Thursday, March 04, 2010

UPDATE. In the Emanuel/Obama administration, AIPAC in the White House

UPDATE. In the Emanuel/Obama administration, the "Tribe of Rahm" goes to the front of the bus

WMR has learned that under tremendous pressure from White House chief of staff and pro-Israeli hawk Rahm Emanuel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed over House Ways and Means ranking Democrat Pete Stark (D-CA) in favor of Sander Levin (D-MI) to chair the all-important congressional committee. Levin replaces Representative Charlie Rangel (D-MY) who stepped aside "temporarily" amid an ethics probe of his personal financial interests.

Stark is known by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to be among the few members of Congress who does not walk in lock-step with the Israel Lobby. After the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006, Stark opposed a congressional resolution in support of the Israeli attack as a "one-sided resolution that condemns recent attacks against the State of Israel while failing to deplore Israeli violence against the people of Lebanon." In 1991, Stark criticized then-Representative Stephen Solarz (D-NY) as a pro-Israeli "field marshal" for championing the Gulf War.

The move by Pelosi puts Levin in charge of the House's tax legislation committee and a committee that also has influence over Social Security, unemployment benefits, and Medicare. Levin's brother, Senator Carl Levin, is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The control by a single family from Michigan of two of the most powerful committees in Congress is already giving rise to charges of nepotism and cronyism being engineered by Emanuel on behalf of his co-religionists.

Emanuel has also been instigating a stealth public relations campaign recently with "puff pieces" supporting Emanuel appearing in Washington Post stories written by Dana Milbank and Jason Horowitz. From the pieces in the Post, it appears that Emanuel is trying to cast blame of President Obama's troubles on policy advisor David Axelrod, who is clearly not in Rahm's tribal bivouac.

It is also readily apparent that it was Emanuel who was behind the White House offer to Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Representative Joe Sestak, who is a retired Navy admiral, to drop his campaign against Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter in exchange for a top job in the Obama administration. Specter is Jewish while Sestak is a Catholic.

The trading of a U.S. Senate seat for political favors is what landed former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich a criminal indictment, impeachment, and removal from office. WMR has learned from our Chicago sources that Emanuel was, in fact, offering Blagojevich presidential favors in return for appointing a Senator to replace Obama that was to Emanuel's liking. U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who, like Emanuel, is Jewish, was said to be that candidate. Blagojevich is a Serbian Orthodox. When Blagojevioch refused to play Emanuel's game, Emanuel began feeding damaging information to the corrupt and politically-motivated U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald.

In 2007, it was Emanuel who pushed for the election of Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as House Majority leader over the late Representative John Murtha (D-PA). Murtha was nominated by Pelosi and Reprsentative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), among others. Hoyer was clearly Emanuel's candidate since Hoyer's sister, Bernice Manocherian, had previously served as the executive president of AIPAC. Last month, Murtha, an ex-Marine and critic of the Iraq war, died from an infection resulting from faulty gall bladder surgical procedures at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Emanuel, as previously reported by WMR, also conspired with U.S. Judge Avern Cohn of the Eastern District of Michigan to threaten House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers's wife, former Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers who pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges last year, with a maximum prison sentence if Chairman Conyers continued his vocal criticisms of Obama's policies. Mrs. Conyers is due to be sentenced by Cohn on March 10.

There have been subtle hints that Conyers should step down as House Judicairy Committee chairman opening up the chairmanship to Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), one of AIPAC's and Israel's strongest supporters in the House. Berman is currently chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee having succeeded the late Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), another hawkish supporter of AIPAC and Israel.

UPDATE: Today, Berman, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's personal intervention urging him not to approve an Armenian genocide resolution in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a move known to be strongly opposed by Turkey, saw to it that the measure was passed. Turkey retaliated by recalling its ambassador to Washington. In the House resolution, Turkey stands accused of launching an early 1900s genocide against Armenians in Anatolia. Berman is acting on behalf of Israeli interests who want to punish Turkey for its criticisms of Israel's invasion of and genocide in Gaza. Berman's actions came after close joint lobbying efforts by the Israeli and Armenian lobbies in Washington. In the past, AIPAC ensured that Armenian genocide resolutions were defeated in order to placate Turkey, once a close military ally of Israel. The House committee vote was a close 23-22, with Berman's support critical for passage. Another AIPAC hawk, Representative Gary Ackerman (D-NY), also supported the resolution. Republicans and Democrats on the committee voted against the resolution. Many said American relations with Turkey were too important to risk them for a resolution on events that took place almost 100 years ago. However, AIPAC's members, as usual with genocide politics, whether in Rwanda, the Balkans, Turkey, or Gaza, put the interests of Israel ahead of those of the United States.

Former Representative James Traficant (D-OH), who served a seven-year prison sentence for corruption and who recently announced a run for his old seat as an independent, has claimed that AIPAC actually controls American foreign policy. WMR has heard similar statements from members of the House of Reprsentatives, ranging from liberal Democrats to conservative Republicans with the admonition that their statements are strictly "off-the-record."