Water Man Spouts

Friday, March 31, 2006

Unpopular Essays

Unpopular Essays: The Neocon/AIPAC Spy Scandal
In the past couple of years, I have contributed essays to a few internet sites regarding what I call the three leaf clover of scandals: the Plame, the neocon/AIPAC spy, and the Niger document forgery scandals. These closely related crimes, which are largely ignored by the "mainstream" corporate media, are among the root causes of the United States being at war in Iraq, and at risk of being involved in a larger conflict in Iran. Today, I think it might be interesting to take a closer look at the neocon/AIPAC spy scandal.
Even among progressive and liberal democrats, this case is capable of causing strong reactions, emotional debates, and harsh conflicts. This is, in part, because such discussions often move away from a focused examination of US policy, and how the criminal conduct of some US citizens has impacted our foreign policy, to debates on Israel and its relationship with its Muslim neighbors.
My goal is to stick with US policy. I will, however, note that I am a supporter of nation of Israel, and recognize it as being one of the United State's best friends. Yet that does not translate into my favoring the right-wing extremists in Israel, or among their supporters in the US, any more than my love for the United States would imply that I support Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, or Dick Cheney. In fact, my beliefs about Israel and the USA are among the reasons that I am convinced that this country needs to focus our attention onto the neocon/AIPAC spy scandal.
At this time, the legal cases that involve this scandal include Pentagon Iranian analyst Larry Franklin, and former AIPAC representatives Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. In January, Franklin was sentenced to 12 years and 7 months, as a result of his guilty plea. Franklin had passed classified military intelligence to the AIPAC lobbyists, and to an Israeli diplomat. He will not begin to serve his sentence until after the AIPAC case is completed, at which time his attorney will ask the court to reduce his sentence, due to his cooperating with the government.
Many citizens are unaware of these cases. On reason may be that the media is not covering them adequately. For example, the Franklin sentencing was covered by the New York Times in a scanty article on page 30 of its January 21st edition.
At a March 24 pre-trial hearing for Rosen and Weissman, US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis stated that he believed the law the two were charged under may be unconstitutional. This was in response to defense motions to dismiss the case, in which the defense attorneys claimed the case involved "freedom of speech," and that the sharing of classified information between lobbyists, reporters, and government officials was a common practice. For a transcript of hearing, see:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/rosen032406.html
The neocon/AIPAC spy scandal, however, involves far more than issues of freedom of speech and the press. To imply otherwise would be like saying the most important issue in the Plame scandal was Judith Miller's integrity. Prosecutor Kevin DiGregory noted the case is about conduct, not speech, and about "the national security interests of the United States." (Matthew Barakat; Constitutional Questions Show in AIPAC Case; AP; March 24, '06) And, as former ambassador Andrew Killgore wrote, "The question, of course, is whether these practices are common to American friends of all foreign governments, or to those of one in particular." (The Pro-Israel Part Line:"Common Practice"; Washington Report; April '06 - Vol. XXV, No.3; page 14)
The Institute for Research:Middle Eastern Policy attempted to file an amicus curiae brief with the court on this case. Their brief intended to present evidence that indicates:
{1} That AIPAC's organizational structure has become a "quasi intelligence service" that exercises significant influence over the Executive Branch and Congress;
{2} AIPAC's operations on behalf of Israel make it an agent of foreign influence; and
{3} AIPAC's operations in the US promote policies in the Middle East that increase the potential for terrorist attacks against Americans.
Judge Ellis denied the Institute for Research's motion to file their brief. Those interested in his 5-page February 27 decision can find it by googling "Case No. 1:05cr225." It strikes me as curious that Judge Ellis, who feels that AIPAC's influence on the executive and legislative branches may be constitutionally protected free speech, even when it violates laws protecting classified military intelligence, rejected this well-reasoned brief.
Equally puzzling were Judge Ellis's comments in January, that Mr. Franklin was motivated by his patriotic beliefs to leak classified intelligence to the AIPAC lobbyists. In fact, the prosecution has tapes of Franklin and his friends discussing career promotion as one of the potential benefits of his illegal activities.
We should not forget that the fruits of their activities were part of the neoconservatives' promoting the "preemptive" war in Iraq. Ambassador Killgore's special report in the current edition of Washington Report ties this case of espionage to the work of Bush administration officials Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, and John Bolton. It is worth noting that this case is not simply of interest to the "far left" in American politics. Though largely ignored by the corporate media, there have been numerous thoughtful reports on the case by individuals such as Robert Dreyfuss on TomPaine.common sense, and by Patrick Buchanan and Karen Kwiatkowski on LewRockwell.com.
These people, along with others not identified by the indictments returned by the Grand Jury in Alexandria last August, engaged in "overt acts" that were part of a large "conspiracy" to illegally pass classified intelligence material to people who were not legally entitled to it. As the indictment details, both Franklin and Rosen had backgrounds that included signing classified information nondisclosure agreements. They were fully aware that they were violating the law.
People interested in this case, and how it relates to the neoconservative movement, should access the court records made public on the internet; read Washington Report, which is published by the non-profit American Educational Trust (retired US foreign service officers who attempt to provide the American public with balanced, accurate information on US policy in the Middle East), which has a web site: http://www.wrmea.com ; and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy.
Of particular interest is Grant Smith's new book, "Deadly Dogma: How Neoconservatives Broke the Law to Deceive America." It can be previewed at the IRmep site:
http://www.irmep.org/

2 Comments:

At March 31, 2006 at 12:40 PM, Blogger lunphey said...

Patrick,

It would be great if you could post this essay on the Amazon.com reviewer section for the book "Deadly Dogma".

If you'd like a free copy of the book, please send a mailing address to info@irmep.org!

 
At April 5, 2006 at 4:23 PM, Blogger Patrick O'Waterman said...

I posted it on the Amazon book review section. It apparently takes time for it to show up.

 

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