Monday, December 19

Israel and the AIPAC case

Over the past few days, one particular Billings-based blogger has been saying some very unkind things about Israel and AIPAC. I won’t give the link, but you are welcome to Google for his website. I am sure he will say some unkind things about me soon after this is posted. Oh well …

Among other things, he charges that Israel is an enemy of the United States. He places his credence for that charge on a) supposed false intelligence given to the US during the run-up to the war against Iraq and b) supposed espionage against the US by Israel.

Before I begin, let me be clear that I am not an expert on any of these matters. I know what I read in the paper and from reputable internet sources. I have not made a study of any of these particular cases. I say this because it is important to judge a source. The blog to which I am responding here casts himself as an expert, but I suggest that he is an even less informed source than I am.

Let’s discuss the AIPAC espionage case first. There is a wiki on this case, here. It is a good objective place to start. In essence the case is about a mid-level DoD staffer, Larry Franklin, who has plead guilty to passing along information about Iran to two AIPAC staffers, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman (no relation). Rosen and Weissman are charged with passing this information on to Israel and the US National Security Council. Franklin has plead guilty, and Rosen and Weissman are still awaiting their day in court.

Please note that at no time has any source alleged that Israel requested or in any way attempted to receive this information. No source has alleged that Israel ever paid anything for this information. In fact, Israel might have believed that it was receiving legitimate information, that it was authorized to receive, as she passed along additional information they had gathered on Iran to Franklin, as a sort of quid pro quo.

Franklin’s motivations may have been borne out of more personal or ideological reasons. In fact, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official told Newsweek: "for whatever reason, the guy hates Iran [the Iranian government] passionately."

So, because this guy hated Iran, he tried to forward on information to harden US policy against the country. Israel is not really involved here, except as a passive recipient. For this my excitable friend in Billings suggests that we … wait for it … invade Israel? Maybe instead the guitar shop needs a better ventilation system; the fumes are apparently getting to him.

My next post will discuss my correspondent’s first charge, about false intelligence given by Israel to the US regarding Iraq.

11 comments:

5 said...

Hi Mr. "Lets take his comment out of context and see if we can make the poop stick"!
I exquisitely and quite concisely stated that I did not want to invade Israel. I like Israel, but I love my country.

Now, if you want to be honest, I will give you the opportunity. If you want to start off a debate with me because you didnt like the fact that I posted AIPAC's address and phone number-which I obtained from AIPAC's website for crying out loud, I would suggest that you keep any comment I made in context and truthful.
Below is the full comment you are referring too. I will post it and then get a screen shot. If you delete it, I will out you on front street and ruin any credibility you have on my blog. People do not read liars my friend.
You have an issue, you get to prove your case and point.
I do not cast myself as an expert, you say I do. Show me.

I am well read on six cases of espionage involving AIPAC-meaning I know the information that was passed, I know who collected it, I know who paid for it and I know where the information was going. Its impossible to know who requested it or if it was, as you say, merely volunteered.
In any scenario, there was a passing of secret information, obtained ilegally and used illegally.I am well aware and versed in these cases.
You say you are not.
But you say you are more informed than me on these cases.
How?
What?
I do not say Israel is an enemy of the United States but you say I do, again, show me.

And to state:

"Franklin’s motivations may have been borne out of more personal or ideological reasons."

Yeah, that makes the spying ok.

I kill republicans and eat them but my motivations are borne out of personal or idealogical reasons....so give me a pass, ok Mr. Judge?

"In fact, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official told Newsweek: "for whatever reason, the guy hates Iran [the Iranian government] passionately.""

Or we could say..."he loves Israel more than his own Country..." "and hates Iran passionately so he may spread false intel so the US bombs the Iranians..."

Then this paragraph:

"Please note that at no time has any source alleged that Israel requested or in any way attempted to receive this information."

We dont know this to be true or untrue. You dont, I dont.
But would Israel refuse it on moral grounds?

"No source has alleged that Israel ever paid anything for this information."
Again, you dont nor I know this to be true or false yet however AIPACS funding is reported to be at least 45 percent from the State of Israel.

"In fact, Israel might have believed that it was receiving legitimate information, that it was authorized to receive, as she passed along additional information they had gathered on Iran to Franklin, as a sort of quid pro quo."

Ooops. Here you are saying that Israel would receive "legitimate information", ie, classified intelligence through a trade and Pro Israel lobbying group. "Hi, this is Tenet at the CIA, is this AIPAC? Good, I have some info for you...."

No sir, that isnt the way it works.
This information would have been passed through regular diplomatic channels-not through AIPAC.

But it gets worse:

You state that Israel is passing on information-intelligence information gathered on Iran, passing it on to Franklin and destined for?
Yes, OSP? The Pentagon? B*sh's desK?
You state that Israel is spying on Iran, passing that info through highly irregular channels and onto our spy agencies.
Hmmm, isnt this how bad intel got us into Iraq?
Did not the CIA debunk much of the information provided through even the regular channels by Israel?

And again, we have secret intelligence being passed through illegitimate channels.

Look my friend, if it was Egypt or Cuba or Bumfuckistan, I dont care,a spy is a spy and a lie is a lie. I like Israel, I like her spirit. As a member of a persecuted race myself, I have a certain empathy for what Israel has been through.

But a spy is a spy.

Here is the original post on my blog. Never, ever, take me out of context. Its dishonest and a long standing tradition of those who do not understand debate.
I dont read you, I dont know you, I wont bother you unless you lie about me or use anything I say, post, write or slobber in a way that is dishonest. When I read my comment out of its original framework, I felt very sad, I found it hard to see past it, its that dishonest and it pains me to no end. I would never, ever, do such a thing to anyone.

""She who dances in the Shadows" sent me a link to all of the UN resolutions a "sovereign nation" has broken, damn rogue state, we should invade these evil bastards now."
(note that we invaded Iraq because Saddam had violated many UN resolutions. In any case, its merely a tongue in cheek statement of America's double standards and only a dishonest person would read more into the comment than that)

"Oh, I wont cut and paste them here because there are too many!
But lets say this, Iraq? 16 resolutions.
Israel? 39!
The Winner? Israel! With an added blue ribbon for spying on us and feeding the neocons known bad intelligence for our disaster in Iraq."

Its a fact that the PNAC was founded with a board of directors and signators who have hard ties to Israel. Now if it was three people, a pass, six? A pass, but 10? No pass. If it talks like a duck....

Not that I want to invade Israel,(emphasis added by moi) I just want people to be honest about our countries relationship with her. And her maliciousness towards our country."

So there you are. Be careful, keep to the truth and what you know, I am more your friend than enemy at this point,lets keep it that way.
At least you had the balls to admit that these cases even exist and for that I say thank you.
Cheers, now go do the right thing.

Me said...

Billings own O'Reilly or McCarthy is "suggesting" you do the right thing. "I am more your friend than enemy at this point, lets keep it that way." ROFL. It's like Tony Soprano meets the peyote-soaked apostrophe challenged beatnick who everyone reads only because one day they know he'll show up on their television as having committed some horrible atrosity and they yearn to have some connection to current events by claiming to others, 'I knew him when he was only a raging lunatic on his blog, not before he blew up X/Y/Z, or started firing gun shots at the Gazette building.'

I don't know where this pissant got the idea that anyone is accountable to him, or must answer his questions.

"If you delete it, I will out you on front street and ruin any credibility you have on my blog."

Don't lay awake too long this evening, Aaron, quaking and worrying about losing credibility at the Lewis place. In the grand scheme of things I believe no one is more insignificant than he.

WolfPack said...

Tony,

Why would you expect Israel not to spy on the US? I sure hope we are spying on them. That's what spying is about, "Trust but verify" as the saying goes. They give up colored intelligence, we give up colored intelligence. It’s up to the experts on both sides to “separate the wheat from the chaff”. What's the difference? Maybe you need to stand back and see if your biases are clouding your prospective of what is reasonable. Israel is a sovereign country not a state in our union. After reading the last week or two of your blog, I got the feeling that you are a little anti-Jew. Same way that I get the feeling that Aaron is a little pro-Jew. You accuse a country of illegal spying. First I must ask, what is legal spying? Isn’t most spying illegal to the country being spied on? If it was legal it wouldn’t be spying it would just be called paying attention. If you hate Jews just say so. Why all the pretence?

5 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
5 said...

Hmmm, I just noticed that neither of you actually participate in the real world. No blog, no statements of record. Just two more anonymous little hacks.
Sorry, I dont debate hacks, only posters ands thinkers who are responsible for thier words. Buh Bye. I will pull my responses to you both.

Mike said...

Aaron:

The "some of my best friends were/are Jews" defense gets pulled out of the hat :-)

Since a threat was made to you that a screen shot would be made of TSJ, just in case you decieded to delete any comments, my hope is that you have a record of the comments from "Billings Bill O'Reilly" that were pulled and share them with us.

While I would state for the record that the address in Missoula is available elsewhere online, posting it in the context it was, and then refusing to remove it after it was identified as a private residence with children, is reprehensible.

This schmuck claims to love his country, which is why he's written so widely on the alleged AIPAC spy case, and it's possible links to the government of the State of Israel, yet has been absolutely silent when it comes to British and German spying. Of course this uber patriot loves his country so profoundly that scarcely a week or two passes that he doesn't wish to 'kill republicans and eat them for dinner' or destroy the very government that gives him the freedom to walk freely somewhere other than Warm Springs.

I think, as has has been proven elsewhere, that the "I'm always right, and never lie" defense that he uses in some misguided attempt to gain what little legitimacy he claims to have is a delusion at best.

Anyway Aaron, good post, and I'll look forward to more on the subject when you can take time away from your REAL job to post.

Yashar Koach!

5 said...

Um, ok, youre textbook at this point Mike and really not living up to your education. I know nothing about the British spying on us. Google has nothing. Please do tell and I will be sure to write extensively on the subject. Or you can, since you are ignoring any point I make.
And BTW, nice link to the PNAC on your blog.
That alone shows me that you may be "anti B*sh" but you are firmly in the camp of whats best for Israel-not America.

WolfPack said...

Tony,

Why so angry? All that hate is eating you up. What do you mean I don't exist in the real world? Is your blog the real world? Do you think you are Keanu Reeves of the MATRIX. Yes Tony. You are the one.

Merry Christmas

Treasure State Jew said...

Tony; I have never said you were an Anti-Semite. However, I would suggest that you apparently have no problem with creating a charged and hateful atmosphere, and then providing a physical outlet for your readers. I further suggest to you that such action is dangerous.

I am glad to debate you, but I won't go so far as to allow comments on this blog that lead me to reasonably believe could incite violence. Here is one of the general ground rules here at TSJ; I won't delete any non-spam comments that do not incite violence. So your comments are safe.

Now, to the case at hand. First, after re-reading your original post I grant you that I misinterpreted your statement about invading Israel. You did not suggest that.

However, you do have several other fundamental misinterpretations regarding this case.

When I say that no source alleges something, it does not mean that I know it to be true or not. I am, however, saying that no reputable, informed source believes it to be true. There is a difference here.

I also am not privy to the diplomatic channels of the USA or the State of Israel. While the possiblity exists that you do, I doubt it. When you say that information should pass in a certain way through certain channels, you are not making an informed statement.

Information may well be gathered from irregular sources. I have no idea and neither do you. That is a subject of an entirely separate debate.

Apparently, you blame Israel and AIPAC for the actions of Larry Franklin. I suggest to you that Larry Franklin deserves blame here, not AIPAC or Israel. He has also plead guilty, and I presume will face time in jail.

What Franklin did was wrong. However, it does not follow that just because Franklin committed a crime that either AIPAC or Israel are also guilty.

AIPAC and Israel, while recipients of the information Franklin promulgated, seem to be passive recipients here.

Let's take each in turn, shall we? As for Israel, I have trouble seeing any culpability here. Israel received information it did not ask for. Israel has made public statements that it does not spy on the US, and hasn't since the Pollard case. No US government source has contradicted that statement.

So, let's look at the AIPAC case specifically. Franklin apparently passed information to two former AIPAC employees.

It is worth noting that they were fired after they were indicted. I am not aware of a source that suggests that this case goes beyond Rosen and Weissman (no relation). If the buck stops at Rosen and Weissman, how can you blame AIPAC here?

Finally, let's look at the case against Rosen and Weissman. Both have plead not guilty, and deserve a presumption of innocence. Personally, I find it very troubling that the government is bringing an espionage case against a private citizen for simply receiving information.

By this logic, any journalist that receives secret information could face prosecution, especially if this information were published in their paper. While I am no legal scholar, I believe that this is an unprecedented action. If such a standard were to have been applied during the 1970s, the Pentagon Papers would never have been published by the NYT.

Tony, you may have no problem with such high-handed government action, but I do. Before you throw the book at Rosen and Weissman, I think you should look a bit more closely at the precedent you are setting.

I am not the only one to suggest this.

"But," writes Eli Lake in The New Republic, "if it's illegal for Rosen and Weissman to seek and receive 'classified information,' then many investigative journalists are also criminals."

"While most administrations have tried to crack down on leaks, they have almost always shied away from going after those who receive them--until now."

"At a time when a growing amount of information is being classified, the prosecution of Rosen and Weissman threatens to have a chilling effect--not on the ability of foreign agents to influence U.S. policy, but on the ability of the American public to understand it," writes Lake.

See "Low Clearance" by Eli J. Lake, The New Republic, October 10 (subscription required)

See also "Israeli lobby spy case suggests new push to keep leaks from reporters" by John Byrne, Raw Story, September 30

Next, let's look at an amicus brief that was filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press regarding this case.

That Committee filed a brief to explain the threat the case could pose to a free press.

Pointing out the strange fact that non-government employees are being prosecuted for mishandling classified information, the Reporters Committee argued that the AIPAC case "could affect the very nature of how journalism can be practiced."

"The defendant private citizens have been charged for conspiring to 'communicate' national defense information 'to any persons not entitled to receive it.' 18 U.S.C. . 793(d). Overly broad, this language applies to any private party who speaks about national defense information regardless of their intent or whom they speak to."

"These charges potentially eviscerate the primary function of journalism to gather and publicize information of public concern particularly where the most valuable information to the public is information that other people, such as the government, want to conceal," the Reporters Committee motion argued.

See "Reporters Committee warns court of espionage law's potential harm to journalists," October 13

Bottom line; this case is not really about AIPAC. It is about Larry Franklin. Your suggestions otherwise do not ring true.

By the way, much of my information here is compiled by Secrecy News, at http://fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/. This publication tries to keep a handle on our government's use of secret information. It is worth regularly reading.

Mark said...

Aaron, that was some spin you put on this. I'm not in Tony's camp by any means but you are taking what he said out of context several times.
Will I be labeled antisemitic too?

Treasure State Jew said...

Mark; I have never said that Tony was an Anti-Semite. I also have no desire to misconstrue anything anyone says. However, I do not think I did.

Show me where I took him out of context and I will consider printing a retraction.