Monday, June 15, 2009

Espionage in the United States and franchised U.S. foreign policy

In dropping the espionage case against former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and dropping the prison sentence for their convicted Pentagon and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) mole, Larry Franklin, the Obama Justice Department has sent a message to American citizens who possess security clearance or obtain classified information form those who do: "It is perfectly okay to spy for Israel. You will not face dire consequences if you violate your pledge to safeguard classified information. And you will not be held responsible for causing grave and serious damage to the national security of the United States if you commit espionage for Israel."

The reason why the Obama administration has given a free pass to American spies for Israel is clear: the Israel lobby, led by AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Jewish caucus in Congress has received a "franchise" to handle U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. The franchisees also have the power to grant amnesty to Americans accused of espionage for Israel.

The espionage case involving Franklin and his AIPAC and Mossad contacts did extremely grave damage to the national security of the United States. Among the classified information passed to Israeli intelligence was Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) CIA files dealing with U.S. policy toward Iran and U.S. counter-terrorist activities in Saudi Arabia. By nature, such information yields the identification of sensitive sources and intelligence gathering methods, thus compromising those sources and methods to an Israeli intelligence structure, which has already has penetrated the inner circles of every major U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agency, including the CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), DIA, FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and others.

In the Bush administration's indictment of Rosen and Weissman, a picture of a deep penetration Israeli intelligence operation was revealed. In addition to Franklin, David Satterfield, the former US ambassador to Lebanon and then the Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad under ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, was identified as USGO-2 [U.S. Government source number 2] and as someone who discussed classified national security information with the non-cleared Rosen on two occasions, January 18 and March 22, 2002. Two other people identified in the indictment, USGO-1, a senior government official, and DOD-B, a Department of Defense official, remained unidentified but suspicion as to the identity of DOD-B centered on Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, who was also under investigation for leaking classified information on Iraq and "Al Qaeda" to the neocon Weekly Standard. It is also known that then House Intelligence Committee member Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) tried to interfere in the Justice Department's probe of Rosen, Weissman and their American and Israeli co-conspirators however it was never revealed whether she was USGO-1.

The indictment of Rosen and Weissman also mentioned Foreign Officials 1, 2, and 3. (FO1, FO-2, FO-3) as being involved in the espionage conspiracy. One of the "foreign officials" (F0-3) was Franklin's main Mossad contact, Naor Gilon, the Mossad station chief at the Israeli embassy in Washington and the man who is now the right-hand man as foreign ministry chief of staff for Israel's racist/fascist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The other "foreign official" (FO-2) was "retired" Mossad officer Uzi Arad, who is now the national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Both Gilon and Arad were involved in a major illegal foreign espionage operation in the United States and now serve at the top of the foreign policy and security infrastructure of the Israeli government. The identity of FO-1 is thought by many intelligence specialists to be Danny Ayalon, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, who now serves as Deputy Foreign Minister under Lieberman and is back working with his old Mossad station chief from the AIPAC espionage operation, Gilon, the ministry's chief of staff. The result of their present status is that Israel has become a top hostile intelligence and counter-intelligence threat to the United States.

The Obama administration and its predecessor have taken a hard-line approach to any U.S. government official who is suspected of communicating anything of a possible national security value to Cuba, a nation that unlike Israel has posed no hostile intelligence or national security threat to the United States since the end of the Cold War.

The hard-line approach to those who liaise with Cuba is due to more "franchising" of U.S. foreign policy to pressure groups. In the case of Cuba, the franchisees are the powerful and right-wing Cuban exile community centered in south Florida.

The most recent targets of the Cuban exile lobby, which patterns its influence-peddling after its ideological bed-partners at AIPAC, are a retired husband and wife from the State Department. Walter Kendall Myers and his wife Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, both in their early 70s were arrested by the FBI in a dubious sting operation and charged with being long-time agents for the government of Cuba. It appears that their only crime was that they lived near the Cuban Interests Section in northwest Washington and likely accepted some invitations to interest section receptions and those thrown by the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York, and more egregious to the Cuban exiles, traveled to Cuba via Mexico in 1995 using aliases, a practice that is common among many Americans who want a hassle-free visit to Cuba and not face the problem of breaking U.S.-imposed sanctions on the country.

But when it comes to talking to Cuba, the Cuban exile lobby can be extremely tough on those who feel that it is proper and in the interests of the United States to maintain contact with the government in Havana.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro called the indictment of the Myerses "ridiculous." However, the exile Cuban lobby's chief cheerleader, Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) used the incident to call for a halt in any talks between the Obama administration and Cuba. The Cuban exile lobby has also railed against leftist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua and in doing so have a strong ally in AIPAC, which never fails to try to link Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and other progressive governments in Latin America to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and whatever other bogeymen the Israeli propaganda and influence-peddling factories of disinformation and deceit in Washington can dream up. Recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, acting as if she is a leftover functionary of the Reagan-Bush administration, slashed U.S. economic aid to Nicaragua, which is governed by onetime arch-foe of the United States, the democratically-elected President Daniel Ortega. Ortega's sin is his diplomatic recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a slap at the Israeli, U.S., and neocon supported stooge regime of Mikhael Saakashvili in Georgia.

A former DIA analyst, Ana Belen Montes, was arrested by the FBI a little over a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks and charged with espionage for Cuba. In a plea deal, Montes pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, which she is serving at the Federal Medical Center at Carswell in Texas, a specialized medical and mental health center for female prisoners. Montes was also accused by prosecutors of having access to intelligence about Afghanistan that could somehow aid Cuba, a rather nonsensical notion considering that Cuba had nothing to do with the Taliban or "Al Qaeda." It is also noteworthy that Montes's defense attorney was Plato Cacheris, the same lawyer who represented Franklin in the AIPAC case. Cacheris's brother is James Cacheris, the senior judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and a one-time member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

It is ironic that Montes's DIA colleague, Franklin, has been spared a prison term whereas Montes's prison release date is July 1, 2023. The imbalance is a result of the suffocating influence of two lobbies, the Israel lobby and the Cuban exile lobby, over United States foreign policy.

It is also noteworthy that it was the Carswell facility where Susan Lindauer, who was maintaining a back channel to Saddam Hussein's government before the 2003 U.S. invasion on behalf of her controllers at the CIA and DIA, was sent by then-U.S. Judge Michael Mukasey for "psychiatric evaluation." The case against Lindauer, who was accused of acting as an agent for Iraq, was later dropped. Lindauer spoke of the mistreatment and forced drug use employed by federal Bureau of Prisons officials on female inmates at the Carswell facility.

And while three Israeli government officials who committed espionage against the United States causing serious damage to the safety and well-being of every American citizen are now serving in top positions in the government of Israel, five Cuban intelligence agents who were trying to protect their nation from terrorist attacks being planned withn the ranks of the Cuban exiles in south Florida, are rotting in an American prison. The five Cuban nationals, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González, were convicted of espionage and a dubious charge of conspiracy to commit murder. However, they were monitoring Cuban exile groups in south Florida who had previously committed terrorist attacks in Cuba, including deadly attacks on foreign-owned hotels, and were planning additional attacks.

An appeal of their case before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals result in the Cuba Five's conviction being upheld and remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The 11th Circuit decision was drawn up by Judge William Pryor. An appeal by the five to the U.S. Supreme Court resulted in Obama administration Solicitor General Elena Kagan filing a brief requesting the Supreme Court to deny the Cubans' petition for a writ of certiorari. Kagan's decision provides yet another bellwether indicator of the connections between the Israel lobby and the Cuban exile lobby in meting out diametrically opposite justice in espionage cases. The unevenness in the scales of justice serve the interests of Israel and the Cuban right-wing exiles in Florida.