Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Israel’s Fifth Column

Exercising control from inside the government

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 4, 2018

Referring to Israel during an interview in August 1983, U.S. Navy Admiral and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Thomas Moorer said “I’ve never seen a President — I don’t care who he is — stand up to them. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn’t writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip these people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don’t have any idea what goes on.”

Moorer was speaking generally but he had something specific in mind, namely the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the American intelligence ship, U.S.S. Liberty, which killed 34 American crewmen and wounded 173 more. The ship was operating in international waters and was displaying a huge stars and stripes but Israeli warplanes, which had identified the vessel as American, even strafed the life rafts to kill those who were fleeing the sinking ship. It was the bloodiest attack on a U.S. Naval vessel ever outside of wartime and the crew deservedly received the most medals ever awarded to a single ship based on one action. Yes, it is one hell of a story of courage under fire, but don’t hold your breath waiting for Hollywood to make a movie out of it.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, may he burn in hell, had ordered the recall of U.S. carrier planes sent to aid the stricken vessel, saying that he would prefer the ship go to the bottom rather than embarrass his good friend Israel. Then came the cover-up from inside the U.S. government. A hastily convened and summarily executed board of inquiry headed by Admiral John McCain, father of the senator, deliberately interviewed only a handful of crewmen before determining that it was all an accident. The sailors who had survived the attack as well as crewmen from Navy ships that arrived eventually to provide assistance were held incommunicado in Malta before being threatened and sworn to secrecy. Since that time, repeated attempts to convene another genuine inquiry have been rebuffed by congress, the White House and the Pentagon. Recently deceased Senator John McCain was particularly active in rejecting overtures from the Liberty survivors.

The Liberty story demonstrates how Israel’s ability to make the United States government act against its own interests has been around for a long time. Grant Smith of IRMEP, cites how Israeli spying carried out by AIPAC in Washington back in the mid-1980s resulted in a lopsided trade agreement that currently benefits Israel by more than $10 billion per year on the top of direct grants from the U.S. Treasury and billions in tax exempt “charitable” donations by American Jews.

If Admiral Moorer were still alive, I would have to tell him that the situation vis-à-vis Israeli power is much worse now than it was in 1983. He would be very interested in reading a remarkable bit of research recently completed by Smith demonstrating exactly how Israel and its friends work from inside the system to corrupt our political process and make the American government work in support of Jewish state interests. He describes in some detail how the Israel Lobby has been able to manipulate the law enforcement community to protect and promote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda.

A key component in the Israeli penetration of the U. S. government has been President George W. Bush’s 2004 signing off on the creation of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI) within the Department of the Treasury. The group’s website proclaims that it is responsible for “safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats,” but it has from its founding been really all about safeguarding Israel’s perceived interests. Grant Smith notes however, how “the secretive office has a special blind spot for major terrorism generators, such as tax-exempt money laundering from the United States into illegal Israeli settlements and proliferation financing and weapons technology smuggling into Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons complex.”

The first head of the office was Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey, who operated secretly within the Treasury itself while also coordinating regularly both with the Israeli government as well as with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, WINEP and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Levey also traveled regularly to Israel on the taxpayer’s dime, as did his three successors in office.

Levey left OTFI in 2011 and was replaced by David Cohen. It was reported then and subsequently that counterterrorism position at OTFI were all filled by individuals who were both Jewish and Zionist. Cohen continued the Levey tradition of resisting any transparency regarding what the office was up to. Smith reports how, on September 12, 2012, he refused to answer reporter questions “about Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, and whether sanctioning Iran, a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, over its internationally-inspected civilian nuclear program was an example of endemic double standards at OTFI.”

Cohen was in turn succeeded in 2015 by Adam Szubin who was then replaced in 2017 by Sigal Pearl Mandelker, a former and possibly current Israeli citizen. All of the heads of OTFI have therefore been Jewish and Zionist. All work closely with the Israeli government, all travel to Israel frequently on “official business” and they all are in close liaison with the Jewish groups most often described as part of the Israel Lobby. And the result has been that many of the victims of OTFI have been generally enemies of Israel, as defined by Israel and America’s Jewish lobbyists. OTFI’s Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN), which includes sanctions and enforcement options , features many Middle Eastern Muslim and Christian names and companies but nothing in any way comparable relating to Israel and Israelis, many of whom are well known to law enforcement otherwise as weapons traffickers and money launderers . And once placed on the SDN there is no transparent way to be removed, even if the entry was clearly in error.

Here in the United States, action by OTFI has meant that Islamic charities have been shut down and individuals exercising their right to free speech through criticism of the Jewish state have been imprisoned. If the Israel Anti-Boycott Act succeeds in making its way through congress the OTFI model will presumably become the law of the land when it comes to curtailing free speech whenever Israel is involved.

The OTFI story is outrageous, but it is far from unique. There is a history of American Jews closely attached to Israel being promoted by powerful and cash rich domestic lobbies to act on behalf of the Jewish state. To be sure, Jews who are Zionists are vastly overrepresented in all government agencies that have anything at all to do with the Middle East and one can reasonably argue that the Republican and Democratic Parties are in the pockets of Jewish billionaires named Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban.

Neoconservatives, most of whom are Jewish, infiltrated the Pentagon under the Reagan Administration and they and their heirs in government and media (Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol) were major players in the catastrophic war with Iraq, which, one of the architects of that war, Philip Zelikow, described in 2004 as being all about Israel. The same people are now in the forefront of urging war with Iran.

American policy towards the Middle East is largely being managed by a small circle of Orthodox Jews working for presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. One of them, David Friedman, is currently U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who has no diplomatic or foreign policy credentials, is a Zionist Jew who is also a supporter of the illegal settlements on the West Bank and a harsh critic of other Jews who in any way disagree with the Israeli government. He has contributed money to settlement construction, which would be illegal if OTFI were doing its job, and has consistently defended the settlers while condemning the Palestinians in speeches in Israel. He endlessly and ignorantly repeats Israeli government talking points and has tried to change the wording of State Department communications, seeking to delete the word “occupied” when describing Israel’s control of the West Bank. His humanity does not extend beyond his Jewishness, defending Israel’s shooting thousands of unarmed Gazan protesters and the bombing of schools, hospitals and cultural centers. How he represents the United States and its citizens who are not dual nationals must be considered a mystery.

Friedman’s top adviser is Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who is described by the Embassy as an expert in “Jewish education and pro-Israel advocacy.” Once upon a time, in an apparently more enlightened mood, Lightstone described Donald Trump as posing “an existential danger both to the Republican Party and to the U.S.” and even accused him of pandering to Jewish audiences. Apparently when opportunity knocked he changed his mind about his new boss. Pre-government in 2014, Lightstone founded and headed Silent City, a Jewish advocacy group supported by extreme right-wing money that opposed the Iran nuclear agreement and also worked to combat the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He is reportedly still connected financially with anti BDS groups, which might be construed as a conflict of interest. As the Senior Adviser to Friedman he is paid in excess of $200,000 plus free housing, additional cash benefits to include a 25% cost of living allowance and a 10% hardship differential, medical insurance and eligibility for a pension.

So, what’s in it all for Joe and Jill American Citizens? Not much. And for Israel? Anything, it wants, apparently. Sink a U.S. warship? Okay. Tap the U.S. Treasury? Sure, just wait a minute and we’ll draft some legislation that will give you even more money. Create a treasury department agency run exclusively by Jews that operates secretly to punish critics of the Jewish state? No brainer. Meanwhile a bunch of dudes at the Pentagon are dreaming of new wars for Israel and the White House sends an ignorant ambassador and top aide overseas to represent the interests of the foreign government in the country where they are posted. Which just happens to be Israel. Will it ever end?

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Despite Civilian-Targeting US Sanctions, Damascus University Excels

By Franklin Lamb | Al-Manar | March 11, 2013

Damascus – Students everywhere are special people and this observer has discovered that Syrian students are among the very best.

Meeting and interviewing students again this past week, before and following a frank and enlightening discussion with Prof. Dr. Mohammad Amer Al-Mardini, the indefatigable President of Damascus University, about the situation of the students and current instruction at the University, one cannot, even as a foreigner, fail to feel pride in Syrian students.

Good meeting places, among others on campus, include “outdoor cafes” — a ‘street student union’ of sorts — consisting of a few chairs and portable tables. They are scattered among the dozens of vendor stalls that line “DU Boulevard” outside the main DU campus in central Damascus. Here students can buy everything from school supplies to mobile phones to snacks. It’s a perfect place to meet and chat with students.

One learns from them about the many effects on the education system in Syria of the US-led sanctions. Some argue that the Obama administration actually fuels the current crisis with its sanctions and achieves the opposite result of what the White House and its allies claim they are seeking.
These freewheeling discussions leave a foreigner with a reminder why this student body ranks among the best in the World. How Damascus University has to date reacted to this crisis evidences the same status.

Currently there are more than 200,000 full-time and ‘open-learning’ students at Damascus University, the 6th largest in the World. The core institutes of the University were established in 1901; they were the medicine and law institutes that formed the basis of the Syrian University that was established in 1923. In 1958, it got its current name, Damascus University when Aleppo University was established.

All of the students are feeling the effects of the Obama Administration’s harsh civilian-targeting sanctions and many are increasingly in the cross-hairs of the “humanitarian sanctions which Washington and Brussels claim “exempt food, medicines and medical supplies” and therefore “should be considered humane.”

Among DU Faculties most severely affected by the US-led sanctions are the Science Departments and the Medical and Nursing schools according to administration and student sources. Chemicals used in various science classes, medicines and medical equipment cannot be found as before and if some are brought in from Europe or elsewhere, the University often has to pay four times the normal price.

Utah’s Brigham Young University gained the respect and appreciation of many in Syria for its shipments to DU’s nursing school of medicines and equipment and even “model doll babies” which in Syria use in baby care classes. All are now banned by the US sanctions which claim to exempt medical equipment and medicines.

Damascus University, with its 36 specialized faculties and five higher institutes is no banking-hours institution and its proven commitment is to give the highest possible quality education to as many students as possible. Syria’s largest university is now open for classes 365 days a year minus a few holidays and a few short breaks for her professors and overworked staff, partly due to the increased number of students arriving from across Syria. The DU administration and faculty work with faculties in war zones to guarantee students can continue their studies without missing key exams required for semester advancement. Still, about 20% of college level students are unable to attend due to transportation and displacement problems.

One direct and predictable severe impact of the US-led civilian-targeting sanctions in Syria is that they have essentially stranded approximately 700 Damascus University students in Europe and half a dozen in the US, forcing some to take leaves of absence and find jobs to survive. This is because, as is well known among the US Treasury Department “craftsmen” who devise the sanctions, these students are no longer able to receive funds for Damascus University to pay for their foreign tuition or living expenses because the banking system has been essentially shut down. More than 1500 Syrian students from other institution of higher learning are similarly stranded as a direct result of the US-led sanctions.

Never the less, Damascus University keeps its commitment to pay the students their tuition fees and their living cost as they are on full scholarships. Currently, parents must pick up the funds from the University accountant and find a way to transfer them. Should they decide to send it via Western Union, for example, a new “sanctions surcharge” of 70 euros for every 1,000 euros sent, is demanded by WU and other money transfer agencies, suggesting another form of war profiteering.

To make things even more difficult for the students, foreign universities which might consider lending their stranded Syrian students tuition money or might even consider aiding them with scholarships or a grant have been “chilled” and are backing-off because these institutions do not want to be accused of “sanction-busting” by the US Treasury hound dogs.
Few food or medicine suppliers — given the sanctions’ language, the meanings of which is uncertain even for their own lawyers, some of whom have declared it incomprehensible — want to risk the wrath of the US Treasury Department and be slapped with severe penalties including very expensive fines by dealing with anyone in Syria.

One of the US Treasury hound dogs is David Cohen, Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Late last month, Mr. Cohen made a trip to the region (including Israel) to brief allies and businesses as well as NGO’s “to be sure the sanctions were biting hard” to use a favorite phase of UN Ambassador Susan Rice. The Obama administration, reportedly frustrated by the fact that its multi-tiered sanctions have failed to topple the governments of Syria and Iran, has been attempting to find and plug loopholes in the sanctions and are intensifying warnings to the international community not to mess with the US Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) or the Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) by getting all wobbly-kneed and going soft on full sanction enforcement.

Meanwhile, Syria’s Department of Education is joining the struggle to shield Syria’s education institutions and is being joined by various student associations. To date, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education have not cut their substantial disbursements to schools and faculties. Tuition remains among the lowest in the world (almost free; 5 US $ a year with the current exchange rate) at Damascus University, which also provides housing for 15,000 students. The DU administration is currently under pressure to find more dormitory space for those needing housing.

Still, despite the conflict, even in Deraa near the Jordanian border where the current crisis started, DU’s campus continues to function.

Many DU students are also volunteering with assisting Syrian primary schools which urgently need their help. According to a December 2012 UNICEF education assessment of primary schools in Syria — at least 2,400 schools have been damaged or destroyed, including 772 in Idlib (50 per cent of the total), 300 in Aleppo and another 300 in Deraa. Over 1,500 schools are being used as shelters for displaced persons. The Damascus University community has also taken on the humanitarian challenge of assisting sister educational institutions that have been affected by the current crisis including campuses in Homs, Deir al Zur and Aleppo, among others.

This observer has met several Damascus University students among the 9,000 volunteers, including Palestinian refugees, who are donating their time working with the Syria Red Crescent Society (SARCS). Many DU students are also volunteering by assisting at primary schools.

The grim reality for Syrian families, hospitals, health care facilities and now university students and educational institutions across the country is that the claimed “humanitarian” exemptions for food, medicine and medical equipment is little more than News-Speak.

Rather than target the people who represent Syria’s future leaders, the White House would do better to cancel its sanctions and send Secretary Kerry to Damascus to meet face-to-face with the Syrian people and government and demonstrate a real American interest in stopping the bloodshed. Armored vehicles and assorted “non-lethal aid” to one side in this conflict will only prolong the killing, as any student here will attest.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Syria and can be reached c/o fplamb@gmail.com

March 13, 2013 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment