"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Israeli spies pay wages of hubris to the United States

Youssef M. Ibrahim
Gulf News

The latest spy tale in Washington DC, involving Larry Franklin, an intelligence analyst at the Defence Department, and some of Israel's most important lobbyists in America, is becoming deeper by the week.
Spy stories are always like that, but this one packs an intricate tale of a trusted ally betraying America, a White House intent on using the misstep to leverage its influence, and an American intelligence community that feels it has been made to wear horns.
They say hell has no fury like that of a betrayed lover especially if it is the pervasive, "American Intelligence Community".
Clearly Israel has aroused the formidable bull and will be made to pay a price. One can speculate from what we already know.
It started in late July this year when a catholic Pentagon analyst, Franklin, telephoned a Jewish acquaintance of his who worked at a pro-Israel lobbying group, the very influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).
The two men knew each other professionally. They spoke of US policies on Iran and Iraq. That call was monitored by American intelligence authorities who did not like what they heard and it led to a chain of events.
A report published by The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) last week asserts that a grand jury investigation is underway and may lead to the indictment of several prominent Jewish lobbyists in the United States for charges of passing secret information to Israel.
Other reports and leaks published in the US media suggest that Franklin has been singing like a canary under questioning and has agreed to deliver several of his Jewish lobbyist friends in return for some leniency.
Still more reports suggest that he was all along a plant, a tool, used by the American intelligence community to ensnare the Israelis and their network of spies among the vast community of 52 American Jewish organisations totally devoted to control American Middle East policies for the benefit of Israel.

The JTA report states: "With senior officials at America's top pro-Israel organisation facing the spectre of federal indictments, staffers at other groups are beginning to waver in their support and are warning that the mounting legal scandal could damage the political credibility of the entire Jewish community."

That, one might speculate, is precisely the point. You see, there is an iron-clad agreement that Israel shall never spy on its best friend and greatest financial backer in the world, America, particularly as American intelligence cooperates broadly with Israeli intelligence for free.
But whenever greed and hubris take over, Israelis have gotten themselves and their friends in trouble. With this particular White House of George W. Bush, which takes no prisoners, the price Israel may be forced to pay is make some concession to the Palestinians.
Immediately after his re-election Bush said he had "accumulated enough capital" in his first term that he plans to use it in his second term to advance the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

He was also talking, some of my friends in the intelligence community tell me, about the "Franklin" affair.

Bush does not need to have an outcome. He just needs to have a process whereby an investigation keeps hanging in the air, while he demands to cash in his capital. Bush is like that. He plays hard, even with friends.

As usual, Israel is denying all charges, but in espionage and affairs of state, it is very important to manage a catastrophe well once it has happened.
At the moment the US intelligence community, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and other counter-spying organisations are going for a kill, knowing their president needs to hold cards in hand against friends and foes.

For the American intelligence guys, this is payback time, especially now that the Israelis were caught with their hands inside American top secret files.
This has happened before. In 1985 when Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American naval intelligence analyst, was arrested he was crying like a baby at the gate of the Israeli embassy in Washington DC.

He had met with Israeli agents for years supplying super-secret documents from naval intelligence. The Israelis would not even open the door for him in his hour of need as he was dragged away screaming and kicking with his wife to jail.
Pollard now is serving a life sentence without parole as a spy against the United States of America. Two American presidents, Bill Clinton and the current George Bush, have firmly rejected repeated Israeli and Jewish lobby requests to pardon him.
Scores of petitions and websites offering daily support calls for a pardon have not made a dent. The intelligence community says "NO" as it periodically leaks reminders to its media friends that Pollard has done irreparable harm to the vital interests of the United States.
The real message to Israel and its supporters is: "Thou shall not spy against America". It is the same message being delivered now over the Franklin affair to American Jewish Organisations.
But it is also a bargaining chip that the White House and the intelligence community will squeeze like a lemon to get Israeli concessions in Palestine with the full support from a chastised American Jewish lobby.

The deal is simply: no support or concessions means more investigations, a trial, indictments etc.
According to the Jewish Agency in its report of December 12 at one time, Aipac was essentially an arm of the Conference of Presidents, a coalition of 52 Jewish organisations generally viewed as the Jewish community's consensus voice on Middle East affairs.
But in recent decades the board has grown, and its makeup has been significantly altered so that independent donors not leaders of other Jewish organisations hold the overwhelming majority of votes. Well, America does not like that.
The message is do not mess with us.

Youssef M. Ibrahim, a former Middle East correspondent for the New York Times and Energy Editor of the Wall Street Journal, is Managing Director of the Dubai-based Strategic Energy Investment Group.

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Milton Frihetsson, 18:30


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