The truth is so enormous that if they tell us lies big enough, nobody will believe they can possibly be lies anymore even seeing it because it is all too damn big and too damn incredible. Tell a little lie and everybody suspects it's a lie. Tell one so gigantic and built on a web of lies, it must be true because lies don't come that big.
The Truth Behind The Israeli Secret Services...., Les Ordures de la Race Humaine....IDF&Co., CIA/MOSSAD/...
through the looking glass. Here white is black and black is white."
THE TRUTH is that the atrocities are a direct result of the war plan, the 1982 invasion plan of IDF. Operations SPARK and IRON BRAIN....This reflects the personality of Ariel SHARON– a man whose way of thinking and actions, throughout his adult life, are clear evidence of what is called “moral insanity”, a sociopathic disorder...."
Almost all the Western media repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They entirely ignored the Lebanese side of the story, and took for fact all the "official" Israeli LIARS stories, which were manufactured for Propaganda purposes.
Perception is paramount to reality in the Middle East. Most of
the known, and some of the written, history is based on myths and half
truths. All parties in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and in the inter-Arab
conflicts, have engaged in spreading lies and dis-information, and
unfortunately most of these stick to the minds of the public. The party that
has most benefited from and made use of this fact has been, and still is,
Israel. It has been the main and most pervasive purveyor of lies for many
reasons, but the main one has been its strong influence, and sometimes its
actual control, of most main media in the west. Many Arabs do not trust
their own government controlled media, and often turn to foreign sources,
like the BBC World service and CNN, to get their information. Israel has
been extremely active since its inception and mostly since the 1967 war in
spreading the lies about its own prowess vis-�-vis the Arabs. One of the
most effective media campaigns has been the one to portray the Israeli
secret service, especially the Mossad, as a heroic group of dedicated and
patriotic men who are in direct war with the Arab hordes and international
terrorists. Most of the now-famous operations, like the Adolf Eichman
abduction in 1960, have been translated into best-selling books and
box-office hits at the cinema (Black and Morris, 501).
The truth behind the Mossad and other Israeli secret services is far more
insidious and unethical and it is a catalogue of crime, of murder,
internationally illegal acts, intra-organizational conflict, and inept
handling of sensitive operations. We will see evidence of this, particularly
the role of these services in the 1982 Invasion and in particular with the
Sabra and Shatilla Massacre, as well as the eventual Intelligence failure in
Lebanon. Then we will work on explaining the functions of the different
organizations, showing that not only can we expose them, but that it's
possible to counter them successfully.
The Role and Function of the Agencies
Although the Mossad has almost exclusively been the focus of the
world media, Israel actually has three main security services (Mossad, Shin
Bet, and AMAN), as well as one minor service (LAKAM), and one agency (AL),
whose existence is unconfirmed but highly plausible. The three agencies grew
out of the pre-1948 security organs that were attached to the main Zionist
organizations like the HAGANAH. Many recruits to the post-1948 security
services, were also recruited from the intelligence organs attached to the
other terrorist groups such as the Irgun and the Stern. The latter group
contained very competent operatives who made the transition from being
terrorists to being intelligence operatives (Raviv and Melman, 228)). They
were highly effective against the British Mandate forces, as they would be
later with their Arab foes. Secret work, mainly deception and murder, was
part and parcel of the general Zionist ideology, and it was a necessity
according to Ben-Gurion, for the service of the "Star of David" flag. Unlike
the CIA, which was established after the Communist menace became dangerous,
the Zionist leaders created the Israeli security agencies to pre-empt any
acts of the Arab foes. The Israeli security agencies were diabolically
ingenious until the Lebanese fiasco which began in 1982 and lasted until
2000. The intelligence failure in Lebanon, despite it being the most
intricate and confident of all covert operations, ended in disaster for
Israel, including the involvement in the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre. This
is the reason why we will focus on this particular event after explaining
who these agencies truly are....
1- Mossad: (Hebrew:
HaMossad LeModi'in U'Letfkidm Meyuhadim. English: Institute for Intelligence
and Special Duties). Established in March, 1950. Dedicated to the gathering
of intelligence outside of Israel, preparing the target area for covert
special operations, running agents, monitoring the activities of the enemy
embassies and offices of enemy organizations, surveillance of anti-Semitism
(individuals or organizations), and spreading dis-information about the
enemy in the media. http://fas.org/irp/world/israel/mossad/index.html
(Mentioned 78 times in Kahan)
2- AMAN: (Hebrew:
Agaf Modi'in. English: IDF Intelligence Branch) Established in December
1953. Dedicated to the gathering of specifically military data, monitoring
enemy communication, analysis of satellite imagery, and running covert
special units and operations.
http://fas.org/irp/world/israel/AMAN/index.html (Mentioned 104 times in
3- Shin Bet, or
Shabak: (Hebrew: Sherut Habitachim Haklali. English: General Security
Services). Established in June 1948. Dedicated to the internal security of
the Israel and all occupied territories, recruiting informers and agents
among the enemy populations, interrogation coupled with psychological and
physical pressure on suspects i.e. torture, and the occasional
http://fas.org/irp/world/israel/shin_bet/index.html (Mentioned 8 times in
4- LAKAM: (Hebrew:
Lishka le Kishrei Mada. English: Scientific Affairs Liaison Bureau).
Established in 1957. A covert unit of the Israeli Defense Ministry.
Initially dedicated to the collection of info leading to the building of the
Atom bomb, obtaining blueprints for advanced military hardware, and running
overseas covert scientific operations in friendly countries. Officially
disbanded in 1986. http://fas.org/irp/world/israel/lekem/index.html
5- AI: (Hebrew for
Above). This is a highly secretive autonomous division of the Mossad. They
work under deep cover in the USA, without knowledge or approval of the US
government, and some times against its interests. They mainly spy on Arab
and other embassies, but sometimes they run operations against the US
government, like the Jonathan Pollard scandal in late 1985.*
The Secret Services Vs. The Arab World
Until the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Israeli Security Services were involved
in hostile covert activities against the neighboring Arab states as well as
others who were of the leftist persuasion (Nasserist, Baathist, Communist,
and Socialist). As for the Arab regimes that were of Western persuasion,
such as Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, the Israelis relied on
their American and French connections to obtain intelligence and maintain
indirect political contacts. The majority of operations were successful due
to the atmosphere of hostility and mistrust due to the Arab Cold war between
leftist and conservative regimes. Nevertheless, the main targets were the
neighboring states of Egypt and Syria.
The Mossad in particular succeeded in placing deep cover Israeli agents, or
spies in layman terms, who managed to obtain highly classified and sensitive
political and military intelligence. The most infamous of these agents were
Wolfgang Lotz in Egypt and Eli Cohen in Syria. Both spies who were active in
the 1960's, provided invaluable information that was vital in Israel's
victory in 1967 (Raviv and Melman, 143). Another highly successful operation
was the defection of an Iraqi air force pilot with his MIG-21 in August
1966, which again was vital for Israel's "pre-emptive" strike a year later
(Black and Morris, 208). The MIG-21 was the most lethal of the Soviet
fighters at that time and its secrets were unknown to the US, and NATO until
Israel gave them the blueprints. This coup, along with some secrets obtained
from the Soviet Bloc, raised the myth of the Israeli Secret Services in the
Nevertheless, the 1967 victory was the peak of Israeli achievements. After
1967, the whole picture in the region changed and a new threat was born.
That threat was called "Terrorism", and this threat became and still is the
bane of the Zionist military-intelligence machine. The Israelis had always
dealt with cross-border infiltrations from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan since
1948. The difference after 1967 was that the cross border attacks were not
sponsored by the Arab regimes but by independent groups, mostly under the
umbrella of the PLO. Prior to 1967, it was the Syrian and Egyptian borders
that were the most threatening, but after 1967 the attacks came from Jordan
and Lebanon. After the PLO was evacuated from Jordan in 1970, Lebanon became
the obsession of the Zionist decision-makers. So much that when Egypt and
Syria launched their brilliant and successful offensive in October 6 1973,
the IDF's AMAN and the Mossad were caught with their pants down in what was
known as the Mehdal, the Hebrew word for blunder (Black and Morris, 290).
Nevertheless, the "Terrorism Complex" still obsessed the Israeli
decision-makers. They retaliated against targets both in the Middle East and
in the West, and in particular against Lebanon.* When Menachem Begin, a
wanted terrorist himself, got to power in 1977, Israel decided to find a
solution to the "Palestinian Terrorist" problem once and for all. In his
cabinet he had a former soldier who thought he had the solution. That man
was called Ariel Sharon.
The Israeli Invasion of Lebanon
Lebanon has always been a target of attention for the Israeli secret
services since the 1948 War, although since it was not an adversary like
Egypt or Syria, it didn't get much attention. All that changed after the
1967 War, and intensified after the PLO moved from Jordan to Lebanon in
1970. From this point on, Lebanon was the focus of the Israeli secret
services (AMAN, Shin Bet, and the Mossad), who reallocated some of the
intelligence assets it had previously reserved to Egypt after the peace
talks began between Sadat and Begin in the late 1970's.
Once the Lebanese Civil War began, and a clear power vacuum appeared in
South Lebanon, where only the PLO had any nominal authority. Throughout the
mostly Shiite and Christian villages of South Lebanon, however, residents
were disenchanted with the PLO rule. As a matter of fact, Major Saad Haddad
was sent to the area to re-establish the Beirut government authority in the
area. When the 1975 breakdown of law and order occurred in Central Lebanon
occurred, none of the 3 intelligence agencies had any real assets to
activate in Lebanon (Black and Morris, 364). In terms of the very factional
and brutal nature of the Lebanese Civil War, it presented them with numerous
tempting opportunities equaled by the numerous dangerous risks. Unlike the
previous situations, the Israeli Intelligence Services were presented with
an unprecedented situation for which they had no prepared strategies.
As a result, none of the 3 intelligence agencies had any real plans to deal
with Lebanon.* Nevertheless, in 1975, the possibilities seemed endless and
infinitely more benign. In that relatively more relaxed atmosphere, the
Israeli government of PM Rabin initiated the 'Good Fence" policy, in which
then residents of (preferably Christian) villages were given access to jobs
and medical care in the Galilee. (O'balance, 65) Using tactics that they
perfected in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Intelligence agencies,
and specifically the Shin Bet, manipulated this seemingly benevolent policy
as a backdoor to Lebanon and a fertile recruitment ground to recruit
informers and agents (Black and Morris, 399). As 1978 approached, though,
the Mossad was focused on the Phalange connection, and intelligence in the
South was primarily run by the Shin Bet and AMAN, who began to have regular
meetings in Northern Command to run the Lebanese operations (Black and
The operations in Lebanon were of two tiers; One, were the operations that
were dedicated to obtaining information on the Palestinian organizations
that were based in Lebanon. This information was used for the assassination
operations in the pre-1978 period. An example of such operations occurred on
the 9th of April 1973, when 30 Israeli commandos landed at El-Ramleh
El-Beidah in Beirut, led by Ehud Barak, and conducted a three pronged attack
killing an unspecified number of Palestinian Fedayeen, including 3 major
DFLP leaders, and demolishing a PLO military facility (Katz, 50).
Intelligence was used even more ruthlessly in the Invasions of 1978 and
1982. The operations were mainly focused on locating the leaders and
commanders of the various Palestinian organizations, the counting and
locating of hardware, and to recruit or coerce people into acting as agents
or informers. The latter task was vital in the relatively easy task of
occupying of the refugee camps in the South. Many Palestinian witnesses we
met in the South have all emphasized the role of the informers in the
detection, arrest, and maybe even the execution or disappearance of
prisoners. The Shin Bet, or the General Security Service as it is officially
known, which is responsible for the security of the state of Israel [48
Lands] and all occupied territories, worked feverishly between 1978-1982 to
use the occupied Southern areas as a nest of agents and informers to be used
against the Palestinian organizations that were based in the refugee camps
in the South (Randal, 219). In a little publicized incident in South
Lebanon, the Israeli security forces oversaw a massacre by the FLA in the
village of Khiam in March 1978 after the IDF completed its occupation of
South Lebanon (Fisk, 137). This coincided with the preparations for the
(Peace For Galilee) Invasion by the AMAN, the intelligence arm of the IDF
who were using information from the Shin Bet's informants, as well as
reconnaissance flights by the IAF, to locate the targets for the Invasion.
The second tier was the initiation of contacts with Lebanese parties of all
sects, although they found the Christians more responsive, although mostly
reluctant, trying to find a fifth column within the cauldron of the civil
war that began in 1975. From an early stage, the three main services
differed in their (Lebanon Strategy). The AMAN, and later the Shin Bet,
favored a concentration on the South to clearly focus on the security of
Israel's northern borders. It was these two parties that worked together on
the establishment of Saad Haddad's renegade unit as a pro-Israeli proxy
militia in the South in 1978.
The Mossad were more concentrated on recruiting "allies" in the ranks of the
Maronite militias, especially the Phalangists and their leader Bashir
Jemayel, who were on the brink of defeat in the first year of the Lebanese
Civil War. Even after the Syrians intervened to rescue the Christians, the
Mossad maintained their contacts with the Maronite militia leaders. The
initiation of contact with the Israelis was not done by the Phalange,
however, but by Camille Chamoun's son, Danny. On September 1975 in Paris,
and via a Mossad Station in Paris, Danny Chamoun, son of former president
and leader of the Tigers Militia approached the Israeli Government for
assistance (Black+ Morris, 365). Qualitatively, the Chamoun militia was
better in terms of leadership morale and desire for an alliance with Israel.
Quantitatively, The Phalangists had the advantage of numbers. Eventually,
Bashir used his numerical superiority to exterminate his rivals in the
pro-Syrian Franjieh militia. On the 13th of May 1978 in Ehden (Southeast of
Tripoli), Phalangist militia men, under orders from Bashir Jemayel and
commanded by Samir Geagea, kill Tony Franjieh, who was the son of the former
president and the leader of the pro-Syrian Maronite faction, Sulieman
Franjieh. The Phalangists killed Tony, his wife and his daughter as well as
nearly 30 of his loyalists. (O'Ballance, 79) Not satisfied with slaying his
Maronite rivals, Bashir went on to slay his allies. On the 7th of July 1980
in Safra Resort near Jounieh, Phalangist militiamen launched a wide-scale
attack against Chamoun's Tigers. The battle ended with nearly 80 deaths on
both sides, including many innocent bystanders. Danny Chamoun, the deposed
leader of the Tigers, would later claim and insist that Bashir Jemayel was
encouraged to carry out this putsch by Israeli C-o-S Eitan (Schiff and Ya'ari,
29). By the beginning of 1982, Bashir had become the commander of the now
united Maronite militias, under the name of the Lebanese Forces (LF), who
were armed and trained by Israel. This sheer brutality and cold-bloodedness
endeared Bashir to the Israeli government, the IDF and the 3 agencies. In
fact after Sharon became defense minister after August 1981, he and Bashir
became good friends.
Underneath the whole amicability, there was a diversion in what was to
become of the Palestinians in Lebanon in the eyes of the LF and the IDF. The
LF held the banner of expelling the Palestinians from Lebanon, but in
reality the LF would have settled for the expulsion of the Palestinians from
Central Lebanon, especially Beirut. The IDF also wanted the PLO gone and the
Palestinian refugees moved to Jordan but it also would have settled for the
removal of the Palestinian presence from South Lebanon. In the end, the
arrogance and brutality of the two strongmen, Sharon and Bashir, would guide
them to a radical and final solution to the Palestinian problem in Lebanon:
In Central Lebanon, the LF had only one real adversary, the PLO, who
happened to be the sworn enemy of Israel, standing in the way of Maronite
controlled Lebanon. Syria was another enemy but Bashir was not going to
confront it on his own. So encouraged by the Mossad station chief in
Jounieh, Bashir wanted to provoke the Syrian Army into an attack on the
Maronites. During the election campaign, and after his victory, PM Begin
made many grandiose statements about preventing the "genocide of the
Christians" in Lebanon. (Morris, 504-505) The Israeli Government needed a
pretext to intervene in Lebanon and prompted Bashir to provide them with
one. The Ehden Massacre of one of Syria's primary allies in Lebanon was such
a provocation but the Syrians refused to fall in the trap. Bashir knew that
he needed a stronger incident to get the Syrians to attack the LF positions
to provide a pretext for the IDF to attack. Thus on the 1st of April in
1981, LF units attack and occupy Zahle, the strategic town on the
Beirut-Damascus Highway in the Bekaa Valley, provoking a massive response
from the Syrian Army. (Schiff +Ya'ari, 32)
On the 28th of April in 1981, the Israeli Cabinet met to discuss the Zahle
Crisis. PM Begin and C-o-S Eitan called for IAF strikes against Syrian
targets in and around Zahle. The majority of the cabinet and the Mossad
Director, Yitzhak Hofi opposed the idea. The loudest opposition came from
Saguy, AMAN Commander, who openly accused Eitan of encouraging Bashir to
incite the Zahle Crisis to give the IDF justification to intervene. Both
Hofi and Saguy suspected that Eitan was encouraging Bashir to pick a fight
with the Syrians in order to drag Israel into the Lebanese conflict (Schiff
+Ya'ari, 33). They were right. C-o-S Eitan, in collusion with PM Begin, left
the meeting to order the shooting down by of two Syrian helicopters, and
claimed when he returned to the meeting that the IAF has shot down "two
assault gunships". The truth was that the IAF had shot down 2 unarmed troop
carriers. Saguy predicted that Syrian President Assad will take measures
that can only threaten the IAF's air supremacy over Lebanese Skies. (Schiff
+Ya'ari, 33-34) Sure enough the next day the Syrians introduced 4 (SAM-6)
batteries to the Bekaa. On the 30th of April in 1981, PM Begin and C-o-S
Eitan ordered an IAF attack against the Syrian SAM's, but poor weather
prevented the attack. US mediation eventually defused the situation, but in
favor of Syria, which kept its SAM's in Lebanon and defeated the LF in
Zahle. (Morris, 506) This failure was followed by another attempt at
provoking the Syrians. On the 14th of December 1981, PM Begin announced the
annexation of the Golan Heights, Syrian territory that has been occupied
since 1967. Syria sensibly refused to respond to this blatant provocation.
(To Win or to Die, 265)
By the beginning of 1982, the 3 Agencies were hard at work planning the
Invasion of Lebanon, and the plans included 3 main elements: destruction of
the PLO infrastructure, the expulsion of the Syrian forces, and the
promotion of LF dominance of Lebanon. On the second week of January 1982, DM
Sharon led a large entourage on tour of Central Lebanon, including Beirut.
He met with Bashir Gemayel, who expressed support for the invasion but
refused to meet any of Sharon's demands. These included an IDF landing in
Jounieh and joint IDF-LF operations in West Beirut against PLO positions,
including the refugee camps. Sharon told Bashir, "We'll get to Beirut. Don't
you worry". He also met with the Maronite elders, Pierre Gemayel and Camille
Chamoun. Sharon returned from the visit more determined to invade Lebanon,
according to AMAN Commander Saguy.*(Black and Morris, 372-373) Sharon's
visit was followed by visits by C-o-S Eitan and other IDF and intelligence
officials, all of which included attempts at persuading the LF to
participate in the Invasion, especially in "mopping up" operations against
Palestinian targets. The visit that sealed the fate of Lebanon was on April
1982, when Northern Command OC Amir Drori led a team of high-ranking IDF and
IAF officers on an intelligence gathering mission. The LF Commander Fady
Ephram and later Bashir Gemayel met with them. Once again the LF repeated
their insistence of refusing any joint operations or an IDF landing in
Jounieh. Despite this clear disparity between what the LF leadership was
saying and what Sharon expected them to do, the IDF was still poised to
invade. At the end of April, Northern Command OC, Drori reported that the
IDF had "the most thoroughly planned war in its history". This now included
built positions for the artillery, launch platform for tanks, complete
aerial mapping of the areas to be occupied with US-provided satellite images
of Syrian positions in Lebanon and Syria, and the activation of the informer
networks in Southern Lebanon (Schiff +Ya'ari, 54).*
With the necessary military information AMAN was ready, and so was the
Shin Bet who had lists of Palestinian activists and a web of informers in
all camps. The Mossad had handed the issue of diplomacy with the LF to
Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon, laden with the illusion of friendship and
alliance with their Maronite allies. The Israelis had prepared well, but
they were not quite ready to occupy the politically complex country. They
went ahead anyway on June 1982.
Although at its heart, (Peace of Galilee) was Ariel Sharon's plan, but all
the power brokers in the Israeli military and security structures were
equally if reticently, committed to the Invasion. This fact needs to be
emphasized; DM Ariel Sharon with PM Menachem Begin's blessing and Rafael
Eitan complicity, was in complete control of what, at the end of April 1982,
Northern Command Operations Commander, Amir Drori reported to be the IDF's
"most thoroughly planned war in its history" (Schiff +Ya'ari, 54). The heads
of the 3 Intelligence Agencies, especially the AMAN's Yehoshua Saguy, were
all reluctant about the extent of "Peace For Galilee". Sharon made it clear
to all 3 heads that he was going to take the IDF and them to Beirut. This
reluctance to accept the Zionist-LF alliance was also apparent on the
Lebanese side. Pierre Gemayel, the Godfather of the Phalangist Party and
Bashir's father, was willing to let Israel do the dirty work in Lebanon, but
he was adamant in refusing an open alliance with Israel. On the Second week
of January 1982 in Jounieh, Pierre Gemayel told a shocked Sharon during his
first clandestine visit to Lebanon, "We are part of the Arab World. We are
not traitors. We are not like Saad Haddad."(Black and Morris, 373)
The AMAN and the Mossad, along with the Labor Opposition, would later claim
that they disagreed with DM Sharon, but typically never specifying what they
disagreed with him about. Our research shows, however, that the AMAN and
Mossad, along most Israeli politicians supported the plans to "eradicate the
PLO in Lebanon" (Schiff +Ya'ari, 66). The eradication of the PLO and its
terrorist infrastructure explicitly meant the destruction of Palestinian
refugee camps in Lebanon. The two points of contention, the relationship
with the LF and the war with Syria, had nothing to do with the PLO and the
Palestinians. Not once was the morality or military effectiveness of the
saturation bombing campaign and the mass arrests of all males, as clearly
defined in both versions, Little and Big Pines, debated in any of the
cabinet or military meetings before and during the Invasion.
In both books, Israel's Lebanon War and Israel's Secret Wars, we find plenty
of evidence that there was internal dissent against the (Peace for Galilee).
Especially in the ranks of the IDF, many Israelis were predicting that the
Invasion would end up in disaster since it was not clearly defined what the
military and political objectives were. Ariel Sharon was mainly responsible
for this confusion, but he was also responsible for getting the IDF and the
security agencies to join in despite the dissent. The conduct of the IDF and
the three intelligence agencies during the operation leading to the
occupation of West Beirut on the 15th of September, showed a diligence and
commitment that never wavered. The trail of death and destruction they left
behind certainly showed that despite the dissenting voices of some IDF
troops, like Dov Yermia and Avi Grabowsky, the majority of the IDF troops
acted with the brutality and cruelty that is their trademark.* Equally, the
intelligence agencies also acted without mercy, especially in their handling
of the refugee camps in the South.
The role of Israeli Intelligence in the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre .
The words (cover-up) and Intelligence agencies go hand in hand. There have
been several scandals and cover ups in the history of the Israeli secret
services, like the Lavon Affair in 1954 and the Bus 300 Affair in 1984. No
scandal or misdeed, however, can compare with the enormity and criminal
dimension of the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre, and the cover-up that
followed. Nothing signifies the cover-up of the Israeli role in the Massacre
like the mysterious Appendix (B) of the Kahan Report, where many believe the
real role of the IDF and the 3 Secret Agencies is clarified. Nevertheless,
there is enough evidence from the testimonies of survivors, journalistic
reports, and political analysts to show the direct involvement of the AMAN
and Shin Bet in the actual massacre, as well as the complicity of the
Mossad. In fact, we can safely conclude what we already know to be true; the
Israeli government, its military and its intelligence agencies are directly
responsible for the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre.
The 3 agencies were involved in the period prior to the massacre but on
different levels and in different places. As has been mentioned above, the
Mossad was involved closely with the LF in central Lebanon. They had a
liaison office in Jounieh since the late-70's and had coordinated many of
the military and political moves between the LF and the Israeli government
(Raviv and Melman, 265). Senior Mossad officers attended most of the
meetings prior and during the Invasion. They also conducted many operations
within Beirut and participated in the horrifying bombardment of Beirut, by
sending coordinates to the IAF that pinpointed the leaders of the PLO and
their allies. Worse still, was their sending in of car bombs into West
Beirut. In relation to the S&S Massacre, the Mossad directors were aware of
the joint LF-IDF plans to remove the Palestinian refugee camp and the
transfer of their populations out of Beirut and maybe Lebanon altogether.
Although the Mossad Director, Yitzhak Hofi, was skeptical of the validity of
the alliance with the LF, the Mossad field officers were extremely friendly
with the LF personnel on the ground (Raviv and Melman, 268). Furthermore,
they were over-confident about the positive outcome of the Invasion. Sources
have told of the Mossad officers joyfully shooting their guns in the air in
the streets of Ashrafiyeh with the LF men when Bashir was elected as Lebanon's
president (Schiff +Ya'ari, 233). Equally, this explains why the Mossad were
in a state of shock and near-despair when Bashir Gemayel was killed. Israeli
journalist Ehud Ya'ari tells of a senior Mossad officer, Nahik Navot,
hysterically digging in the rubble of the LF office in Ashrafiyyeh looking for
Bashir Gemayel (The Lebanese War, episode 9).*
On the other hand, The AMAN and the Shin Bet were working on another level.
The former was specifically working on promoting Haddad's militia and
extended their zone of control. The AMAN even worked against any extension
of the LF control to the South, and all attempts by the LF to gain power in
Sidon during the summer of 1982 were thwarted by the IDF (Schiff +Ya'ari,
238-239). The Shin Bet played a quieter if not less malignant role. As with
all occupied Arab territories, the Shin Bet was in South Lebanon after 1978,
and followed in the steps of the IDF as they advanced towards Beirut in
1982. By the nature of their security role, the Shin Bet does not get
involved in fighting. There is no information of the Shin Bet were involved
in the Siege of Beirut, but Robert Fisk does confirm their presence in the
Cite Sportive on the 18th and 19th of September conducting interrogations
with suspected "terrorists" (Fisk, 366). There are also extensive records of
the Shin Bet in the oppression of the South until the final IDF withdrawal
to the security zone in 1985. Though mentioned 8 times in the Kahan Report,
it would seem that they only attended the meetings before and during the
massacre. They are, however, guilty after the fact since they were at the
Cite Sportive during the Massacre, and the informers that were identifying
people inside the Cite Sportive were, as is their Modus Operandi showed in
the South during the summer, recruited and run by the Shin Bet. Therefore,
and despite being implicitly cleared by the Kahan Report, the Shin Bet is no
less guilty of the crime of genocide in Sabra and Shatilla than the AMAN
that was implicated in the same report.
So why was the AMAN alone implicated in the crime, and its commander
Yehoshua Saguy dismissed? Other than being a scapegoat, it would seem
obvious that the AMAN was involved in the planning and maybe the carrying
out of the Massacre. It has to be clear that Saguy was opposed to the
alliance with the LF, and had objected heavily even before Sharon became
defense minister to any alliance with the LF. Like the Mossad who got too
close to the LF, Saguy and the AMAN had got too close to the SLA. Saguy
insisted that any future plans for an Israeli-allied Lebanon that would not
only forgive Haddad for his treason, but to also to reward him. Reports of
the meetings, including the seminal meeting between PM Begin and Bashir in
Nahariya in September 1st, show that the Israeli government and the IDF were
adamant in giving Haddad a significant role in the new Lebanese government
(Randal, 10). He was further rewarded after the Massacre when he was
re-instated into the Lebanese Army in late 1984 right before his death, and
his militia led by another traitor Antoine Lahd was maintained until May
25th 2000. He was rewarded but for what? In all likelihood, and as many
witnesses and reporters have stated, his forces participated in the Massacre
under orders from the AMAN. Therefore the Command responsibility falls on
Saguy for any atrocities committed in the South, or in Sabra and Shatilla.
Nevertheless, the exact details or "the smoking gun" are not available, and
are probably clear in the mysterious Appendix B. The simple fact is that the
AMAN was the most directly responsible Israeli Intelligence agency for the
Massacre, although all 3 agencies were equally guilty of the crime of
genocide since all 3 were involved in the planning and execution of the
Invasion of Lebanon, whose main uncontested aim was "the eradication of the
PLO infrastructure", which meant the destruction of the Palestinian Refugee
Camps in the Lebanon and the forceful transfer of its residents out of the
country. DM Sharon himself wanted them moved to Jordan where a "substitute
homeland" would be established for them after the Hashemite monarchy was
toppled (Schiff and Ya'ari, 43). Saguy knew of this and is not on record as
objecting to this goal.
In short, all 3 agencies are guilty in the crime of Sabra and Shatilla, if
on different levels. Their guilt is a foregone conclusion once the IDF
occupied West Beirut on the 15th of September, but the role of the AMAN is
far more insidious. The hypothesis is that the after the Bashir-Begin
meeting, Saguy's point of view prevailed. Sharon, Begin, and the IDF
commanders, Yaron and Saguy had realized that Bashir will not keep his any
of his promises, that there will not be a Lebanon controlled by the LF and
allied with Israel, nor will the LF or Lebanese Army expel the Palestinian
population out of Lebanon. Therefore, and as the Zionist pattern shows, the
Israeli leadership wanted to keep Lebanon divided, to punish the LF for
their betrayal, and to cause a mass flight of the Palestinians. The true and
tried method would be a Massacre that would first discredit the LF and
prevent them from unifying Lebanon under their control, plus causing a panic
in the ranks of the now undefended camps that would drive the Palestinians
out. The only problem was making it as ugly as possible but at the same time
keeping it quiet.
The Truth Exposed
For 19 years, the Israelis have managed to convince the world of
one of the biggest lies of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that lie was
embodied in the Kahan Report about the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre. The
basic line was that the Phalangists, crazed by the killing of their leader,
thirsty for revenge, attack the camps and slaughter their inhabitants. The
IDF and the 3 intelligence agencies, while guilty in trusting the
Phalangists to behave during the "mopping up" operation, were not guilty of
perpetrating the massacre itself. Furthermore, the Israelis went about
trying to convince the world that the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre was a
historical anomaly, and that it was more of an error in judgment on the part
of the Begin government. To add insult to injury, the Kahan Report did hold
certain government officials and IDF officers responsible, and it did
recommend their dismissal, but the focus was on DM Sharon and AMAN Commander
Saguy. With the February 1983 issuance of the Kahan Report, Israel declared
that its conscience was clean. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ever since, many people have swallowed the Kahan Lie and
accepted it as the truth. So what is the truth? The decision to wipe out the
Palestinian presence in Lebanon was taken many years preceding the actual
Massacre, and was taken at the highest levels of the Israeli military and
security hierarchy. In conjunction with the Zionist plans and ambitions for
the Middle East, the Israelis were intent on not only destroying the
Palestinian organizations, but removing the whole Palestinian population out
of Lebanon, by transfer and/or murder. That in essence is genocide. In 1977,
when the Likud got to power in Israel, there were enough genocidal minds
coalescing and plotting. By early 1982, the plans were ready for the final
solution of the Palestinian problem; the eradication of the PLO and the
destruction of the refugee camps in Lebanon, the transfer of the Palestinian
refugees to Jordan and the establishment of the substitute homeland, and
finally the annexation of "Judea and Samaria", as the Israelis call the
Occupied West Bank. Unlike the rhetoric of the period, the alliance with the
LF was secondary and thus can be sacrificed. As for Syria, the Israelis were
probably considering defeating it in Lebanon, then contain it and complete
its defeat at a latter stage once Lebanon was secured. The AMAN and the Shin
Bet, as well as the Mossad to a lesser degree, agreed on all these points
which constituted the "Grand design" that (Begin Five) adopted.*
The Sabra and Shatilla Massacre was not an anomaly but rather an
inevitable conclusion to the Peace For Galilee Invasion. It happened because
the Zionist decision makers, strategists, and commanders among whom members
of the 3 agencies figured prominently, wanted to happen. To say that the
Phalangists or Haddad were responsible is to give these proxies too much
credit. They were mere fronts for the IDF and the 3 security agencies. Who
was Saad Haddad or Elie Hobeika without Israeli training and direction? How
can the AMAN, the Mossad, or the Shin Bet claim ignorance about the Massacre
while they claim to be the best Intelligence agencies in the world? How can
we accept that the Kahan Report was nothing more than cover-up? And lastly,
who other than the AMAN could have planned the brutal mopping up of the
Camps, whether those in the South or in Beirut?
The Sabra and Shatilla Massacre was planned within the Invasion
plan, and it appears under the name of "Snowball", Operation Spark, and Operation Iron Brain... Its finer details were worked out between the 1st of September when the alliance with Bashir collapsed, and the 12th of the same month when
Sharon met with Bashir... The LF was perceived as unreliable and that the
mopping up of the camps was to proceed with or without them. The AMAN could
rely on the SLA to get the job done, and it would assist them with IDF
special forces, or Sayerets as they are called in Hebrew. It is quite clear
that the Sayerets were in the camps as the former fighters in the camp have
told us, but we have not been able to identify which unit it was exactly.
But the presence of the Sayerets indicates clearly that the Massacre was
what is called in intelligence lingo a Black Operation, which is a secret
operation that is carried out by the intelligence agents and special forces
upon a decision taken by the Chief Executive and a few of his ministers.
Israeli Secret Services and the Sayerets have carried out many Black
Operations, including the Qibya Massacre of 1953, the attack on the Beirut
International Airport in 1968, and the assassination of Abu Jihad in Tunis
in 1988. During the 1982 Invasion, and according to IDF historian Samuel
Katz, the Sayerets were deeply involved in the military operations, who are
like all special forces in the world are made up of hard and brutal killers
who volunteer for the job and know exactly what it entails.* In short,
Israel's Secret Services' role in the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre is not
only undeniable, but is far more involved than what the Kahan Commission
stated. One day when Appendix B finally comes to light, this theory will be
proven, although it is clear that there is enough evidence to back it up. As
an epilogue, Israel's secret services, CIA & the Mossad, assassinated
Elie Hobeika in Beirut in 2002, using CIA & local witting proxies, in
what is obviously an attempt to conceal the truth about the Massacre. If
anyone doubted the involvement of the Israeli intelligence, this should
silence the naysayers. Mr. Elie Hobeika Never set foot at Sabra & Shatila
in September of 1982, nor had anything to do with that horrible crime, in
any way shape or form. It was an IDF operation with AMAN and MOSSAD
at the Helm.
1- Benny Morris. Righteous
Victims. Vintage Press; New York, 2001.
2- Dan Raviv and Danny Melman.
Every Spy a Prince. Houghton Miflin; Boston, 1990.
3- Edgar O'Ballance. Civil War in
Lebanon: 1975-1992. Macmillan Press; London, 1998.
4- Ian Black and Benny Morris.
Israel's Secret Wars. Futura Publications; London, 1991.
5- Jonathan C. Randal. Going All
The Way: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers, and the War in Lebanon.
Viking Press; New York, 1983.
6- Michael Jansen. The Battle of
Beirut. Zed Press; London, 1982.
7- Robert Fisk. Pity the Nation.
Simon and Schuster; New York, 1990.
8- Samuel M. Katz. Israeli Elite
Units since 1948. Osprey Publishing; London, 1988.
9- Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari.
Israel's Lebanon War. Simon & Schuster; New York, 1984.
10- The Book of Alain Menargues, Albin Michel
Les Secrets de la guerre du Liban.
Du coup D'etat de Bashir Gemayel aux Massacres des camps Palestiniens.
* The only source of information on this unit is available in former Mossad
agent, Victor Ostrovsky's (By Way Of Deception). Judging by the general
reluctance in accepting all the info in Ostrovsky's book by many
intelligence analysts, we should be skeptical in affirming AI's existence.
*For more details on Israel's aggression against Lebanon see
* Today, there had been no change in this confusion in the ranks of Israel'
s intelligence agencies, where there is still no Lebanon policy, except
perhaps "Stay out". (See Ha'aretz article Fighting Blind
(http://www.moqawama.org/page2/f_iaggrr.htm) for more on the confusion and
discord plaguing the IDF, AMAN, Mossad, and Shin Bet in the face of the
* Saguy is on record badgering the DM after the meeting with Pierre Jemayel
about the lack of wisdom in the alliance with the LF. Saguy believed,
according to the minutes of the meeting, that the LF will let Israel carry
the load by itself. Most high ranking military officials in the IDF shared
Saguy's low opinion of the LF.
* Even at this juncture, Sharon's declared political objectives to the
Americans and his own cabinet, and those known to and supported by Begin,
Eitan, Shamir, and Arens were very different. Drori has his reservation.
Saguy and Mossad Director Hofi are the only voices of dissent. It is worth
noting that the duplicity, the collusion and dissent were all about a
specific point; a wide war with Syria and/or the alliance with the LF, or
Phalangists as they were known in Israel. Not one voice within the civilian,
security and military circles spoke once against the "Eradication of the PLO
infrastructure in Lebanon."
* Dov Yermia, a reservist wrote a seminal book (My War Diary), which is a
clear condemnation of the IDF's brutality and inhumanity during the 1982
Invasion. Another soldier, Lieutenant Grabowsky, a deputy commander of a
tank company near the Sabra and Shatilla camps, who testified before the
Kahan Commission, was another well known dissenters.
* See our website to read Navot's testimony to the Kahan Commission
* The Begin Five were five individuals in the Israeli government who pursued
the goals of this Zionist Grand Design and they were: Prime Minister
Menachem Begin, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Yitzhak
Shamir, Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, and Israeli Ambassador to the US Moshe
* The Sayerets are like all special forces in the world are made up of hard
and brutal killers who volunteer for the job and know exactly what it
entails. Such units work in total secrecy and are not trained to take
prisoners or hold positions. They carry out what the Americans call "search
and destroy" missions. Sayeret Metkal .
After Sharon's army had taken West Beirut and sealed off all escapes routes
from the Palestinian refugee camps, Sharon ordered the Sayaret' Metkal
in.The official order from Sharon read "for the operation in the camps the
Sayaret' Metkal should be sent in"*. Knowing that the camps were full of
unarmed civilians - mainly women and children, only around 150 Sayaret'
Metkal were deployed. The testimonies of the survivors suggest that both
Israeli soldiers and their mercenaries the SLA of Saad Haddad, brought in by
IDF/IAF Hercules C130 Transport Plane into Beirut International Airport, as
reported by Lebanese Army officers on the grounds of AIB, entered the camps
and executed the massacre on direct orders from the Butcher Ariel Sharon**.
The Israelis supervised the operation from their forward command post, a six
story building overlooking the camps. From there they gave logistic support
and relayed orders to their soldiers on the ground. Concerned that reports
of the on-going slaughter would leak out, the soldiers were ordered to
continue the killing through out the night - to facilitate this the Israelis
lit up the sky with flares all night long. The idea was to kill as many
Palestinians as quickly as possible, before international pressure would put
a stop to the operation. Over 3000 elderly men, women and children were
murdered. Next the evidence had to be buried quickly - so the Israelis send
in their military bulldozers. Houses were packed with bodies and demolished
to form mass graves. One such mass grave contained a thousand bodies.
Mr. Elie Hobeika never set foot at Sabra & Shatila in Sep. 1982.
** Survivors interviewed on 22 Sep reported that most of the soldiers who
did the killing did not speak Arabic and Israeli newspapers (in Hebrew) and
Israeli food rations were found left behind. A young boy, Munir, who was
left for dead under a heap of 27 bodies confirmed that he has seen both
Israelis and SLA forces with no insignia on their shoulders from south
Lebanon's army of Saad Haddad murdering people, when he was brought to Gaza
Hospital on 17 Sept. (Src: 'From Beirut To Jerusalem' pgs 61, 69 & 71)
The book's title should not mislead readers. Those who follow the horrific tribulations of that small real estate with its strategic and religious confluences will obviously recognize that the title is a play on, or a response to, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel (John Wiley & Sons, August 2003). The argumentation is by and large a refutation of Dershowitz's case though it is not a point-by-point rebuttal of the 32 questions Dershowitz attempted (poorly) to answer. In actuality, Dershowitz is only mentioned once in the entire book. Instead of rebutting a lawyerly discourse based on polemical diatribes, crass emotionalism, and the repetitive regurgitation of falsities, Michael Neumann focuses on what has been lost in our recent historical travails: reality-based analysis -- historical facts, formal logic, ethics, behavioral rationality, philosophy, morality, and politics (Neumann is a professor of moral and political philosophy at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada). While he does not posit that he's an expert or historian, history is no stranger to him: his father, Franz Neumann, was the author of Behemoth: the structure and practice of national socialism, 1933-1944, the classic history of Nazi Germany. (And, for what it's worth, his stepfather was Herbert Marcuse.)
Indeed, Neumann convincingly debunks the old canards, myths, and fallacies advanced by Dershowitz and the legions of Israeli apologetics: The Zionist project was about redeeming the land or creating a "homeland" for the Jews, the bible says god gave the land to the Jews; the Palestinians did not really exist (they're only Arabs), their actual state is Jordan; they hate the Jews; they want to throw them to the sea; they never did and don't want to compromise (they are jusqu'au-boutistes); they are terrorists; there is no moral equivalence between Palestinian and Israeli violence (the former is terroristic, the latter sheer self defense); Israel is a "beacon of light" (of democracy, Western values) judged by a "double standard"; critics of Israel are anti-Semites, etc.
The last point -- opposition to Israel is anti-Semitic -- is quickly dismissed by the author. First, he has already addressed the charge in a brilliant essay, "What Is Anti-Semitism?", published in The Politics of Anti-Semitism (CounterPunch/AK Press, 2004), also reviewed in these pages. Second, "since not all Jews are Israelis or supporters of Israel, to be against all Israelis or Israel, is not to be against all Jews." Third, most criticisms are directed against the policies of Israel toward the Palestinians, not the existence of Israel; and lastly, as he states, "[N]o doubt many anti-Semites oppose Israel, and do so for anti-Semitic reasons, and conceal their motives. [But] none of this is relevant to whether or not Israel is in fact in the wrong." "No doubt," he concludes, "many people opposed Japanese fascism for racist reasons. It does not follow that such opposition was mistaken." End of discussion. Michael Neumann shows little patience with irrelevancies and false arguments.
Furthermore, he does not make a legal disputation against Israel but confines his attention to a "moral and political argument," in search of "what ought to occur in Palestine, what solution to the conflict should be adopted," and he relies on three widely accepted views in political philosophy: That "there is some basic right of self-defense that on occasion permits a violent response"; that "one group can't normally acquire the power of life and death over another group without their consent"; and that one is responsible for the foreseeable consequences of one's action whatever the intentions that motivated it. Then he lays out his claim in two parts and dispassionately demonstrates that the Zionists and Israel with their allies du jour have mostly been in the wrong in their dealings with the Palestinians, and that the end of the conflict necessitates the unilateral end of the occupation and the recognition of the Palestinian people within the sovereign borders of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. His case is not so much against Israel that it is in favor of a Palestinian state.
"The central fact of the conflict is that Zionists sought sovereignty in Palestine. From this, all else follows: the Arab response and all that came after." (emphasis in the book) "Israel is the illegitimate child of ethnic nationalism." These are the two statements that best summarize "Zionism and the Birth of Israel," the first part of The Case Against Israel. They are reinforced by a methodical, logical, and historical narrative. From the inception of the Zionist project in the late 19th century, Zionism was not about a safe heaven (the "saving Jews" advocacy line would come much later, in the ashes of the Holocaust, and is not even convincing, as Neumann shows), or having a "homeland," or redeeming ancestors' territories -- all contentions that keep being rehashed to this day. It was about taking sovereignty over a foreign land, a land inhabited by a people who had no interest or reason to be dominated in matters of life and death by Jews. From Theodore Herzl to David Ben Gurion, Zionists were about creating a state in Palestine -- a state, with its monopoly on power, of the Jews, by the Jews, and for the Jews. It matters not whether the Zionists were enlightened socialists, or idealists, or racists. What matters is that a group of people, foreign to the land, wanted to impose their sovereignty through expropriation -- and we now know, through expulsion too -- on another group of people that inhabited that land. This, contends Neumann, was the first mortal threat to the Palestinians -- a threat they could not but oppose and resist through violent or non-violent means. It surely began in non-violence with the pleas from Palestinian notables to the European powers to stop the influx of Jews in Palestine, but the pleas were not heeded and blood began to flow as early as the 1920s. It went downhill from then on.
Neumann notes that at the very moment Europeans were turning their backs on ethnic nationalism that had been so devastating, Zionists were imposing their own ethno-nationalism in Palestine. The establishment of sovereignty by one ethnic group over another has quite logically -- and sadly -- led to the consequences that we've witnessed for so long. For him,
Zionism always was, despite strategically motivated denials and brief flirtations with other objectives [e.g., bi-nationalism], an attempt to establish Jewish sovereignty over Palestine. This project was illegitimate. Neither history nor religion, nor the sufferings of Jews in the Nazi era, sufficed to justify it. It posed a mortal threat to the Palestinians, and it left no room for meaningful compromise. Given that the Palestinians had no way to overcome Zionism peacefully, it also justified some form of violent resistance.
By 1948 the Jewish state in Palestine was a fait accompli, and its existence quickly earned international legitimacy. By the early 1970s, following Israel's wars (1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973) and the military supremacy of the Jewish state, the existence of Israel was assured and secured. But, this fait accompli was not enough for the Zionists. Sovereignty within the 1948 borders was a tactical step in the direction of wider ambitions that went back all the way to early Zionism: Greater Israel. In the next part of his exposé, "The Current Situation," Michael Neumann examines the second mortal threat to the Palestinians -- the continuation of the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and, even more threatening to their existence, the settlement of these occupied territories -- that has resulted in the predictable, and understandable, violence that continues to this day.
The policies undertaken by the Israeli governments (both Labor and Likud) following the pre-emptive Six-Day War in 1967 -- occupation and settlement of the West Bank and Gaza -- will quite possibly be recorded by historians as the single most damaging political calculation ever made by this small state. Their consequences have now become a threat to its existence; not its physical existence, which is quite secure, but its moral existence -- a threat to the moral fabric of Israeli society. The opprobrium Israel faces in the entire world, with the lonely exception of the United States, to which one could add the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, can only be traced to the implacable continuation of these policies. This young country so endeared and admired in the 1950s and 1960s even though it was born out of the expropriation, partial expulsion, and imposition of a foreign sovereignty over the remaining indigenous population, the Palestinians, has become an international pariah. The time has long passed since one could speak of "a land without people, waiting for a people without land," or, as Golda Meir stated in 1969, "It was not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."
It turns out that they did exist, were largely dispossessed, and became the subjects of an alien sovereignty; and they still exist, are still being dispossessed, and remain subjugated to a violent and humiliating occupation. The outcome could have been quite different. In the wake of the Six-Day War, the Palestinians hoped for an independent state and regarded the Israeli victory as a means to free themselves from Jordanian rule. This is not a well-known historical fact, but Neumann documents that for a short flimsy period the Palestinians felt that the Israelis were their liberators. The Palestinians let the Israelis know that they were ready to negotiate an immediate settlement to establish their own sovereign state alongside Israel. Their calls were not answered or, to put it slightly differently, the answer was loud and clear. Israel annexed East Jerusalem and started its settlement policy. It's worth quoting a citation from a speech by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan:
This is what used to be called 'Jew after Jew'... It meant expansion, more Jews, more villages, more settlements. Twenty years ago we were 600,000; today we are near three million. There should be no Jew who says 'that's enough,' no one who says 'we are nearing the end of the road.' ...It is the same with the land. ...there will be complaints against you if you come and say: 'up to here.' Your duty is to not stop; it is to keep your sword unsheathed, to have faith, to keep the flag flying. You must not call a halt - heaven forbid - and say 'that's all; up there, up to Degania, to Musfallasim, to Nabal Oz!' For that is not all.
Which brings Michael Neumann to comment on "the comparison with fascist ideologies of 'blood and soil'"...and leads him to cover the deliberate ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians that has taken place ever since, as well as the inevitable violent resistance from the Palestinians. Their only choice was, and remains, to leave the territories or to resist. What's so infuriating here, and well documented by the author, is that Israeli leaders have consistently acknowledged -- not so much in public, for it is yet another argument used in the propaganda war to appropriate the Occupied Territories -- the uselessness of these territories for the strategic defense of Israel. The Palestinians have no alternative but to resist, when Israel has an obvious one, recommended by many Israeli military experts: unilateral withdrawal.
Yet again, it is the Palestinians that are accused of violent actions and faulted for not resorting to non-violence. But, as Neumann convincingly establishes, "non-violence has never 'worked' in any politically relevant sense of the word, and there is no reason it ever will." His demonstration, using the examples of Gandhi (Indian independence), Martin Luther King (US Civil Rights), and South Africa (the end of Apartheid), may be resisted by the partisans of non-violence but I strongly recommend they read his analysis. A non-violent advocate myself, I must admit that Neumann makes a compelling case. Non-violence can only work when the powers-that-be are on the side of the struggle. Israel, evidently, has not been on the side of the Palestinian struggle for independence! It should also be noted that the Palestinians have gone through periods of substantial calm with little or no violence, to no avail. Suffice it to look at the current Israeli response to the non-violent resistance and demonstrations against the massive wall of separation that Israel is slowly completing. It does not make the news in the U.S. but its harshness is obvious to anyone who cares to look.
So, we are left with the old hatred. "They" hate us...always have...always will. How, then, can we have a Palestinian state next door that will forever be Israel's enemy and never accept its existence? Neumann answers this old hogwash with the precision of a surgeon. Hatred comes from war. Hatred comes from occupation and from being treated worse than dogs. Hatred slowly rescinds with peace. And is not peace with Egypt (and Jordan) proof that the existence of the state of Israel is accepted by its former enemies? Even the latest bombastic comments originating in Iran cannot hide the actuality: Israel is a fully secured country whose legitimacy, within its 1948 boundaries, is a fact, fully recognized by the overwhelming majority of the world.
Neumann then turns his attention to terror and terrorism, which he dissects in both practical and moral terms. He also examines how Israel became an ally of the USA ("a child of the Cold War") and the role of US Evangelical Christians in the support of Greater Israel; why the alliance should end, for the benefit of all -- Israelis, Jews, Americans, Palestinians... -- and whether Israel is judged by a double standard, or "higher standard," as well it should be since, as the narrative goes, the country is deemed by its proselytizers a Great Beacon of Light.
But I can't get into his rationale further; this review is already too long. I must confess that having a natural contrariant propensity, I was humbled by Michael Neumann as I could find nothing to object to in the case he makes. Perhaps he could have covered the importance of the West Bank aquifers in Israel's decision to hold tight to the Occupied Territories and colonize them; but I suspect he would dismiss this point as yet another irrelevancy that besieges this sorry state of affairs...and, darn, he would be correct.
To close: I very much appreciate the even-handedness of Neumann's precise, thought through, and well-documented rationale. Very few people have the capability and the character to be intellectually relevant and to address this divisive subject so objectively. Yet, I sensed a subterraneous emotional thread in his faultless, short, yet exhaustive, dissertation: A call for justice. People from all backgrounds, Jews and non-Jews alike, are clamoring with quiet certitude: Enough is enough. A growing number of Israeli and Jewish people all over the world, including the U.S., are courageously raising their voices in favor of the end of the occupation. Michael Neumann is one of these voices. He deserves to be heard and widely disseminated.
· · · · · ·
The tragic irony of the 21st century is that just as faith in technology collapsed on the world's stock markets in 2000, it came to power in the White House and Pentagon. For the Project for a New American Century's ambition of "full-spectrum dominance" - in which its country could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major-theatre wars" - was a monster borne up by the high tide of techno euphoria of the 1990s.Ex-hippies talked of a wired age of Aquarius. The fall of the Berlin wall and the rise of the internet, we were told, had ushered in Adam Smith's dream of overflowing abundance, expanding liberty and perpetual peace. Fukuyama speculated that history was over, leaving us just to hoard and spend. Technology meant a new paradigm of constant growth without inflation or recession.But darker dreams surfaced in America's military universities. The theorists of the "revolution in military affairs" predicted that technology would lead to easy and perpetual US dominance of the world. Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters advised on "future warfare" at the Army War College - prophesying in 1997 a coming "age of constant conflict". Thomas Barnett at the Naval War College assisted Vice-Admiral Cebrowski in developing "network-centric warfare". General John Jumper of the air force predicted a planet easily mastered from air and space. American forces would win everywhere because they enjoyed what was unashamedly called the "God's-eye" view of satellites and GPS: the "global information grid". This hegemony would be welcomed as the cutting edge of human progress. Or at worst, the military geeks candidly explained, US power would simply terrify others into submitting to the stars and stripes.Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance - a key strategic document published in 1996 - aimed to understand how to destroy the "will to resist before, during and after battle". For Harlan Ullman of the National Defence University, its main author, the perfect example was the atom bomb at Hiroshima. But with or without such a weapon, one could create an illusion of unending strength and ruthlessness. Or one could deprive an enemy of the ability to communicate, observe and interact - a macro version of the sensory deprivation used on individuals - so as to create a "feeling of impotence". And one must always inflict brutal reprisals against those who resist. An alternative was the "decay and default" model, whereby a nation's will to resist collapsed through the "imposition of social breakdown".All of this came to be applied in Iraq in 2003, and not merely in the March bombardment called "shock and awe". It has been usual to explain the chaos and looting in Baghdad, the destruction of infrastructure, ministries, museums and the national library and archives, as caused by a failure of Rumsfeld's planning. But the evidence is this was at least in part a mask for the destruction of the collective memory and modern state of a key Arab nation, and the manufacture of disorder to create a hunger for the occupier's supervision. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported in May 2003, US troops broke the locks of museums, ministries and universities and told looters: "Go in Ali Baba, it's all yours!"For the American imperial strategists invested deeply in the belief that through spreading terror they could take power. Neoconservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the recently indicted Lewis "Scooter" Libby, learned from Leo Strauss that a strong and wise minority of humans had to rule over the weak majority through deception and fear, rather than persuasion or compromise. They read Le Bon and Freud on the relationship of crowds to authority. But most of all they loved Hobbes's Leviathan. While Hobbes saw authority as free men's chosen solution to the imperfections of anarchy, his 21st century heirs seek to create the fear that led to submission. And technology would make it possible and beautiful.On the logo of the Pentagon's Information Awareness Office, the motto is Scientia est potentia - knowledge is power . The IAO promised "total information awareness", an all-seeing eye spilling out a death-ray gaze over Eurasia. Congressional pressure led the IAO to close, but technospeak, half-digested political theory and megalomania still riddle US thinking. Barnett, in The Pentagon's New Map and Blueprint for Action, calls for a "systems administrator" force to be dispatched with the military, to "process" conquered countries. The G8 and a few others are the "Kantian core", writes Barnett, warming over the former Blair adviser Robert Cooper's poisonous guff from 2002; their job is to export their economy and politics by force to the unlucky "Hobbesian gap". Imperialism is imagined as an industrial technique to remake societies and cultures, with technology giving sanction to those who intervene.The Afghanistan war of 2001 taught the wrong lessons. The US assumed this was the model of how a small, special forces-dominated campaign, using local proxies and calling in gunships or airstrikes, would sweep away opposition. But all Afghanistan showed was how an outside power could intervene in a finely balanced civil war. The one-eyed Mullah Omar's great escape on his motorbike was a warning that the God's-eye view can miss the human detail.The problem for the US today is that Leviathan has shot his wad. Iraq revealed the hubris of the imperial geostrategy. One small nation can tie down a superpower. Air and space supremacy do not give command on the ground. People can't be terrorised into identification with America. The US has proved able to destroy massively - but not create, or even control. Afghanistan and Iraq lie in ruins, yet the occupiers cower behind concrete mountains.The spin machine is on full tilt to represent Iraq as a success. Peters, in New Glory: Expanding America's Supremacy, asserts: "Our country is a force for good without precedent"; and Barnett, in Blueprint, says: "The US military is a force for global good that ... has no equal." Both offer ambitious plans for how the US is going to remake the third world in its image. There is a violent hysteria to the boasts. The narcissism of a decade earlier has given way to an extrovert rage at those who have resisted America's will since 2001. Both urge utter ruthlessness in crushing resistance. In November 2004, Peters told Fox News that in Falluja "the best outcome, frankly, is if they're all killed".But he directs his real fury at France and Germany: "A haggard Circe, Europe dulled our senses and fooled us into believing in her attractions. But the dugs are dry in Germany and France. They deluded us into prolonging the affair long after our attentions should have turned to ... India, South Africa, Brazil."While a good Kleinian therapist may be able to help Peters work through his weaning trauma, only America can cure its post 9/11 mixture of paranoia and megalomania. But Britain - and other allied states - can help. The US needs to discover, like a child that does not know its limits, that there is a world outside its body and desires, beyond even the reach of its toys, that suffers too.
Ariel Sharon, the Ultimate Con Man, has "Conned" The NeoCons.
The Mountain and the Mouse
By URI AVNERY
Ariel Sharon's speech at the "Herzliya Conference", an annual gathering of Israel's financial, political and academic aristocracy, proved again his wondrous ability to conjure up an imaginary world and divert attention away from the real one. Like every successful con-man, he knows that the audience desperately wants to believe good tidings and will be happy to ignore bad ones.
It was an optimistic message, as the bewitched commentators proclaimed. According to him, we are on our way to paradise, 2005 will be a year of tremendous progress in all fields and all our problems will be solved.
Most of the speech was devoted to his fabulous achievements since he launched, at the same conference a year ago, the "Unilateral Disengagement Plan".
This (in my own free translation) is what he said: America is in our pocket. President Bush supports all of Sharon's positions, including those that are diametrically opposed to Bush's own former positions. Europe has resigned itself to him. The Great of the World are standing in line to visit us, starting with Tony Blair. Egypt and the other Arab states are cosying up to us. Our international position has improved beyond recognition. The economy is advancing by leaps and bounds, our society is flourishing. Apart from the right-wing lunatic fringe, there is no opposition left. The Labor Party is joining the government and will support all its steps. (He somehow forgot to mention Yossi Beilin's Yahad party, which, too, has promised him an "iron bridge".)
Sharon has achieved all this solely by talking. His words have not been accompanied, up to now, by even one single action on the ground. There is no certainty that Sharon really intends to implement the "disengagement" at all. His intentions can be defined as follows:
* If it is possible to avoid the implementation of the plan altogether, especially the evacuation of settlements, without losing the sympathy of the world and the Israeli public, fine.
* If there is no alternative and implementation must start - everything must be done to drag out the matter, and especially the evacuation of settlements, for as long as possible. Evacuate one settlement and rest. Evacuate another one and rest again. It should take years.
* Either way, the disengagement should not change the plans concerning the West Bank.
And in the meantime: In the Gaza Strip, from which Sharon is supposed to "disengage", the Israeli army is in action every single day and night, killing from three to ten Palestinians every 24 hours. Houses are being destroyed wholesale. Some of the atrocities committed by the army have shocked the Israeli public. Not one single settler has been removed. On the contrary, new settlers have still been arriving.
All this does not point to any real determination to implement the promised disengagement. Sharon's actions on the West Bank, on the other hand, show a solid determination to implement his plan there.
In the West Bank, the occupation has intensified . The cruel checkpoints continue to prevent any possibility of normal life. The photo showing a Palestinian violinist compelled to play for the soldiers at a roadblock has evoked terrible memories in the minds of many Israelis. The building of the annexation-wall goes on, with a few changes of the route to placate the Israeli court, while disregarding the decision of the International Court. The settlers uproot Palestinian olive groves in order to build new neighborhoods in their place. Settlements are being expanded all over the West Bank, a network of "Jews Only" roads is being built, more "illegal" outposts come into being under army protection and with the tacit help of all relevant ministries. Plenty of money flows into these projects, while pensions are being cut and sick people lie around in the corridors of the hospitals.
Is this how a statesman with a vision of peace acts? He behaves more like a doctor who treats the hand of a patient while sticking a knife into his belly.
All this is happening while the world gives Sharon enthusiastic support, solely on the strength of his talking. As long as he holds forth on the "disengagement", he can pretty much do on the ground whatever he fancies.
David Ben-Gurion once said: "It is not important what the Gentiles say, what is important is what the Jews do." Sharon's version is: "It is not important what we say, what is important is what we do."
The most important part of the speech was the part that was not there. There was no peace offer to the Palestinians. He did not talk about peace at all.
Throughout the world, the conviction is spreading that there now exists a "window of opportunity", that this is the time for a new, redeeming peace initiative. Indeed, Sharon mentioned with great satisfaction that Yasser Arafat is dead and that there is now a chance for the emergence of a "moderate Palestinian leadership". So what did he offer this moderate leadership in his speech?
Not a thing.
He hinted vaguely at "long-term arrangements". Meaning: more interim agreements on top of the existing interim agreements, whose sole aim is to push a real peace agreement beyond the horizon. It emerges from his speech that Israel will retain forever not only the "large settlement blocks", but also "areas essential to our security". Which areas could he mean? This is well-known: the Jordan valley and the other territories designed in the Oslo agreements as "Area C". The final result of the "Disengagement Plan" will therefore be the annexation of 58% of the West Bank to Israel, as Sharon has wanted all along.
The Palestinians will retain, under this plan, 10-12% of pre-1948 Palestine, including the Gaza Strip (which is a mere 1.5% of the country). Sharon's "Palestinian State" will consist of a number of enclaves cut off from the world. That is what he means when he talks about "the end of the occupation", making "very painful concessions" and "our unwillingness to rule over another people", words that have attracted widespread admiration.
To rule out any doubt, Binyamin Netanyahu, too, outlined in his speech at the conference the future borders between us and the Palestinians: "Not the Green Line and not even close to the Green Line."
Nobody is offering the new Palestinian leadership peace negotiations. At most, some coordination of the steps leading to the withdrawal from Gaza. What else? The Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz, promised in his speech at the conference that the army would leave the Palestinian towns "for 72 hours" for the elections. Between roadblock and checkpoint, between one "targeted liquidation" and the next, Palestinian democracy will flourish for three days.
Sharon boasted that for all practical purposes the army has already vanquished terrorism. That was said a few days after the Palestinians, in a commando action that elicited some silent admiration even from the army, succeeded in destroying an entire army outpost on the "Philadelphi Axis" by detonating a huge amount of explosives in a tunnel dug beneath it and storming the remains. (This did not cause too much excitement in Israel, because all the five soldiers killed were Arabs, mostly Bedouin volunteers from among the state's Arab citizens.)
For the time being, the number of violent attacks on Israeli citizens has indeed fallen, but mainly because of Abu Mazen's efforts. This may well continue for some time, as long as the Palestinian public has some hope of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as they lose this hope, they will give the green light to a new wave of attacks.
Sharon promises Israelis a wonderful year, a year of security and tranquility, economic growth and social progress. There is no chance of this coming about as long as he is blocking the road to peace and keeps the peace process "in formalin", as described by his closest advisor.
European leaders talk about making a huge donation to the Palestinian authority after the election of Abu Mazen. This is an illusion as old as Zionism itself: that the Palestinian people or any other people fighting for its freedom, for that matter - can be bought off and will give up its land and independence for a mess of pottage.
If the money is not accompanied by a massive European intervention for the speedy termination of the occupation and the attainment of a permanent Israeli-Palestinian solution, the mountain (as the ancient saying goes) will give birth to a mouse.
Back to the Neoconservatives (4) Same Pattern of Fabricating LIES .
Jihad el Khazen
I hope that Paul Wolfowitz is put on trial some day with the rest of the neoconservative mafia, on charges of killing 100,000 Iraqis and more than 2,000 American soldiers. I think that in the end, he will go on trial, instead of being rewarded for his role in the war against Iraq by being appointed head of the World Bank.I'm not alone in calling for him to be put on trial, for the same reasons. Many people have begun feeling the same way as I do. I read an article on the internet by Rick Sterling, who proposes assassinating Wolfowitz, just like the reverend Pat Robertson suggested that Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, should be assassinated. Sterling remembered that he opposes the death penalty, so he proposes kneecapping Wolfowitz, mafia-style, and then ends by advocating that Wolfowitz be pelted with eggs and tomatoes.I don't want anything of this sort. I insist that he be tried along with Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Richard Perle and the other pillars of the Likudist mafia.Wolfowitz is the one who brought Lewis Libby to the government. Wolfowitz brought Libby to the Pentagon and the State Department in the 1980s; Libby is done with both institutions now. Libby might implicate his former boss Dick Cheney and others. But the most dangerous thing that Wolfowitz did was to plot, along with Feith, the establishment of the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon, to provide false intelligence information justifying a war against Iraq.Wurmser helped Feith in setting up what Mother Jones magazine called "the lie factory," which was run by Deputy Secretary William Luti, and his boss was Abram Shulsky. Everyone believed the information provided by the charlatan-informant Ahmad Chalabi and the rest of the Iraqi National Congress; Chalabi received a $340,000 monthly salary from Iraqi intelligence, even after the war.As I mentioned in an earlier installment of this series, an investigation has begun with Feith into the falsifying of information about Iraq's alleged WMD and ties to al-Qaida. I believe that the investigation is a serious one, and it should reach Wolfowitz.Ahmad Chalabi should go on trial in Iraq one day. I call for a fair trial. Today, he continues to insist that he didn't deliberately lie, because he is no longer ready to insist that the information about WMD was correct. The same goes for the other myths spread by enemies of Arabs and Muslims in the Likudnik mafia that Chalabi enthusiastically joined. It's no secret that he promised the "Israelis" at the American Enterprise Institute and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (the security of Israel, not the US) that he would see an exchange of diplomatic relations with Israel when he rules Iraq, and reopen the pipeline from Iraq to Haifa (after destroying Syria along the way).Whenever I hear Ahmad Chalabi's name, it's always in connection with some scandal or another, beginning with the financial scandals in the Gulf, Lebanon and Jordan. However, his conviction on fraud in the collapse of Petra Bank in Amman and his 20-year prison sentence is easy, compared to what he did to Iraq afterward.The FBI is now investigating if Chalabi presented deliberately false information about Iraq to American intelligence agencies. However, once again I prefer to see him go on trial in Iraq. Chalabi visited the US in November and denied that he mislead the US government on purpose. I can accuse Ahmad Chalabi of many things, but not stupidity. So I refuse to believe that he believed the information that wasn't believed by the Americans, because they chose to believe information that suited them. They aren't stupid either. It was a case of warmongers who were fellow travelers, each having his own reason.Ahmad Chalabi ran away the truth at every stop on his recent visit to the US. Arianna Huffington, who went to hear him at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote about the contradiction between the truth in Iraq and Chalabi's comments.He discussed the armed resistance, which personally I call terror, arguing that there is no sectarian fighting in Iraq, merely acts of violence by individuals. Iraq is on the brink of a civil war, if it hasn't already started, and Chalabi talks about individuals. He described his relationship with Iran as "totally transparent" even though the FBI is investigating whether Chalabi leaked secret information to the Islamic Republic. Chalabi said that Ayatollay Ali Sistani "is not concerned by politics; it's the last thing on his mind." Chalabi didn't need to lie about this, but his nature got the better of him. The worst thing that Chalabi said involved his opinion on the corruption spreading in Iraq. "Ninety five percent of corruption . . . has been eliminated," he said.The greatest corruption in the history of the world is taking place in Iraq today. There's no way that it can end as long as those benefiting from it are the ones who promoted the war, and conspired to kill Iraqis and destroy their country. An extremist who is not deterred from killing has no fear of engaging in theft.Frankly, I don't understand this kind of lying. It involves contempt for the listeners, since the truth is as clear as the light of day. Ahmad Chalabi is the one who brought Iraqi dissidents to the Pentagon; these dissidents provided completely false information about chemical and biological weapons, mobile laboratories, and a nuclear program. Chalabi himself confessed, on the PBS program Front Line, that his people had provided the names of people who built the relationship between al-Qaida and the Saddam Hussein regime. Since this relationship did not exist, I don't know how Chalabi can now deny his role in fabricating facts, despite his picture and voice appearing on television.I don't want to close today's column by engaging in incitement myself, even though it's legal incitement. Ahmad Chalabi told Time magazine that the Military Tribunal in Jordan found him guilty of fraud, and that the Iraqi people trust him because "they know the record of Jordan being the hub of corruption on the basis of Saddam's illicit dealings."Ahmad Chalabi talks about corruption and accuses the judges who tried him and Jordan with them. This is despite the fact that he was part of a system of rule that was based on foreign arms and was corrupt to the bone. Whatever happens to Iraqis, there's no way that an agent of foreign intelligences services can enjoy their trust; his presence in the Iraqi government is an insult to Iraq.Thus, I say to King Abdullah of Jordan that any pardon of Chalabi or deal is unacceptable to Jordan and the rule of law in that country. I can't imagine that the King will accept such a thing; national dignity is above any interest. We'll just have to see.
Iran and the Story of the "Stupid Tree".
It never once occurred to me that there was actually something called the "stupid tree." But coincidence has come into play in showing that this tree truly exists. I was flipping through the pages of an international magazine and one of its ads, as a passing joke, referred to the existence of this tree, with this strange name, on an island in the Pacific Ocean. I was curious and decided to search for the truth about the existence of this tree and the origin of its name. However, I didn't have any luck. At first, I thought it was a joke that was meant to make the advertisement funny. After some time passed, as luck would have it, I met the Australian ambassador to a European country at a social occasion. We had a discussion over dinner about many things concerning Australia and its surroundings. Curiosity again prompted me to ask about whether there was such a "stupid tree" in that part of the world. I was quite astonished when the ambassador confirmed that such a tree existed, in a forest on an island in the south Pacific, believed to be Papau New Guinea. He knew that there was a huge, tall tree covering a large portion of the area in question, and that such a tree had become rare, due to environmental change. The discussion made me curious to learn more.Days went by and I was at a party at my children's school, where I met a British professor in biology. He promised me, as a joke, to work on finding information about this tree, acknowledging that he had no information about this tree. The professor quickly came up with the information, which said that this tree had more than one scientific name, and promised to look for more information. However, he learned that the name "stupid tree" had been given to it by local residents, based on what they discovered through personal experience. He began by explaining the secret of this name, given to the tree by the primitive tribes who were residents of the forest. He said that the tree was a frightening myth, in all senses of the word frightening. It was huge, and tall, and solid, with a wide network of roots. The tree protected itself from wind and floods and other dangers. I asked, "So why is it called 'the stupid tree'?" Perhaps it was unfairly named, since it was so mighty.My partner in the discussion responded, "Wait, there's more. This tree wasn't only big and strong in its make-up and appearance; I can tell you that it is hostile as well. The tree protects its fruit in an amazing fashion, very fiercely and effectively. The tasty, sugary fruit is on its highest branches, and can't be seen or reached easily, even by those with expertise in the matter, whether human or animal. Also, the tree wraps its fruit with big, thick leaves, to hide them from the eyes of the curious. The tree's success in hiding its fruit made the residents of the forest believe, mistakenly, that it had no fruit. The tree's roots and branches have thorns and dangerous spikes; something like barbed wire handing from the tree deter anyone from risking his life to pluck the fruit, if we assume that the tree actually exists. Thus, this tree puts its greatness, among other things, to use in deterrence, punishment and concealment, in order to keep its fruit for itself.Here's the strange and funny part. This tree, like any other living being, is compelled by nature to give up its fruit, sooner or later. Perhaps the source of this tree's stupidity lies in the fact that it waits for the moon to disappear at the end of the lunar cycle. Under the cover of darkness, the tree gives up its fruit, one after another, extremely quickly, believing that no one will see it or steal its fruit, which have been produced after considerable effort. First of all, it gives up its fruit under this total darkness and second, it tosses its fragile fruit down from a high altitude. The fruit hits the ground, as the tree hopes that the fruit will be hidden when the morning sun rises and becomes hot, without anyone noticing. Thus, the tree will have achieved a great benefit by preventing others from obtaining the fruit.In the second part of the story, an uneducated or uncivilized person from one of the primitive tribes in the forest appears. He is armed with nothing but courage, and a little bit of wisdom. He observers the tree from a distance, and from up close, admiring the greatness of this tree. But by coincidence, he discovers the secret of this tree. He discovers something dangerous - that he can get most or all of the delicious fruit of this tree, with no trouble at all. All he has to do is show up during the moonless nights of each month, along with some friends, and sit under the trunk and branches, holding big leaves, resembling banana tree leaves, or old rags, and catch the fruit, safe and sound. He discovers that he can get the precious fruit of this tree just by sitting and waiting at the right time. He's astonished that he can obtain this fruit in just an hour, after the tree spent 6 months producing and guarding it. In his primitive language, the tribesman can find no better description of the tree than "stupid," implying that despite his primitiveness and ignorance, he is thousands of times smarter than the tree. The tree is armed with everything, while he is armed only with patience, to await the suitable time. He discovers an important piece of wisdom, namely that greatness and stupidity are inseparable twins.I contemplate this story as I think hard about the development of the American-Iranian-Arab struggle over the last two and a half decades. The mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran squatted under the "stupid American-Arab tree" until the fruit began to fall into their hands and laps, with no trouble.The true story of this tragic tale begins when ignorance and arrogance led Saddam Hussein to invade Iran, due to various pretexts, some of which were fabricated. Some truths did exist in these pretexts, but these in no way justify waging a total war and occupation. There were 8 years of fighting and bloody confrontations that destroyed everything, including an entire generation of young people on both sides.In 1988 the first Gulf War ended, along with Iran's insistence that the Baath regime in Iraq had to fall. Perhaps it was the end of the dream to create a Shiite Islamic Republic in Iraq, along Iranian lines. Overnight we saw the dream of occupying Baghdad and liberating the Shiite holy places and other areas, along with other dreams, evaporate. From the end of 1981 to the end of 1988, the Iranian leadership strongly resisted the idea of a cease fire and ending the war, hoping that it would be able to achieve a military victory over Iraq that would see most or all of these dreams come true.In practical terms, Iran the State and Iran the Revolution lost the war and the wager; Iraq, the Arabs, America and West were the winners, even if at a great price. Ayatollah Khomeini decided to accept an unconditional ceasefire in 1988, a decision that was described as being forced to drink the bitter cup of poison.After it did so, the Iran leadership finally stood up, after its painful experience (materially and in terms of its morale) of crawling and sitting under the tree to see what the future would bring; all it did was sit and wait patiently. Its wait lasted only 24 months, when stupidity began to flow through the tree. The surprise came on 2 August 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed it, destroying an Arab Gulf state that had put its political and material capabilities in the service of Iraq to prevent an Iranian victory in the first Gulf War. The liberation of Kuwait followed in February 1991, with fantastic fruit, or results, for Iran, obtained with no trouble or effort. These included the destruction of Arab solidarity, which had worked effectively to prevent Iranian aspirations from the first Gulf War, and the destruction of Iraq militarily, politically and economically; it was a key Arab state in the regional balance of power and Iran's historical rival. Iran couldn't destroy Iraq, but the latter was able to destroy itself, like the stupid tree did when it gave up its fruit at no cost. During the events of 1990 and 1991, the Iranian leadership learned the wisdom of sitting under the tree. The capabilities of a leading, if not the leading enemy of Iran in the region were destroyed; Iraq was now out of the strategic calculations, as the regional power and might of Iran grew.On 11 September 2001, a big new stupid tree appeared in surprising fashion in the forest of ignorance, when al-Qaeda attacked on American territory. The US reaction created more fruit, which fell into the laps of those underneath the tree. The immediate American reaction involved the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. This regime, in its fundamentalist, extremist nature, was a big threat and challenge to the rulers in Tehran, their ideological revolution, and their regional aspirations. At the same time, US policy provided more free fruit when it decided to reduce the role of Saudi Arabia, subjecting it to political and diplomatic sanctions; this paralyzed its regional role and limited its ability to impose balance or deterrence to Iranian influence.Iran's rulers were astonished when they got up from sitting under the stupid tree and looked around them. They saw Moses' magic wand do its trick in 3 of the most important regional competitors or enemies. The arena of regional conflict and competition was now completely free of those able to stand in the way of Iran's regional aspirations. After everything that happened, the Iranian leadership was completely certain and convinced that the stupid tree would remain stupid, and its free fruit would continue to fall from the branches with no trouble at all, and nothing in return except for patience.The US invasion of Iraq took place in 2003 and confirmed the wisdom of waiting under this mythical tree. The invasion strengthened Iran's self confidence and confidence in the stupidity of others. When the US leadership was busy planning the military occupation of Iraq, the Iranian leadership was busy in parallel, planning the occupation of Iraq in terms of politics and intelligence agencies, and the reaping of the fruit of miscalculation and frightening ignorance. What the Americans learned from the experiences of other occupying forces was that there is a fundamental difference between the ability to engage in a military occupation, the easiest part of any such process, and the ability to impose control of foreign territory politically and through intelligence agencies. This needs a lot more than the use of "magical," advanced military technology.At the present time, Iran is taking its special place as it imposes its indirect control over Iraq by employing various means that other regional and international parties lack. Iran is reaching out to grab the biggest and best fruit from the stupid tree over the last 2 decades, by which we mean the dream of controlling Iraq.The moral of the story of the stupid tree is that Iran, whether through an agreement or a stroke of luck, has become the biggest beneficiary of American and Arab policy in the Middle East.
Is that the end of this charade ? I doubt it.
American and Israeli Hands in the Levant
Syrian President Assad recently caused an uproar when he decried foreign interference against him in Lebanon. * Here's the 'smoking gun'.From Beirut to Damascus, the "Arab Spring" was a neocon forgery manipulated to invade the Levant and redraw the map of the Middle East. Near the Mohammad Al Amin Mosque of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in Beirut, Iinterviewed a founder of the Martyrs' Square tent city and asked aboutUS-Israeli sponsorship of the 'Independence Intifadah'. Surrounded by red and white Lebanese flags, soldier Michael Sweidan of the Lebanese Forces emphasized he was Christian Lebanese.Years before birthing the Cedar Revolution (a moniker coined by US Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, a signatory to the Project for aNew American Century), Israel awarded citizenship and grants of up to$10,000 to South Lebanon Army soldiers who collaborated with the IsraeliDefense Forces during Lebanon's civil war. The Israeli newspaper Haaretzrevealed; "Senior officials at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office were intouch with Lebanese leaders even before the current crisis." Backed byAmerican and Israeli neocons, a Christian Lebanese Likud is proxyingLebanon's resurgence.One example is the Lebanese Foundation for Peace, a self-styled "Governmentof Lebanon in Exile in Jerusalem" founded by former Lebanese Forces'military intelligence officer Nagi N. Najjar . Najjar, a CIA consultant,recently testified in support of Ariel Sharon's "complete innocence" in the Sabra and Shatila affair against charges by Human Rights Watch and regional governments. Najjar has also paired with Mossad agent Yossef Bodansky, http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/terrorism/bodansky.html , while lobbying the American congress to intervene in Hezbollah-dominated south Lebanon. His NGO, the Lebanese Foundation for Peace, endorsed AIPAC(American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) sponsored sanctions against Syria: the Syria Accountability / Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of2003.Another NGO of the Lebanese hawks camps is the United States Committee for aFree Lebanon. Its President, Ziad Abdelnour is the son of Lebanese Member of Parliament Khalil Abdelnour. USCFL partners with designated"democratizers" such as the American Enterprise Institute (created by Lebanese-American William Baroody, Sr.), Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Jewish Institute for National SecurityAffairs, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Middle East Forum, theHudson Institute and myriad sister lobbies on the Hill as the ultimateLebanese American power-brokers in shaping US foreign policy towardsLebanon..The USCFL hails former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel for signing a peacedeal with Israel in 1983. Abdelnour and neoconn Daniel Pipes composed the policypaper "Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: the US Role" and togetherco-author the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. The bulletin is a project of the neocon Middle East Forum and is a frequent resource for American intelligence agencies.US-Israeli intervention in Lebanon has a long history. In 1950's Beirut,bribes were paid by American oil companies and the CIA to Maronite Catholic President Camille Chamoun to buy allegiance against Lebanese Muslims, andthe pan-Arab threat of Nasser. CIA case officer William Crane Evelandrevealed in 1980; "Throughout the elections, I traveled regularly to thepresidential palace with a briefcase full of Lebanese pounds, then returnedlate at night to the embassy with an empty twin case" to be refilled againwith more CIA funds. Journalist Said Aburish recalled; "The convergence ofinterest between the Camille Chamoun government and CIA agents produced abizarre atmosphere which altered Beirut's character. It became a CIA city..." frequented by such covert operatives as the Roosevelts (whoorganized the Iranian coup against Mohammed Mossadeq). Soon the Israelis joined in, supplying weapons to Chamoun's son Dany, an arms trader. Dany's weapons sales to Maronite gangs created a precedent for the country's civil war militias. (A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite, 1997)A more recent US-Israeli role commenced in mid-November, 2004. A demonstration was called by former Christian General Michel Aoun. ( Aoun testified to the US Congress in 2003, and Congress favors him as apost-Assad Lebanese president). US diplomats coached a vanguard of unwitting Lebanese youth in CIA "Triple U" techniques (uncontrollable urban unrest).Opposition sources revealed that a downtown rally of 3000 mostly Christianstudent activists protesting "Syrians Out!," had been organized by the USEmbassy in Beirut. The Associated Press (11/15/04): "One demonstrator appealed to the US president, holding a placard that read: 'Bush help ussave Lebanon.' Another dressed up as Osama bin Laden but with the words"Syrian Terror" on his chest. He held a toy gun to the head of a protester who was wrapped in the Lebanese flag..."Lebanese riot police allowed this unprecedented pre-Cedar rehearsal withoutarrests because of a deal worked out beforehand with US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman. Feltman, closely linked to Ariel Sharon and Karl Rove, is an associate of the super secret Office of Special Plans that created the falseevidence and "mushroom cloud" intelligence used to justify attacks on Iraqand Syria. This 2004 rehearsal demonstration was answered by a counterprotest of 300,000 on November 30 against UN Resolution 1559.When the stage show opened for real after Rafiq Hariri's death, America'sWag the Flag performance was camera-ready. Janes.com exposed that the flashydemonstrations and rallies were being engineered by one of Lebanon's topadvertising agencies and Saatchi & Saatchi. Michael Nakfour of the corporateevents management company, Independence 05 - Civil Society helped manage theFreedom Square tent city by distributing food, flags, supplies andtheatrical effects, prompting American Enterprise Institute scholar HediehMirahmadi to marvel; "Who would imagine one could find posters, in downtownBeirut, with the picture of President Bush in between American and Lebaneseflags?" (NY Sun, 3/18/05)Reporter Mary Wakefield, of The Spectator was also surprised. "Only 1,000 or so people? ..it felt less like a national protest than a pop concert.Bouncers in black bomber jackets wore laminated Independence '05 cards roundtheir necks, screens to the left and right of the platform reflected thecrowd... To the left of the main speaker, a man in a black flying suit withblonde highlights, mirrored Oakley sunglasses and an earpiece seemed to beconducting the crowd. Sometimes he'd wave his arms to increase the shouting,sometimes, with a gesture he'd silence them... 'Out Syria! Out Syria! OutSyria! Production assistants with clipboards busied themselves around trucksfull of monitors and amplifiers.... The truth is that the Cedar Revolutionhas been presented and planned in just the same way as Ukraine's Orangerevolution and, before it, the Rose revolution in Georgia. But just becauseit is in American interests doesn't mean it's an American production."(3/12/05)Why not? The New York Post: "US intelligence sources told The Post that theCIA and European intelligence services are quietly giving money andlogistical support to organizers of the anti-Syrian protests to ramp uppressure on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to completely quit Lebanon.Sources said the secret program is similar to previous support ofpro-democracy movements in Georgia and Ukraine, which also led to peacefuldemonstrations." (3/8/05).On the streets of Beirut, one 'grassroots' project, "Pulse of Freedom,"inadvertently exposed its US origins by utilizing uniquely American streettheater tactics. Then in a slip, reminiscent of Baghdad's Firdos Square whenUS troops covered Saddam's statue with the Stars and Stripes, or when theRepublic of Georgia's military band played the US national anthem instead ofits own during the Rose Revolution, "Pulse of Freedom" portrayed Lebanon'snational Monument of Sovereignty as the Statue of Liberty.Spirit of America, the NGO that created "Pulse of Freedom" providedprotesters with a billboard-sized electronic 'Freedom Clock' for 'FreedomSquare' to "countdown to freedom." Spirit of America's tax deductibledonations helped maintain the tent city's food, shelter and other basicnecessities "so that the demonstrators can keep pressure on for politicalchange and world attention on the struggle for Lebanese independence."Spirit of America also spawned a plethora of "revolution bloggers," foremostamong them Tech Central Station columnist Michael Totten whose boss wasSpirit of America's founder Jim Hake.A registered charity, "Spirit of America" exemplifies the regime changeindustry. Advised by US Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice Chairman of the Boardof Freedom House, and co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy,Palmer served as speechwriter to three US Presidents and six Secretaries ofState. He also helped the US government dismantle Slobodan Milosevic andMuammar Qaddafi. Capitalizing on his color revolution skills, Palmer wrote"Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last DictatorsWithout Firing a Shot."Another "Spirit of America" governor is Lt General Mike DeLong, DeputyCommander, US Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. DeLongmanages a budget of $8.2 billion and "conceived and implemented the GlobalWar on Terrorism, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom."As top Deputy to former General Tommy Franks, DeLong's listed expertise atplaces such as the Army War College, Department of Defense and theAmphibious Warfare School? Artillery, military intelligence, coup d'états,supporting democracy. DeLong in his autobiography "Inside Centcom" alleged"Syria had been shipping military supplies, including night vision gogglesto Iraq." The New York Times and Washington Post later revealed that thisdata had been fabricated "smoking gun" evidence. Charles Duelfer of the UNIraq Survey Group also confirmed that it was "exaggerated" by now-USAmbassador to the UN John Bolton.Lebanese history professor Habib Malik, affiliated with the Middle EastForum, defended the anti-Syria protesters to journalist-in-residence ClaudiaRosett of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies as being "utterlyspontaneous and coercion-free." (NY Sun, 3/11/05)But an American Hezbollah expert in Beirut, Dr. Judith Harik, told thiswriter that the pro-Syria crowds were misrepresented in the media. "As youare hearing, the Bush administration is labeling the opposition "the people"and everyone else as Hezbollah terrorists. Tomorrow's [March 8, 2005]demonstration will include Sunnis, Druze of the Arslan faction, Christiansof all the leftist nationalist parties and the entire south and Bekaa, alongwith Orthodox Christian areas of Mt. Lebanon. Again the Bush administrationis misleading the public by "mistakenly" lauding a loud minority thatsupports its middle east policy."Each side eventually held a mass demonstration numbered in the hundreds ofthousands, prompting a truce. But the US-Israeli machine declared war. Usinglanguage formerly reserved for regime change target Yasser Arafat, Bushparroted Ariel Sharon. "Syria is an obstacle to peace" and an "obstacle tochange." "Israel wants Assad bloodied, not beaten," Rep. Sam Johnson(R-Texas): "Syria- put two nukes on 'em," "Sharon says US should also disarmIran, Libya and Syria" Haaretz; "Israel to US: Now deal with Syria and Iran"Jerusalem Post; "Israel hails Bush's Islamist attacks," "Jerusalem UrgesBush: Next Target Hezbollah," Jewish Forward; "US promises Israel to tackleHezbollah."A deck of 'Syria's Most Wanted' playing cards appeared- a techniquepioneered by the Israeli newspaper Maariv to target Palestinians, and laterused against the Iraqi Baath Party. Likud MK Yuval Steinetz, head of the Knesset's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee crystallized priorities;"it's a clear Israeli interest to end the Assad dynasty and replace BasharAssad." Evoking the "absurd Arabs with their Arab conspiracy theories" slur,Geostrategy-Direct headlined; "Is Bashar Assad paranoid or is the US reallyplotting to undermine him?"When Israel's control of US middle east policy became too visible, itsallies moved to quell the uproar. "Bush Administration Advises Israel to beQuiet on Lebanese Politics," said The New York Times. It wasn't the firstreprimand to Israel by some of its own. In November, 2003 Israel's formerhead of military intelligence, Major-General Shlomo Gazit publicly warnedSharon against threatening Syria and the Israeli "jab, jab policyorchestrated to incite and humiliate Damascus. It is only going to be amatter of time until the Syrians are unable to hold back and then the bigblaze will begin." But that was Sharon's intent and he spoke of Iraq as ajustification to attack Hezbollah; "it will give us a great pretext. Butwe'll hit them in any case." (Daily Times, 3/4/03)The Jerusalem Post wrote; "Rumsfeld considers striking Hizbullah to provokeSyria," and the Pentagon assessed that "the time is coming to oust Assad andthe ruling generals by targeting Syria via Lebanon..." Former NationalSecurity Council/CIA analyst Flynt Leverett confirmed Donald Rumsfeld'sbelief that by instigating the right crisis in Lebanon, regime change couldbe executed in Syria. One Rumsfeld project, P20G, or the ProactivePre-emptive Operations Group, existed specifically to provoke terroristattacks that would then justify "counter-attacks." (John Pilger, 12/2/02)Neocons such as Douglas Feith and David Wurmser envisioned this graduateddestabilization as the "constructive instability" of "total war."Rumsfeld's team had already begun discussions with Israeli intelligenceabout assassinating Lebanese officials- particularly "Hezbollah and theirsupporters" in 2002, and intelligence operatives were dispatched to Lebanon.(This writer was introduced to at least one Israeli 'student' studyingArabic at AUB in Beirut. Jason* traveled with an American passport, comingto Lebanon "to study 'the enemy' to find out how they think.") The SundayTimes (6/5/05) revealed that Mossad had been using Trojan Horse emailsurveillance on President Assad's wife Asma, labeling her familycorrespondence a "legitimate soft target."Middle East Newsline (1/8/05) announced that Rumsfeld, the DoD, and thePentagon were prepared for military operations in Lebanon to destroy"insurgency strongholds along the Lebanese-Syrian border." Simultaneously,Israeli approval for a military operation in Lebanon was given afterHezbollah killed an IDF officer. Political-security cabinet memberscomprised of PM Sharon, Deputy PM Ehud Olmert, Vice Premier Shimon Peres,and FM Silvan Shalom attended the meeting. (Haaretz, 5/3/05). But then RafiqHariri was killed, and the door to Syria opened.Syria may become America's 53rd state, if Farid Ghadry's NGO, the ReformParty of Syria seizes that newly opened door. Ghadry is a Syrian Christian who worked for EG & G, a Department of Defense contractor. EG & G assistedin the development and testing of nuclear weapons and in many of the USmilitary's top secret atomic projects. Ghadry's Reform Party coordinateswith the Syrian National Council, and transmits Radio Free Syria from Cyprusand Germany to destabilize Syria. CIA-Mossad has long used Kurds to targetnations in the region. Journalist Jack Anderson wrote in 1972 of "bags ofmoney being delivered weekly" to northern Iraq to support insurgents againstSaddam Hussein.In March 2004, this writer was approached in Damascus by Kurds from Qamishliand Hasaka (one whose brother was arrested in the riots) wanting to "thankBush for helping us get rid of Assad." News accounts later verified that thechaos up north had been orchestrated by the US and Israel, using Turkish andIraqi Kurds. 'Protesters' at the height of the melee even waved posters ofPresident Bush and American flags. The ringleaders were sponsored by theDepartment of Defense and the US State Department. "Let the Damascus springflower, and let its flowers bloom," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.So sprouted another color catastrophe- Syria's "Jasmine Revolution".Reform Party of Syria's Farid Ghadry has been a featured speaker at theJewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and is himself a member ofAIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee. When repeated calls to hisorganization went unanswered, I visited the Washington, D.C. headquarters ofthe RFP. Reform Party of Syria is the office of "super-Zionist" lobbyistJack Abramoff. Middle Gate Ventures, Abramoff's 'political advisory company'partners with RFP. Abramoff, a top Beltway lobbyist, has the requisite linksand resources to proxy a regime change and his experience in foreignintervention is known.As a College Republican in the 1980's, he founded the International FreedomFoundation, a South African Defense Forces project to smear African NationalCongress members like Nelson Mandela and anti-apartheid activists whom itdefamed as terrorists. The International Freedom Foundation was the PRbranch of sister NGO Strategic Communications, "a covert organizationinvolved with frame-ups, political assassinations, bombings, torture, covertpropaganda and dirty tricks campaigns." (Weekly Mail and Guardian, 2/24/95).According to the Weekly Standard (12/20/04), Abramoff's consummate venturewas his organization of a 1985 global "summit" of underworld thugs. WithCitizens for America sponsorship, Contra leaders, guerilla rebels and rightwing 'freedom fighters' from around the world convened in the Africanhinterlands to strategize. During this period, Abramoff'smembership/financial transactions with the secretive Council for NationalPolicy, which included Oliver North and Richard Secord, became a templatefor how to mask money- and still remain partially hidden. (Nizkor Project,12/14/92)Recently Abramoff's interventionism has focused on the Middle East.Tomflocco.com reveals that Abramoff's long time employer, Greenberg Traurig,partially financed a Homeland Security Government Contract Team trip toIsrael for the US House/Senate Armed Services Committee and defensecontractor CACI (accused of Abu Ghraib torture). The delegation reviewed IDF"resistance to interrogation techniques" used in Palestine, Guantanamo andAbu Ghraib. The Lebanon Daily Star reported that the group visited BeitHoron "the central training camp for the anit-terrorist forces of theIsraeli police and border police" and were able to "witness exercisesrelated to anti-terror warfare." Legislators' names were not disclosed.Reform Party of Syria's Abramoff, also works with the World ZionistOrganization and the Christian Coalition to bankroll illegal Israelisettlement activities. According to Israeli prosecutor Talia Sasson, some$60 billion worldwide has been illicitly funneled to Israeli settlementsvia different foreign donors, quasi-NGOs and secret military accounts.In one such case, an Abramoff charity, Capital Athletic Fund underwrotesniper scopes, camouflage suits, thermal imagers, night vision goggles,hydration tactical tubes, shooting mats and other paramilitary equipmentthrough Greenberg Traurig to right wing settler Shmuel Ben-Zvi. Abramoffwanted to help ultraorthodox settlement Beitar Illit "neutralize terrorists"and wrote to Ben-Zvi; "Thanks brother. If only there were another dozen ofyou the dirty rats would be finished." Angling for cover and a taxdeduction, Beitar Illit seminar director Ben-Zvi suggested invoicing theweaponry to the Israeli Defense Forces on 'Sniper Workshop' stationary witha sniper logo & letterhead to qualify it as an educational entity. Paymentswere partially disguised through "Kollel Ohel Tiferet," an entity notpublicly listed or traceable. Beitar Illit Mayor Yizhak Pindrus claims neverto have heard of it. (Newsweek, 5/2/05)Abramoff dollars may also have found their way to the Israeli DefenseForces' Lebanon Border Unit, the civilian SF troops that patrol theIsrael-Lebanon border. YAAGAL, supposedly disbanded after Israel's 2000pullout from south Lebanon, still conducts clandestine reconnaissance, plansambushes and carries out cross-border incursions into Hezbollah-held areas of south Lebanon. As so often with lobbyist Abramoff's entities, the toolsand trails remain murky. Indicted AIPAC lobbyist Steven Rosen told the NewYorker; "A lobby is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies inthe sun." (6/28/05)But Abramoff's own words to Christian Coalition founder Ralph Reed in 1983are even more apropos; "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence" withopponents... "Our job is to remove them permanently." Flowery language for "forged" Arab freedoms, Machiavelli style.... You ain't seen the end yet.
Back to the Neoconservatives (3)
Jihad el Khazen
I sometimes engage in comparisons among the neoconservatives and ask: Which of them is the worst? There's no answer; each one is worse than the next. All of them entered the administration to work for the benefit of Israel, at the expense of the US' own interests. However, I return to the original question and find Douglas Feith close to the top of the list, each time. His name has never once dropped from the number 3 position in terms of badness, extremism, or being an anti-peace Israeli Likudnik.This summer, Feith resigned from his position as Deputy Secretary of Defense. In this column I wrote that an official who cooked up intelligence information to justify a war against Iraq should not be allowed to leave his post without an official investigation, or without standing trial. I consider him one of those responsible for killing 100,000 Iraqis and more than 2,000 Americans until now in a war whose pretexts were completely false. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, a relationship with al-Qaida, or a nuclear program of any kind.The traditional US intelligence agencies were unable to provide the information required to wage war, so the Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, and Feith created the Office of Special Plans, under Feith's supervision, to provide the required information. It was served up on demand by Ahmad Chalabi and other Iraqi agents, while Chalabi received a monthly salary of $340,000 from the CIA, even after the occupation of Iraq. That's how people from the Iraqi National Congress provided false information on chemical and biological weapons and a nuclear program; there was focus on Iraq's alleged relations with al-Qaida, and on joint efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.In this column, I protested that Feith was escaping without going on trial. I was very happy to learn recently that the Pentagon's inspector general agreed to a congressional request for an investigation into the intelligence information that Feith submitted to the White House in the run-up to the war. I read that the inspector general told the Senate on 19 November that he had decided to investigate Feith's information after receiving a request from Republican members of the Intelligence Committee, and another request from Democratic members.While the inspector general's office has pledged to speed up the investigation, sources from the office say that the process requires at least 6 months. Personally, I don't expect that an official at the Pentagon will prove Feith's guilt, since he didn't act alone. The accusation will certainly reach Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who always insisted that information on Iraq's weapons and ties with al-Qaida were certain, and free of any suspicion.Feith is a lawyer and before his work in government, was half of the law office of Feith and Zell. It was a small office, with only one international branch. Where? Israel, of course. Most of the firm's work involved representing Israeli interests. At first, its webpage clearly mentioned this relationship and said that Feith "represents Israeli weapons production firms." However, after he was appointed to the Pentagon, the website concealed these earlier web pages, and the firm changed its name to Zell and Goldberg.I read that this firm promoted the work of an Iraqi international law group, which described itself as wanting to help businessmen interested in entering the Iraqi market. Time magazine described Feith's role in granting contracts; in an issue last year, Time printed an article entitled "The Paper Trail: Did Cheney Approve a Deal?" It quoted Stephen Browning of the US Army Corps of Engineers as saying that Feith approved a contract to build pipelines. Browning said that he and General Jay Garner, the official in charge of the US occupation of Iraq before Paul Bremer, met with Feith, who told them that he approved the contract for Halliburton, Cheney's old company, without any invitation to tender.Salem Chalabi was responsible for the Iraq International Law Group and his uncle Ahmad made things easy in the Governing Council for which Salem Chalabi worked as a legal adviser. The group said in its own propaganda on the net that it represented some big firms and institutions in the world. There are companies that claim to provide advice, but the group was in Iraq and worked closely with the Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq's Governing Council and the new Oil and Labor and Social Affairs Ministries.Thus, after Douglas Feith represented Israeli arms companies and entered government to destroy Iraq, he left government, acting as innocent as could be, and went back to work for the law firm, benefiting materially from the souls of dead Iraqis and their destroyed country.I ask myself this time, which one is more of a nasty scoundrel - Douglas Feith or Ahmad Chalabi? When the Iraqi Group was formed, it wasn't registered in Salem Chalabi's name, but that of Mark Zell. It had the same address as Zell and Goldberg. The National Journal quoted Salem Chalabi as saying that the Iraqi Group was like a "marketing advisor" that contacted law firms in Washington and New York, asking them if their clients were interested in working in Iraq.This matches with statements by Zell and Goldberg that they set up a "task force" to follow up opportunities that arose after the end of the war in Iraq.Ahmad Chalabi deserves to go on trial; he was a principal player in the lies and falsification that led to the destruction of Iraq. This charge is much more important than fraud, for example, or trying to benefit at the expense of the lives of Iraqis.Frankly, I don't expect quick results. The White House is defending every official who has faced accusations, because the fingers of blame will continue to point upward. However, I expect that the American regime, thanks to its justice, democracy and long-standing institutions, won't let the crime go unpunished. Perhaps we might have to wait for the next administration to see justice. We will have to wait and see.
Back to the Neoconservatives (5)
Jihad el Khazen Al-Hayat - 30/12/05//
It's no secret that the great majority of neoconservatives are extremist American Jews. In recent days I've mentioned the names of the most prominent members of this mafia. In today's final installment of this series, I'd like to provide some information that shouldn't remain absent from the minds of Arab readers.This is not about another Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world. One of the conditions of a conspiracy is that it be secret; the neocons' vanity and arrogance lead them to announce their positions openly. This is not about American Jews or Jews from elsewhere. It's about an extremist minority that does not represent Jewish Americans or Jews anywhere else in the world. Once again, this is not an opinion, but confirmed information. American Jews voted in smaller numbers for George Bush in 2000 and 2004, percentage-wise, than any other religious or ethnic group in the entire US. He didn't get more than 20% of their votes; if this percentage had applied across the board, he would have tasted the biggest electoral defeat in US history.There are Likudnik American Jews who are enemies of peace, while the majority of Jews in the US are centrist liberals, and I hope Arab readers keep this in mind as we continue.In previous installments, I relied on the work of Professor Shadia Drury, who is of Egyptian origin, and specifically her writings on Leo Strauss, the "theorist" of the neocons. Perhaps it would be good to conclude the series with the writings of some moderate Jews on this topic. I didn't search for something specific, merely gathered information gradually. I came across Shadia Drury, as well as Jeff Halper, Uri Avineri and Murray Friedman.Freedman authored a book entitled "The Neoconservative Revolution: American Jews and the Shaping of Public Policy." It might be among the best objective sources on the rise of the neoconservatives since the days of the Cold War and up to their more important role in the war against Iraq. Readers will find that this book answers many of their questions.Halper is an Israeli peace advocate, who heads the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. I recently read an article of his on the internet about the neoconservatives, entitled "Israel as an Extension of American Empire" - I'll summarize some of this writer's ideas.He says that Israel was founded on an "original sin" of exclusivity and the expulsion of refugees. It could have become a Jewish democracy if it didn't change, due to its need for military force and a self-serving alliance with the US, and become transformed into "a major arms dealer on a global scale and subverter of progressive civil society elements throughout the developing world."Halper says that Israel underwent this transformation into a center for the international right. Many of the first neoconservatives, from the 1970s until today, were Jews. He mentions the same names that I did in earlier installments of this series, so I won't repeat them today. Halper agrees with me about focusing on the importance, or danger, of the alliance between the extreme right and Christian Zionists. He refers to what the Reverend Stephen Sizer has written on the topic. This year and last year, I wrote about the relationship between the two sides, and mentioned Sizer's book "Christian Zionism: Road Map to Armageddon," then put together a piece and added to it from my book "Neoconservatives and Christian Zionists."Halper says that Israel has become an enemy of progressive civil society; he presents the reasons that rendered Israel a military agent for American imperialism in the world. First, Israel placed itself at the heart of the US' arms industry and among those that have entered into "strategic partnership" with Washington. The US keeps Israel militarily superior, which guarantees US strategic interests. Second, Israel functions as a secondary supplier of American weapons; it recently signed a $1.5 billion contract to train Chinese and Indians on Israeli weapons that are American in origin. Third, thanks to its obtaining American technology, Israel has become the world's third biggest arms exporter, after the US and Russia, and ahead of Britain, France and China. Fourth, Israel has become a military superpower, with nuclear arms; it has not signed the nuclear anti-proliferation treaty.I'll continue with Uri Avnery, who is known by most Arab readers for his pro-peace activities. He wrote an article about Iraq, its tragedies, and the danger of seeing it split into three parts, or states, each hostile to its neighbors. He summed up by saying, "All this could have been easily avoided, if the only superpower in the world had not been led by a tenth-rate politician; if policy had not been shaped by neo conservatives blinded by a fanatical obsession; if Tony Blair, who should have known better, had not been an incorrigible opportunist."On the internet, I found accompanying material by Avnery in which he recorded the most prominent neoconservatives. I'll mention some new names, and not those that I have already listed myself:-Edward Luttwak, an extremist inside and outside the US administration, who has continually called on the US to attack Iraq.-Ken Adelman, a warmonger when it comes to Iraq; he has silly ideas that are anti-Arab and -Muslim.-Elliot Cohen, who worked on the Defense Policy Board during the days of Richard Perle; he echoes Adelman's views on Arabs and Muslims.-Ari Fleischer, the former White House press spokesman. He belongs to the extremist Hasidic group Chabad Lubavitch, which has racist ideas about non-Jews.-Robert Zoellick, current Assistant Secretary of State and former US Trade representative, who has always supported the occupation of Iraq and setting up a government of US-backed agents.There are dozens of other names, all extremist American Jews. However, I'll end the way I began: compared to the names of Jewish neoconservatives I have listed above, there are many, many more liberal Jews who want peace.
January 24th 2002 , Hazmieh , Lebanon 920AM. ****************************************************************
Assassination of MP and Ex Minister Mr. Elie Hobeika
Since the assassination of MP and Ex Minister Mr. Elie Hobeika, and his party of three wonderfull young men on January 24th 2002, 920 AM by cowards, fearing the free-speech and the truth, http://newhk.blogspot.com/; Lebanon is terrified of additional terrorist attacks and assassinations due to rumors spelling an atmosphere of panic by the murderers of freedom martyrs who have fallen one after the other throughout the years .
After the failed attempt targeting Minister Marwan Hamadeh in October 2004, PM Rafik Hariri, his fellow companions, and MP Bassel Fleihan were assassinated. Mr. Samir Kassir, and former Secretary General of the Communist Party, George Hawi, fell later on, followed by Ms. May Chidiac, who paid a high price for a raging battle within LBC and the Geajea clan.
Martyrs are falling, while an impression, lingering both in Lebanon and Syria, that the international community is incapable of protecting Lebanon, and that assassinations will continue without leading to violent international retaliation, because the regional situation does not allow it. Indeed, the United States is overwhelmed with its problems in Iraq, and French President Chirac faces internal difficulties, making time work in favor of Syria and the Neoconns.
Although this impression is self-evident ; the investigation will be concluded, thus, allowing to uncover the murderers, it is natural for the Lebanese to fear the cowards' acts, especially after the murderous crimes they have witnessed in their country. Everyone knows that Lebanon is paying the price of the international resolution that forced Syrian forces out of Lebanon, and the wrath of "Rogue Intelligence operations" of cronies of the Neoconns in Syria and Lebanon .
Lebanon was a source of power and revenue for Syria; it will not let easily. Consequently, whoever wants to prevent this bunch and force Syrian troops out, will have to pay his life as a price. People who have a wealth of Infos and were brave like Mr. Elie Hobeika and others were savagely silenced.
All crimes targeting heroes of liberty and independence should be explained to the Arab public opinion in all Arab countries. Patriotic and free Lebanese should act in the Arab world to shed light on the Syrian regime's practices in Lebanon. Lebanon is afraid but not alone. Countries that force Syria to withdraw will not present it with a deal and will not draw back before unveiling the "truth". Everyone knows the truth, but only an international tribunal will punish the perpetrators. The criminals know that establishing an international tribunal requires time; they bet on additional acts of terrorism, assassinations, and silencing voices uttering the truth, because it is the best way to secure their hegemony.
It is true that Lebanon paid a very high price, the life of its sons, the martyrs of freedom, and that it fears for the life of its free and innocent sons, but free people in Lebanon are not alone.
Free people in Syria, addressed a letter of condolences to Ghassan Tueini, published in "An Nahar" newspaper, entitled, "The River of Freedom will never Dry Out". It said: "Gibran may have gone, but it is neither the time for tears and desperation, nor the time for hatred and revenge, as you said. It is rather a glimpse of light that broke through the dim night to reflect in our eyes; it is a thread of air in a tunnel of smoke he wanted us to breath and proceed in its direction".
Murder, terrorism, and coward assassinations would eventually be the end of the perpetrators of evil. The bad will be punished sooner or later. Those who sow seeds of fear and panic among their people and the people of their neighbors will pay a very high price, no matter how high is the cost of its crimes against Lebanon. The truth about these coward assassinations shall be revealed. The more these acts are carried out, the higher the risk of discovering the perpetrators who think they are beyond any punishment because they expect a deal.
It is requested to stop the assassinations and the bloodshed of the innocent people. Lebanese should not be acting as "paid slaves" for murderers and terrorists, who seek to oppress and assassinate the free in Lebanon. It is the dream of every Lebanese that next year, 2006, be more merciful for Lebanon and its people than 2002 - 2005, and that the coward hands committing murders and terror be lifted so that Lebanon may live in peace and security.
Just received this OP/ED from an Israeli Citizen about his Views on Ariel Sharon.
I'm not going to lie. I'm not upset that Sharon is in the hospital, dying.
I have often wished him a slow and painful death. Sometimes you have to becareful what you wish for."You're amazing!" said one of my friends a few weeks ago, right after Sharon's first stroke. At dinner a few nights before, I was telling him thatI wished that Sharon would just drop dead. May be then we would stand a chance at self-defense and self-respect. May be then I wouldn't have to witness anymore expulsions.We were talking about the power of vigils, and that sometimes if enough thought vibrations in the form of prayers are sent out the universe, heaven will answer. I admit that since our dinner I did say a few bedtime prayers that Sharon would just die. I even thought of going to a toy store to buy adoll, fatten it up with some cotton, and stick pins in its heart and head. Inever did it. That would really make me a witch. But my friend called me last night, in awe, and told me that my next target should be the president of Iran.Now I watch the news, and the solemn news broadcasters have looks of concern on their faces, but you don't really know if their expressions are real or fake. The ministers are giving media interviews saying how this is difficult for the country, how we'll get through it, how we are praying for his recovery.Speak for yourself. I'm not praying for his recovery. This is not difficult for me. I still want him to die, a natural death, of course but a death nevertheless.No one really knows what's going on. We get no major details regarding his condition; he could be dead by now for all I know. I wouldn't be surprised if they feigned his health and had a vegetable, or even a corpse, propped up by strings and silicone, speaking to us. This is all clouded in secrecy,which is no surprise since the frightened government is opaque.But what I do see is that this is not a man who is loved. This is not a man whose illness upsets people because he has been a moral, inspiring guide.Ministers and wannabe ministers are afraid they'll lose their seats in the Kadima party if the crippled Sharon won't appoint them. They are afraid that they'll be made to look like fools if Sharon is gone, Kadima dissolves, and they have no clue what to do with this country. Or some, I'm sure, are secretly glad that maybe this means they'll have a chance at being the next Prime Minister of Israel.And the people, in their desperation for someone to control their lives, arescared sick that they might have to think for themselves about their ownfate, instead of tying up their decisions into the hands of one powerful man. They don't care for Sharon the person.So these prayers, these hopes that this man will still live are not for thesake of the positive, shining virtues of Sharon, but for his vices -- his iron-fisted control over the nation, his consolidation of power, his desperate policies to dismantle Israel. My only fear is that, to prove how great they are without Sharon, the members of the next government will carry on his legacy of cruelty with even more vigor.It is clear to me that Sharon is an evil, immoral, and corrupt dictator. He has been a criminal and a murderer all his adult life-- he has thrown loving families out of their home for naught, leaving them to fend for themselves in the cold; he has corrupted the army by turning soldiers into non-thinking robots of force, just like his deeds at Sabra & Shatila and throughout Lebanon in 1982,making them turn against their brother; he has brought the lines of terror closer to us, making major cities in Israel new and improved rocket targets;he has turned the state of Israel into a place where you aren't free to express yourself, where youngsters are arrested for proudly proclaiming their passion for this land and country.So I'm not sad that he's dying. I'm not afraid to say it. We don't have to feel sympathetic. He wasn't sympathetic when he ruined thousands of lives,when people torched themselves to protest his policies, when people died of heart attacks in the wake of the expulsion.And when you watch the eulogies, you will see that at the end of the day noone really loved him sincerely, certainly not like they did Rabin -- except maybe his crooked sons. No matter what you think of Rabin's policies, he at least seemed to have cared sincerely about Israel, no matter how misguided he was.When Sharon's time comes, the Western leaders of the world will be saying what is politically correct to say, but deep down they'll all just be really confused. There will be lots of platitudes and cloudy praises. One thing is clear: this man is not a hero -- not mine, and not our country's. He was no one's real friend.Who knows if I'll get arrested by saying this (and that's part of the problem). I can only hope that once he's gone, there will be more moral,modest honest, caring, and wise leaders to fill the vacuum he and his crime family has filled -- in oversized body and in evil murderous spirit.
Ariel Sharon's Murderous Legacy
Jihad el Khazen Al-Hayat - 18/01/06//
Whether Ariel Sharon dies tomorrow or lives for a few more years, he will remain a mass murderer and enemy of peace.If he were another, ordinary person, one would have to deal with the situation based on the saying "remember the good of those who pass away," except that there are no good attributes. He is a public figure whom we appraise by what he has accomplished, or not accomplished.I wouldn't have returned to the topic of Sharon were it not for the fact that I've been reading things about him that have no relation to reality and I'm afraid that it will become part of the history of the man, and the region. Some of what is being said is expected, because of its source, such as the opinion of the extremist Russian émigré Natan Sharansky, while there are other opinions emanating from sources that have credibility and respect. Time magazine, which I've read forever, made Sharon its cover story and asked, what "After He's Gone"? It answers the question without saying that the situation after him could not possibly be worse than with him. From his first day in the military to his last day as prime minister, he has been involved in murder, and in between has taken every step possible to destroy peace between Palestinians and Israelis.That's Sharon, and anything else is a lie about God's chosen people and the promised land. Who said that God chose this people? The people said this, not God. Who said that He promised them this land? Once again, the people said this, not God.I don't want to enter a religious maze. It's like saying that God promised me California. I'll stay with Sharon. In the Time magazine article, Lisa Beyer asks how Sharon, who spent his life angering the enemies of Israel, has become the best hope for peace for those enemies.Beyer says this but none of "his enemies" say it. I've heard what they have to say about him, directly. Some of it has been very frank, thus impossible to publish. I've never heard from the leaders of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco (all of them spoke to me and I published most of what I heard) that Ariel Sharon was a man of peace, or that peace was possible with him.Once again, I'm not talking about a neighbor who passed away, so that I have to mention his good traits, whatever the reality. I'm talking about the personal and political legacy of a war criminal of Nazi-like proportions.Sharon's first recorded entry into history was when he killed two women in the village of Qatana; the last thing was when he killed Iman al-Hams and other young schoolgirls in the Gaza Strip. Between these two incidents, he attacked the Burj camp in the Gaza Strip and killed 15 people, among them women and children, led a raid on Qibya where 69 people were killed, mostly women and children, two unprovoked raids on an Egyptian base in Sinai in which 38 Egyptian soldiers were killed (February 1955), attacks against five Syrian bases in which 56 soldiers were killed (December 1955), and an attack against Qalqiliya that killed 88 people, mostly civilians. When Sharon was made responsible for the Gaza Strip, assisted by another war criminal (Meir Dagan, whom Sharon chose to head Mossad), the result was 742 Palestinians killed between July 1971 and the end of that year alone. When he became prime minister in 2001, and up to his recent illness, he's murdered more than 3,330 Palestinian civilians, including 660 under the age of 15. The invasion of Lebanon in 1982 led to the killing of thousands of civilians, from the borders up to Beirut, where the Sabra and Shatlia massacres took place, at his instigation.All of this, including the word "instigation," comes from purely Israeli sources. I'm not making anything up, but merely digging it up from written history. Then I hear that he's a man of peace, or that he would make peace if his filthy life continues.These are lies, lies about history, and I haven't even written about the mistakes he made in his wars, the crimes and violations he is guilty of, or the corruption in Israel and against Israelis that he's guilty of.The true history of Sharon is that he violated the sanctity of the Temple Mount with his visit there in 2000, sparking the al-Aqsa Intifada. He destroyed a peace that could have been achieved. Before continuing, I condemn the Palestinian side as well, its hesitation and tarrying, which allowed Sharon to achieve his goal of destroying peace.The real history is that the Palestinians and Israelis reached a final agreement about peace near the end of January 2001, and I saw the maps of the agreement, carried by Dr. Saeb Erakat in Yasser Arafat's wing of the hotel they stayed in during the World Economic Forum in Davos that year. I wrote about this at the time, and there are witnesses who are still alive.The Israelis chose Ariel Sharon a few weeks later to lead them, and the destruction of the peace process became complete. If that war criminal lives 10 more years, or 20 more years, peace will be impossible with him. The withdrawal from Gaza was part of a plan to kill peace, not for peace. Sharon fled from the Palestinian demographic time bomb so that Israel retain large parts of the West Bank.I condemn Sharon without holding the Palestinian innocent. Yasser Arafat did not take the final step, and I'm still trying to understand the reasons why. He made Sharon's task easier, and the second intifada broke out, with weapons, to frighten the Israelis and move them from left to right, without stopping in the center.Anything else is a lie, and incredibly rude. I understand how history can be falsified if there is no one around to see it, like whether or not there is a "promised land," but I don't understand how history can be tampered with if there are living witnesses still around. This requires the kind of "chutzpah" that only Sharon and the members of his mafia are capable of.Perhaps Ehud Olmert will surprise us all and truly work for peace; I've always found him to be the best in Likud, most of which is becoming Kadima. Perhaps the Palestinians won't waste another chance.
Tim Hames began with a comparison between Ariel Sharon and Charles de Gaulle, starting with the French President's saying that cemeteries are filled with men who were thought indispensable. Here are the next two amazing paragraphs."De Gaulle and Sharon have more than a sense of irony in common. Both were brilliant yet immensely controversial military men, prone to viewing orders as mere advice to be assessed on its merits. Each rose to the highest office late in life and after a long period of political exile. And both were accused of betrayal by their most enthusiastic original supporters - de Gaulle for driving through Algerian independence and Sharon for forcing the closure of Jewish settlements in Gaza.The main differences between the two are that the Israeli Prime Minister was considerably more successful as a commander on the battlefield (then again, he did not have to lead the French) and that he is consistently more modest."The above was written by Tim Hames, a former lecturer and right-wing writer who usually writes about his hopes. I don't know where to begin. I reject the idea of comparing Sharon with de Gaulle. Despite Sharon's military fame outside Israel, he was despised by all of the Israeli military men who knew him or dealt with him. Soldiers and officers once asked that he be put on trial; Chief of Staff Chaim Barlev headed the sessions. Sharon lost 18 Israeli soldiers in an attack on Qalqiliya, with 50 others wounded. Moshe Dayan attacked him fiercely in his memoirs. In 1956, Sharon led his soldiers, contrary to orders, to the western side of the Mitla Pass and fell into an Egyptian ambush; 38 of his soldiers were killed and 120 others were wounded. General "Zarro" (Meir Zorea), the Commander of the northern Front, accused of being a "narcissist." Even at the Deversoir Canal, it turned out that Sharon disobeyed orders and left the two Israeli armies in the north and south to be destroyed by the Egyptians, incurring huge losses. After the army of General Abraham Dan disintegrated in the north, as well as the squadron of Major General Abraham Mendler, commanding Israel's armored forces in Sinai, was killed in the south. General Samuel Gonin worked with Chief-of-Staff Barlev to kick Sharon out the army. In the end, he was removed from command, which was transferred to General Gonin. The invasion of Lebanon, which was unjustified, saw Israel suffer more losses than all of its wars with the Arab states combined, and after the Sabra and Shatila, the Meir Kahane Commission condemned Sharon and said he was unfit to assume any responsibilities.
The Sabra and Shatilla Massacre was planned within the Invasion plan, and it appears under the name of Operation Spark, or Operation Iron Brain. Its finer details were worked out between the 1st of September when the alliance with Bashir collapsed, and the 12th of the same month when Sharon met with Bashir. The LF was perceived as unreliable and that the mopping up of the camps was to proceed with or without them. The AMAN could rely on the SLA to get the job done, and it would assist them with IDF special forces, or Sayerets as they are called in Hebrew.
This is Israeli history, and it is unacceptable to compare a war criminal with a hero of the resistance against the Nazis. De Gaulle was never accused of perpetrating massacres, or killing schoolgirls. Just as importantly, de Gaulle withdrew from territory that was not French, while Sharon withdrew from territory that did not belong to Israel - but the difference is that de Gaulle did this because he knew that the days of imperialism had ended, while Sharon withdrew in order to flee from the Palestinian demographic time bomb in the Gaza Strip, in order to remain in parts of the West Bank.After all of this, the writer links Sharon to the "path of peace," as if he truly sought this and never destroyed it on purpose. He says that the problem is that there is no Sharon in the Arab world: "There is no one willing to acknowledge publicly that the Palestinians cannot have all that they might want, just as Israelis cannot have everything they might desire."
On a different note :
Playing the Uri Lubrani Piano in Lebanon is back in full swing ...
It now extends well beyond Lebanon :
Two hundred years of fanatical Wahhabi activism boosted by Saudi Arabia’s immense oil revenues, compounded by France and England’s brutal colonial practices in the Middle-East and North Africa, and America’s unwavering backing of Israel’s war crimes have succeeding in tilting the Mohammedan collective psyche towards a very reactionary interpretation of Islam, which in many ways is simply a natural defense reflex albeit an obscurantist and backward one…Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion states: “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts. Whatever draws or presses another is as much drawn or pressed by that other”.Prescient words in many ways...
*** Letter to Samir Geajea;
رسالة من لبناني مسيحي إلى سمير جعجع - الطالب هادي سعيد
رسالة من لبناني مسيحي إلى سمير جعجعحضرة الأستاذ سمير جعجع المحترم،أود أن أبدأ رسالتي لك باعتذارين، الأول للقارئ الذي أتوجه إليه بأول مقالة تعبر عن طائفتي التي لم أشأ البوح بها يوماً، لا لأنني أخجل بها بل لانني كنت أفضل أن أبقى على لبنانيتي. أما الإعتذار الثاني فهو لك، لأنني لن أناديك باللقب الأحب إلى قلبك، حكيم، وذلك بسبب عدم قناعتي به، نظراً لعدم امتلاكك الشهادة التي تخولك الحصول عليه أو تحرمك منه.في بدايتك في قيادة القوات، أطلقت شعار "أمن المجتمع المسيحي فوق كل إعتبار" وأطحت به عرض الحائط، لكنه بقي حبر على حيطان وورق لأنك لم تعمل على إنجازه وتحقيقه لا بل كانت أعمالك شاهدة على عكسه. بدأت رحلتك السوداء مع الكثير من المشاكل مع الرئيس الشهيد الشيخ بشير الجميل، وتطاولت عليه سعياً منك أن تكون القائد، وأكملت المشوار مع إعترافك بأنك من اغتال طوني فرنجية وذلك في محاضرة ألقيتها في دير القمر. ثم أتت حرب الجبل حيث قمت بتهجير حوالي ال700 الف مسيحي من الشوف بسبب فشلك في قيادة وإدارة الحرب، وبدل البحث عن طرق سلمية لإرجاعهم، أكملت على شرق صيدا وأوصلت التهجير الى إقليم الخروب. وكان هاجسك الوحيد هو تسلم قيادة القوات، فاستغليت فرصة الإتفاق الثلاثي لتقوم بانتفاضتك على ايلي حبيقة وتتسبب بمصرع حوالي ال800 شاب شهيد نصفهم سقط نائماً في منزله أو غرقاً في البحر حي، والجدير ذكره أن مرشح القوات في دائرة بعبدا - عاليه هو من أهم وجوه هذا الإتفاق حيث مثل الحزب التقدمي الإشتراكي. وبلغ أسوداد تاريخك ذروته يوم تألفت حكومة العماد ميشال عون والتي وصفتها بحكومة الاستقلال، ومن "بيمون الجنرال" إلى محاولات عدة لاغتياله، ثم قمت بمجزرة عمشيت حيث بعد قتل الضباط قمت بتقطيعهم إلى أجزاء. أما بالنسبة إلى مجزرتي المتحف ونهر الموت، فالثانية أطلقت حجة أنه وصلتك أخبار ومعطيات تفيد بأن المتظاهرين يحملون سلاحاً وقمت بتصفيتهم ثم اتضح أن سلاحهم كان كناية عن شموع وأغصان زيتون داعية إلى السلم ووقف الحرب. أما الاولى فلا حجة لها لأن من استشهد داخل الحافلة هم تلاميذ مدرسة مدججين بكتب وأقلام ودفاتر. كيف مات داني شمعون؟
لماذا لا تحكي عن الحادثة وتثبت برائتك؟ لماذا سمحت لشبابك بإنشاد أناشيد الفرح يوم 12 تشرين؟ ولماذا قامت القوات بقصف القصر الجمهوري في بعبدا؟ كيف تبرر دعوتك لرئيس المخابرات السورية غازي كنعان إلى غدراس، معقل المسيحيين، بعد أن حرم عليه دخول تلك المنطقة أكثر من 18 عام؟ وفي العام نفسه، أي في ال1991 قمت ببيع عقارات لبنانية لأشخاص غير لبنانية لا بل غير مسيحية، وهنا أعود وأذكر بلا طائفيتي لكنني أود معرفة السبب الذي يدعو طرف يدعي الدفاع عن مجتمع ما ببيع الاراضي التابعة لهذا المجتمع. وإذا لم تتذكر عن أي عقار أتكلم، أدعوك إلى مراجعة عقد البيع لأرض في شننعير في تاريخ 16 أيلول حيث نجد إسم أحد مؤسسي القوات ورئيس مجلس ادارة شركة تملكها القوات، فهو من قام بتلك الصفقة. كيف تدعي السير على خطى البشير؟ هل بتكسير وتمزيق صوره كما حصل في انطلياس؟ أم بإلغاء الرزنامة البشيرية من الإذاعات؟ أو بطرد زوجته من مكتبها في المجلس الحربي؟ أم بزيارة قتلته، حيث توجهت إلى سوريا معزياً بباسل الاسد فكانت رسالة الشكر منهم سجنك فترة أحد عشر عاماً جعلت منك أوساطك الإعلامية سجين المجتمع المسيحي والناطق الرسمي باسمه وباسم الفيديرالية لكنك سرعان ما تخليت عنهما فور خروجك من الزنزانة، لا بل وقفت بجانب سجانيك وفضلتهم على أبناء مجتمعك.بالطبع لست فرحاً ابداً بمقالتي هذه، فانا لم أتصور يوماً أن أوجه قلمي بصوب أبناء قومي ومجتمعي وطائفتي، لكن العار الذي ألحقه امثالك بطائفتي وبلدي هو الذي دفعني إلى الكتابة، فانت من دعاة الحقيقة وها هي حقيقتك.
الطالب هادي سعيد
The US Administration is not an Honest Broker, the US of GWB wants WAR, and No Peace anywhere.
Gideon Levy: The Mystery of America Rice has been here six times in the course of a year and a half, and what has come of it? Has anyone asked her about this? Does she ask herself?
By Gideon Levy.
It happens once every few months. Like a periodic visit by an especially annoying relative from overseas, Condoleezza Rice was here again. The same declarations, the same texts devoid of content, the same sycophancy, the same official aircraft heading back to where it came from. The results were also the same: Israel promised in December, after a stormy night of discussions, to open the "safe passage" between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This time, in what was considered the "achievement" of the current visit, Israel also promised to open the Karni crossing. Karni will be open, one can assume, only slightly more than the "safe passage," which never opened following the previous futile visit.
Rice has been here six times in the course of a year and a half, and what has come of it? Has anyone asked her about this? Does she ask herself?
It is hard to understand how the secretary of state allows herself to be so humiliated. It is even harder to understand how the superpower she represents allows itself to act in such a hollow and useless way. The mystery of America remains unsolved: How is it that the United States is doing nothing to advance a solution to the most dangerous and lengthiest conflict in our world? How is it that the world's only superpower, which has the power to quickly facilitate a solution, does not lift a finger to promote it?
What happened since 1956, when the U.S. made Israel withdraw from Sinai overnight with a single telephone call, immediately after the "Third Kingdom of Israel" speech by the strongest Israeli leader of all times, David Ben-Gurion? Now, as the occupation continues for years, with a government no less dependent on the good graces of the U.S. than in the past, why is America a bystander?
Countless trips by presidents and secretaries of state, peace initiatives and peace plans aplenty, from the Roger's Plan to the Road Map, via "reassessment," fruitless talks and flowery declarations, pressure and promises, discussions and decisions - and nothing has happened. And in the background, a fundamental question echoes, without a response: Is America at all interested in bringing about a solution in the Middle East? Is it possible that it does not understand how crucial it is to end the conflict? As things appear, America can and does not want to. No government in Israel, and surely not the most recent ones, which are terrified of the American administration, would stand up to a firm American demand to bring the occupation to an end. But there has never been an American president who wanted to put an end to the occupation. Does America not understand that without ending the occupation there will be no peace? Peace in the region would deliver a greater blow to world terrorism than any war America has pursued, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Does America not understand this? Can all this be attributed to the omnipotent Jewish lobby, which causes Israel more harm than good?
The declared aim of U.S. policy in the Middle East is to bring democracy to the region. For this reason, ostensibly, the U.S. also went to war in Iraq. Even if one ignores the hypocrisy, self-righteousness and double-standard of the Bush administration, which supports quite a few despotic regimes, one should ask the great seeker of democracy: Have your eyes failed to see that the most undemocratic and brutal regime in the region is the Israeli occupation in the territories? And how does the White House reconcile the contradiction between the aspiration to instill democracy in the peoples of the region and the boycott of the Hamas government, which was chosen in democratic elections as America wanted and preached?
The U.S. also speaks loftily about peace. At the same time, its president warns Israel against any attempt to forge peace with Syria. Here America is taking a stance that not only fails to advance an accord but even undermines it. Ever since it began to give Israel a free hand to impose the brutal occupation in the territories, it has become a party that bequeaths undemocratic values to the entire world. Where are the days when there was still concern in Jerusalem about the U.S. reaction before each military operation? Israel then thought twice before every liquidation and each arrest. Every demolition of a Palestinian home and each nocturnal groundbreaking of a settlement raised fears about how Uncle Sam would react. And now - carte blanche. There is a blank check for every belligerent action by Israel. Should this also be called an effort for peace, for democracy?
The recent years have not been good for America. From "the leader of the free world," it has become detested by the world. Not only do South Africa, Asia and Africa feel strong animosity toward it, most of the public opinion in Europe has also turned away from it. Is anyone in the administration asking why the world loves so much to hate America? And what implications will this growing global feeling have on the strength of the U.S. in the years ahead? Can the dollar, the Tomahawk and the F-16 provide an answer for everything?
In the Middle East, the U.S. has an opportunity to fundamentally change its image, from a warmonger to a peacemaker. And how does the U.S. respond to the challenge? It sends Rice to tell the excited Ehud Olmert how she falls asleep easily on her unnecessary and ridiculous flights to and from the Middle East.
In the broadest and deepest sense, understanding how the US political system functions, the decisions of war and peace are taken, who gets what, how and why, requires that we address the question of ‘Who rules America?’ In tackling the question of ‘ruling’ one needs to clarify a great deal of misunderstandings, particularly the confusion between those who make governmental decisions and the socio-economic institutional parameters which define the interests to be served. ‘Ruling’ is exacting: it defines the ‘rules’ to be followed by the political and administrative decision-makers in formulating budgetary expenditures, taxes, labor and social legislation, trade policy, military and strategic questions of war and peace. The ‘rules’ are established, modified and adjusted according to the specific composition of the leading sectors of a ruling class (RC). Rules change with shifts in power within the ruling class. Shifts in power can reflect the internal dynamics of an economy or the changing position of economic sectors in the world economy, particularly the rise and decline of economic competitors.
The ‘rules’ imposed by one economic sector of the RC at a time of favorable conditions in the world economy, will be altered as new dominant economic sectors emerge and unfavorable external conditions weaken the former dominant economic sectors. As we shall describe below the relative and absolute decline of the US manufacturing sector is directly related to the rise of a multidimensional ‘financial sector’ and to the greater competitiveness of other manufacturing countries. The result is an accelerating process of liberalization of the economy favored by the ascending financial sectors. Liberalization in pursuit of unregulated flows of investments, buyouts, acquisitions and trade increases the financial sector’s profits, commissions, incomes and bonuses. Liberalization facilitates the financial sector’s acquisition of assets. The declining competitiveness of the older ruling class manufacturing sector dependent on statist protectionism and subsidies leads to ‘rear-guard’ policies, attempting to fashion an unwieldy policy of liberalization abroad and protectionism at home.
The answer to the question of who rules depends on specifying the historical moment and place on the world economy. The answer is complicated by the fact that shifts among ‘sectors’ of the ruling class involves a prolonged ‘transitional period’. During this period declining and ascending sectors may intermingle and the class members of declining sectors ‘convert’ to the rising sector. Hence while power between economic sectors may change, the leading class groupings may not lose out or decline. They merely shift their investments and adapt to the new and more lucrative opportunities created by the ascending sector.
For example, while US manufacturing sector has declined relative to ‘finance capital’, many of the major investment institutions have shifted to the new financial ‘growth sectors.’ Concomitantly, the converted sectors of the ruling class will shift their policies toward greater liberalization and deregulation, thus severely weakening the rear-guard demands of the uncompetitive manufacturing sector. Equally important within the declining economic sectors of the RC, drastic structural changes may ensue, to regain profitable returns and retain influence and power. Foremost of these changes is relocation of production overseas to low wage, low tax, non-union locations, the introduction of IT technology designed to reduce labor costs and increase productivity, and diversification of economic activity to incorporate lucrative financial ‘services’.
For example General Electric has moved from manufacturing toward financial services, relocated labor intensive activity off-shore and computerized operations. Through these moves the distinction between ‘manufacturing’ and financial capital has been made obsolete in describing the ‘ruling class’.
To the degree that older manufacturing capitalists retain any economic and political weight in the RC, they have done so via sub-contracting overseas to Asia and Mexico (General Motors/Ford), invested in overseas plants to capture foreign markets, or have been converted in large part into commercial and importing operations (shoes, textiles, toys, electronics and computer chips).
Locally based manufacturers which remain in the RC are largely found among military contractors living off the largesse of state spending and depending on the political support of congressional and trade union officials, eager to secure employment for a shrinking manufacturing labor force.
During this transitional period of rapid and all-encompassing changes in the ruling class, enormous financial opportunities have opened up throughout the world. As a result of political tensions within the ‘governing class’, key policymakers are drawn directly from the most representative institutions of Wall Street. Key economic policies, especially those which are most relevant to the RC, tend to be overwhelmingly in the hands of tried and experienced top leaders from Wall Street.
Despite (or because of) the ascendancy of various sectors of financial capital in the RC, and their agreements on a host of ‘liberalizing’ economic policies, they are not homogeneous in all of their political outlooks, party affiliations, or their foreign policy outlook. Most of these political differences are questions of small matter – except on one issue where there is a major and growing rift, namely in the Middle East. A sector of the RC strongly aligned with the state of Israel supports a bellicose policy toward the Jewish state’s adversaries (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Palestine) as opposed to another sector of the RC favoring a diplomatic approach, directed toward securing closer ties with Arab and Persian elites. Given the highly militarized turn in US foreign policy (largely due to the ascendancy of neo-conservative ideologues, the strong influence of the Zionist Lobby, and the instability and failures of their policies in the Middle East and China) the RC has pressed for and secured direct control over foreign economic policy.
The tensions and conflicts within the RC – especially between the Zioncons and the ‘free marketeers’ – have been papered over by the enormous economic benefits accruing to all sectors. All RC financial sectors have been enriched by White House and Congressional policies. All have benefited from the ascendancy of ‘liberalizing regimes’ throughout the world. They have reaped the gains of the expansionary phase of the international economy. While the entire ruling financial, real estate and trading sectors have been the main beneficiaries, it has been the financial groups, particularly the investment banks that have led the way and provide the political leadership.
Ascendancy of Financial Capital
‘Finance capital’ has many faces and cannot be understood without reference to specific sectors. Investment banks, pension funds, hedge funds, savings and loan banks, investment funds are only a few of the operative managers of a multi-trillion dollar economy. Moreover each of these sectors have specialized departments engaged in particular types of speculative-financial activity including commodity and currency, trading, consulting and managing acquisition and mergers. Despite a few exposés, court cases, fines and an occasional jailing, the financial sector writes its rules, controls its regulators and has secured license to speculate on everything, everywhere and all the time. They have created the framework or universe in which all other economic activities (manufacturing, retail sales and real estate) take place.
‘Finance capital’ is not an isolated sector and cannot be counterposed to the ‘productive economy’ except in the most marginal ‘local activity’. In large part finance capital interacts with and is the essential driving force in real estate speculation, agro-business, commodity production and manufacturing activity. To a large degree ‘market prices’ are as influenced by speculative intervention as they are by ‘supply and demand’. Equally important, the entire architecture of the ‘paper empire’ (the entire complex of inter-related financial investments) is ultimately dependent on the production of goods and services. The structure of power and wealth takes the form of an inverted triangle in which a vast army of workers, peasants and salary employees produce value which becomes the basis for near and remote, simple and exotic, lucrative and speculative financial instruments. The transfer of value from the productive activities of labor up through the ladder and branches of financial instruments is carried out through various vehicles: direct financial ownership of enterprises, credit, debt leveraging, buyouts and mergers. The tendency of ‘productive capitalists’ is to start-up an enterprise, innovate, exploit labor, capture markets and then ‘sell-out’ or go ‘public’ (stock offerings). The financial sector acts as combined intermediary, manager, proxy-purchaser and consultant, capturing substantial fees and expanding their economic empires and… preparing the way to higher levels of acquisitions and mergers… ‘Finance capital’ is the midwife of the concentration and centralization of wealth and capital as well as the direct owner of the means of production and distribution. From exacting a larger and larger ‘tribute’ or ‘rent’ (commission or fee) on each large-scale capital transaction, ‘finance capital’ has moved toward penetrating and controlling an enormous array of economic activities, transferring capital across national and sectoral boundaries, extracting profits and dumping shares according to the business, product and profit cycle.
Within the ruling class, the financial elite is the most parasitical component and exceeds the corporate bosses (CEOs) and most entrepreneurs in wealth and annual payments. It falls short of the annual income and assets of the super-rich entrepreneurs like William Gates and Michael Dell.
The financial ruling class is internally stratified into three sub-groups: at the top are big private equity bankers and hedge-fund managers, followed by the Wall Street chief executives, who in turn are above the next rung of senior associate or vice-presidents of a big private equity funds who is followed by their counterparts at Wall Street’s public equity funds. Top hedge fund managers and executive have made $1 billion dollars or more a year – several times what the CEO’s make at publicly traded investment houses. For example in 2006 Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, was paid $53.4 million, while Dan Ochs, executive of the hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital paid himself $220 million dollars. That same year the Morgan Stanley CEO received $40 million dollars, while the chief executive of the hedge fund Citadel was paid over $300 million dollars.
While the ‘hedge fund’ speculators receive the highest annual salaries, the private equity executives can equal their hundreds of millions payments through deal fees and special dividend payments from portfolio companies. This was especially true in 2006 when buyouts reached a record $710 billion dollars. The big bucks for the private equity bosses comes from the accumulating stake executives have in portfolio companies. They typically skim 20% of profits, which are realized when a group sells or lists a portfolio company. At that time, the payday runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The subset of the financial ruling class is the ‘junior bankers’ of private equity firms who take about $500,000 a year. At the bottom rung are the ‘junior bankers’ of publicly traded investment houses (‘Wall Street’) who average $350,000 a year. The financial ruling class is made up of these multi-billionaire elites from the hedge funds, private and public equity bankers and their associates in big prestigious corporate legal and accounting firms. They in turn are linked to the judicial and regulatory authorities, through political appointments and contributions, and by their central position in the national economy.
Within the financial ruling class, political leadership does not usually come from the richest hedge fund speculators, even less among the ‘junior bankers’. Political leaders come from the public and private equity banks, namely Wall Street - especially Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and others. They organize and fund both major parties and their electoral campaigns. They pressure, negotiate and draw up the most comprehensive and favorable legislation on global strategies (liberalization and deregulation) and sectoral policies (reductions in taxes, government pressure on countries like China to ‘open’ their financial services to foreign penetration and so on). They pressure the government to ‘bailout’ bankrupt and failed speculative firms and to balance the budget by lowering social expenditures instead of raising taxes on speculative ‘windfall’ profits.
The Dance of the Billions: Finance Capital Reaps the Profits from their Power
Speculators of the world had a spectacular year in 2006 as global equities hit double digit gains in the US, European and Asian markets. China, Brazil, Russia and India were centers of speculative profiteering as the China FTSE index rose 94%, Russia’s stock market rose 60%, Brazil’s Bovespa was up 32.9% and India’s Sensex climbed 46.7%. In large part the stock markets rose because of cheap credit (to speculate), strong liquidity (huge financial, petrol and commodity profits and rents) and so-called ‘reforms’ which gave foreign investors greater access to markets in China, India and Brazil. The biggest profits in stock market speculation occurred under putative ‘center-left’ regimes (Brazil and India) and ‘Communist’ China, which have realigned themselves with the most retrograde and ‘leading’ sectors of their financial ruling class.
Russia’s booming stock market reflects a different process involving the re-nationalization of gas and petroleum sectors, at the expense of the gangster-oligarchs of the Yeltsin era and the ‘give-away’ contracts to European/US oil and gas companies (Shell, Texaco). As a result huge windfall profits have been re-cycled internally among the new Putin era millionaires who have been engaged in conspicuous consumption, speculation and investment in joint ventures with foreign manufacturers in transport and energy related industries.
The shift toward foreign-controlled speculative capital emerging in China, India and Brazil as opposed to ‘national and state’ funded investment in Russia accounts for the irrational and vitriolic hostility exhibited by the western financial press to President Putin.
One of the major sources of profit-making is in the area of ‘mergers and acquisitions’ (M&A) – the buying and selling of multinational conglomerates, with $3,900 billion in deals for 2006. Investment banks took $18.8 billion dollars in ‘fees’ leading to multi-million dollar bonuses for ‘M&A’ bankers. M&A, hostile or benign, are largely speculative activity fueled by cheap debt and leading to the greater concentration of ownership and profits. Today it is said 2% of the households own 80% of the world’s assets. Within this small elite, a fraction embedded in financial capital owns and controls the bulk of the world’s assets and organizes and facilitates further concentration of conglomerates. The value of speculative M&A on a world scale is 16% higher than at the height of the ‘DOTCOM’ speculative boom in 2000. In the US alone over $400 billion dollars worth of private equity deals were struck in 2005, three times higher than the previous year.
To understand who are the leading members of the financial ruling class one needs only to look at the ten leading private equity banks and the value and number of M&A deals in which they were engaged:
Private equity rankings by M&A deals (Year to Dec 20 2006)
US Value $bn Number
Blackstone 85.3 12
Texas Pacific 81.9 11
Bain Capital Partners 74.7 9
Thomas H Lee Partners 53.4 6
Goldman Sachs 51.2 5
Carlyle 50.0 14
Apollo Management 44.9 7
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts 44.5 3
Merrill Lynch 35.9 3
Cerberus Capital Management 28.6 4
Industry Total 402.6 1,157
(Financial Times 12/27/2006 p 13 - FT montage:Bob Haslett
The crucial fact is that these private equity banks are involved in every sector of the economy, in every region of the world economy and increasingly speculate in the conglomerates which are acquired.
In the era of the ascendancy of speculative finance capital it is not surprising that the three leading investment banks, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns reported record annual profits, based on their expansion in Europe and Asia, and their transfer of profits from manufacturing and services to the financial sector. For the year 2006, Goldman Sachs (GS) recorded the most profitable year ever for a Wall Street investment bank, on the basis of big (speculative) ‘trading gains and lucrative investment in the world’s worst sweatshops in Asia. GS reported a 69% jump in annual earnings to $9.54 billion dollars. Lehman Brothers (LB) and Bear Stearns (BS) equity banks also recorded record earnings. LB earned a record $4billion for the year. SB earned a record $2.1 billion dollars. For the year Lehman set aside about $334,000 dollars per junior banker, while top speculators and bankers earned a big multiple of that amount.
For the year 2006 investment banking revenue reached nearly $38 billion dollars compared to $25 billion dollars in 2004 – an increase of 34% (Financial Times Dec. 13, 2006 p.15).
The dominance of finance capital has been nurtured by the speculative activity of the controllers and directors of state-owned companies. ‘State’ ownership is an ambiguous term since it raises a further more precise question: ‘Who owns the state’? In the Middle East there are seven state-owned oil and gas companies. In six of those companies the principal beneficiaries are a small ruling elite. They recycle their revenues and profits through US and EU investment banks largely into bonds, real estate and other speculative financial instruments (FT Dec 15, 2006 p.11). State ownership and speculative capital, in the context of closed ‘Gulf-State’ type of ruling classes, are complementary, not contradictory, activities. The ruling regime in Dubai converts oil rents into building a regional financial center. Many Jewish-American-led Wall Street investment banks cohabitate with new Islamic-based investment houses, both reaping speculative returns.
Much of the investment funds now in the hands of US investment banks, hedge funds and other sectors of the financial ruling class originated in profits extracted from workers in the manufacturing and service sector. Two inter-related processes led to the growth and dominance of finance capital: the transfer of capital and profits from the ‘productive’ to the financial and speculative sector and the transfer of finance capital overseas, in the form of take-over of foreign assets now equivalent of around 80% of the US GDP. The roots of finance capital are embedded in three types of intensified exploitation: 1) of labor (via extended hours, transfer of pension and health costs from capital to labor, frozen minimum wage, stagnant and declining real wages and salaries); 2) of manufacturing profits (through higher rents, inter-sectoral transfers to financial instruments, interest payments and fees and commissions for mergers and acquisitions); and 3) via state fiscal policies by lowering capital gains taxes, increasing tax write-offs and tax incentives for overseas investments and imposing regressive local, state and federal taxes.
The result is increasing inequality between, on the one hand, senior and junior bankers, public, private equity, investment and hedge fund directors, and their entourage of lawyers, accountants and, on the other hand, wage and salaried workers. Income ratios range between 400 to 1 and 1,000 to 1, between the ruling class and median wage and salary workers is the norm.
Crisis of the Working and Middle Class – (Begin to Worry the Ruling Class)
Living standards for the working and middle class and the urban poor have declined substantially over the past thirty years (1978-2006) to a point where one can point to a burgeoning crises. While real hourly wages in constant 2005 dollars have stagnated, health, pension, energy and educational costs (increasingly borne by wage and salary workers) have skyrocketed. If extensions in work time and intensification of work place production (increases in productivity) are included in the equation, it is clear that living (including working) conditions have declined sharply. Even the financial press can write articles entitled: “Why Ordinary Americans have Missed Out on the Benefits of Growth” (FT November 2, 2006 p.11).
Financial and investment banks are in charge of advising and directing the ‘restructuring’ of enterprises for mergers and acquisitions by downsizing, outsourcing, give-backs and other cost-cutting measures. This has led to downward mobility for the wage and salaried workers who retain their jobs even as their tenure is more precarious. In other words, the greater the salaries, bonuses, profits and rents for the financial ruling class engaged in ‘restructuring’ for M&As, the greater the decline in living standards for the working and middle class.
One measure of the enormous influence of the financial ruling class in heightening the exploitation of labor is found in the enormous disparity between productivity and wages. Between 2000 and 2005, the US economy grew 12%, and productivity (measured by output per hour worked in the business sector) rose 17% while hourly wages rose only 3%. Real family income fell during the same period (FT November 2, 2006 p.11). According to a poll in the fall of November 2006, three quarters of Americans say they are either worse off or no better off than they were six years ago (FT November 3, 2006 p.13).
The impact of the policies of the financial ruling class on both the manufacturing and service sectors transcends their profit skimming, credit leverage on business operations and management practices. It embraces the entire architecture of the income, investment and class structure. The growth of vast inequalities between the yearly payments of the financial ruling class and the medium salary of workers has reached unprecedented levels. The financial elite receives something in the range of a ratio of 500 up to 1000 times that of an average worker, depending on how narrowly or broadly we conceive of the financial ruling class.
Members of the financial ruling class have noted these vast and growing inequalities and express some concern over their possible social and political repercussions. According to the Financial Times (December 21, 2006), billionaire Stephen Schwartzman, CEO of the private equity group Blackstone warned “that the widening gap between Wall Street’s lavish pay packages and middle America’s stagnating wages risks causing a political and social backlash against the US’s ‘New Rich’”. Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson admitted that median wage stagnation was a problem and that amidst “strong economic expansion many Americans simply are not feeling (sic!) the benefits” (FT November 2, 2006 p. 11).
Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank testified before the Senate that “inequality is potentially a concern for the US economy…to the extent that incomes and wealth are spreading apart. I think that is not a good trend” (Ibid). In 2005 the proportion of national income to GDP going to profits, rents and other non-wage and salary sources is at record levels – 43%. Inequality in the distribution of national income in the US is the worst in the entire developed capitalist world. Moreover studies of time series data reveal that in the US inequality increased far greater and intergenerational social mobility was far more difficult in the US than any country in Western Europe. The growth of monstrous and rigid class inequalities reflects the narrow social base of an economy dominated by finance capital, its ingrown intergenerational linkages and the exorbitant entry fees ($50,000 per annum tuition with room and board) to elite private universities and post-graduate business schools. Equally important, the political power of finance capital and its ‘associated’ conglomerates wield uncontested political power in the US in comparison to any country in Europe. As a result the US government redistributes far less through the tax and social security, health and educational system than other countries. (ibid)
While some financial rulers express some anxiety about a ‘backlash’ from the deepening class divide, not a single one publicly supports any tax or other redistributive measures. Instead they call for increases in educational up-grading, job retraining and greater geographical mobility, though it is precisely among the educated middle class which is suffering salary stagnation.
Neither the Democratic Party majority in Congress, nor the Republican-controlled Executive offer any proposals to challenge the financial ruling class’s dominance nor are there any proposals to reverse its most retrograde policies causing the growing inequalities, wage stagnation and the increasing rigidity of the class structure. The reason has been reported in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times: An overwhelming chunk of the funds that Democrats raise nationally for election campaigns comes either from Wall Street financiers or Silicon Valley software entrepreneurs. (FT November 3, 2006 p. 13). The Democratic congressional electoral campaign was tightly controlled by two of Wall Street’s favorite Democrats, Senator Charles ‘Israel First’ Schumer and Congressman Rahm Immanuel, who selectively funded candidates who were pro-war, pro-Wall Street and unconditionally pro-Israel. Democrats slated to head strategic Congressional committees like Zion-Lib Barney Frank have already announced they have ‘good working relations’ with Wall Street.
The Financial Ruling Class Also Governs
Ruling classes rule the economy, are at the top of the social structure and establish the parameters and rules within which the politicians operate. More often than not few actually engage directly in congressional politics, preferring to build economic empires while channeling money toward candidates prepared to do their bidding. Only when an apparent division occurs, especially within the Executive, between the interests of the ruling class and the policies of the regime will elite members of the ruling class intervene directly or take a senior executive position to ‘rectify’ policy.
Ruling Class Political Power: Paulson Takes Over Treasury
Several sharp divergences occurred during the Bush regime between finance capital and policymakers. These policies prejudiced or threatened to seriously damage important sectors of the financial ruling class. Theses include: 1) the aggressive militarist and protectionist policies pursued by senior Pentagon officials and ‘Zion-con’ Senators toward China; 2) the political veto by Congress of the sale of US port management to a Gulf State-owned company and of a US oil company to China; 3) the failure of the Bush regime to secure the privatization of social security and to weaken the regulatory measures introduced in the aftermath of the massive corporate (Enron and World Com) and Wall Street swindles and 4. the need to put a check on the uncontrolled growth of fiscal deficits resulting from the Middle East wars, the ballooning trade deficits and the weakening dollar.
The headlines of the financial press (FT December 4, 2006 p.3) spell out finance capital’s direct intervention into key White House policy making:
“Goldman Sachs Top Alumni Wield Clout in White House”
“Former Bank Executives Hold Unprecedented Power within a US Administration”
US financial and manufacturing ruling classes have long influenced, advised and formulated policy for US Presidents. But given the stakes, the risks and the opportunities facing the financial ruling class, it has moved directly into key government posts. What is especially unprecedented is the dominant presence of members from one investment bank – Goldman Sachs. In late November 2006, Goldman Sachs (GS) senior executive William Dudley took over the Federal Reserve Bank of New York markets group. Hank Paulson, ex-CEO of GS is Treasury Secretary – explicitly anointed by President Bush as undisputed czar of all economic policies. Reuben Jeffrey, a former GS managing partner is the chief regulator of commodity futures and options trading, Joshua Bolten, White House Chief of Staff (he decides who Bush sees, when and for how long – in other words arranges Bush’s agenda) served as GS executive director. Robert Steel, former GS vice chairman, advises Paulson on domestic finance. Randall Fort, ex-GS director of global security, advises Secretary of State Rice. The ex-GS officials also dominate Bush’s working group on financial markets and financial crisis management. The investment bankers wielding state power will control the Bush regime’s biggest housing giants (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), tax policy, energy markets – all issues that directly affect the investment banks. In other words, the financial banks will be ‘regulated’ by their own executives. The degree of finance capital’s stranglehold on political power is evidenced by the total lack of criticism by either party. As one financial newspaper noted: “Neither Mr. Bush nor Goldman have been criticized by Democrats for holding too many powerful jobs in part because the investment bank (GS) also has deep ties to Democrats. Goldman represented the biggest single donor base to the Democrats ahead of this (2006) year’s mid-term election”. (FT December 4, 2006)
Among Paulson’s first moves was to organize a top level delegation to China and a working group to work on forming a ‘strategic partnership’. Its task is to accelerate the ‘opening’ of China’s financial markets to penetration and majority takeovers by US operated investment funds. This represents a potential multi-trillion dollar window of opportunity. By seizing the initiative Paulson hopes to undercut the anti-China cohort of neo-con, Pentagon and White House militarists, as well as backwater backers of Taiwanese independence and Congressional chauvinist demagogues like Senator Schumer who threaten to undermine lucrative US-Chinese economic relations.
To lower the fiscal deficit, Paulson proposes to ‘reform’ entitlements - reduce spending on Medicare and Medicaid and to work out a deal with the Democrats to privatize Social Security piecemeal.
Where finance capital has not been able to fashion a coherent economic strategy is with regard to Washington’s Middle East wars. Because of the pull of the Zionist Lobby on many of leading lights of Wall Street – including its unofficial mouthpieces – the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times – Paulson has failed to formulate a strategy. He sis not even pay lip service to the Baker Iraq Study Group report’s proposal to gradually draw down troops for fear of alienating some key senior executives of Goldman Sachs, Stern, Lehman Brothers et al who follow the ‘Israel First’ line. As a result, Paulson has to work around the Lobby by focusing on dealing with the Gulf city-state monarchies and Saudi Arabia in order to avoid another disastrous repetition of the Dubai Port management sale. Paulson above all wants to avoid Zionist political interference with the two way flow of finance capital between the petrol-financial-banking complexes in the Gulf States and Wall Street. He wants to facilitate US finance capital’s access to the large dollar surpluses in the region. It is not surprising that the Israeli regime has accommodated their wealthy and influential financial backers on Wall Street by drawing a distinction between ‘moderate’ (Gulf States) with whom they claim common interests and ‘Islamic extremists’. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has directed his zealots in the US-Jewish Lobby to take heed of the refinements in the Party Line in dealing with US-Arab relations.
Nevertheless with all its concentrated political power and its enormous wealth and economic leverage over the economy, Wall Street cannot control or avoid serious economic vulnerabilities or possible catastrophic military-political events.
The Future of the Financial Ruling Class
What is abundantly clear is that one of the main threats to world markets – and the health of the financial ruling class – is an Israeli military attack on Iran. This will extend warfare throughout Asia and the Islamic world, drive energy prices beyond levels heretofore known, cause a major recession and likely a crash in financial markets. But as in the case of the relationships between Israel and the US, the Zionist Lobby calls the shots and its Wall Street acolytes acquiesce. As matters now stand, the Jewish Lobby supports the escalation of the Iraq war and the savaging of Palestine, Somalia and Afghanistan. It has neutralized the biggest and most concerted effort by big name centrist political figures to alter White House policy. Baker, Carter, former military commanders of US forces in Iraq have been savaged by the Zionist ideologues. Under their influence the White House is putting into practice the war strategy presented by the ‘American’ Enterprise Institute (a Zioncon thinktank). As a result parallel to Bush’s appointment of Paulson and Wall Streeters to run imperial economic policy, he has appointed an entire new pro-war civilian military-security apparatus to escalate and extend the Middle East wars to Africa (Somalia) and Latin America (Venezuela).
Sooner or later a break between Wall Street and the militarists will occur. The additional costs of an escalating wars, the continual ballooning debt payments, huge imbalances in the balance of payments and decreasing inflows of capital as multi-national repatriate profits and overseas central banks diversify their currency reserves will force the issue. The enormous and growing inequalities, the massive concentration of wealth and capital at a time of declining living standards and stagnant income for the vast majority, gives the financial ruling class little political capital or credibility if and when an economic and financial crisis breaks.
With foreign investors owning 47% of all marketable US Treasury bonds in 2006 compared to 33% in 2001 and foreign holdings of US corporate debt up to 30% today, from 23% just 5 years ago, a rapid sell-off would totally destabilize US financial markets and the economic system as well as the world economy. A rapid sell-off of dollars with catastrophic consequences cannot be ruled out if US-Zionist militarism continues to run amuck, creating conditions of extended and prolonged warfare.
The paradox is that some of the most wealthy and powerful beneficiaries of the ascendancy of finance capital are precisely the same class of people who are financing their own self-destruction. While cheap finance fueling multi-billion dollar mergers, acquisitions, commissions and executive payoffs, heightened militarism operates on a budget plagued by tax reductions, exemptions and evasions for the financial ruling class and ever greater squeezing of the overburdened wage and salary classes. Something has to break the cohabitation between ruling class financiers and political militarists. They are running in opposite directions. One is investing capital abroad and the other spending borrowed funds at home. For the moment there are no signs of any serious clashes at the top, and in the middle and working classes there are no signs of any political break with the two Wall Street parties or any challenge to the militarist-Zionist stranglehold on Congress. Likely it will take a catastrophe, like a White House-back Israeli nuclear attack on Iran to detonate the kind of crisis which will provoke a deep and widespread popular backlash of all things military, financial and made in Israel....
THIS IS WHAT THE ARABS "COLLECTIVELY" OFFERED THE JEWISH LEADERSHIP COUCILS WORLDWIDE: FRIENDSHIP,COOPERATION, UNDERSTANDING, TEAMWORK, ENTENTE...