We petition the Obama Administration to Invite Medea Benjamin to the White House for a beer.
On May 23, 2013, President Obama gave an important address at the National Defense University. Near the end, indefatigable peace activist, Medea Benjamin, pled with the President to consider important issues he had not addressed directly in his speech. The President stated, “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to.”
We the undersigned believe the same. We encourage President Obama to invite Ms. Benjamin to the White House for a beer or two, so that he may redeem his pledge.
It needs 150 signatures before it goes up on their front page.
For anyone unfamiliar with the subject, here are two excerpts from the May 24th edition of Democracy Now:
I don’t watch much television and don’t trust any TV news outlet on the subjects of war, peace, economic justice or the environment. But I turned the TV on early this morning, to watch how the media dealt with Obama’s visit to Israel.
I grazed NBC, CBS and ABC early news. I was annoyed by FOX News coverage, which continues to portray Obama as not nearly loyal enough to Israel to qualify as an American president. I turned to CNN, where live reports were coming in to the American News Desk from their senior reporter and former key employee of the Israel America Public Affairs Committee, Wolf Blitzer, who is traveling with the presidential entourage.
I watched, during the joint press conference held by Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem (not the seat of the Israeli government recognized by the government of the USA), as Obama was asked about reported use by the Syrian government, or by the rebels, of chemical weapons, within the past few days. Obama addressed the reports:
With respect to chemical weapons, we intend to investigate thoroughly exactly what happened.
So I’ve instructed my teams to work closely with all other countries in the region and international organizations and institutions to find out precisely whether this red line was crossed.
The broader point is that once we establish the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game changer and I won’t make an announcement today about next steps because I think we have to gather the facts. But I do think that when you start seeing weapons that can cause potential devastation and mass causalities and you let that genie out of the bottle, then you are looking potentially at even more horrific scenes than we’ve already seen in Syria, and the international community has to act on that additional information.
Iraq is where we’ve been shown more horrific scenes than in Syria, time and time again, in spite of the firings, censorship and threats of retribution that have kept the media acquiescent, right up to the present. Dahr Jamail, on Democracy Now this morning, described our use of what have to be regarded as “red-line”-crossing chemical weapons – depleted uranium and white phosphorus – in Iraq, particularly in the battles of Fallujah (emphasis added):
And going on to Fallujah, because I wrote about this a year ago, and then I returned to the city again this trip, we are seeing an absolute crisis of congenital malformations of newborn. There is one doctor, a pediatrician named Dr. Samira Alani, working on this crisis in the city. She’s the only person there registering cases. And she’s seeing horrific birth defects. I mean, these are extremely hard to look at. They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to, because of the amount of depleted uranium used by the U.S. military during both of their brutal attacks on the city of 2004, as well as other toxic munitions like white phosphorus, among other things.
And so, what this has generated is, from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the aftermath of—in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were—that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II. So, Dr. Samira Alani actually visited with doctors in Japan, comparing statistics, and found that the amount of congenital malformations in Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings.
These types of birth defects, she said—there are types of congenital malformations that she said they don’t even have medical terms for, that some of the things they’re seeing, they’ve never seen before. They’re not in any of the books or any of the scientific literature that they have access to. She said it’s common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, baby’s being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye—really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects.
And it is ongoing.
It is ongoing. 14 times greater malformation rate than experienced by the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
And the same scoundrels who prepped us to go into an insane and criminal war against Iraq, are going to force us into what will end up being a nuclear war against Iran. In the same press conference Wednesday where Obama threatened some warlike response against Syria, he refused to confront Netanyahu about Iran’s nuclear intentions. Instead, he asked to be brought to the nearest donkey that needed servicing.
Here’s Obama on the Syrian chemical weapon report:
Here’s Dahr Jamail on our use of illegal chemical weapons in Iraq:
Personal note: The combination of the second anniversary of the Fukushima reactor explosions and subsequent meltdowns, the tenth anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie and the tenth anniversary of the beginning of our Iraq War depressed me so much, I found it hard to write about politics, public affairs or the environment for almost a week. Maybe I’ll bounce back.
I. A whole lot of people hooked on Ziocaine got punked last week by a prank article published in The Jewish Press. The article touted an upcoming concert in Israel by The Rolling Stones:
Despite a barrage of attacks from British, European and U.S. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups, the Rolling Stones will perform their planned concert in Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Monday, April 15.
“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s leader and most recognizable member since 1963. “All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday.”
Needless to say, tickets to both concerts, Monday night in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and Tuesday night in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, have been sold out even as Jagger was speaking.
The hoax article went further into details of the fictitious concert series.
Unsurprisingly, some took the bait in spite of a disclaimer (“This has been a Purim prank…”). My favorite:
Some of the web sites or publications falling for it were jns.org:
Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.
Legendary rock band The Rolling Stones has announced it will not cancel its planned concert in Jerusalem, to be held on Israel’s Independence Day April 15, despite pressure from anti-Zionist groups. Instead, the band decided to add a second Jerusalem concert the next day.
“We’ve been slammed and smacked and twittered a lot by the anti-Israeli side. All I can say is: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. So we decided to add a concert on Tuesday,” said Mick Jagger, the band’s lead singer, according to the Jewish Press.
Thus—essentially saying, “I was testing you”—Geller pretended to be in on the joke. However, there are several reasons why this is implausible:
1. Geller acknowledged that it was a Purim joke. But by the time of she had posted her story on February 26, Purim was already over. It would be like making an April Fool’s joke on April 2.
2. Geller didn’t quote directly from the original Jewish Press article but instead based her post on Robert Miller’s Joshuapundit article. To this day, Miller appears unaware that the story is a hoax and his post stands uncorrected. There is no indication that Geller had seen the original article in The Jewish Press before she posted.
3. Despite claiming that she was proving a clever point, Geller later removed the posting from her website and also deleted her tweet referencing it. What’s the point of making a point and then deleting all references to the point?
II. So The Rolling Stones aren’t going to Israel in April, after all. How about Obama in March, especially if he doesn’t have an Israeli Government with whom to meet?
President Barack Obama’s historic first visit as US leader to Israel this month could be in jeopardy after Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to plead for extra time to cobble together a new coalition government.
The Israeli prime minister was granted a two-week extension by Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, after missing Saturday’s deadline to reach agreement with rival parties following January’s inconclusive general election.
He now has until March 16 to form a government – otherwise Mr Peres will ask another party leader to lead coalition talks.
White House officials have said Mr Obama will call off his visit if no government is in place by then.
The US president is scheduled to arrive on March 20 for a two-day trip that will also include the West Bank city of Ramallah.
If you find Israeli party politics bewildering, you are not alone. I suppose Netanyahu himself is bewildered by the maze he helped build, and in which he is now all but trapped:
Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu won 31 of the Knesset’s 120 seats – an eroded lead that forced him to cast a wide net for partners while juggling their disparate demands.
During the 28-day period, Netanyahu managed to forge a pact only with the party of former foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, whose six-member faction “The Movement” has given him 37 seats, way short of the minimum 61 needed to confirm a new coalition.
In a brief statement following his meeting with Peres on Saturday night, Netanyahu hinted that at least one potential coalition partner refused to sit alongside others.
Netanyahu has faced demands from the parties that placed second and fourth, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), to slash mass exemptions from military conscription and cut welfare stipends to ultra-Orthodox Jews.
In coalition talks on Friday with Bayit Yehudi, Netanyahu’s chief negotiator said the right-wing party was unwilling to sit alongside ultra-Orthodox parties but Bayit Yehudi officials denied this.
At Mondoweiss, Annie Robbins has provided an excellent, detailed analysis of Netanyahu’s pickle, which most likely adds up to no Israeli ruling coalition by the date set for Obama’s trip. She observes that in spite of gains by moderate factions in the January election, the hardliners seem to hold the last trump. Playing it – accepting the notion of outright annexation of Palestine without giving the non-Jewish Palestinians any citizenship rights – will isolate Israel internationally, certainly from Europe and most of Latin America.
Pressures on the disagreeing parties to come up with something so as to avoid a cancellation or rescheduling of Obama’s trip are probably there, but insignificant. One shouldn’t forget that there is far more antipathy toward Obama in Israel than there is, even among white GOP conservatives and Tea Party fanatics, in the USA.
REI CEO Sally Jewell will be nominated for Secretary of the Interior.
The Obama administration has announced that they will nominate Recreational Equipment Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Sally Jewell, to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior:
Jewell is an outdoor enthusiast with a conservation background. But she has a mechanical engineering degree and worked for Mobil Oil, now Exxon Mobil, in Oklahoma and Colorado for three years after college. She also spent 19 years in the commercial banking industry before she became an executive for REI.
Among the banks Jewell worked for was Washington Mutual, where she was employed when the financial institution was growing rapidly from local savings bank to sub-prime lending giant, gobbling up eleven smaller banks along the way.
While at WaMu, Jewell became an REI board member, and progressed up to CEO. I’ve read several favorable articles or member newsletters about her activities there. I’ve been a member of the co-op since early 1966, when I joined to get some of their fine rock climbing rope and hardware.
At the time of her nomination, Jewell was still a board member of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, where my daughter Julia, an Americorps employee there, got to know her.
When I told Julia about the nomination, she was surprised: “Oh. My. God!”
Her impressions of Jewell are very positive. She’s concerned that the nominee will get eaten alive in the cynical environment of the secretarial confirmation process.
Julia relates that Jewell has been very outspoken and public in her support of LBGT issues in Washington, and in the same-sex marriage initiative there. She also had not heard any chatter in the Seattle area about Jewell being a possible nominee. A lot of people had been talking up former Washington Governor, Christine Gregoire.
I thought Obama would probably nominate former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, or Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Drilling advocates in Congress said they wanted to know more. Jewell will face intensive questioning during her confirmation hearings from Republicans who argue that Obama hasn’t done enough for drilling on federal lands.
“I look forward to hearing about the qualifications Ms. Jewell has that make her a suitable candidate to run such an important agency, and how she plans to restore balance to the Interior Department,” said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The oil industry offered a cautious response to the nomination.
“We look forward to learning how Sally Jewell’s business background and experience in the oil and natural gas industry will shape her approach to the game-changing prospects before us in energy development,” said Jack Gerard, the chief executive officer of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s main trade group.
Whatever Murkowski means by “balance” in the DOI, I suspect she wants even more corporate access to national treasures than Obama has already given, which is far too much:
Conservation advocates hope that Jewell will do more for their cause than her predecessor as interior secretary, Ken Salazar, who’s stepping down after four years in the job under Obama.
Bruce Babbitt, the interior secretary under President Bill Clinton, said this week that the Obama administration had leased far too much land for oil and gas development compared with what had been permanently protected.
“This lopsided public land administration in favor of the oil and gas industry cannot continue,” Babbitt said.
Mountain state conservative, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) reacted predictably. He’s chairman of the House Natural Resources’ Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee:
This is ridiculous, but maybe it is time to talk about it some more:
I’m a blogger, not a journalist, reporter or commentator for anything remotely resembling the mainstream media. But I got journalism training, took journalism classes, was news director for one radio station and public affairs director for another. Years and years and years ago.
There’s a rule called “first reference.” In my blog articles, when I link to an article from the New York Times, the first time I mention that paper, it is the “New York Times.” From then on, it is the “NYT,” which is accepted blog shorthand. I even italicize New York Times and NYT. When I remember. But I don’t remember why I do that. I think it is from a style book.
When someone is first mentioned in a news story, their first and last name should be typed out. From then on, their last name can be used as a reference to that person. When the first and last name of a person is used as the initial reference to that person, this is called first reference.
The purpose of only using the persons last name through out the rest of the story, is to keep the article brief and straight to the point
The Associated Press and New York Times have style books. The AP calls theirs a stylebook, the NYT‘s is a style guide.I still have my pre-WWW copy of the AP Stylebook. There are a lot of other style books and manuals out there, and many mainstream publications or organizations have their own rules.
In the MSNBC segment, they mention that reporters or TV commentators sometimes go as far as first name on second reference (2nd reference means all references after the first one). In Alaska, we’re probably more that way than any other state, because so many people know each other.
It wasn’t just Sarah. It is Lisa and Don and Mark and so on. Until he died, it was Ted, or St. Ted.
Interestingly, nobody – I mean nobody – calls our current governor “Sean.” Most Alaskans don’t consider him one of us. I like Don’s (Rep. Don Young’s) name for him best – “Captain Zero,” which describes what Parnell is – a cypher .
I decided back in late 2009 to not EVER describe our current president as “President Obama” unless it was absolutely required for sake of accuracy. At the same time, I promised I’d honor him with his formal title if he did any of the following:
1). Evacuate the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay
2). Prosecute and imprison at least one of the many torturers or murderers we have employed there, and now shelter.
3). Prosecute and imprison at least five major banksters for their crimes that cost us trillions.
Since then, I’ve gotten new gripes, but if he did any of the above three, I’d begin to address him by the ceremonial title he owns in name. But I never call the guy “OilyBomber” or “Obomber,” or whatever. Nor am I willing to call him “Barack.”
Besides, didn’t we have a revolution between 1775 and 1781 that was supposed to end the concept of royalty and high titles?
The New York Times reported Thursday that high level talks are going on within the Obama administration on how to deal with Washington and Colorado, both of whose voters helped bring Obama his second term, and both of which had more voters support legalizing recreational marijuana use than voted for the president. Obama is the third president in a row to have used marijuana in his younger days.
The NYT article, which uses so many anonymous White House sources it reeks of “trial balloon,” notes:
One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.
Will those kids be well-heeled white ones, with parents willing to spend what it usually takes to get a diversion or some other tool used by the well off to keep a possession charge from ruining a young person’s career hopes? Or will those kids be of color and not well off, as are most victims of the war on drugs when played out against random or targeted users.
The main constituents of continued prohibition are the prison industrial complex, the war on drugs industrial complex, the Mexican drug cartels and big pharma, with the alcohol industry supportive in some ways. Apparently, the biggest supporter of a heavy crackdown in the administration isn’t the dimwitted DEA head, Michele Leonhart. It is VP Biden:
[T]he politician who coined the term “drug czar” – Joe Biden – continues to guide the administration’s hard-line drug policy. “The vice president has a special interest in this issue,” Sabet says. “As long as he is vice president, we’re very far off from legalization being a reality.”
I’ve never written an essay here before on the question of marijuana legalization. I’ve seldom commented on my own relationship with the drug.
I first tried it in early 1967, while serving in the US Army. At times, when I was young, I used it a lot, probably too much. When my kids were young, I would go for over a year sometimes without having any, only imbibing with my Washington state sculptor friends when visiting them there. During that same time, I was working in privatized corrections in Alaska. I saw then way too many examples of how drug enforcement is used racially in a negative way.
Obama’s administration is saddled with Gonzales v. Raich and a whole shitload of international treaties. But if there ever was a time for a president to cut a Gordian knot, this issue seems to be the prime candidate.
Let’s have this debate openly and honestly. Let the government prove that marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and should be treated as such. The very process will reveal the anachronism of the provision itself and the racial and cultural panic that created it. The very discussion will point to an inevitable, scientific conclusion that the current federal policy is based on nothing.
So do nothing, Mr president, with respect to these states and their legitimate decisions. Set the DEA’s priorities so that this trivial, medically useful, pleasure is not in any way a priority for law enforcement. Let the states figure this out, as they are on marriage equality.
Lead from behind. An entire generation is ahead of you.
In the spirit of being pissed off at this administration’s weighing whether or not “to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with,” I’m going to light one up, something I haven’t done in a while.
In the preliminaries for Thursday’s U.N. General Assembly vote on granting Palestine the right to be called “Palestine” at several U.N. agencies, and to gain equal footing there with the Vatican, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice delivered a fairly short speech that I could have written for her.
If I had been asked to craft a 650-word U.N. speech for Rice that would meet every requirement of an AIPAC-approved document, it would have sounded remarkably like that delivered by the ambassador. Had former U.N. ambassador John Bolton delivered the speech, there would have been more inflammatory adjectives, but 97% of the speech would have been the same. Here’s what Rice said:
For decades, the United States has worked to help achieve a comprehensive end to the long and tragic Arab-Israeli conflict. We have always been clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two peoples, with a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel.
That remains our goal, and we therefore measure any proposed action against that clear yardstick: will it bring the parties closer to peace or push them further apart? Will it help Israelis and Palestinians return to negotiations or hinder their efforts to reach a mutually acceptable agreement? Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace. That is why the United States voted against it.
The backers of today’s resolution say they seek a functioning, independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel. So do we.
But we have long been clear that the only way to establish such a Palestinian state and resolve all permanent-status issues is through the crucial, if painful, work of direct negotiations between the parties. This is not just a bedrock commitment of the United States. Israel and the Palestinians have repeatedly affirmed their own obligations under existing agreements to resolve all issues through direct negotiations, which have been endorsed frequently by the international community. The United States agrees—strongly.
Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade. And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded.
The United States therefore calls upon both the parties to resume direct talks without preconditions on all the issues that divide them. And we pledge that the United States will be there to support the parties vigorously in such efforts.
The United States will continue to urge all parties to avoid any further provocative actions—in the region, in New York, or elsewhere.
We will continue to oppose firmly any and all unilateral actions in international bodies or treaties that circumvent or prejudge the very outcomes that can only be negotiated, including Palestinian statehood. And, we will continue to stand up to every effort that seeks to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security.
Progress toward a just and lasting two-state solution cannot be made by pressing a green voting button here in this hall. Nor does passing any resolution create a state where none indeed exists or change the reality on the ground.
For this reason, today’s vote should not be misconstrued by any as constituting eligibility for U.N. membership. It does not. This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state.
The United States believes the current resolution should not and cannot be read as establishing terms of reference. In many respects, the resolution prejudges the very issues it says are to be resolved through negotiation, particularly with respect to territory. At the same time, it virtually ignores other core questions such as security, which must be solved for any viable agreement to be achieved.
President Obama has been clear in stating what the United States believes is a realistic basis for successful negotiations, and we will continue to base our efforts on that approach.
The recent conflict in Gaza is just the latest reminder that the absence of peace risks the presence of war. We urge those who share our hopes for peace between a sovereign Palestine and a secure Israel to join us in supporting negotiations, not encouraging further distractions. There simply are no short cuts.
Long after the votes have been cast, long after the speeches have been forgotten, it is the Palestinians and the Israelis who must still talk to each other—and listen to each other—and find a way to live side by side in the land they share.
Rather than parse this boilerplate bullshit, I’ll concentrate on a few reactions to Rice’s statement from the far right.
So why has Rice changed her tune? Well, of course, to mollify opposition to her becoming the next Secretary of State should President Obama choose to appoint her. I’m not sure a single forceful pro-Israeli statement will be enough to overcome her statements on Benghazi but it could certainly help her with Senators who are sitting on the fence.
Had Rice not been under pressure about the Benghazi horse shit, she would have said exactly the same.
The National Review article linked to above speculates:
The vote will almost certainly lead the Palestinian Authority to seek membership in U.N. specialized agencies, as it did last year with UNESCO. It will be particularly hard for those specialized agencies that include the Vatican among their membership, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Telecommunication Union, to deny the Palestinians membership, because the Holy See is also a U.N. non-member state observer. The most significant impediment to Palestinian-membership efforts in other specialized agencies is the threat of losing U.S. funding, which means that the U.S. must maintain and enforce current law that prohibits funding international organizations that grant membership to the Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority will also likely seek to either join the International Criminal Court (ICC) or ask the organization to revisit the ICC prosecutor’s conclusion earlier this year that he does not have the authority to initiate an investigation because the issue of Palestinian statehood is in question.
The U.S. should communicate to the ICC that its decisions on these matters will influence future U.S. cooperation with that organization. [emphasis added]
It might be easier for the U.S. to communicate with the ICC, if we were a member. We are not, and Obama has made no indication that status will change. His staff is probably spending more time trying to steer the Bradley Manning court case away from bringing out more on the soldier’s torture and who knew what when, than they are on dealing with the ICC.
But should Susan Rice be Obama’s Secretary of State nominee (I’m not at all convinced he’s going to nominate her), the GOP senators are going to have to eat the words she uttered today. Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and Dick Durban will relish shoving it down their throats, and adding to their AIPAC-related PAC coffers, for their blind service to another country.
Palestinian activists routinely claim to be suffering a “shoah” at the hands of Israel, but the Jewish state normally denies any moral equivalence between the suffering of Palestinians today and European jewry under the Nazis.
Matan Vilnai, deputy defence minister, broke that taboo when he used the term “shoah” during interview on Army Radio.
“The more qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” he said.
His use of the term reflects the febrile atmosphere in Israel where public opinion demands the government does something decisive to stop the daily barrage of rockets fired from Gaza over the border into Israel.
The Telegraph article was incorrect in its claim of “a daily barrage of rockets fired from Gaza.” That is certainly the case now, but there have been many extremely long lulls and cessations in the most often innocuous and ineffectual rocket launchings or barrages. Indeed, the Israelis have killed more Palestinian kids this week than Palestinian rockets have claimed over all the years among all Israelis, let alone innocent children.
Minister Vilnai wasn’t the only government spokesperson to vilify human life itself this weekend in public comments. Interior Minister Eli Yishai earnestly advocated genocidal war crimes against Gazans:
The above ad, by Anti-Republican Crusaders, which they are encouraging people to distribute openly and widely, featuring actor George Clooney, is aimed at progressives who feel betrayed by Obama’s policies. As in other pushes to draw people who had once supported Obama back into the fold, it is – to borrow the term Obama has been using on the stump this past week – Sketchy.
Shimon Peres once was instrumental in attempting to arm apartheid South Africa with nuclear weapons to use against neighboring states – as a nuclear threat. I wrote about it here in March:
Back in 1975, at the height of the White South African Apartheid regime’s period of hubris, they were getting a lot of help in their attempts to become a nuclear power:
Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.
The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.
It didn’t. The news came out in 2010, which disturbed the Israelis:
The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa‘s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.
They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.
A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were “never any negotiations” between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents.
South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.
The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975.
So Peres, the supporter of giving nukes to white supremacist South Africa, now wants to force Obama to free the most damaging spy in the history of espionage against Obama’s country?
Here’s a bit on how damaging Jonathan Pollard was to our security interests at the height of the latter part of the Cold War:
The career intelligence officer who helped to assess the Pollard damage has come to view Pollard as a serial spy, the Ted Bundy of the intelligence world [emphasis added].
“Pollard gave them every message for a whole year,” the officer told me recently, referring to the Israelis. “They could analyze it” — the intelligence — “message by message, and correlate it. They could not only piece together our sources and methods but also learn how we think, and how we approach a problem. All of a sudden, there is no mystery. These are the things we can’t change. You got this, and you got us by the balls.” In other words, the Rota reports, when carefully studied, gave the Israelis “a road map on how to circumvent” the various American collection methods and shield an ongoing military operation. The reports provide guidance on “how to keep us asleep, thinking all is working well,” he added. “They tell the Israelis how to raid Tunisia without tipping off American intelligence in advance. That is damage that is persistent and severe.”
Moles have burrowed on Israel’s behalf throughout the U.S. intelligence services. Perhaps most infamous was the case of Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish-American employed as a civilian analyst with the U.S. Navy who purloined an estimated 800,000 code-word protected documents from inside the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and numerous other U.S. agencies.
While Pollard was sentenced to life in prison, counterintelligence investigators at the FBI suspected he was linked to a mole far higher in the food chain, ensconced somewhere in the DIA, but this suspected Israeli operative, nicknamed “Mr. X,” was never found. Following the embarrassment of the Pollard affair — and its devastating effects on U.S. national security, as testified by then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger (who allegedly stated that Pollard “should have been shot”) — the Israeli government vowed never again to pursue espionage against its ally and chief benefactor.
documents that Pollard turned over to Israel were not focussed exclusively on the product of American intelligence — its analytical reports and estimates. They also revealed how America was able to learn what it did — a most sensitive area of intelligence defined as “sources and methods.” Pollard gave the Israelis vast amounts of data dealing with specific American intelligence systems and how they worked. For example, he betrayed details of an exotic capability that American satellites have of taking off-axis photographs from high in space. While orbiting the earth in one direction, the satellites could photograph areas that were seemingly far out of range. Israeli nuclear-missile sites and the like, which would normally be shielded from American satellites, would thus be left exposed, and could be photographed. “We monitor the Israelis,” one intelligence expert told me, “and there’s no doubt the Israelis want to prevent us from being able to surveil their country.” The data passed along by Pollard included detailed information on the various platforms — in the air, on land, and at sea — used by military components of the National Security Agency to intercept Israeli military, commercial, and diplomatic communications. At the time of Pollard’s spying, select groups of American sailors and soldiers trained in Hebrew were stationed at an N.S.A. listening post near Harrogate, England, and at a specially constructed facility inside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, where they intercepted and translated Israeli signals. Other interceptions came from an unmanned N.S.A. listening post in Cyprus. Pollard’s handing over of the data had a clear impact, the expert told me, for “we could see the whole process” — of intelligence collection — “slowing down.” It also hindered the United States’ ability to recruit foreign agents. Another senior official commented, with bitterness, “The level of penetration would convince any self-respecting human source to look for other kinds of work.”
A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union. A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union. One longtime C.I.A. officer who worked as a station chief in the Middle East said he understood that “certain elements in the Israeli military had used it” — Pollard’s material — “to trade for people they wanted to get out,” including Jewish scientists working in missile technology and on nuclear issues. Pollard’s spying came at a time when the Israeli government was publicly committed to the free flow of Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union. The officials stressed the fact that they had no hard evidence — no “smoking gun,” in the form of a document from an Israeli or a Soviet archive — to demonstrate the link between Pollard, Israel, and the Soviet Union, but they also said that the documents that Pollard had been directed by his Israeli handlers to betray led them to no other conclusion.
High-level suspicions about Israeli-Soviet collusion were expressed as early as December, 1985, a month after Pollard’s arrest, when William J. Casey, the late C.I.A. director, who was known for his close ties to the Israeli leadership, stunned one of his station chiefs by suddenly complaining about the Israelis breaking the “ground rules.” The issue arose when Casey urged increased monitoring of the Israelis during an otherwise routine visit, I was told by the station chief, who is now retired. “He asked if I knew anything about the Pollard case,” the station chief recalled, and he said that Casey had added, “For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets.” Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet emigres. “How’s that for cheating?” he had asked.
I am guessing that Obama, in his desperation for Zionist campaign contributions, will release Pollard, in spite of the damning evidence against the traitor. And all this at the behest of a man who sought to turn white supremacist South Africa into a nuclear power, an act that certainly would have prolonged the apartheid agony.
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