Friday, December 20, 2013

Hypocrisy And Lies About Spies

By Joseph Gelman

The dark corners of the internet are ablaze with rage. A leading Jewish Hollywood producer, Arnon Milchan, has recently come in from the cold as an Israeli nuclear spy. Could there possibly be a greater stereotype for the Israel-hater to harp upon?

The most prolific accusation to be heard from the usual suspects is the word “traitor”, which in this case says more about the accuser than the accused. The producer of such movies as Pretty Woman, LA Confidential, and this year’s Oscar favorite Twelve Years a Slave, is neither a US citizen nor a permanent resident of the United States. So who exactly is he a traitor to?

Hypocrisy and lies about spies are as American as apple pie. The US spends over $52 billion annually on covert intelligence gathering, including the financing of a CIA-Hollywood unit for messaging to the masses. Simply put, there is no country in the world that spends even a fraction of its resources on the level of spying on other countries that the United States does.

There is a legitimate case to be made that that is a good thing.
But what is not good, and is even ugly, are the self-righteous, indignant claims of outrage and displays of cheep patriotic bravado when somebody is found to be doing in our country far less than what we routinely do abroad, every single day. Like in the movie Casablanca, they are shocked, SHOCKED to learn that there is gambling going on in this establishment! 

The case of Israel is always a good example:
On Friday, October 31, 2008, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent the following direct instructions to US personnel to spy on Israel (see section G buried at the end) by obtaining the following deeply classified Israeli information:

“ –Current specifications, vulnerabilities, capabilities and planned upgrades to national telecommunications infrastructure, networks and technologies used by government and military authorities, in intelligence and security services, and the public sector….  Details about command, control and communications systems and facilities…. National leadership use of and dependencies on a dedicated telecommunications infrastructure…. Details about information repositories associated with radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled systems used for passports, government badges and transportation systems… personal phone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail address of principle civilian and military leaders… Details about wireless infrastructure, cellular communications capabilities and makes and models of cellular phones and their operating systems, to include second generation and third generation systems… Details about foreign and domestic telecommunications service providers and vendors… Details about…”
etc… etc…

We know all of this jaw-dropping information because Bradley Manning, a United States Army soldier who was convicted this year of violations of the US Espionage Act had released the embarrassing and classified Rice memo to Wikileaks. And that was well before US Intelligence Analyst Edward Snowden released the mother-load; the entire US intelligence “black budget”, which clearly showed Israel to be a "priority target” of US espionage... right there in black and white. In fact, with the Snowden releases, it seems that every week brings new revelations of US spying on Israel and other allies. It's the "gift" that keeps on giving.

Both cases of self-inflicted damage to US Intelligence (Manning and Snowden), amount to nothing short of smoking-gun evidence of aggressive US spying on Israel, on a massive scale for such a small country… far beyond anything that Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, or lowly GS-12 Navy Analyst making less than $40,000 a year, with no access to vital secrets, Jonathan Pollard, had, or even could inflict upon the United States in their wildest dreams.

SIDE NOTE: With both Manning and Snowden being WASP's, like Aldrich Ames, John Walker, Ronald Pelton and so many others, one might cynically wonder if WASP's should be viewed as potentially disloyal to US national security interests... as paranoid anti-Semites would have it with Jews. 

In the meantime, as the usual suspects question Jewish loyalties from the luxury of their armchairs,  three Jewish-Americas working for the US government and who were likely US intelligence assets, are rotting in enemy prisons at this very moment, basically abandoned by their own government (see the bottom of this post for their shocking predicament), and predictably ignored by the usual suspects.  

Thankfully however, no American is rotting in an Israeli jail and few Israelis are throwing childish anti-American temper tantrums in dark corners of the internet because of these US spying revelations.  
The reverse cannot be said to be true. It appears that more than a few of our fellow Americans are less than adults about these matters, and tend towards whining and grudge-holding. How do they think the United States even found out about the Israeli nuclear program in 1958? By a U-2 spy plane violating Israel’s airspace, that’s how. 

Conspiratorial anti-Semites also love to whine about the accidental Israeli attack on the USS Liberty off the coast of  Egypt in the midst of the fog of the 1967 Six Day War... but for some strange reason, they never seem to mention what the USS Liberty actually was. It was; a US spy ship.  
Even the most egregious case of Israeli spying in the United States involving Jonathan Pollard, was primarily a case of Israeli spying in the United States as opposed to spying on the United States. A distinction with a real meaning, because intentions and context in the world of espionage actually matter.

Unlike the above mentioned, Pollard intended no harm to the United States, and he was never charged with treason or aiding an enemy state. That is an inconvenient FACT that knee-jerk, armchair "patriots" never bother to concern themselves with. He was charged with violating Title 18 of the United States Code, section 794(a), divulging classified material. That's it. Those who claim greater harm to the United States beyond the public charges against Pollard, speak as though they are privy to information that is not available to others. A tactic reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, where the accused was routinely deemed guilty by way of secret or concealed evidence that only the politically connected and those “in the know” are supposedly privy to.    

As spelled out clearly in the recently declassified 1987 CIA Damage Assessment Report on the Jonathan Pollard case,  Pollard’s Israeli handler, spymaster Rafi Eitan, who also ran Arnon Milchan and had personally captured war criminal Adolph Eichmann years earlier,  was seeking nuclear, military and technical information on Israel’s surrounding Arab states not on the United States.  
They were seeking to tap into US intelligence to garner information on their regional enemies, which might help in their ongoing struggles to survive in a bad neighborhood. Information that in hindsight, probably should have been provided through official channels in any event. That is what the public information is clear about.

All the rest is justice by “wink-wink-nod-nod, we know what was really going on and you don't.”

The most common of the lowly lies are that Pollard gave away codes.... or that he gave away names of agents in foreign countries.... etc... None of which he did; none of which he was accused of; none of which he was charged with; none of which he was convicted of; and none of which he even had access to had he wanted to commit such a crime in the first place, given his lowly position. Shame on those who continue to make such accusations without producing the slightest evidence, and continue to portray Pollard as some kind of super-spy in complete contradiction to the CIA Damage Assessment Report in this case, which is available for anyone to read.   
Yes, a government employee releasing any form of classified US intelligence to a foreign country, friendly or not, is an illegal act to be sure, and it was not the bumbling, lowly Jonathan Pollard’s call to make, no matter how he justified it in his mind. When he was caught, he was rightly sent to prison. 
But his outrageously over-the-top sentence was an act of serious corruption in itself. As Professor Angelo Codevilla, a former senior staffer on the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence who was there at the time, asserts: It was a case of a powerful man (Casper Weinberger), whispering sweet nothings in the ear of a corruptible judge (by way of a secret affidavit), who took it upon himself to then ignore a plea bargain and do the powerful man's personal bidding.

Weinberger's last-minute letter to the judge, which is full of generalities and highly charged/prejudicial words, was devoid of any evidence. Weinberger, a man known for his anti-Israel leanings, who had called for strict measures against Israel following its bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, made outrageous accusations against the accused for which he had no personal knowledge and no evidence, and for which the accused was never even charged with. Weinberger's last-minute private letter to the judge was declassified through a FOIA request in 2010.  

The long and short of it is that Pollard was sentenced by this judge to life in prison without a trial. WITHOUT A TRIAL. Even in the Soviet Union they pretended by at least conducting show trials.

After almost thirty years, during which time the United States has routinely pressed Israel to release murdering terrorists with blood on their hands as "confidence building measures"... and after all of the truly aggressive US spying on Israel that has been so ingloriously exposed; Pollard’s continued imprisonment is nothing short of a scandal resembling a hypocritical, old-school vendetta.

It's gotten to the point where The United State is offering to exchange Pollard for the release of Palestinian terrorist murderers from Israeli jails. In other worlds, the US has stoop to holding a hostage to trade for murderers.   

With every passing day, Pollard looks more and more like a martyr and a victim sitting in a gulag, a hostage, rather than a criminal doing his just time. In a historical perspective, his case could very well be placed on the same level as that of the Alfred Dreyfus affair. Is that really in our best interest? And more importantly, is that really in the interest of American justice? Is it a dignified reflection of US Justice?     
People in our defense and security establishment are supposed to be brave, but we can pretty much take for granted that hardly anyone in those agencies, where conformity is valued above all, is brave enough to stand up and voice a principled opinion about the miscarriage of justice involving Jonathan Pollard. That might just be a career-ending event if they did... and they know it. But fortunately, plenty of good people have voiced their opinion on the matter after their career in government has ended:     

A few key people who are deeply familiar with the facts of the Pollard case are public supporters of clemency for Jonathan Pollard:

(A partial list)
Former National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane (was in the job when it happened)
Former FBI and CIA Director William Webster (was FBI Director when it happened)
Former Secretary of State George Shultz (was Secretary of State When it Happened)
Former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator David Durenberger (was Chairman when it happened)
Former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Lee Hamilton (was Chairman when it happened)
Former CIA Director James Woolsey
Former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Dennis DeConcini
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Former Vice President Dan Quayle
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey
Republican Senator John McCain
Former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum
Former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann
Former UN Ambassador and Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb

Meanwhile, it might be noted that while Jonathan Pollard has been held for almost 30 years by the US Government....  no less than three Jewish-American's working for the United States Government are currently being held hostage for years in the dungeons of Iran, Pakistan and Cuba, with little or nothing (at least overtly) being done by the US government to free them, and little said about them by the usual suspect:
1. Warren Weinstein - Officially working for a "private company" doing work for USAID in Lahore Pakistan when he was kidnapped by al Qaeda on August 13, 2011. The latest video:

2. Robert Levinson - A "retired" DEA and FBI agent, Levinson was taken hostage on March 9, 2007 on Iran's Kish Island. Note how until recently, the US has described him as a "private investigator". On December 12, 2013, the AP confirmed that he was working for the CIA. So the US's new story is that he was "on an unapproved mission". Yeah right. The United States has since reached political agreements with Iran without, in so far is known, even attempting to condition those agreements on Levinson's release. A shocking betrayal.

 3. Alan Gross -  In December of 2009, Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba while working as a USAID "private" subcontractor. He was caught with electronic communications equipment. He was/is still rotting in a Cuban jail as president Obama smilingly shook the hand of Cuba's President, Raul Castro, at the funeral for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Gross is scheduled for release in over a decade from now in 2024. 

4. And then of course there is Jonathan Pollard, held in a US gulag many years beyond anything that could even remotely be considered "justice". Note that all of these prisoners/hostages have long hair and beards.... and look similar in demeanor.  

hypocrisy and lies about spies indeed.
Joseph Gelman is the co-Author of the book Confidential, The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan, which outed one of the most prolific producers in Hollywood history as a longtime spy for Israel’s Bureau of Science Liaison.    


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