; only the means are modern.
The common source of this duplicity remains unknown to the public. There lies the strategic role for online media unadorned by conspiracy theories that obscure the clarity required to wage this battle with confidence.
Unless President Barack Obama resolves to expunge “special” from the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship,” this entangled alliance will continue to ensure that the U.S. is portrayed as guilty by its association with Tel Aviv’s thuggish behavior in Palestine and elsewhere. And by the U.S. insistence that Israel not be held accountable under international law.
On July 3rd, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren claimed “Iran nuke could wipe Israel off the map in seconds.” An accurate translation reveals that what the president of Iran proposes is that Zionism be “erased from the pages of history.” But why quibble over words and their intent when Israel’s intent is to create a consensus that ensures war with Iran?
Two days after Oren’s saber-rattling speech, Vice-President Joe Biden was asked in a televised interview whether the Obama Administration would restrain Israeli military action against Iran. President Obama was then out of the country. A self-proclaimed Zionist, Biden responded, “Israel can determine for itself—it’s a sovereign nation—what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAZmO80dLfE
Unfamiliar with the refrain, “loose lips sink ships,” Biden’s cavalier comment evoked memories of Vice President Dick Cheney who routinely waited until his boss was out of town to make bellicose remarks that moved the U.S. steadily closer to war in Iraq.
Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, scrambled to offset the impression left by Biden’s comment. Astute strategists know it is the small impressions that, step-by-step, form the consensus beliefs that shape policy-making. It was the gradual drip, drip, drip of such impressions that created the (false) consensus belief that Iraq had WMD, ties to Al Qaeda and mobile biological weapons laboratories.
Pro-Israeli pundits quickly claimed that, with Biden’s comment, Washington had given Tel Aviv the green light to attack Iran. Mullen grabbed media attention to reconfirm the obvious: an attack on Iran could have “grave and unpredictable consequences.”
Arrogant, Aggressive & Above the Law
What has Israel done to quell these global jitters? Tel Aviv ordered a long-range Air Force exercise covering the same distance as from Israel to Iran. It dispatched through the Suez Canal a Dolphin class submarine, three of which are widely believed capable of launching a nuclear missile attack. And it sent a “message” to Iran by sailing two Saar class missile ships through the canal into the Red Sea, putting them within striking distance of Tehran.
Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News played its usual supporting role by announcing Israeli Navy Prepares for Potential Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities. To date, Barack Obama has shown little inclination to say no to Tel Aviv and show he means it. Instead, his administration has staffed up with advisers who are disproportionately pro-Israeli—more so even than the Bush and Clinton presidencies.
When in February he failed to support the nomination of Ambassador Charles Freeman as Director of the National Intelligence Council, Obama served global notice of just how much influence Israel wields over U.S. foreign policy. Opposition to Freeman was led by Steven Rosen, a former executive of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Though you would never know it from reports in mainstream media, Rosen had been indicted under the Espionage Act for transferring to the Israeli embassy classified Pentagon intelligence on Iran.
Adding insult to the Freeman injury, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder approved the withdrawal of charges against Rosen and co-conspirator Keith Weissman, another AIPAC executive. After receiving a 12-year sentence for conceding his complicity, Pentagon Iran analyst Lawrence Franklin saw his sentence reduced to time served under house arrest and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. So much for accountability.
Just as he said not a word on Gaza, Obama remained silent on Freeman. Left to twist in the wind by the commander in chief, Freeman withdrew his nomination. When he vowed not to remain silent in his critique of the Israel lobby, Washington Post editors denied there was such a lobby, dismissed his critique as a “conspiracy theory” and attacked his comments as a “crackpot tirade.”
Though AIPAC avowed it took no stand on the appointment, reports confirm it leaned on key senators and later boasted that Obama was a “pushover.” In a fiery rejoinder to his critics, Freeman noted, “This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.”
Palestinians are correct to wonder how Americans could be so unresponsive to their abuse at the hands of a U.S. ally. What those in the Middle East fail to grasp is that Americans do not know. How could they? Mainstream media is dominated by pro-Israelis and the Israeli lobby politically dominates U.S. foreign policy in the region. http://criminalstate.com/blog/?p=99
Freeman was correct in the mid-1990s when he described the lobby’s “virtual hammerlock on American foreign policy.” The only difference now is that Israeli influence has grown far more systemic. An admirer of Israel, Freeman cautions: “Right now it is doing itself in and taking us with it.” By seeking to induce the U.S. to wage war in Iran, Tel Aviv confirms its agenda has little to do with U.S. interests and everything to do with its expansionist goals for the region.
Self-censorship in both politics and media precludes Americans from knowing the perils that accompany the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Nor do Americans know the horrors that this alliance has imposed on Palestinians. Activist Alison Weir dedicated an aptly named website to educating Americans: If Americans Knew. http://www.ifamericansknew.org/
Those who know are rarities. Those who know and criticize Israeli policy are routinely smeared with the toxic charge of anti-Semitism. Following Israel’s assault on Gaza, a high profile intimidation campaign against an academic critic at the University of California worked its intended silencing effect on academic critics nationwide. http://criminalstate.com/blog/?p=94
The behavior of this extremist nationalist enclave thrives in darkness, a condition that aptly describes U.S. media coverage of conditions in Palestine. Steadily more Americans are working to make Israel’s thuggish conduct transparent but the numbers are few and the challenges great.
The U.S. is branded abroad as a nation governed on the basis of informed consent. Yet pro-Israelis maintain a virtual lockdown on information and debate on Israel. The fight for Palestine must be waged and won in the U.S. where the appeasement of Israel relies on a lack of knowledge. If Americans knew, their support would be withdrawn. The U.S.-Israeli relationship will remain “special” only so long as Zionism can continue to operate in the shadows.
Winning wars in the Information Age largely depends on who wins the battle for public opinion. Thus it came as no surprise to see the Anti-Defamation League attack a professor on a high-profile California campus because he was critical of Israeli policy. The ADL’s well-timed intimidation campaign created a chilling effect nationwide that extended over five time-critical months while a new president—promising change—was reassessing U.S.-Israeli policy.
The success of this silencing tactic on a university campus offers a microcosm of how a similar shared bias induced the U.S. to wage war in Iraq based on false intelligence fixed around a pro-Israeli agenda. From late 2001 until March 2003, pro-Israeli war-planners dismissed—or sought to discredit—anyone critical of intelligence fixed around the pre-determined goal of invading Iraq, a strategy long sought by those favoring the expansionist goals of Greater Israel.
At the University of California Santa Barbara, proceedings against sociology Professor William Robinson dragged on until 100 professors and 20 department heads demanded they end. The intimidation campaign spanned the time from the Israeli attack on Gaza to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House. Not until June 24th did university administrators terminate all proceedings. By then, the damage was done—not just to the reputation of Robinson and the University of California but also to national security.
The ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center attacked Robinson after he posted on his website a photo essay critical of Israeli policy that had circulated for weeks on the Internet. In this case, Aaron Ettenberg, a member of the Faculty Senate Charges Committee, collaborated with Santa Barbara rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer who reviled Robinson locally and urged—along with the ADL—that he be disciplined for this “anti-Semitic” conduct.
With the exception of Chancellor Henry Yang, everyone involved was Jewish, including Robinson. At the urging of the rabbi, ADL President Abe Foxman and ADL’s nationwide network, Dr. Yang was intimidated with threats to withhold university funding. Ettenberg had served the previous two years as president of the local chapter of B’nai B’rith, an ADL affiliate. Gross-Schaefer was director of the local chapter of Hillel, another ADL affiliate.
Mark Yudof, president of the University of California, opted not to intervene. His wife, Judith, is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism representing 760 synagogues. She is also a director of Hillel, the Jewish youth organization. As with the dominance of pro-Israelis among war-planners, the bias does not stop there. The chairman of the Board of Regents is Richard Blum whose wife, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, serves as the pro-Israeli, pro-war chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The relevant question is this: Would a faculty member and a rabbi have risked their careers and their reputations absent their confidence that—based on the shared background and bias of senior university administrators—they could operate with impunity? Absent such support, would this ADL-directed operation have dragged on for five months?
Those genuinely concerned about anti-Semitism must explain how this intimidation campaign was allowed to succeed. In the same way that facts were denied a deceived American public in the lead-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, this silencing campaign sought to deny students the facts required to understand the role of Israel in world affairs. Absent access to facts, how can an informed populace preserve a system of self-governance? There is no greater threat to a free people.
Attempts to suppress debate where U.S. policies toward Israel are at stake cut to the core of how national security has been compromised by this entangled alliance. All Americans, including Jewish-Americans, must ensure that those complicit in such conduct are held accountable. And that those targeted are celebrated when, as here, they demonstrate the courage and fortitude to defend academic freedom under pressure from such multi-faceted, well-coordinated assaults.
Intimidation campaigns have long been critical to those whose operations can succeed only when protected from public scrutiny. Where, as here, pro-Israeli operatives seek to silence on-campus critics of a foreign nation, defenders of this nation’s security must fight back by making this behavior transparent and its motives apparent.
Duplicity remains a weapon routinely deployed by those instructed by Tel Aviv to “wage war by way of deception” (the motto of the Israeli Mossad). In the Information Age, why would anyone expect war to be waged in any other way? To prevail in such warfare, a shift in focus is required to make treason transparent before it works its intended impact on public opinion.
Other than an enemy within, who would seek to deny Americans—including college students—the facts needed to make informed choices, especially on an issue as critical as waging war in the Middle East? If not Israel and its advocates, who else would seek to silence critics of Israeli policy just as those who induced the U.S. to war in Iraq intensify their efforts to expand this conflict to Iran? If the behavior described is not treason, what is?
Readers of Guilt By Association know the role played by the power of association when well-timed crises are used to advance a global agenda—specifically to ensure that Israel retains military dominance in the Middle East, its monopoly on nuclear weapons and its refusal—along with Axis of Evil member North Korea—to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Israel long ago mastered this craft as evidenced by its ongoing ability to avoid compliance with agreed-to terms of the Roadmap. Thus it came as no surprise to see a crisis in North Korea just as the pro-Israelis who induced the U.S. to invade Iraq intensified efforts to expand the war to Iran.
After years without a serious incident, both Iran and North Korea detained U.S. journalists over a six-week period in 2009. In early February, National Public Radio’s Roxanna Saberi was detained by Tehran. In mid-March two female employees of Current TV, founded by Al Gore, were detained by Pyongyang and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In early April, North Korea launched a rocket capable of reaching Hawaii, suggesting a threat to the U.S. Meanwhile Tel Aviv upped the pressure on Washington to shut down Iran’s nuclear program, suggesting a threat to Israel. Six weeks later, Pyongyang announced a nuclear test, its first since 2006. Meanwhile Israel insisted that Iran not be appeased or—like North Korea—it would pose a nuclear threat.
When President Obama advanced his proposed engagement with Iran, a Twitter-catalyzed crisis around Iranian elections made such diplomacy unlikely or, at the very least, ineffective. Meanwhile attempts failed to rekindle six-party talks with North Korea, making engagement unlikely and diplomacy ineffective.
Discrediting the U.N.
Simultaneously, the peace-brokering role of the U.N. was sidelined as its credibility continued a steady decline since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Though U.S. war-planners chose not to protect Baghdad’s famous antiquities museum, ensuring widespread looting, the Oil Ministry was captured intact, securing the evidence required to prove U.N. mismanagement of Iraq’s food-for-oil program—with Iran oil-trader Marc Rich again a major player.
This program offered relief from a U.N. embargo for the sale of Iraqi oil to buy food and medicine. In September 2005, an 18-month probe of the $64 billion program found that Saddam Hussein benefitted from kickbacks and oil-smuggling profits, with lucrative commissions paid to the people in between. Findings of lax U.N. oversight were worsened by charges that Koji Annan, son of Secretary General Kofi Annan, profited from insider information and access.
The discrediting of both the U.S. and the U.N. began in February 2003 when Secretary of State Colin Powell was dispatched by war-planners to the U.N. Security Council to vouch for the veracity of intelligence—since proven false—about Iraqi biological weapons. Then high-profile U.S. Senate hearings, chaired by Senators Carl Levin and Norm Coleman, put the food-for-oil scandal in the public eye, further damaging the U.N.’s credibility and effectiveness.
With the U.N. and its leadership at their weakest in recent memory, Israel pressed Annan for a Holocaust memorial at the U.N. and for a day to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the death camps. Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor in the Congress, lobbied reluctant nations. On January 24, 2006, the U.N. saw the first ever prayer service on its premises—the Jewish hymn for martyrs—followed by the Israeli national anthem.
Fast-forward to June 2009 and a cargo ship departed North Korea enroute to Myanmar trailed by a U.S. warship that, under a U.N. resolution, could not use force for interdiction. Pyongyang portrayed any interference as an act of war and assembled 100,000 marchers to denounce the U.S. while its leaders promised, if provoked, to “wipe out” the U.S.
A month earlier, Myanmar elections were thrown into crisis with the arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Her May 27th detention enables avoidance by the ruling junta of the open elections promised in 2010 as part of the “roadmap to democracy.” In a well-timed incident, the Nobel peace laureate was taken into custody for violating the terms of her house arrest when she allowed an intruder to stay at her home for two days after he swam to her compound.
The intruder, American John Yettaw, claimed he was on “a mission” to warn her that she would be assassinated. He swam over a mile to her heavily guarded compound using cardboard flippers and plastic containers for flotation. Described by a member of Suu Kyi’s staff as “a nutty fellow,” Yattaw covered the distance carrying the book of Mormon, the ‘revealed’ text of a Zionist sect whose devotees are called “Latter Day Saints” and “The Lost Tribe of Israel.”
With another totalitarian regime (Myanmar) potentially gaining access to nuclear technology, Tel Aviv gained another “associative” case it can cite to oppose Iran’s nuclear program. Meanwhile an election crisis catalyzed another rallying cry for regime change in the Middle East—in Iran.
U.S. credibility in the Middle East was undercut months ago when Dennis Ross was appointed State Department special envoy to Iran. A senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, a think tank founded by the Israel lobby, he has since been promoted to senior director of the National Security Council. Americans can only hope that—in that position—he will be closely monitored by those committed to restoring the national security of this nation.
In Iranian politics, few loom larger that Hashemi Rafsanjani. Yet for whom does he work—really?
As chairman of the Assembly of Experts, he oversees the selection, monitoring and dismissal of Iran’s Supreme Leader. As Chair of the Expediency Council, he mediates legislative conflicts. As President of Iran from 1989-1997, he created a power base dating back to his study of theology with Ayatollah Khomeini. But that was then; what about now?
To grasp his role in this “election” requires a reflection on whose interests are best served by crises in the region. Serial crises are essential to sustain the plausibility of the much-touted Clash of Civilizations as a means to justify a “global war on terrorism.” When Mahmoud Ahmadenijad won out over Rafsanjani in a 2005 bid for the presidency, the result was a spokesperson with little political power but a high-profile platform.
In today’s media-saturated politics, candidates are akin to brands. Soon after their release in the market, each is identified with a message. Ahmadenijad was quickly branded the world’s most famous anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. As the academics say: Cui bono—who benefits? Which nation gained most from that branding? Iran? Or Israel?
For an enclave dependent for support on branding itself the unwitting victim of a hostile, anti-Semitic world, who better to freshen up that brand? If so, what role does Rafsanjani play in a nation whose leaders have long collaborated with Israel in duplicitous operations?
Those operations, too numerous to describe, include the Israeli-enabled, presidency-discrediting Iran-Contra affair that Ronald Reagan denied and then was forced to admit. That clumsy arms-for-hostages exchange aided Iran in its war with Iraq, then a U.S. ally, and resulted in 11 federal convictions for Reagan-era officials. All were pardoned.
What role does Rafsanjani play in the casting for a real life drama that, if events continue on course, is poised to discredit another U.S. president? What we know is this. Ahmadinejad charged the Grey Eminence and his family with massive corruption, including racketeering, embezzlement and money laundering. That appears accurate. The Rafsanjani clan emerged wealthy beyond measure, including one son who is allegedly a billionaire in a nation long plagued with the ravages of poverty and false piety.
We also know that Rafsanjani, a billionaire also known as “the shark,” financed the campaign of opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. As Prime Minister, Mousavi was Tehran’s go-between for Iran-Contra. He also reportedly served as Iran’s middleman for the October 1983 bombing in Beirut that killed 241 Marines.
The question remains: for whom was he a middleman—really? For the bombing, was he the go-between with Hezbollah terrorists blamed for the attack? That may well be true. Yet former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky insists that Israeli intelligence had a complete description of the truck used in that attack—and chose not to alert their ally.
That mass murder prompted the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region, leaving the Middle East vulnerable to political manipulation by whatever nation proved most adept at the craft. Cui bono? Did Iran benefit from that bombing? Lebanon? Or Israel?
Any conclusions must remain conjectural until more is known about the role played by Israel and pro-Israelis in fixing the intelligence that induced the U.S. to invade Iraq. And may yet induce an attack on Iran aided by a well-timed crisis that may deter the direct negotiations that Washington proposed—and Tel Aviv opposed.
Readers of Guilt By Association know that analysis pivots off a person identified as “John Doe.” He encountered the Grey Eminence two decades ago while profiling the transnational criminal syndicate chronicled there. Rafsanjani was then selling an office building in Manhattan built by the Shah of Iran.
The top floors were occupied by arbitrageur Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken’s co-conspirator in securities frauds for which both were convicted. Boesky spent two years in Iran for purposes that remain obscure. Doe negotiated the sale with Pincus Green, the partner of Marc Rich who was then illegally trading oil with Iran—when Rafsanjani was president.
Rich’s defense team was led by Nixon White House counsel Leonard Garment and Lewis Libby who then worked in the Pentagon for Paul Wolfowitz in the G.H.W. Bush era. All four men are Ashkenazim. For G.W. Bush, Libby emerged as Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney when Wolfowitz, as Deputy Secretary of Defense, became a lead advocate for invading Iraq in response to the mass murder of 911.
In May 2007, Libby was found guilty on four federal charges for his attempts to obscure the fixing of intelligence that induced the invasion in pursuit of the expansionist goals for Greater Israel. The neoconservatives who advanced that agenda have since confirmed that their primary target was—and remains—Iran.
History is best understood in hindsight. Yet where, as here, behavior patterns repeat over multiple decades, Americans who continue to put their faith in false friends may find themselves repeating past tragedies. To avoid future calamities, Iranians had best grasp that neither this election—nor the Grey Eminence—may be what they seem.
The election crisis in Iran began May 18th when President Obama granted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a White House press conference. From that high profile pulpit, this Likud Party leader announced that Iran was Israel’s top priority and that Israeli settlements would continue to expand despite U.S. objections.
By providing that opening to right-wing Israeli interests, Obama enabled a geopolitical manipulation that would not mature until a month later when a post-election crisis in Iran provided an opportunity to vilify Tehran while proceeding with the settlements.
The catalyst for this crisis was a social network “Twitter attack” in Iran that began June 13th, the day after the election. “IranElection” was the most popular keyword for tens of thousands of tweets, half of them featuring the same profile photo. Over 40% of the Twitter.com users came from the U.S., lending plausibility to the charge that this was not an Israeli but a U.S. operation meant to destabilize Iran by spreading charges of election fraud.
Mainstream media declined to mention that pre-election polling showed President Ahmadinejad a two-to-one favorite. Nor was there any reference to his opponent’s plans to privatize the oil and gas industry. Aware of how that path led to an entrenched oligarchy in Russia, it’s easy to see why mainstream Iranians rejected that future.
Asked about Tehran’s response to the protests, Netanyahu said “the true nature of this regime has been unmasked….this is a regime that oppresses its people.” The crisis also enabled him again to portray Iran’s nuclear program as “an international danger” that “should be dealt with by an international effort led by the United States.”
For those concerned at Israeli influence over U.S. foreign policy, Obama’s comment on June 23rd offered hope. In assessing this multi-front crisis, he noted that the U.S. “is not a tool to be exploited by other nations.”
If not Israel, what nation can exploit the U.S.—from the inside? What nation benefits from this crisis? If not Tel Aviv, what government has the means, motive, opportunity and stable nation state intelligence to conduct such operations?
If the U.S. is induced to invade Iran, no plausible outcome would be successful at preventing the conflict from spreading—lending plausibility to the widely touted Clash of Civilizations. Just as Israel seeks to delegitimize and vilify Iran, so too an attack on Iran would see the U.S. discredited and despised for allowing itself—yet again—to be exploited by Israel.
For Tehran to enrich uranium poses no threat to U.S. interests. President Kennedy saw the real threat. He sought in June 1963 to ensure that Israel did not develop nuclear weapons. His assassination brought to office a president with different priorities.
Citing an “existential threat” from Iran, a nuclear-armed Israel now deploys increasingly transparent efforts to exploit its “special relationship” with the U.S. to advance its interests. Yet war game strategists agree that an attack—any attack—would ignite a wave of anti-Americanism, further weakening us financially, militarily and diplomatically. That outcome is well known both in Washington and in Tel Aviv. These same pro-Israeli exploiters induced the U.S. to invade Iraq with the allure of a quick victory more than six years ago.
By June 23rd, Netanyahu was sufficiently emboldened to announce that even arguing about the settlements was “a waste of time.” Meanwhile Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave the green light for a settlement covering 212 acres of Palestinian farmland far from the main settlement blocs and several miles inside the West Bank.
While insisting “our hand is extended for peace,” Tel Aviv once again insisted on conditions certain to preclude peace. For veterans of this duplicity, this behavior is all too familiar. During the 1956 Sinai war, a captured Egyptian colonel conceded that his troops were put on high alert every time David Ben-Gurion insisted “our hands are extended for peace.”
To his credit, Obama has not—as yet—allowed himself to be drawn deeply into the fray in Iran. It’s unclear how much of the credit is due to a national security team familiar with how Tel Aviv exploits its allies to wage wars for Greater Israel. The Joint Chiefs may well stand united in their opposition, hardened by their experience with pro-Israelis who fixed the intelligence that induced our invasion of Iraq.
Barack Obama enabled this behavior by granting an Israeli leader a global platform. Is this ‘candidate of change’ advising Americans to no longer view Israel as an ally? That’s the change Tel Aviv most fears. Is he signaling what the facts confirm: Israel is neither friend nor ally but a deceiver and an enemy within? Is this president prepared to put a priority on holding accountable those who gave aid and comfort to these exploiters?