Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Israel andThe Democratic Party.

Hillary is trying to use "support" for Israel as an issue against Obama.

The comment seemed like a casual aside. Ann Lewis, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, was touting the New York senator's strong support for Israel during a conference call in January with leaders of major American Jewish organizations. During the call, Lewis energetically contrasted Clinton's pro-Israel credentials with those of Barack Obama. To make her point, she said that Obama's "chief foreign-policy adviser" is Zbigniew Brzezinski, says one participant who would talk about the call only if he were not identified.

It seems the Democratic base has become immune to these attacks (e.g. Joe Lieberman), but the leadership is still concerned about how the party is perceived (rightly or wrongly) on Israel.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Supporting Israel vs Supporting Likud

Barack Obama is demonstrating he can navigate the trechorous waters of US policy towards Israel:

Barack Obama reportedly said something very important and long overdue to a group of some 100 Cleveland Jewish leaders on Sunday — that being pro-Likud and being “pro-Israel” are two different things.

“I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel. If we cannot have an honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we’re not going to make progress.”

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bush Administration Justice

A little off topic, but the Bush administraion has been more prone to abuse power than any other administration I can think of, including the Nixon administration.

Two examples are worth mentioning, although there are many.

This first is the prosecution of Don Siegelman, former governor of Alabama. There is a lot more of that here.

The other, more interesting case, is the decision of the former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay to testify as a defense witness for the driver of Osama bin Laden.

Yes, you read that right.

Air Force Col. Morris Davis, resigned in October over alleged political interference in the U.S. military tribunals.

Now, if you have have chosen a career as a military prosecutor, handling the highest profile case(s) in the nation is a dream come true. It is a ticket to success at virtually anything else you want to do, including making big money at a NY law firm or going into politics. If you see a problem, you are going to do everything you can
to work around it, or work with it.

Thus, for Morris Davis to resign means there is something deeply wrong with the process taking place at Guantanamo. That is a scary thought, as Bush is asking for the right to wiretap without warrants as well as a whole host of other extraordinary powers which are open to abuse.


Bias and The Holy Land Foundation

Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney made a very impressive speech to the Dallas Muslim Legal Fund of America. In it she discusses the Holy Land Foundation case, where the Federal government spent millions of dollars investigating and prosecuting the Muslim Holy Land Foundation only to have the Jury return a verdict of Not Guilty.

To have a verdict of Not Guilty returned in the current hysterical environment is a testament to the American system of justice.

But the fact that the prosecution took place also demonstrates the tremendous political pressure present being applied to any group seemingly trying to help the Palestinian people.

Here is a great outtake from the speech.

For eight long years, the FBI watched the Holy Land Foundation with surveillance that included illegal wiretaps. The government would have had the jury believe that the supporters and the managers of the Holy Land Foundation and just about every other Muslim organization in the United States that was tied into the litigation was guilty of a crime. Millions of dollars later, after wreaking fear and terror inside this country's Muslim community, the jury told the government what the men and women whose lives were on trial already knew. The charges leveled by the government could not stand the jury's scrutiny. So why was the allegation even leveled in the first place? Why did the press parrot the allegations without one moment of questioning whether or not the government could have been as off in its assessments of the Holy Land Foundation as it was in its estimates of pre-war Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?

Impressive stuff. But it goes on:

I would like to take a moment to follow the trail of another trial involving the sale or give-away of U.S. national security secrets to a foreign government; the name of that government is never mentioned; and the litigation never pierces the American psyche due to an effective news blackout.

Yes, what trial is that?

In case number one, a Pentagon man is found with 83 top secret documents at his home, some of them having been passed to American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who then passed them to Israel - known in the newspapers as Country A. The other case involves the outing of a CIA agent who was tracking nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. This is the case of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, that saw the chief of staff of the Vice President of the United States sentenced to prison, only to be later pardoned by the President!

She has a point. In terms of likelihood of spying, Israel is a much greater threat than the Muslim community.

I will discuss this more in the next post.


Hayden on Berman

Howard Berman is replacing Tom Lantos as head of the foreign affairs committee in The House. Here is an interesting statement from Tom Hayden about Michael Berman, Howard's Brother.

Twenty-five years ago I stared into the eyes of Michael Berman, chief operative for his congressman-brother, Howard Berman. I was a neophyte running for the California Assembly in a district that the Bermans claimed belonged to them.

I represent the Israeli defense forces,” Michael said. I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. Michael seemed to imagine himself the gatekeeper protecting Los Angeles’ Westside for Israel’s political interests, and those of the famous Berman-Waxman machine. Since Jews represented one-third of the Democratic district’s primary voters, Berman held a balance of power.

From the frying pan into the fire.


Additional about Mearsheimer/Walt at the following URL:


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Israel Asks for Intensification of Sanctions

Israel proper is sending out Knesset members to warn European and Asian Governments of the threat posed by Iran. They are asking for more sanctions.

Sanction are an act of war - a blockade, more or less. Egypt's blockade of the Red Sea led to the attack on Egypt by Israel.

ome 15 Knesset members from a broad spectrum of parties will soon embark on a tour of Europe and the Far East to explain the dangers of Iran's nuclear program and urge that sanctions against the Islamic Republic be intensified.

Sometime in March, the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency will meet for another discussion of Iran's nuclear program, and a few weeks later, the Security Council will meet to discuss a third round of sanctions against Tehran, in light of its continued defiance of the council's demand that it cease enriching uranium. Therefore, the next few weeks are critical in drumming up support for harsher sanctions.

Israel's stepped-up lobbying effort is in part a response to the release by the United States late last year of a new National Intelligence Estimate, which claimed that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program.

So, as conflict with Iran grows and if/when it leads to war, you can safely say that pressure for such an outcome was applied by Israel.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thoughts on Gaza

Egypt is now rebuilding the wall on its border with Gaza to prevent anymore "breakouts" that allow Gazans(?)to buy food, medicine or other essentials while being blockaded by Israel. Egypt is taking this measure, which is unpopular with its people, in part because the US is withholding (or threatening to withhold) 100 million in aid.

This pressure from the US moves us for background supporter of Israel to a front line participant in this war crime. [It does violate various UN conventions]. I am ashamed of what my country is doing, but that is not what is really important.

What is important is that the entire Muslim world knows that the US is doing this, but few Americans are aware of it. Thus, out there, somewhere, in the Muslim world people are boiling with anger over this situation and are considering some way that they can fight back against this injustice.

Some of them will conclude that terrorism is the only way they can be heard. They will seek to commit a terrorist act against the US and some day one of them or some group of them may succeed.

When that happens will America once again be surprised? Will they believe it when someone tells them they are being attacked for their "freedom?"

I hope not, but it is hard to see what exactly has changed. If Ron Paul was able to educate even a small portion of the population on this concept he will have accomplished a lot indeed.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Kristolized Series

BarbinMD over at DailyKos has done a nice review of all the wrong calls and predictions Bill Kristol has made over the last seven years or so.

It is very well done.

Here are the three links:

  • Kristolized III

  • Kristolized II

  • Kristolized I

  • I have also added permanent links to these diary entries over on the right side.

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    More on Sibel Edmonds

    The Sibel Edmonds story keeps going. Phil Giraldi (ex-CIA) calls for here claims to be investigated:

    Why should Sibel be heard? Mostly because her story, if true, involves corruption at the highest levels of government coupled with the sale of secrets vital to the security of the United States. One of her claims is that a senior State Department officer who has been identified as Marc Grossman, recorded by the FBI while arranging to pick up bribes from a Turkish organization, also revealed the identity of the CIA cover company Brewster Jennings to a Turkish contact in late 2001. The Turk then passed on the information to a Pakistani intelligence officer who presumably warned the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network that the CIA was apparently pursuing. Some might call that treason and it should be noted that it occurred two years before Robert Novak's notorious exposure of Valerie Plame and Brewster Jennings which led to the conviction of Scooter Libby.

    The FBI also denied a freedom of information request by claiming the file requested did not exist, although others have corroborated its existence.

    Huffington Post