Submitted for your consideration by Gabrielle Jones Price
with permission from the author and copyright holder.
From Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Published in 2004
No discussion of the events before, during, and after 9/11 is either complete or intellectually honest without looking at Israel. Since 9/11, three nations — the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel — have stood virtually alone as a tripartite alliance in complete support of the Empire’s actions. One of the best questions to ask after any major event is Cui bono? “Who benefits?” And here, Israel, the largest recipient of US military and economic aid, has ranked at, or near, the top of the list in almost every world development. There is some good, and much that is bad, to be said about Israel and its actions. But almost every attempt at rational discourse on the question of the use of Israeli power has been hobbled by emotional, almost hysterical preconceptions — either pro or con — that miss some very important pieces of the new, accurate map I have been trying to draw for you.
Many of the top members of the Bush administration have exceptionally close ties with the Israeli government. These include the former Chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Edward Luttwak of the National Security Study Group; Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon’s Chief Financial Officer on 9/11; Elliot Abrams at the National Security Council, and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Some have even worked on joint planning projects with Israeli ministries. These relationships alone make Israel a subject worthy of discussion. These and many other Israeli-connected experts formed the core group at the Project for a New American Century that had drafted plans for the invasion of Iraq long before 9/11.
This chapter is a brief effort to put some very important pieces into place. And I should say at the outset that none of my research has found any compelling data to suggest that Israel was the architect or mastermind of the attacks of September 11, as is obvious from the preceding chapters. It would have been impossible for the Israeli government to have so compromised US intelligence, military, economic, and political systems as to have had control of the operation, not to mention the full and unquestioning cooperation of the American mid-level functionaries needed to execute it.
I’m repeating that statement here because it’s so important to prevent the very common shaming, diversionary behavior illustrated by the following vignette: A colleague of mine who has been tireless in his efforts to distribute evidence of US government complicity in the attacks approached FOX News commentator Chris Matthews at a post-9/11 book signing. After he waited in line and then tried to place some of the evidence I’ve described in this book in Matthews’s hands — a Quixotic effort in my opinion — Matthews asked him, “This isn’t one of those ‘The Israelis did it’ things, is it?”
This shows how little real analysis is being done by the media, but it also shows the way valid questions are deflected or intentionally ignored by shame-based, propagandistic rhetoric. Any criticism of Israel tends to get dishonestly recast as anti-Semitism. So let’s get a couple of things straight. Israel is not Judaism.
One is a state and the other is a religion. For centuries, Muslims and Jews lived side by side in relative tranquility in the Middle East. And during the Middle Ages it was the Muslims who gave Jews fleeing European Christian persecution safe haven in the Holy Land, where each group generally practiced its own religion in peace. A single day’s reading in the Torah, the New Testament, and the Koran is enough to show that within each monotheist sacred text are passages of exclusivity and intolerance and other passages urging accord and acceptance. Islam is typical here; and while it takes a dim view of polytheist cultures like Hinduism, much of the Koran teaches that Jews should be good Jews and that Christians should be good Christians.
The term “anti-Semitism” refers to a European social and political phenomenon (which, like much of European pre-World War II ideology, still lingers in some places, e.g., Japan). Anti-Jewish feeling, thought, and behavior are as old as monotheism itself and have undergone almost as many transformations. There’s the anti-Judaism of late antiquity; the massacres against Jews in the Crusades and the Inquisition, the murderous pogroms by rural European peasants in the 18th and 19th centuries, the middle-class resentment, mythologizing, and persecution that led to the Dreyfuss Affair in 1890s France, and a massive wave of hatred toward Jews that came upward from European folk ideology and downward from fascist and rightist parties and governments in the first half of the 20th century. Like all forms of bigotry, “Anti-Semitism” remains a serious problem all over the world. But the phrase itself has no real anthropological basis; it dates from the 1870s, when most European writers still divided up the world’s peoples according to Biblical categories — “Semites” were thought to be descended from Noah’s son Shem, while everybody else came from either Ham or Japhet. In fact, Antisemitismus was invented as part of an effort by German racist authors to replace the religion-based Jew-hatred (Judenhass) of the past with a more modern, ethnicity-driven contempt. Of course, this apparently intellectual construct barely masked a deep reservoir of anti-rational, virulent hatred. It formed the basis for the pseudo-scientific racism of the Nazi movement.
So the term shouldn’t be used to refer to the attitudes of either side in the Arab-Israeli conflict, where it’s misleading and inapt. As is often pointed out, Arabs and Jews are both called “Semitic” peoples. More importantly, “Anti-Semitism” is worse than useless in any discussion of Israeli domestic and international affairs. To talk about Israel as if its every citizen thought, felt, and acted as a unit in some giant monolithic crowd is as unfair as assuming that every American supports all of the US government’s actions, its economic policies, and its militarism with exactly the same degree of feeling and for exactly the same reasons. Clearly, within Israel there are hugely divergent opinions on everything including the occupied territories and settlements, Palestinian history and politics, the conduct of Israel’s foreign and domestic policies, and the vexing issue of compulsory military service. And Israel has a sizeable antiwar movement opposing the invasion of Iraq by the US. So what is important (indeed, essential) to examine are the actions of the Israeli government, in exactly the same way that we have examined the actions of the US government. Supporters of the state of Israel are often hysterically unable to tolerate that kind of critique, as though they know (all-too consciously in some cases, perhaps unconsciously in others) that a clear examination of Israel’s national conduct reveals a pattern of stark horrors. This sort of denial is best maintained by ad hominem attacks, the most effective being the easy slander of anti-Semitism; if you’re having any trouble preventing criticism of Israel, call the critic a bigot and it’s all over.
Sometimes those reactions are triggered by the genuine anxiety that remains a permanent feature of Jewish life since the Holocaust. But it’s very common for journalists (say, Chris Matthews), politicians, officials, and disinformationists to squander, sabotage, or abort an exceedingly important debate by turning on the red megaphone that warns against what isn’t there.
To say that Israel did not perpetrate the attacks of 9/11 is not to deny that the Israeli government was very close to those attacks and may have played a role in them. There is evidence that points both ways. On the one hand it is clear that Mossad made several attempts to warn the US government that the attacks were coming — in one case even providing the US government with a list that included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta and that charmed pair, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almidhar.1 Everybody knew the attacks were coming. Yet even after this information was in American hands, various agencies of the US government allowed Alhazmi and Almidhar to roam free and unmolested.
The analysis of insider trading by the Herzliya Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT) is another example of Israeli action pointing toward, rather than away from, evidence that the CIA knew what was going on and allowed the attacks to happen.
But perhaps the most compelling reason to discount assertions that Israel was the primary executor of the attacks is the following UPI story, which is one of the most overlooked bombshells in the whole 9/11 saga:
A leaked Federal Aviation Administration memo written on the evening of September 11 contains disturbing revelations about American Airlines Flight 11, the first to hit the World Trade Center. The “Executive Summary,” based on information relayed by a flight attendant to the American Airlines Operation Center, stated “that a passenger located in seat 10B shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B at 9:20 a.m. The passenger killed was Daniel Lewin, shot by passenger Satam Al Suqami.” The FAA has claimed that the document is a “first draft,” declining to release the final draft, as it is “protected information,” noting the inaccuracies in reported times, etc. The final draft omits all mention of gunfire. Lewin, a 31-year old American-Israeli citizen was a graduate of MIT and Israel’s Technion. Lewin had immigrated to Israel with his parents at age 14 and had worked at IBM’s research lab in Haifa, Israel. Lewin was a co-founder and chief technology officer of Akamai Technologies and lived in Boston with his family. A report in Ha’aretz on September 17 identified Lewin as a former member of the Israel Defense Force Sayeret Matkal, a top-secret counter-terrorist unit, whose Unit 269 specializes in counter-terrorism activities outside of Israel.2
This particular story raises a multitude of questions. Guns were on the hijacked flights? How did they get there? Why have they not been mentioned? What was someone with Lewin’s background doing sitting in front of one of the hijackers on the day of the hijackings? Was he still active? Mere coincidence is nearly impossible here. So the question becomes: did the hijackers — all nineteen of them — plan their activities to kill Lewin, or was Lewin following the hijackers even into the gates of death? Did they have to kill him to complete their mission? Who had penetrated whom, and who had compromised Lewin’s presence on the plane hijacked by Mohammed Atta? One thing is absolutely clear from my vantage point: someone at the highest levels of the Israeli government deemed Lewin expendable.
Behind the fragile logic and the false rumors that thousands of Jews didn’t show up for work at the World Trade Center on 9/11 lie deeper truths that raise darker questions. As a classic piece of disinformation, the rumor about Jews not showing up for work — latched onto by prejudiced and undisciplined minds — made it impossible to rationally discuss such things as the Zim Israeli-American shipping lines having vacated their offices in the World Trade Center just a week before the attacks and moving to Norfolk, Virginia. Two sources told me on condition of anonymity that Zim broke its lease to make the move.
The disinformation worked like a charm. Here’s one example: an African American poet, Amiri Baraka, nearly lost his post as Poet Laureate of New Jersey in an apparent reprisal for his embrace of this particular rumor. Just a month after 9/11, Baraka published “Somebody Blew Up America,” a passionately internationalist poem against fascism in all its forms. But he didn’t do enough homework, and a single line, “Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers / To stay home that day?” touched off a small storm of boring controversy that clogged much of the Black press, the Jewish press, and the regional mainstream press for weeks. It’s unfortunately true (and rarely noted) that Baraka has written some very bigoted poems in the past 35 years, but “Somebody Blew Up America” is not one of them. Yet it’s the one that got all the noise, and the whole episode helped to shut down any legitimate discussion of Israeli foreknowledge and possible involvement in 9/11. Those who believed the rumor think they needn’t look further, and those who rejected it think the same, for opposite reasons.
So let’s take a critical and rational look at Israel based upon facts. Let’s stop to examine the truth behind an Israeli spy ring that was operating all over the United States before 9/11 and documented by the DEA, the FBI, and the CIA. And then, let’s try to place Israel within the context of 21st century transnational fascism and the new order evolving at the end of the age of oil.
Let’s compare the violation of UN resolutions by Israel and by Iraq.
• UN Resolutions violated, ignored: 16
• Countries attacked, invaded, violated: Iran, Kuwait
• Countries occupied for years: None
• Countries currently occupying: None
• Territory illegally annexed: None
• Wars started: 1980, 1990
• Possesses weapons of mass destruction: Unverified as of this writing. (However, evidence has surfaced this year showing that the United States provided Iraq with bioweapons material for, among other things, anthrax, plague, smallpox, and West Nile virus, as well as materials for the manufacture of chemical weapons during the 1980s. Iraq also likely possesses small quantities of nerve agents such as CS, GB (Sarin), and VX gasses. But these are not legally or intuitively weapons of mass destruction. These gases dissipate and become harmless roughly 30 minutes after being deployed on the battlefield.)
• Possesses nuclear weapons: No.
• Most notable atrocity against civilians: Mass killings of Kurds and Shi’ite Muslims numbered at less than 5,000 per incident. (New information from CIA records and testimony this year shows that Iraq — as widely reported — was not guilty of gassing as many as 100,000 Kurds in the early 1990s. It was Iran, concerned about separatist sentiments in its own Kurdish population.)3
• Currently under a regime of UN sanctions: Yes
• UN resolutions violated, ignored: 68
• Countries attacked, invaded, violated: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia.
• Countries occupied for years: Egypt, Lebanon, Syria
• Countries currently occupying: Syria
• Territory illegally annexed: Golan Heights, Jerusalem, Palestinian Territories
• Wars started: 1956, 1967, 1982
• Possesses weapons of mass destruction: Yes
• Possesses nuclear weapons: Yes
• Most notable atrocity against civilians: 17,500 Lebanese civilians killed in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon
• Currently under a regime of UN sanctions: No
Most of this material was compiled by Richard B. Du Boff of Bryn Mawr University and published by al Jazeera in September of 2002. The parenthetical comments are mine.4
Having narrowly escaped (on a technicality) prosecution in Belgium for a 1982 three-day orgy of killing and rape at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps that occurred when he led an invasion of Lebanon and controlled the area as Israeli defense minister, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was also charged with brutal 2001 and 2002 human rights violations in the Jenin and Nablus townships of the occupied territories in Palestine. In post-9/11 Israeli incursions, many innocent civilians were killed, houses were bulldozed, and people were left homeless and without food, water, or medical supplies in areas totally surrounded by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).5
Covert operations and 9/11 connections
An Israeli owned company, ICTS, had a contract to provide security at Boston’s Logan airport, from which 9/11 Flights 11 and 175 originated. And either directly or through subsidiaries it had contracts at every other airport where planes were hijacked on 9/11. The same company was apparently well aware that alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid was connected to al Qaeda, and yet they still allowed him to board the Paris-US flight he tried to blow up. If the UPI story about a gun on Flight 11 is correct, then this might help explain how it got through screening.6
FBI sources were quoted in an ABC News story indicating that five employees of an Israeli-owned moving company were on the roof of their truck in New York City with photographic equipment as the attacks were occurring on 9/11. A former CIA official confirmed that the names of several had turned up in an intelligence database, and the men were subsequently deported.7
In December of 2002 Palestinian security forces arrested a group of Palestinians for acting as agents provocateurs in collaboration with Israel. Those arrested had been posing as al Qaeda operatives in attempts to discredit Palestinians in the eyes of the US and the world and to buttress Sharon’s claims that al Qaeda cells were operating in regions where the IDF has been engaging in brutal operations. A follow-up story in Israel’s Ha’aretz confirmed some details of the Palestinian allegations and disputed others.8 Historically, there has been no connection between al Qaeda and the Palestinian cause.
In June of 2002 six men carrying Israeli passports who had been previously detained by the INS later became the subjects of a manhunt after US authorities feared that they might be plotting terror attacks, possibly on the Alaska pipeline or a Florida nuclear reactor. Release of the men — after confirming that their passports were valid — by the INS before contacting the FBI reportedly made FBI Director Mueller “furious.”9
In the fall of 2002 a well-financed ring of Israeli computer hackers began a sabotage and eavesdropping campaign against interests in America that had been critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinian interests. One of the targets was University of Illinois international law professor Francis Boyle. The tactics used included the rewriting of text on certain websites, the sending of phony emails intended to create animosity or discredit the victim, and deluging targets with tens of thousands of messages. The ring, operating from Israeli occupied territory, was eventually tracked down and exposed.10
In August of 2002 a Zim Antwerp ship, operated by Israel, was seized in Germany. It was filled with weapons and munitions headed for Iran. The firm, closely connected to the Israeli government, had been licensed to export the cargo to Thailand, but German intelligence had apparently determined that the final destination was Iran.11
In another backfired covert operation, what was originally heralded as a dramatic January 2002 Red Sea interception of an Iranian ship filled with weapons headed for Palestine turned out to be a major embarrassment for the Israeli government. The Karine A, contrary to what the Israelis had asserted, was not a Palestinian or Iranian vessel, and the whole affair was likely manipulated to provide a propaganda edge for Ariel Sharon as US envoys met with Palestinian officials. Lloyd’s of London produced documents proving certain parts of the Israeli story false and disproving Israeli claims that the weapons had been bought in Iran by Palestinian interests.12
In 2000, after a protracted court battle, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith (ADL) lost a civil suit in California federal court after it was found that the ADL had engaged, in cooperation with Israeli and South African intelligence agencies, in a massive domestic spying operation against American citizens and organizations such as Greenpeace and groups opposed to US involvement in the Contra war. American officials who cooperated with the ADL were sometimes given all-expenses-paid trips to Israel, where they were introduced to representatives from the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence services. It was found that the ADL had broken many laws by storing illegal intelligence records from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. In ruling in favor of the plaintiffs a US District Court judge permanently enjoined the ADL from engaging in any further illegal spying against “Arab-American and other civil rights groups.” Several members of the House of Representatives were plaintiffs in the suit.13
On April 25, 2002, former Congressman Pete McCloskey of California was awarded a $150,000 judgment against the ADL in a related case. McCloskey’s suit was prompted by FBI and San Francisco police raids on ADL offices which discovered that the ADL had files on almost 10,000 people across the US, and that about 75 percent of the material had been illegally obtained. Two of the three victims in the case who won awards were Jewish. This ruling followed a March 31, 2001, ruling in a Denver court upholding a $10.5 million defamation judgment against the Anti-Defamation League for falsely labeling two Colorado residents as anti-Semitic.14
To think of the ADL affair as something that originated solely with Israeli impetus is to overlook some key historical data. In the wake of myriad violations of US law committed by the FBI, the military, the CIA, and other government agencies in the 1960s and 1970s, and especially after the damning revelations of the Frank Church (D-ID) and Otis Pike (D-NY) congressional investigations in the mid 1970s, American agencies were forced to divest themselves of illegal records and to cease domestic spying operations. The problem, from their point of view, was how to hold on to data they deemed irreplaceable. The ADL, a nongovernmental organization connected with a foreign government, seemed an ideal solution. The solution was not without its costs.
In the 1980s the Los Angeles Police Department’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID) was found to have been doing what was accomplished by other agencies directly through the ADL. Ultimately some ADL connections surfaced in the PDID case. Tens of thousands of illegal intelligence records were disclosed as having been stored in the private residence and storage facilities rented and maintained by LAPD Detective Jay Paul. Paul, who was later revealed to have ties to Israeli interests, maintained many of the records on computers provided by an ultra-right-wing group, Western Goals. Sitting at the time on the board of directors of Western Goals was Iran-Contra figure and retired Army General John Singlaub, a virulent anti-Communist and CIA-connected covert operative.
As the LAPD scandal was unfolding I served as one of the unnamed sources for the Los Angeles Times’ reporting of the scandal. Although the Times stopped well short of stating that US intelligence agencies had supported this intelligence gathering, two decades later the pattern is very clear. The ADL was there when it was needed. Yet in using the ADL as a plausibly deniable cutout, American intelligence agencies at the state and federal level paid a price. They gave the ADL license to use the data for its own purposes and created a monster that ultimately became a liability in its own right.
The art students
A DEA report from 2001 firmly establishes that in 2000 and 2001 the United States was entered by at least 120 Israeli intelligence operatives posing as art students.15 The M.O. of the ring was to have its members conduct street and door-to-door sales of artwork in specific areas of interest. Some of those areas were in Hollywood, Florida, San Diego, and Phoenix, where many of the 9/11 hijackers had lived and trained. The investigation revealed that the areas of interest at one level were offices of the DEA and other federal agencies and the homes of those who worked there.
Initial reports by FOX News’s Brit Hume and Carl Cameron caused great national interest and international reaction in December 2001 by revealing active government investigations into the ring before and especially after 9/11. The report disclosed that many of the ring’s activities seemed to run parallel with the movements of several of the 9/11 hijackers. Sources have told me that the information breaking the story was leaked to Hume by Vice President Dick Cheney at a DC-area a cocktail party about two months after the attacks.
The FOX stories raised interesting questions about two Israeli-owned companies in the US. One of them, Amdocs, handles almost all telephone billing records in the United States and thus was in a position to provide invaluable intelligence information about who was being called from what phones anywhere in the country. The second company, Comverse, has multiple contracts to handle sensitive wiretap operations for government agencies, and FOX reported that the Comverse systems included a “back door” for outside parties with access to it to overhear monitored conversations.16 This is reminiscent of the back door in PROMIS software.
Cameron’s story made it clear that federal investigators were highly concerned about indications that suspects in the spy ring and — by implication — some of the 9/11 hijackers were able to avoid detection and capture as a result of information derived from these two companies. This was a bit of disinformation that yielded great payoffs for the administration. The FOX and other stories from the same period revealed that some 60 Israelis had been detained and deported just after 9/11 for passport and visa violations.17
Comverse becomes especially interesting because of its relationship with the Israeli instant-messaging firm Odigo. On September 11 employees of Odigo in Israel received specific instant messages warning them of the attacks two hours before they happened. Although the story received intense attention briefly, little follow-up was done in the major press, and whatever was learned was subsequently hidden behind veils of secrecy.18
One breathtaking connection that was overlooked by the mainstream press, however, was that in January 2001, Comverse, along with Lazard Technology Partners and another venture capital group, purchased a $15 million stake in Odigo, giving it access to Odigo’s operations, accounting, and technologies.19
The FOX stories clearly implied that the Israeli operatives had not done all they could have to help prevent the attacks and suggested that the Israelis had more knowledge about the attacks than had been publicly disclosed. At one point Hume asked Cameron,
Carl, I want to take you back to your report last night on those 60 Israelis who were detained in the anti-terror investigation, and the suspicion that some investigators have that they may have picked up information on the 9/11 attacks ahead of time and not passed it on. There was a report, you’ll recall, that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, did indeed send representatives to the US to warn, just before 9/11, that a major terrorist attack was imminent. How does that leave room for the lack of a warning?
To which Cameron replied:
I remember the report, Brit. We did it first internationally right here on your show on the 14th. What investigators are saying is that that warning from the Mossad was nonspecific and general, and they believe that it may have had something to do with the desire to protect what are called sources and methods in the intelligence community. The suspicion being, perhaps those sources and methods were taking place right here in the United States.20
As previously noted, the Mossad warning was specific enough to have named four of the hijackers. Again, a bit of deception by FOX, whose news director is former Reagan and Republican Party advisor Roger Ailes. Though subtle and vague, Hume’s implication was that Israeli operatives were assisting the terrorists. And it was enough to spark an Internet avalanche of speculation by biased covert operations dilettantes claiming that Israel had masterminded and executed the attacks. Once that had started, then the question about Israel, which had apparently begun with a leak from Dick Cheney, was misdirected and distorted into something that the media, e.g., Chris Matthews, could effectively dismiss out of hand. And yet the incident had cost Israel dearly in terms of prestige and credibility. Also, as we shall see below, it had served to hide some darker truths.
Shortly after the FOX News stories, investigative journalist and former naval and NSA intelligence officer Wayne Madsen secured a copy of the DEA report that had started it all. It revealed a great deal more than FOX let on.
Most of the targets for walk-in sales by members of the ring were DEA offices. The DEA did not play any central role in 9/11.
• Members of the ring also made cold-calls at the private residences of DEA employees, federal judges, Secret Service agents, and other federal law enforcement and military personnel. This indicates that the ring had acquired the home addresses — quite possibly through telephone records — of DEA employees all over the country and was quietly making that fact known for reasons I will discuss below.
• On December 12, 2000, one Israeli named Shay Ashkenazi, when stopped for an INS screening after entering the US, volunteered information about the art students to authorities indicating that it was a fraud ring and actually named one of participants. Ashkenazi told the INS officers that he was a “former Israeli intelligence officer who was now traveling to ‘enjoy life.’” This means that one Israeli intelligence operative tipped off the US government to the work of other Israeli intelligence operatives.
• The ring did have very heavy operations in some areas connected with 9/11, especially the area around Hollywood, Florida, where Mohammed Atta and other hijackers lived and trained, San Diego, where Alhazmi and Almidhar lived; and Phoenix, Arizona. In fact, a group of these agents were later confirmed to have been living virtually next door to Atta’s Florida post office box and had been surveilling him for some time. Some of these agents had entered the US from Frankfurt, Germany, where Atta had also lived and planned for the attacks.
• The CIA is mentioned in only one place in the report — San Diego — where Alhazmi and Almidhar lived. The report said, “The San Diego [DEA] Division is currently working with the FBI, Department of State, and CIA personnel on advancing the investigation.”21
Those with experience in intelligence operations will recognize some patterns to this widespread operation. First of all, when mounting an operation of wide scope, governments usually allow the operation to be used for multiple purposes. Within the Israeli government there might be three or four different intelligence units that could benefit from a large-scale deployment of covert operatives. We have already seen how closely intertwined narcotics and intelligence operations are worldwide. Not only does drug dealing provide, in some cases, the necessary covert funding for the operations themselves, it is also a means of generating income for national economies. With the United States and the CIA as the “Alpha dog” in the worldwide drug trade, there are few areas of competition left to generate large cash flows. One area in which Israeli organized crime has excelled, however, is in controlling the largest market share of trafficking in the drug MDMA (Ecstasy). And the interfaces between intelligence agencies and organized crime are well documented.
Secondly, to have a multiplicity of purposes often throws counterintelligence personnel off the scent of the real purposes of covert operations. It is common to have covert operations that resemble Chinese boxes — one inside the other. Not every member of the art student ring would have known of deeper operations intended to track the 9/11 hijackers, and for good reason. And the fact that one Israeli intelligence operative actually tipped US authorities off to the operation might well have been a plausibly deniable heads-up to US intelligence that the ring was here and on the move.
A close reading of the DEA report suggests that on one level it was a direct intimidation effort aimed at various elements of the federal government. Nothing more disrupts criminal investigations than any hint that suspects have acquired the home addresses of investigating officers and know how to find their families. In dozens of cases, members of the ring showed up at private residences when only wives or other relatives were at home. Some of those relatives, their suspicions aroused, followed the art students and their canvases only to see that they had not called on any neighboring homes. It would have been nothing for Israeli intelligence to later hand over the addresses of these investigators to Israeli organized crime members, who are not known for their congeniality.
Yet on a deeper level this story reveals that Israeli intelligence services were operating as an accomplice of the US government to see that certain aspects of the attacks would be successful, and that, if the need arose, other attacks could be prevented. Israeli agents compromised in the operation would not have led directly to the US government, and ultra-sensitive missions are often subcontracted between governments. As history shows, Israel has benefited enormously since the attacks, using the wave of emotion to brutally consolidate its positions — often to the point of embarrassing the United States. And, when two people are both guilty of murder, they can usually be counted on to keep their mouths shut.
An interesting side note to the art student spy scandal is the fact that after receiving the DEA report and authenticating it, Madsen wrote a story for the newsletter Intelligence Online published by Guillaume Dasquié, author of Forbidden Truth. From there it was picked up by Le Monde and reignited as a story of worldwide interest. But in early March, Madsen also took the DEA report to TV news reporter Dale Solly at Washington’s ABC affiliate WJLA. On March 5, at the top of the 5 PM report, Solly aired an interview with Madsen. In that report Solly asked, “But what, if anything did they learn? At worst, Madsen says,” Solly continued, “they had advance knowledge of the attacks and either didn’t share all of it with US intelligence or were ignored if they did .… Late today, the FBI and DEA confirmed the arrests. The French newspaper Le Monde called this the biggest Israeli spy case in this country since the Jonathan Pollard case in 1986.” 22
Solly, then 53, a nonsmoker and dedicated runner, died of a sudden heart attack on April 27. Anonymous sources who knew him stated that there was a considerable delay in securing a statement from the coroner that the cause of death was natural. What is harder to dismiss is the fact that one of WJLA’s newsroom directors, Phil Smith, also died of a sudden cardiac arrest within three weeks of Solly.23
Before looking at deeper reasons why Dick Cheney would have wanted to bring the whole matter to light, it’s necessary to look at the role of Israel in American politics.
AIPAC and Israeli political influence
Few Washington insiders will deny that the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is probably the most influential lobby in Washington. It is not difficult to find press stories about Israeli politicians boasting that the American Congress is “controlled” by Israeli interests. Again, it is critical to find the truths and the untruths in statements like this.
I have witnessed the power of AIPAC. In mid December 2001, while in Washington, I happened to sit in on the mark-up of a House resolution in the International Relations Committee. The resolution was one condemning Iraq for its role in terrorism and its repeated violation of human rights. I walked into the hearing room in the Rayburn office building and sat in the crowded spectator area, which was occupied primarily by staff of the various members debating and voting on the measure. They had come to watch an important political event in the wake of 9/11. It proved to be more enlightening listening to the staff members — who worked in the offices of members with whom I don’t usually do business — than to the members themselves.
The vote started slowly, with many of the votes going against the resolution. It seemed as though the harsh anti-Iraq resolution might fail. There had, after all, been no evidence released that Iraq had had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. But then, from side doors in the rear of the hearing room, various representatives started sticking their heads in the door long enough to say “Aye.” These were some of the most powerful members of the committee including among others, Henry Hyde, Ben Gilman, and Tom Lantos. As the members who were all voting in favor of the resolution stuck their heads in the door to vote, I overhead staff members all around me saying, “Here comes the AIPAC vote.” The staffers were cynical, even fatalistic about the outcome. The measure passed by a wide margin, and it was not long afterwards that I reached the conclusion that we were going to go to war with Iraq.
Further evidence of Israeli influence over the US Congress was seen in November 2001, when 89 out of 100 US senators signed a letter urging President Bush not to hamper Israel’s activities in retaliation for a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings that helped to turn Israel and Palestine into sausage factories. Justly playing on the point that no act of terror against innocent non-combatants is justified, the letter neglected to mention anything about the way Israel was using its massive military might to dislocate hundreds and thousands of Palestinian citizens who had nothing to do with the attacks.24
On August 26, as if the wishes of the Israeli government were not already known, an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon formally urged the US to begin the invasion of Iraq as soon as possible, saying, “Any postponement of an attack on Iraq at this stage will serve no purpose.”25
The 2002 midterm elections
Two African American members of the House fell, in large measure, as a result of being targeted by AIPAC and pro-Israeli American Jewish organizations in their 2002 primaries before the November election. The chief crimes of Earl F. Hilliard of Alabama and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia seem to be that they had openly supported Palestinian rights and had openly questioned the conduct of the Israeli government. A fact that aided in McKinney’s demise was that she had long been a vocal critic of the CIA, covert operations, and globalization under both Presidents Clinton and Bush. And she had dared to make a public statement questioning how much the administration knew about the attacks of 9/11 before they happened. Shortly after this, a series of stories appeared suggesting that McKinney actually supported terrorism because less than a half dozen campaign donors had previously expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah. I strongly suspect that at least some of those donations were planted in her campaign to discredit her.
McKinney’s courageous stance made her a target of Republican interests as well as AIPAC, and the two combined in a serious effort, using heavy crossover (and possibly illegal) voting by Republicans and very large campaign donations from pro-Israel organizations and interests outside of Georgia into the coffers of her pro-Israel, pro-war, African American rival, former state judge Denise Majette. McKinney, a five-term member of the House, lost her primary. A lawsuit challenging the legality of the crossover vote is currently under appeal.
McKinney actually won the Democratic Party vote. Nevertheless the Washington Post, Reuters, CNN, and the Congressional News Service all acknowledged that she was targeted by AIPAC and out-of-state, pro-Israel funding, and that this made the difference in her defeat.26
Just days after the 2002 midterm elections, the Jerusalem Post published a celebratory story about how the 108th Congress would remain strongly pro-Israel, tallying up the Jewish members of both Houses. While there is an ample, but by no means uniform, correlation between Jewish identity and support for the state of Israel among American Jews, that correlation is almost absolute among Jewish members of Congress. The Jerusalem Post story noted how the 108th Congress would bolster President Bush’s agenda for regime change in Iraq. Ironically, it cited the strongly pro-Israel stance of the new senator from Minnesota, Norm Coleman, as he replaced the late Senator Paul Wellstone — perhaps the only Jewish American legislator to take a position substantively critical of Israeli policy in the occupied territories. The Post didn’t discuss that aspect of Senator Wellstone’s legacy.27
Reaching an understanding
Israel has always spied on the US. Perhaps the most famous Israeli spy is an American Jew named Jonathan Pollard, who compromised secret US communications technology in the 1970s and 1980s and remains in maximum security lock-up. Former CIA officials have categorized Pollard as perhaps the most damaging spy ever to have betrayed his country. And in December 2001 American physicist Richard Smyth pled guilty to illegally providing Israel with nuclear triggers in 1982. He then spent 16 years on the run until he was captured.28 What happened in these cases and in the case of the art students is nothing new. For decades the Israeli desk at the CIA was the only national intelligence desk at the agency kept within the Counterintelligence Directorate. The portfolio was handled for most of that time by the legendary alcoholic and paranoid James Jesus Angleton, who — even today — many believe was an Israeli mole.
In short, the mutually beneficial but mutually compromising relationship between America and Israel is the source of both geopolitical cooperation and domestic political sabotage. When an international institution like the UN threatens to take a position against human rights violations or aggressive warfare, Israel and the US can generally be found opposing it together. While the US maintains its permanent military outpost in the most oil-rich region on the planet, Israel fends off the legitimate claims of displaced Arabs without worrying over its own strategic encirclement. But those needs require continual surveillance and penetration of each country by the other.
There is a compelling case that Israel acted as a partner with US intelligence and financial interests in seeing to it that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out. Israel had the unique HUMINT and the ELINT capabilities to track, and even quietly protect, the 9/11 hijackers from capture without the hijackers knowing it. It also had PROMIS software. In that role they served as a cutout for US interests and afforded the CIA with a layer of protection. Neither the US nor Israel can afford to have these secrets come out, and each has a blackmail option against the other. If the claim that Dick Cheney leaked the art student story to Brit Hume is true, then what we witnessed was the American giant disciplining its headstrong junior partner.
And what might be Israel’s future role? Consider the moneyed interests behind the neo-cons as a kind of corporate board. In the new world order that is emerging after 9/11, Israel is positioning itself to occupy the position of executive vice president in charge of Middle Eastern affairs. As it does so, the financial and military powers of what has become an almost openly fascist world order continue to drive humanity toward the brink of destruction.
However, as we shall soon see, there will be more very compelling evidence to show that Israel acted as a junior partner to key US leaders to actually carry out the attacks of 9/11.
[MCR project updates posted here]
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CHAPTER 15 FOOTNOTES [Those scrubbed from the net have orig. links shown]:
1 “Mossad Agents Were on Atta’s Tail,” Der Spiegel, October 1, 2002. Original link broken. Archived at http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a1200spyring#a1200spyring
2 “Insider notes from United Press International for March 6,” UPI, March 6, 2002: www.upi.com/print.cfm?StoryID=06032002-121706-8744r
3 Peter Dale Scott, Flash 28, “A U.S. Attack on Iraq Could Create a New Anti-U.S. Coalition,” March 18, 2002, http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/qfiraq3.html [Berkeley archives retired, not found]
4 Richard B. Du Boff, “Comparing Violations of UN Resolutions by Iraq and Israel,” Al Jazeerah, September 23, 2002, [Original not found. Archived here: https://israelect.com/reference/WillieMartin/Resolutions%20Against%20Israel%20[A].htm]
5 “Sabra and Shatila 20 years on,” BBC News, September 14, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2255902.stm; “Israel/Occupied Territories: Israeli Defence Force war crimes must be investigated,” Amnesty International Press Release, November 2,
2002, [Original link is no longer online. http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/MDE151542002?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES/ISRAEL/OCCUPIED+TERRITORIES; Full release archived here: http://peacenowar.net/Palestine/News/Nov%205%2002.htm#5
6 “All the 9-11 Airports Serviced By One Israeli Owned Company,” Undated, http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ICTS.html
7 “The White Van: Were Israelis detained on September 11 Spies?” ABC News, June 21, 2002, [Original link: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/2020/DailyNews/2020_whitevan_020621.html || archived story: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123885&page=1]
8 “Palestinians arrest al-Q’aeda ‘poseurs,’” Sydney Morning Herald, December 8, 2002, www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/07/1038950239070.html; Danny Rubinstein, “Ibrahim, the Shin bet wants you to join Qaida,” Ha’aretz, December 15, 2002, [Link not found, story archived here: http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=0490]
9 “U.S. papers: FBI hunting suspected terrorists with Israeli passports,” Ha’aretz, June 28, 2002, https://www.haaretz.com/u-s-papers-fbi-hunting-suspected-terrorists-with-israeli-passports-1.73560
10 Michael Gillespie, “Israeli Computer Hackers Foiled, Exposed,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 3, 2002. Archived at https://www.mediamonitors.net/perspectives/israeli-computer-hackers-foiled-exposed/
11 “Israeli Arms Shipment Headed for Iran Seized in Germany,” Global Vision News Network, August 29, 2002, [Archived here: https://www.albawaba.com/business/israeli-arms-shipment-headed-iran-seized-germany-0]
12 “Arms Seizure backfires, wounds Israel,” Stratfor, January 2002, Archived at https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/arms-seizure-backfires-wounds-israel
13 Michael Gillespie, “Los Angeles Court Hands Down Final Judgment in Anti-Defamation
League Illegal Surveillance Case,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1999,
14 Barbara Ferguson, “ADL Found Guilty of Spying by California Court,” The Arab News, April 25, 2002, Archived: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/673896/posts
15 This report was originally made public by investigative journalist and former NSA analyst Wayne Madsen in late February and early March of 2002. Madsen obtained the report several months after FOX News stories by Carl Cameron and Brit Hume broke the initial story of the spy ring, but did not mention the DEA connections, which were central to understanding the context of the operation. The undated DEA report, extracted from a larger document, was written sometime in the summer of 2001. It can be found online at http://cryptome.org/dea-il-spy.htm
16 The four-part FOX series by Carl Cameron began on Monday December 17, 2001. Although the story was subsequently removed from the FOX web site and “spiked” as some researchers have called it, transcripts are still available through web searches and through the Federal Document Clearing House. Series archived online at https://100777.com/search/node/Carl%20Cameron
17 Cameron, op. cit.; John Mintz, “60 Israelis on Tourist Visas Detained Since September 11,” Washington Post, November 23, 2001, archived here: http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=9-11/questions/israelis/60-israelis-detained.txt
18 “Instant Messages Warned of WTC Attacks,” Washington Post, September 28, 2001, www.fpp.co.uk/online/01/09/WTC_Odigo.html
19 “Odigo, Inc., the leading instant messaging provider, secures $15.35 million in private placement,” press release, Comverse, Inc., January 9, 2001, [Not Found: http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:
20 Cameron, op. cit. [Part Two, December 18, 2001]
21 DEA Report, op. cit.
22 5 PM newscast, WJLA TV. The transcript of the story has since been removed from the WJLA web site. However, I was able to recover a copy of the original teleprompter script from the broadcast. [Not available]
23 “The View from Washington,” Poynteronline, September 10, 2002, [Not located. Archives at LoC here http://webarchive.loc.gov/all/20020913001926/http://www.poynter.org/]
24 Elaine Sciolino, “89 Senators Urge Bush Not to Hamper Israel,” New York Times, November 16, 2001. Archived at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/17/world/senators-urge-bush-not-to-hamper-israel.html
25 Jason Keyser, “Israel Urges U.S. to Attack Iraq,” Associated Press, August 16, 2002. [Unable to locate original or archive: www.firstcoastnews.com/news/2002-08-16/usw_israeliraq.asp]
26 “Georgia casts votes in bitter house duels,” Reuters, August 20, 2002, [Link not found: www.cynthiamckinney.net/articles/20020220_bitter_
house_duels.htm]; Thomas B. Edsall,
“Impact of McKinney Loss Worries Some
Democrats; Tension Between Blacks,
Jews a Concern,” Washington Post, August
22, 2002, Archive: https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-374552.html http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/739624/posts] ; Jim Burns, “McKinney
Contemplating Run For Georgia U.S.
Senate Seat,” CNS News, August 26, 2002: [Archived:
27 Jamie Zacharia, “New Congress remains strongly pro-Israel,” Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2002, [Unable to locate original or archived post: www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1036619253808]
28 “U.S. scientist sentenced for selling nuclear trigger devices,” Ananova Press Agency, December 29, 2001; “United States II: Nuclear Trigger Smuggler Pleads Guilty,” [Original link/archive not found: www.nti.org/d_newswire/issues/newswires/2002_1_2.html]; Cf. Gary Milhollin, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin Law School and Director, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, May 26, 2000,
Please find links to previously released excerpts below with footnotes, which are the bulk of the work for this project. Crossing the Rubicon is over 700 pages long with upwards of 1,000 footnotes requiring updating since its 2004 release. From The Wilderness web links are estimated at double or triple that amount. Mike's administrative team sincerely appreciates your support of his legacy. TRC does not receive commission from sales of Crossing the Rubicon. Book sales help the administrator who granted permission to TRC to share excerpts and official web hosting duties.
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Jan. 21, 2012: Unholy Trinity / Part Two
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