Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service give an insightful analysis of events in Washington over the past week. At the AIPAC conference Israel hawks espoused hyperbole towards the “existential threat” that Iran poses towards Israel in the fight to secure foreign policy agenda ahead of the more pressing ‘Af-Pak’ issue, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari conducted summit talks with President Obama.
WASHINGTON, May 10 (IPS) – A potentially major clash appears to be developing between powerful factions inside and outside the U.S. government, pitting those who see the Afghanistan/Pakistan (“AfPak”) theatre as the greatest potential threat to U.S. national security against those who believe that the danger posed by a nuclear Iran must be given priority.
The big news last week was the defection of Republican Senator Arlen Specter to the Democrats; the bankruptcy filing of the Chrysler Corporation, and finally, the retirement of Justice David Souter from the U.S. Supreme Court.
A much smaller news item competing with these sensational stories was that the U.S. Justice Department announced that it is dropping the espionage charges against two former AIPAC agents. The story was so small that it barely was a blip on the media’s radar, bringing absolutely no comment on the network news and talk shows.
That’s known as clever public relations. Announce the bad news on a day when it won’t be noticed.
Philip Weiss discusses all the implications of the Jane Harman wiretap story the MSM hasn’t run with yet, the evidence of Israeli attempts to dominate U.S. policy decisions on Iran to start a war, the J Street lobby’s moderating influence and how Israeli leaders are oblivious to the political re-evaluation of Israel by American Jews.
On March 2 former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) foreign policy chief Steve Rosen filed a civil lawsuit in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Rosen accuses his former employer, directors, and outside public relations firm of libel and slander. Rosen seeks damages of $5 million from AIPAC and punitive damages of $500,000 each from former board members and the public relations firm Rational PR, L.C. An analysis of Rosen’s civil complaint reveals how his “Samson’s gambit” of threatening to pull down the walls of justice over the heads of the Israel lobby may prevail in getting criminal espionage charges dropped within the next two months.
In August 2005, Steve Rosen, fellow AIPAC employee Keith Weissman, and the Pentagon’s Col. Lawrence Franklin were indicted under the Espionage Act for allegedly trafficking classified U.S. national defense information in the interest of provoking a stronger U.S. posture toward Israel’s arch nemesis, Iran. Franklin has since pled guilty and received a prison sentence and fine. Franklin has not reported to prison, since he is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors and ready to testify when the criminal trial of Rosen and Weissman-repeatedly delayed by sophisticated defense team legal maneuvers-finally commences on May 27.
‘No presidential appointment has brought more controversy than that of Charles “Chas” Freeman, whom Obama tapped to head the National Intelligence Council. Leading the charge against Freeman is Steven Rosen, a former director of AIPAC awaiting trial on espionage charges, who has a long history of attacking and undermining anybody he deems hostile to Israel’. Here is Max Blumenthal on the Israel Lobby’s first Obama-era attack.
Update: The lobby has triumphed again. Freeman failed the loyalty test, and has hence been thrown under the bus. Notorious Israel-firster Chuck Schumer is taking credit ; according to Greg Sargent it was Rahm Emanuel and Schumer working together, but of course they had the full force of the lobby behind them.
The assault on Charles “Chas” Freeman Jr., a former ambassador tapped to lead the National Intelligence Council, is the first blow in a battle over the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. Steven Rosen, a former director of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee due to stand trial this April for espionage for Israel, is the leader of the campaign against Freeman’s appointment. In his wake, a host of critics from the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to the New Republic’s Marty Peretz have emerged to assail Freeman’s comments on Israeli policies and demand that Obama rescind the diplomat’s appointment. The campaign against Freeman spread to Congress, where a handful of representatives including the top recipient of AIPAC donations, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), called for an investigation of Freeman’s business ties to China and Saudi Arabia.
Rosen’s tactics follow a familiar pattern he has displayed throughout his career, in which he viciously undermined anyone in the foreign-policy community deemed insufficiently deferential to Israel—even his own boss.
On Feb. 17, Judge T.S. Ellis added a new twist in the case of two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) executives indicted under the 1917 Espionage Act. In what the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Secrecy News describe as a major blow to the prosecution, Judge Ellis ruled [.pdf] that J. William Leonard can testify on behalf of the defendants when they go to trial on April 21, 2009.