Government Of War Criminals Press Of

A Government of War Criminals
A Press of Agents Provocateurs
A Bureaucracy of Foreign Spies

Just reading ordinary press reports on the state of government and the press in Washington is like stepping into Orwell’s 1984.

The Attorney General authorizes torture, the president orders it with weasel words, and the press acquiesces, mostly not even bothering with even a feeble protest. Colin Powell’s objections to tossing the Geneva Conventions in the waste basket (because he knew that doing so opened US soldiers to being tortured with impunity by our foes) were brushed aside by comfortable liars– I mean lawyers– in cushy Washington offices. When the practice of torture becomes incontrovertibly public via pictures from Abu Ghraib, they punish a few privates and corporals. I guess the order by a federal judge that more Abu Ghraib photos and videos be released is bad news for . . . privates and corporals. The worst thing is that the American public knew all this, and they reelected the team responsible, which makes us all complicit in torture; it is national policy approved in a national referendum.

Then we have the revelation that New York Times reporter Judith Miller went to jail to protect her source, arch-Neocon Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney’s Brain. Miller has behaved suspiciously for years, uncritically reporting the WMD charges of Chalabi and Libby against Iraq in the run-up to the war. Since Libby had already told her he did not need protecting, and again intervened to release her from her duty of confidentiality, we may presume she did not actually go to jail to protect Libby’s anonymity. Did she know something specific that required time for Libby to shred the documents about?

Justin Raimondo’s analysis of the espionage case against senior Defense Department Iran Desk Officer Larry Franklin and his contacts in AIPAC, through which he leaked secret US documents to the Israeli embassy, is worth considering precisely because it makes the maximalist case for the significance of the scandal. I wish the argument were more nuanced, and there are many things in it with which I disagree (David Satterfield is likely to have been a relatively innocent bystander in this train wreck, e.g.). But because Raimondo pulls no punches, he forces us to consider the degree to which Congressional foreign policy on the Middle East in particular has become virtually captive to the Zionist lobby (just as US policy toward Cuba is captive to the Cuban-American community and its lobby). He clearly goes too far, but how far should an analyst of this case go? Billmon is almost equally scathing.

One thing must be said, which is that there is no sinister cabal, that all this is just single-interest politics. The American system is one of checks and balances, and takes it for granted that there will be lobbies on both sides of an issue. But because there are no wealthy, organized, well-connected lobbies on the other side of AIPAC or the Cuban-American National Foundation (e.g.), US government policy ends up being unbalanced and often irrational on those issues. And, AIPAC functions as a foreign agent in the US without having to register as such, and some of its major officers clearly have been deeply involved in espionage for Israel for years. The last two points are uncontestable. Is this really a situation that serves the American people? Franklin, the “go-to” man at the Pentagon for then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, was trying to get up a US war against Iran, and was soliciting AIPAC’s help. We already know that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has tried as hard as he could to get the US into a war against Tehran. Do the rest of us, who already have one military occupation of a Middle Eastern country we’re not comfortable with, have any say at all in this? Don’t we need a PAC for Middle East Peace that could begin offsetting AIPAC, the War PAC? If the pro-Israeli lobby or the Israeli prime minister want wars in the Middle East, why don’t they fight them themselves? By the way, AIPAC has for several years been attempting to get Congress to pass a law that would put it in charge of the Middle East professors, like myself, and in a position to punish our universities financially if any of us criticize it or Israeli policy. The most dangerous thing about key elements of the Zionist lobby is that they really do want to gut the US First Amendment when it comes to Israeli interests.

I hope everyone who reads this will consider writing their Congressional representatives and senators and asking them to work to see that AIPAC is made to register as the agent of a foreign power, given the repeated pattern whereby it acts as such.

I have an interview this week in The Michigan Daily.