Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last week provided a fleeting glimpse of hidden corruption at the core of the US-Israel “special” relationship. The inner halls of the annual AIPAC conference were a safe harbor for hardcore lobbyists buffeted by the Obama administration’s unyielding opposition to illegal settlements and Gen. David Petraeus’s analysis that American favoritism for Israel was putting US troops at risk. Clinton, a politician who has received almost as much Israel lobby largess as her husband, publicly praised an AIPAC operative now known to have played a role in corrupting US-Israel Free Trade Area negotiations in 1984.
Irrepressible investigative reporter Jeff Stein noted that an inconvenient archive of a 1984-1987 FBI investigation into Israeli-AIPAC theft of US government property and economic espionage began circulating across the Internet on March 10, 2010. Former executive director Thomas Dine (who left AIPAC to work for the US government-run Al-Hurra Middle East satellite channel), chief lobbyist Douglas Bloomfield (now an omnipresent pundit for the Jerusalem Post and other media outlets) and Israeli Minister of Economics Dan Halpern (currently at the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce) all appear in the FBI’s investigation for their various roles in obtaining, duplicating, trafficking and covering up AIPAC’s possession of classified trade data stolen from 70 major US companies and workers groups opposed to the US-Israel Free Trade Area.
The purloined report is still classified, rendering it difficult to know precisely which trade secrets and confidential market data AIPAC and Israel used in their lobbying and export promotions to the US market. But the passage of time has quantified the sordid results of the theft. The US-Israel Free Trade Area is an anomaly among bilateral US trade deals, producing an $80 billion cumulative deficit to the US since signed. This contrasts with the year 2009 $80 billion total surplus the US harvested from its other bilateral trade deals with such countries as Singapore, Australia and Morocco. The institutionalized theft and routine misappropriations that tainted trade deal negotiations continue to this day.
Israel appeared on the US Trade Representative’s punitive watch list for almost half a decade for massive copycat and counterfeit drugs production— severe violations of US patents. On March 13, 2010 the US Justice Department moved to introduce hard drives brimming with classified national defense information squirreled away by alleged spy Stewart Nozette. The 2009 Nozette arrest for economic espionage is only the latest in a string of serious US national defense and intellectual property thefts perpetrated to boost the Israeli economy. The global economic crisis has made such ongoing espionage and economic warfare against America a top Pentagon priority.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair identified the global economic crisis as the “primary near-term security concern of the United States.” During his recent testimony to the Senate, Blair elaborated at length upon the threat of “policies designed to promote domestic export industries—so-called beggar-thy-neighbor policies.” The concerted, long-term attempts by Israel and its US lobby to illegally acquire US intelligence and channel proprietary intellectual property with near immunity from prosecution is clearly nothing for which Americans should be grateful. This is why it is galling (and reprehensible) for a US official to praise individuals or organizations publicly known to have undermined US advice and consent governance over economic policy.
Hillary Clinton began her speech at AIPAC saying, “I also want to thank David Victor and Howard Kohr and Lonny Kaplan and J.B. Pritzker and Howard Friedman and Ester Kurz and Richard Fishman — and I’d better stop…”
Yes Secretary Clinton, for sake of our economy, you’d surely better.
Ester Kurz, according to her FBI testimony, was the very last AIPAC employee to handle the stolen US trade negotiation document. Kurz claimed she later threw the vital America business secrets down her garbage chute.