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  Assassination of Paul Wellstone - and Why It Likely Was Done!
Posted by: Peter Lemkin - 25-10-2021, 03:40 PM - Forum: Political Assassinations - No Replies

Was Radical Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone Murdered to Secure Republican Control of the United States Senate?
Jeremy Kuzmarov
October 25, 2021

  • [Image: larger-view.jpeg?resize=267%2C177&ssl=1]Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and his wife Sheila jog to their campaign bus after casting their ballots in their hometown of Northfield, Minnesota, on November 6, 1990. Wellstone defeated Sen. Rudy Boschwitz in the general election. [Source: minnesota.publicradio.org]
  • [Image: a-group-of-people-in-a-forest-descriptio...C406&ssl=1]Federal investigators sift through debris in this October 27, 2002, file photo, from the twin engine plane that crashed two days earlier near Eveleth, Minnesota, killing Sen. Wellstone, his wife Sheila, daughter Marcia and several others. [Source: twincities.com]
Hailed by The Nation as “the Senator from the Left” and by Mother Jones as “the first 1960s radical elected to the U.S. Senate,” he was killed in a 2002 plane crash just 10 days before a crucial election he was likely to win—a win that would have clinched Democratic control of the Senate by a single vote.
Although officially designated an “accident,” could a new investigation reclassify it as an “assassination,” placing Wellstone in the ever-lengthening line of murdered political figures—from John F. Kennedy and Malcolm X to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy—who threatened the status quo?
[Timed for the 19th anniversary of Wellstone’s death, this article continues CAM’s series into political assassinations in the U.S. and marks the beginning of a week of articles on this topic.—Editors]
In the fall of 2002, in the midst of a heated re-election campaign—and after delivering a strong rebuke to the Iraq War in the Senate chamber two weeks earlier—Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone (D) was beginning to pull ahead of his Republican opponent, Norm Coleman.
The Democrats at that point only had a slim 50-49 one-seat advantage in the Senate.
But then, on October 25th, Wellstone’s plane went down, and history was changed.
[Image: pall-bearers-carry-the-casket-of-sen-pau...C608&ssl=1]Pallbearers carry Senator Wellstone’s casket in Minneapolis after his funeral on October 28, 2002. Wellstone’s sons Mark and David are on the lower left. [Source: startribune.com]
With Wellstone dead, the Democrats convinced Walter Mondale—Jimmy Carter’s Vice President—to come out of retirement at age 74 to run against Coleman, but he lost narrowly.
The Republicans in turn reclaimed control of the Senate, which they nailed down with the victory of Saxby Chambliss over Max Cleland—attributed by many to illegal Republican machine manipulation of the vote.
A Democratic Party politician told investigator Michael Ruppert: “I don’t think there’s anyone on the Hill who doesn’t suspect it [that Wellstone was assassinated]. It’s too convenient, too coincidental, too damned obvious.”[1]
A former CIA operative further told Ruppert: “having played ball (and still playing, in some respects) with this current crop of re-invigorated old white men, these clowns are nobody to screw around with. There will be a few more strategic accidents. You can be certain of that.”[2]
[Image: michael-ruppert-wikipedia.jpeg?resize=143%2C136&ssl=1]Michael Ruppert [Source: wikipedia.org]
The World Socialist Website noted that, after gutting the social safety net and plotting the criminal invasion of Iraq, “to imagine that the neo-fascist GOP leadership would suffer moral “qualms over a conveniently timed plane crash would be naive in the extreme.”
Official Explanation
Wellstone was traveling on October 25th with his wife and daughter to the funeral of the father of one of his good friends and supporters in the Minnesota State legislature, Tom Rukavina.
Official blame for the crash was initially placed on the weather, which was misdescribed as involving freezing rain. The day of the crash was overcast and chilly but above freezing.
The plane was also equipped with a very sophisticated de-icing system which it did not actually need to activate.
When the weather was eliminated as a cause, responsibility for the crash was directed against the pilots, even though the principal pilot, Richard Conry, 55, had 5,200 hours of experience, the highest possible rating, and had passed his Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) “flight check” just two days before the fatal flight.
One former co-pilot who had accompanied him 50 times described him as the most careful pilot with whom he had ever flown.[3]
[Image: it-is-heartbreaking-said-garye-martin-of...C350&ssl=1]“It is heartbreaking,” said Gary Martin of St. Paul, who brought flowers to place on the fence outside of Paul Wellstone’s University Avenue headquarters. [Source: twincities.com]
Early Arrival of FBI Indicates Foreknowledge
The arrival of an FBI team from the Twin Cities in Minnesota at the scene of the crash in Eveleth as early as noon—when the site was only identified an hour earlier and FAA authorities only confirmed the crash at 12:15 p.m.—raises immediate suspicion that they were there to clean up the scene of incriminating evidence.
Jurisdiction over an investigation of this kind was held by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the travel time between the Twin Cities—193 miles from the crash site in a remote area of Eveleth—was at least two and a half hours.
This is a highly conservative estimate, particularly considering the fact that the crash site according to the local sheriff was a “real unpleasant piece of property that required all-terrain vehicles.”[4]
[Image: a-picture-containing-tree-outdoor-ground...C410&ssl=1]Memorial to Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila at the crash scene in a remote area of Eveleth, Minnesota. [Source: minpost.com]
The FBI team would have had to have left the Twin Cities, at the latest, at 9:30 a.m.—and probably well before—to get to the crash scene by noon—an hour before Wellstone’s plane crash and well before there were any signs of problems with the flight.
Never Trust a Spook
By late afternoon, an FBI spokesman, Paul McCabe, issued a statement—repeated in newspapers across the country—that there was no indication the crash had been related to terrorism.
That a definitive conclusion could be rendered so quickly appears to be impossible.
The NTSB nevertheless deferred to the FBI’s judgment—even though it was supposed to have jurisdiction over the investigation—and reiterated the claim that there was no foul play.
A year-long investigation seemingly confirmed the latter conclusion.
The NTSB at the time was headed by Carol Carmody who was a former employee of the CIA.
[Image: a-person-smiling-for-the-camera-descript...C137&ssl=1]Carol Carmody [Source: commons.wikimedia.org]
Wellstone had in the past questioned the abuses of the CIA and was skeptical of the intelligence surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War.
Wellstone was also strongly pro-union when Carmody had managed a firm that administered Taft-Hartley pension plans [Taft-Hartley was a notoriously anti-union law passed by Congress in 1947].
[Image: sen-paul-wellstone-d-mn-6-21-44-10-25-02...C207&ssl=1]Not exactly a poster boy for Carol Carmody, the FBI or CIA. [Source: whatwouldjackdo.net]
After the crash, Carmody searched for an in-flight voice recorder—which there was none, or which the FBI removed from the scene and destroyed.
She also breached protocol by announcing that the weather was behind the crash when this was speculation—only factual information is supposed to be released.
James Sanders, author of a book on the 1996 crash of a TWA flight, referred to Carmody as a “political hack willing to accommodate those who can make her a brighter future.”[5]
[Image: a-picture-containing-indoor-ceiling-desc...C155&ssl=1]Ruins of TWA flight 800 that crashed after takeoff from New York’s JFK Airport in July 1996. [Source: wikipedia.org]
Sanders believes that the TWA flight crashed after a bomb went off on board and that Carmody helped to cover this up.
Carmody was also involved in the investigation and apparent cover-up of a plane crash that killed Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan (D) in October 2000 when he was in the thick of a campaign for the U.S. Senate against John Ashcroft ®, who was later appointed as Attorney General by President George W. Bush.
[Image: remembering-gov-mel-carnahan-19-years-af...C865&ssl=1][Source: stltoday.com]
Suspicion Deepens
More suspicion about the possibility of a cover-up was aroused by a) the destruction of records of planes landing in Duluth the morning of the Wellstone crash, b) missing information from logs about those at the crash scene, and c) the NTSB’s cancelation of a public meeting for comments from citizens about the crash.[6]
First responders to the crash scene were ordered not to take photos by the FBI, and even the Associated Press had trouble getting photos—its photographer was only allowed 15 minutes at the crash site, which was unusual.[7]
The NTSB’s year-long investigation was chaired by two public relations specialists—and not aviation experts—appointed by George W. Bush, whose personal dislike of Wellstone was well known and long-standing.
One, Ellen Engelman Connors, worked on Bush’s Homeland Security team, and the other, Mark Rosenker, was director of the White House’s military office. Secret History
The NTSB had a record of covering up aerial terrorism dating back to the Nixon administration.
Sherman Skolnick’s 1973 book, The Secret History of Airplane Sabotage, detailed the sabotage of a United Airlines plane in Chicago in December 1972, a month after Richard Nixon’s re-election.
[Image: the-lost-liazon-the-mystery-of-dorothy-h...C502&ssl=1]Crash scene of United Airlines flight 553 carrying 12 passengers related to the Watergate burglary. [Source: roughdiplomacy.org]
[Image: dorothy-hunt.jpeg?resize=138%2C203&ssl=1]Dorothy Hunt [Source: Spartacus-educational.com]
Twelve passengers related to the Watergate burglary died in the crash, including Mrs. E. Howard Hunt, wife of the Watergate burglar and CIA operative who herself served in the CIA.
According to Skolnick, Ms. Hunt had more than $2 million in valuables, obtained by blackmailing Nixon over his role in the 1963 assassination of JFK.
Skolnick’s team reviewed unpublicized NTSB files which indicated sabotage, and Skolnick accused the NTSB—which headed the investigation—of participating in a cover-up.[8]
[Image: image-result-for-united-airlines-flight-...C957&ssl=1]FBI agents took control of the scene and immediately began sifting through the wreckage looking for something—as in the Wellstone crash. At least one survivor recognized a “rescue worker”—clad in overalls sifting through wreckage—as an operative of the CIA. [Source: roughdiplomacy.org]
What Happened to Wellstone’s Plane
The St. Paul Pioneer reported the day after the crash that there was “no distress call or any indication of trouble before the plane went down about 10:20.”
The pilot’s last transmission occurred at 10:18 a.m. where there was “no evidence from the pilot’s voice that there was any difficulty, no reported problems, no expressed concerns.”[9]
At 10:19 a.m., radar showed that the aircraft began drifting south. The last radar appearance—coming two minutes later—showed that the plane took a curious turn west, away from the runway and then a steep dive, indicating that the plane was out of control.
[Image: larger-view-1.jpeg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1]Ruins of Wellstone’s plane. [Source: news.minnesota.publicradio.org]
[Image: text-description-automatically-generated...C500&ssl=1][Source: oilempire.us]
The wing flaps, which should have been fully extended for landing, were extended only to 15 degrees—the setting used for an initial approach descent.[10]
Two eyewitnesses claimed that they heard the engines of the plane cutting out, or going on and off—a phenomenon not in alignment with an aerodynamic stall, which the official investigation claimed.
After the plane cut out, a diving noise was heard, followed by an explosion.
Another witness reported hearing a gunshot going off or loud bang beforehand—indicating a possible sniper attack.
Other eyewitnesses saw blue smoke coming from the crashed airplane—which indicated an electrical, and not fuel, fire—and evidence that the fuselage burned badly, and the wings did not.
The latter was odd because the fuel was in the wing tanks, which had been separated from the fuselage as it went through the trees and should have emitted thick black smoke.
Another oddity was that the wing section was charred but the tree that the plane supposedly clipped was not.
This would indicate that either the wing was moved from the crash site (unlikely and illegal) or the wing was on fire before the plane hit the ground—caused possibly by a bomb–accounting for the lack of damage to the tree itself.
[Image: a-picture-containing-outdoor-tree-person...C410&ssl=1]Investigation of plane crash site. Note the presence of the FBI, although the NTSB was supposed to have jurisdiction. [Source: scribblguy.50megs.com]
Autopsy reports indicate that three of the victims had smoke in their lungs which implied they had survived the moment of impact long enough to be affected by the fire, or that the plane was on fire on the way down.[11]
More Evidence of Foul Play and Cover-up
Jim Ongaro who was within a stone’s throw of the plane, told investigator Jim Fetzer that he received an odd call on his cell phone at about the exact time of the crash in which he heard a cross between a roar and a loud humming noise on the other end. A friend further left him a message which he never received on voicemail.[12]
Ongaro also said that another friend told him that co-workers of his that were pilots said that there was no way that the plane should have burned up the way it did.
When Ongaro emailed the Duluth office of Congressman James Oberstar, Oberstar (D-Minn.) responded by stating that the FBI had already investigated any possibility of foul play and ruled it out.
[Image: a-person-in-a-suit-smiling-description-a...C204&ssl=1]James Oberstar [Source: wikipedia.org]
According to researcher Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) and James H. Fetzer, the key to understanding the crash was the complete cessation of communication between the pilots and the control tower in the minutes before the crash.[13]
Pilot error or mechanical problems could not account for loss of communication nor could difficult weather, indicating foul play.
Four Arrows and Fetzer speculate that a small bomb may have caused the crash, or direct energy weapons that the military had developed, or an electromagnetic pulse that police use to stop carjackers during high-speed chases.
Previous Assassination Attempt
Wellstone had survived a previous assassination attempt in December 2000 when he had traveled to Colombia.
At the time, Wellstone was a leading congressional critic of Plan Colombia, a $1.3 billion program to finance Colombia’s War on Drugs which involved aerial spraying of coca fields by private military contractors who stood to make a huge amount of money.
As Wellstone was traveling from the airport in Bogota after his arrival, a bomb was found along his route. The State Department downplayed the incident and it was thereafter forgotten.[14]
[Image: paul-wellstone-during-his-visit-to-colom...C328&ssl=1]Paul Wellstone during his visit to Colombia in March 2001 where he survived an assassination attempt. Wellstone was a strong critic of Plan Colombia. [Source: politico.com]
The next day, Wellstone and his staff were sprayed with glyphosate, a chemical that has been routinely documented as the cause of a variety of illnesses in the local population. It has left certain regions of Colombia, as one native put it, “without butterflies or birds.”
Manipulation of Pilots?
Despite an excellent reputation, Richard Conry served two years in federal prison for mail fraud in connection with a family business he was running.
This criminal past suggests the possibility that he was manipulated into participating in a conspiracy plot and convinced to carry something on board the plane that he thought was contraband or narcotics but was really a tracking device or bomb.[15]
If that was the case, this would explain why Conry sounded nervous in a routine pre-flight phone call with air traffic controllers about the weather.[16]
Co-pilot Michael Guess, 30, also had a criminal record, so he could have been manipulated as well.
Was the Murder Weapon an Electromagnetic Weapon?
Researchers Four Arrows and Fetzer believe that Wellstone’s plane may have been taken down by an electromagnetic weapon (EMP)—such as a laser beam—that the military applied in Iraq.
EMPs are capable of unleashing in a flash as much electrical power—2 billion watts or more—as the Hoover Dam generates in 24 hours, and destroying any electronics within 1,000 feet of the flash by short-circuiting internal electrical connections.
[Image: the-laser-weapon-system-is-designed-to-b...C464&ssl=1]Laser weapon developed by General Atomics and Boeing, designed to be mounted on a variety of platforms. [Source: newatlas.com]
According to Four Arrows and Fetzer, there are a number of ways that EMPs could have been used in the Wellstone crash.
A small incendiary bomb may have been placed in the airplane and activated by radio wave when the plane was near the airport or a pulse bomb could have been fired at the airplane on approach causing the electronics system to go out of control.
Jamming could have been activated and a decoy VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR) signal sent, tricking the plane’s instruments and pilots into believing the airport was somewhere several degrees off the true course to the runway, with the pilot following that signal into the ground.
The non-descript van, full of covert electronic jamming equipment, afterwards would have casually left the area, looking just like any other TV repair truck or moving van.[17]
Two witnesses—Megen Williams and a blond-haired man interviewed on CNN—said they observed a flash of light at the rear of the plane shortly before the crash, giving credibility to the EMP/laser weapon theory.[18]
After being struck by EMP, Wellstone’s aircraft could have functioned more or less normally but without any control systems, instruments or radios. This would account for the assertion that the plane engines were still running when the plane hit the ground.
When the plane crashed, someone may have made sure cockpit instruments were consumed in flames—on the remote chance that a serious full inquiry were to be demanded.[19]
An Idealist in Washington
Paul Wellstone was a rare breed in U.S. politics: an idealist and true progressive who was dubbed “the conscience of the U.S. Senate.”
[Image: senator-paul-wellstone-d-mn-or-sen-paul-...C208&ssl=1]Paul Wellstone as a Tar Heel wrestler. [Source: pinterest.com]
The son of Ukrainian immigrants who stood only 5’5″, Wellstone grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969 after writing a thesis entitled “Black Militants in the Ghetto: Why They Believe in Violence.”
A championship wrestler in high school and college, Wellstone’s political outlook was forged through his participation in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s.[20]
In 1969, Wellstone moved to Northfield, Minnesota, to teach political science at Carleton College where he stayed for the next 21 years.
The FBI took note of the bushy-haired college professor when he was arrested on May 7, 1970, at a protest against the Vietnam War at the Federal Office Building in downtown Minneapolis.
[Image: from-protester-to-senator-fbi-tracked-pa...C450&ssl=1]Wellstone as a young political science professor at Carleton College. [Source: Minnesota.publicradio.org]
According to a New York Times Magazine profile, Wellstone was often at odds with other faculty and the Carleton administration, and was in his element instigating protests—from fighting Carleton’s investment policies in South Africa to battling banks that were foreclosing on farms.[21]
In 1974, at the age of 28, Wellstone was granted tenure when students and other colleagues rallied to his defense after he was going to be dismissed because he chose not to write for academic journals.[22]
In the early 1980s, Wellstone began his political career working in Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich’s office after helping to organize grassroots opposition to high-voltage electricity transmission lines in rural Minnesota.[23]
[Image: june-10-1990-paul-wellstone-lt-gov-marle...C464&ssl=1]Wellstone with Rudy Perpich, right, in June 1990 after Wellstone wins party endorsement for Senate. Lt. Gov. Marlene Johnson is in the center. [Source: startribune.com]
After a failed bid for state auditor, Wellstone was named in 1984 to the Democratic Party National Committee and, in 1988, became the state campaign co-chairman for Jesse Jackson’s bid for the presidency, and national co-chair of Democratic Party nominee Michael Dukakis.
[Image: 1988-jackson-mounts-a-serious-challenge-...C470&ssl=1]Michael Dukakis and Jesse Jackson shake hands during the 1988 election. [Source: nbcnews.com]
Casting himself as a political outsider, Wellstone ran for the United States Senate in 1990—using a rickety green school bus, a humorous ad campaign styled after a Michael Moore documentary and a pledge to serve only two terms—and upset the Republican incumbent, Rudy Boschwitz, who outspent Mr. Wellstone by seven times.[24] One of his first acts as a Senator was to stage an emotionally charged press conference at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in which he urged the Bush Sr. administration not to attack Iraq.[25]
Wellstone subsequently established his credentials as a populist in the tradition of Robert La Follette who took on corporate power like almost no one else of his generation.[26]
[Image: nateand39s-nonsense-robert-m-andquotfigh...C551&ssl=1]Wellstone was cut in the mold of “Fighting Bob” La Follette, the legendary midwestern populist. [Source: natemaas.com]
Just before his death, Wellstone had proposed putting $2 billion into Minnesota’s schools instead of further tax cuts for the top 1% of incomes.
Wellstone further a) stopped last-minute efforts by drug companies to extend exclusive patents and promoted a strong patients’ rights bill and decent prescription drug benefits; b) said no to privatizing social security; c) helped strengthen and pass the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill; d) passed laws banning gifts to members of Congress; and e) though Jewish, called on Israel to be more compromising with its Arab neighbors.
[Image: wellstone-shakes-supporters-hands-on-his...C328&ssl=1]Wellstone receiving re-nomination for a second term in the Senate at the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Convention in Minneapolis in June 1996. [Source: politico.com]
Wellstone additionally a) helped pass a strong Minnesota-friendly farm bill with amendments that reduced the advantages of corporate agribusiness; b) led the fight to stop Big Oil from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; c) championed tribal sovereignty and native Indian rights; and d) stood up for fair trade against the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and World Trade Organization (WTO), which eased restrictions on big business.[27]
A Very Convenient Death
After Wellstone’s death, a poll in the St. Paul Pioneer found that 69% of readers felt that Wellstone was killed owing to a GOP conspiracy.
Michael Niman, a professor of journalism at Buffalo State College, wrote that “Wellstone emerged as the most visible obstacle standing in the way of a draconian political agenda by an unelected government. And now he is conveniently gone.”
The day after Wellstone’s death, the GOP transferred $700,000 to be used in the effort to defeat Democratic Party Senator Max Cleland in Georgia, money that the GOP had planned to use against Wellstone in Minnesota.
[Image: max-cleland.jpeg?resize=594%2C396&ssl=1]Max Cleland during his tenure as a Georgia senator. As a wounded Vietnam veteran, he was against the Iraq War and, therefore, the Bushies had to ensure his removal alongside that of Wellstone. [Source: veteransadvantage.com]
The Bush family’s hatred of Wellstone went back to 1991 when, at a reception for new congresspeople, he told then President George H.W. Bush that the country “would be ripped apart if it went to war.” Bush turned to one of his advisers after and asked: “who is this chickenshit?[28]
Subsequently, at a swearing in ceremony in the Senate, Wellstone handed Vice President Dan Quayle a videotape of a Minnesota town meeting where the Bush administration’s war policies were criticized.
[Image: the-new-senator-talks-with-vice-presiden...C328&ssl=1]Wellstone in January 1991 handing Vice President Dan Quayle videotape of Minnesotans criticizing the Gulf War. [Source: politico.com]
In the 2002 election cycle, George W. Bush had made terminating Wellstone’s Senate career his foremost priority.
[Image: john-nichols-or-the-nation.jpeg?resize=198%2C191&ssl=1]John Nichols [Source: thenation.com]
Political reporter John Nichols wrote: “The Bushies despise Wellstone, who unlike most Senate Democrats has been fighting spirited battles against the new administration policies on everything from the environment to the tax cuts for the rich to military aid for the ‘Plan Colombia’ drug war boondoggle. The Bush camp has been focusing highest-level attention on ‘Plan Wellstone’—its project to silence progressive opposition.”
[Image: president-george-w-bush-shakes-hands-wit...C180&ssl=1]George W. Bush shakes hands with Minnesota’s then Republican Senator Norm Coleman in 2007 as a young Senator Amy Klobuchar looks on. [Source: georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov]
By October 2002, Bush had visited Minnesota four times to drum up support for his hand-picked candidate, former St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman, a strong supporter of the Iraq War.[29]
Large sums of money were being funneled into the state, including one million dollars for advertisements attacking Wellstone that were put up by an anonymous group calling itself “Americans for Job Security.”
[Image: dick-cheney-wikipedia.jpeg?resize=204%2C232&ssl=1]Dick Cheney issued mafia-style threats to Paul Wellstone on the eve of the Iraq War. [Source: wikipedia.org]
At a meeting with war veterans in Willmar, Minnesota, two days before his death, Wellstone said that Vice President Dick Cheney had told him, “if you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota.”
Obviously this was no idle threat.
Two weeks earlier, Wellstone had spoken eloquently on the Senate floor against the Iraq War and the “wisdom of relying too heavily on a preemptive go it alone military approach”—prompting a bump for him in the polls that shocked the Bush administration.
[Image: a-picture-containing-diagram-description...C388&ssl=1]Senator Wellstone was slated to win re-election after voting against George Bush’s “war resolution” in Congress. [Source: oilempire.us]
As Chairman of a new Securities Reform Committee, Wellstone was also at the time trying to block the nomination of William Webster, former CIA and FBI head and “best friend of big business and big accounting firms” to be the new chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Accounting Oversight Commission.
[Image: a-person-in-a-suit-description-automatic...C204&ssl=1]William Webster as FBI Director. [Source: wikipedia.org]
Wellstone had further tried to bar corporate tax dodgers from being eligible for Defense Department contracts, and successfully amended the Homeland Security bill to bar those companies from getting contracts with the new Department of Homeland Security.
After the November election—and Wellstone’s tragic death—the final version of the Homeland Security bill gutted the Wellstone amendment and corporate lobby groups were able to land billion-dollar defense contracts in Iraq and elsewhere.[30]
As one of the few genuine progressives in Congress, Wellstone would have been a formidable presidential candidate in 2004.
With the increasing exposure of the Bush administration’s corruption in books like Greg Palast’s The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (2002) and Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men (2004), he would have had a better chance to beat Bush than any other candidate. That is why his plane had to be taken down.
[Image: CAM-logo-circular-20210506b-300.png?resi...2C20&ssl=1]

  1. Four Arrows (aka Don Trent Jacobs) and James H. Fetzer, Ph.D., American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone (El Prado, NM:”Vox Pop, 2004).
  2. Sue Cantrell, who lives a few hundred yards from Camp Peary, the CIA training camp in Williamsburg, Virginia, reported that the night before Wellstone’s death, at around 1:15 a.m., she heard a “large plane take off from the runway [at Camp Peary]. In the previous three years of living here, I have never heard a plane take off in the middle of the night.”
  3. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination.
  4. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 11, 82, 83.
  5. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 18.
  6. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 85.
  7. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 85.
  8. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 124, 125.
  9. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 18. The FAA spokeswoman stated that there were no signs of distress coming from the plane’s crew on its final approach.
  10. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 44. The stall warning on a King Air—which Wellstone flew in—is quite loud. With two pilots and six passengers, it could not have been missed. Thus, there was ample time to regain speed.
  11. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 131.
  12. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 48, 49.
  13. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 61.
  14. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 54.
  15. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 101.
  16. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 101.
  17. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 101, 146. The authors present a scenario in which the plane ran off course, and the cockpit was zapped, resulting in a pilotless plane. When the decoy VOR was switched off, the plane’s instruments re-oriented to the Eveleth airport causing a sharp right turn. After the plane crashed, someone made sure cockpit instruments were consumed in flames—on the remote chance that a serious full inquiry were to be demanded—as the cable TV/power company/telephone service vehicle made its escape from the scene of the crime.
  18. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 136, 146.
  19. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 146. One other oddity is that Raytheon representatives were on the crash scene after Wellstone’s plane was downed. Not only did Raytheon make the King Air A-100 plane on which he flew but they also manufactured high-tech weapons of the kind that were used to bring the plane down.
  20. See Bill Lofy, Paul Wellstone: The Life of a Passionate Progressive (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2005); Senator Paul Wellstone, The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda (New York: Random House, 2001).
  21. Dennis J. McGrath and Dane Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington: The Inside Story of a Grassroots U.S. Senate Campaign (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 33, 34. Wellstone made enemies on the Carleton Board of Trustees when in 1971 he urged the removal of its chairman, Edson Spencer, Vice-President of Honeywell Corporation which manufactured anti-personnel bombs used in Vietnam. Wellstone accused Spencer of managing a “criminal corporation.”
  22. McGrath and Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington, 34.
  23. Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 51; Wellstone, The Conscience of a Liberal, 9, 10, 11, 17. In 1982, Wellstone was arrested for trespassing at a bank in the central Minnesota town of Paynesville after leading a protest of farmers who were protesting bank foreclosures and seizure of their land after they had been saddled with heavy debt. Wellstone had further supported a strike of meatpackers at the Hormel Company in southern Minnesota in 1985/6. With a gift for oratory and his success as a political organizer, he subsequently emerged as a leader in Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).
  24. McGrath and Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington.
  25. Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 67.
  26. The only black hole in Wellstone’s record was his misguided support for the war in Bosnia and bombing of Kosovo.
  27. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 157-173; McGrath and Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington, xxiii.
  28. Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 67, 68.
  29. A moderate Republican, Coleman had been part of the hippie counterculture who sold out to the establishment. In the 1980s, he was described by a local journalist as a “clean cut pin striped cigar smoking law and order prosecutor who liked schmoozing with business leaders a whole lot better than with welfare rights activists.” Lofy, Paul Wellstone, 116. After becoming Mayor of St. Paul, Coleman switched from the Democratic Party to Republican and started adopting conservative economic policies, opposed drug legalization and adopted hawkish views on Iraq, Iran and Gaza in alignment with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After his Senate career ended, Coleman founded the American Action Network, a conservative advocacy organization with ties to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, and became a lobbyist for Saudi Arabia.
  30. Four Arrows and Fetzer, American Assassination, 33. A mental health reform bill Wellstone championed, requiring insurance companies to provide mental health coverage on par with physical health coverage, was also blocked.

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  JFK Revisited: The new Trailer
Posted by: Jim DiEugenio - 22-10-2021, 05:54 AM - Forum: JFK Assassination - No Replies

David Talbot is the star of this one.

Its pretty good.


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  giljesus.com is now gil-jesus.com
Posted by: Gil Jesus - 11-10-2021, 11:37 PM - Forum: JFK Assassination - Replies (2)

I've started a new website on the JFK Assassination. It's the same old topic of Oswald's innocence, but I couldn't get my web address back so I got it as close as possible.

Was Lee Harvey Oswald REALLY Guilty ?
An Examination of the Evidence in the Case Against Oswald


When I gave up the last website, I lost all of the info I had on it. It's a work-in-progress so please be patient as I try to rewrite my arguments against the lies that were the Warren Commission's conclusions.

My Youtube video channel is still up and I plan to copy those videos onto my website at some point.


Thank You

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  Jeffries' Frazier interview
Posted by: Richard Gilbride - 10-10-2021, 12:49 AM - Forum: JFK Assassination - Replies (1)

I had the chance to listen to Don Jeffries' interview of Wesley Frazier a few days ago. It was a good interview, from the perspective of introducing the contemporary American public to an assassination witness. It was a lousy interview, from the researchers' perspective. Given a golden opportunity to push the ball down the field, Jeffries failed miserably. Virtually nothing new was added to the body of knowledge regarding Frazier.

What Jeffries did instead was serve as another of Frazier's enablers, letting him tell the same moth-eaten lies he's been spinning for decades. You, the reader, know as well as I that Frazier's signature story of looking over his shoulder that morning into the back seat and asking Lee "What's in the package?"-  it's a total crock. That's the story that got 11 on a scale of 10 on George O'Toole's voice stress analysis, from a televised CBS interview from November 23. So Frazier, retelling it for the dozenth upteenth time, has BS'ed his own self enough to feel like hes' actually being truthful.

Jeffries fumbled at the critical juncture of when Frazier arrived at the Houston Street warehouse parking lot. This is where Eddie Shields, repeating his assertion 3 times, told Clarence Day of the HSCA that Givens ( a rover between the Houston St. warehouse & the TSBD) had shouted out to Frazier "Where's your rider?" and Shields, who was on the 1st floor at the time, heard Frazier say "I dropped him off at the building."

Not only does O'Toole strongly imply that the curtain-rod package is a myth, but Shields cements that notion, and Gil Jesus' essay The Bag Job proves that the DPD sample fibers & the paper gunsack fibers match, and they were taken from the TSBD the same time that affternoon (i.e. very likely that Truly manufactured the gunsack, once he heard that Oswald had been captured alive, and needed a piece of evidence to frame Oswald for bringing a rifle into the TSBD.)

At 23:15 Frazier gets asked, for the 1st time he claims, about the elevator power outage. He claimed he did not know anything about it, that he was busy working, and glossed over the incident. And Jeffries was a total flunkie, not reminding Frazier that this occurred during the first minutes of the police search. Not bothering to ask where any power switches were located. And Frazier added another lie, that he always ate in the basement because it was cool down there, when his WC testimony talked about eating with the guys up in the domino room.

I still have the firm opinion that Frazier confabulated his story about seeing Oswald leave via the rear dock. Flunkie Jeffries didn't bother asking him why this wasn't mentioned until 2002.

It was good to get the details at 42:20 about the man with the rifle on the Elm St. Extension that Frazier saw just after the assassination. He said there were no other witnesses, which is a little convenient but he seems truthful here. Says he repressed this out of fright for many years. This rifle man sounds like an undercover DIA operative to me. Frazier in his HSCA interview did point out to Jack Moriarty that "It was a military experience."
When his Irving home was searched, at 50:10, he didn't mention his Enfield rifle. It was listed on the items confiscated. My suspicions are that this was used as leverage against Frazier, since Lt. Day's first radio response upon leaving the TSBD with the alleged murder rifle, when asked the make, said it was an Enfield.

Nor is Frazier ever confronted about the contradiction, learning somehow (from who, Don Jeffries?) that Truly & Baker had seen a 1/2-eaten apple and cheese sandwich, yet Frazier claims Lee didn't bring his lunch on the morning drive, or that he speculated Oswald was going off to a sandwich shop when he saw him leave via the rear dock. Jeffries covers for Frazier by speculating that perhaps Oswald got something off the catering truck.

I think Don was just a little too taken in by the glam of getting an interview with the elusive Wesley Frazier. But his effort was almost worthless in terms of what was uncovered. I'm still convinced Frazier was a conspirator-  he confabulated the story about Oswald carrying a gunsack across the railyard, and he was alone in the basement, not working (as he claimed to Jeffries), but allegedly having his lunch, when the elevators lost power-  i.e. he was the one who cut the power-  a big mistake in the planning, because the evidence up on the 6th was tidied up pronto, and highly likely that a Treasury agent searching the building started yelling out that the elevators had lost their power. And so they had to be turned back on post haste, lest the plot inside the TSBD be exposed.

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  Blockchain and Digital Twining
Posted by: Lauren Johnson - 06-10-2021, 09:25 PM - Forum: Players, organisations, and events of deep politics - No Replies

Astonishing interview with Alison MacDowell.


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  The Man Who Knew Too Much
Posted by: Lauren Johnson - 02-10-2021, 11:44 PM - Forum: Videos and Photographs - No Replies

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  London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks
Posted by: Magda Hassan - 27-09-2021, 02:40 PM - Forum: Black Operations - Replies (5)


London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks

Zach DorfmanSean D. Naylor and Michael Isikoff
Sun, September 26, 2021, 7:00 PM·39 min read

In this article:

  • [font=YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    Julian Assange
    Australian computer programmer[/font]

  • [font=YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    Donald Trump
    45th president of the United States[/font]

  • [font=YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    Mike Pompeo
    United States Secretary of State[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]While Assange had been on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies for years, these plans for an all-out war against him were sparked by WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of extraordinarily sensitive CIA hacking tools, known collectively as “Vault 7,” which the agency ultimately concluded represented “the largest data loss in CIA history.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]President Trump’s newly installed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations he denied. Pompeo and other top agency leaders “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” said a former Trump national security official. “They were seeing blood.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65faf020-1d56-11ec-95b7-3275877264ba][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo in 2017. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA’s fury at WikiLeaks led Pompeo to publicly describe the group in 2017 as a “non-state hostile intelligence service.” More than just a provocative talking point, the designation opened the door for agency operatives to take far more aggressive actions, treating the organization as it does adversary spy services, former intelligence officials told Yahoo News. Within months, U.S. spies were monitoring the communications and movements of numerous WikiLeaks personnel, including audio and visual surveillance of Assange himself, according to former officials.[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]This Yahoo News investigation, based on conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials — eight of whom described details of the CIA’s proposals to abduct Assange — reveals for the first time one of the most contentious intelligence debates of the Trump presidency and exposes new details about the U.S. government’s war on WikiLeaks. It was a campaign spearheaded by Pompeo that bent important legal strictures, potentially jeopardized the Justice Department’s work toward prosecuting Assange, and risked a damaging episode in the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA declined to comment. Pompeo did not respond to requests for comment.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S. lawyer, told Yahoo News.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Assange is now housed in a London prison as the courts there decide on a U.S. request to extradite the WikiLeaks founder on charges of attempting to help former U.S. Army analyst Chelsea Manning break into a classified computer network and conspiring to obtain and publish classified documents in violation of the Espionage Act.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 7fedf593-1d60-11ec-be9b-7f0ac272dcf9][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“My hope and expectation is that the U.K. courts will consider this information and it will further bolster its decision not to extradite to the U.S.,” Pollack added.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]There is no indication that the most extreme measures targeting Assange were ever approved, in part because of objections from White House lawyers, but the agency’s WikiLeaks proposals so worried some administration officials that they quietly reached out to staffers and members of Congress on the House and Senate intelligence committees to alert them to what Pompeo was suggesting. “There were serious intel oversight concerns that were being raised through this escapade,” said a Trump national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Some National Security Council officials worried that the CIA’s proposals to kidnap Assange would not only be illegal but also might jeopardize the prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder. Concerned the CIA’s plans would derail a potential criminal case, the Justice Department expedited the drafting of charges against Assange to ensure that they were in place if he were brought to the United States.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In late 2017, in the midst of the debate over kidnapping and other extreme measures, the agency’s plans were upended when U.S. officials picked up what they viewed as alarming reports that Russian intelligence operatives were preparing to sneak Assange out of the United Kingdom and spirit him away to Moscow.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The intelligence reporting about a possible breakout was viewed as credible at the highest levels of the U.S. government. At the time, Ecuadorian officials had begun efforts to grant Assange diplomatic status as part of a scheme to give him cover to leave the embassy and fly to Moscow to serve in the country’s Russian mission.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65fa05c6-1d56-11ec-a76f-efba010878a9][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears at the window of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Feb. 5, 2016. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In response, the CIA and the White House began preparing for a number of scenarios to foil Assange’s Russian departure plans, according to three former officials. Those included potential gun battles with Kremlin operatives on the streets of London, crashing a car into a Russian diplomatic vehicle transporting Assange and then grabbing him, and shooting out the tires of a Russian plane carrying Assange before it could take off for Moscow. (U.S. officials asked their British counterparts to do the shooting if gunfire was required, and the British agreed, according to a former senior administration official.)[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“We had all sorts of reasons to believe he was contemplating getting the hell out of there,” said the former senior administration official, adding that one report said Assange might try to escape the embassy hidden in a laundry cart. “It was going to be like a prison break movie.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The intrigue over a potential Assange escape set off a wild scramble among rival spy services in London. American, British and Russian agencies, among others, stationed undercover operatives around the Ecuadorian Embassy. In the Russians’ case, it was to facilitate a breakout. For the U.S. and allied services, it was to block such an escape. “It was beyond comical,” said the former senior official. “It got to the point where every human being in a three-block radius was working for one of the intelligence services — whether they were street sweepers or police officers or security guards.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 7fee1ca1-1d60-11ec-9fbe-c89205697168][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]White House officials briefed Trump and warned him that the matter could provoke an international incident — or worse. “We told him, this is going to get ugly,” said the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]As the debate over WikiLeaks intensified, some in the White House worried that the campaign against the organization would end up “weakening America,” as one Trump national security official put it, by lowering barriers that prevent the government from targeting mainstream journalists and news organizations, said former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The fear at the National Security Council, the former official said, could be summed up as, “Where does this stop?”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: b0998e60-1d52-11ec-b3a6-eb807a482f2c][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]When WikiLeaks launched its website in December 2006, it was a nearly unprecedented model: Anyone anywhere could submit materials anonymously for publication. And they did, on topics ranging from secret fraternity rites to details of the U.S. government’s Guantánamo Bay detainee operations.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Yet Assange, the lanky Australian activist who led the organization, didn’t get much attention until 2010, when WikiLeaks released gun camera footage of a 2007 airstrike by U.S. Army helicopters in Baghdad that killed at least a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists, and wounded two young children. The Pentagon had refused to release the dramatic video, but someone had provided it to WikiLeaks.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65f9deb0-1d56-11ec-bc6f-5c68e620a07f][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]WikiLeaks releases leaked 2007 footage of a U.S. Apache helicopter fatally shooting a group of men at a public square in eastern Baghdad. (U.S. Military via Wikileaks.org)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Later that year, WikiLeaks also published several caches of classified and sensitive U.S. government documents related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. Assange was hailed in some circles as a hero and in others as a villain. For U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the question was how to deal with the group, which operated differently than typical news outlets. “The problem posed by WikiLeaks was, there wasn’t anything like it,” said a former intelligence official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]How to define WikiLeaks has long confounded everyone from government officials to press advocates. Some view it as an independent journalistic institution, while others have asserted it is a handmaiden to foreign spy services.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“They’re not a journalistic organization, they’re nowhere near it,” William Evanina, who retired as the U.S.’s top counterintelligence official in early 2021, told Yahoo News in an interview. Evanina declined to discuss specific U.S. proposals regarding Assange or WikiLeaks.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 7feb5d80-1d60-11ec-b663-7a58e20682e9][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But the Obama administration, fearful of the consequences for press freedom — and chastened by the blowback from its own aggressive leak hunts — restricted investigations into Assange and WikiLeaks. “We were stagnated for years,” said Evanina. “There was a reticence in the Obama administration at a high level to allow agencies to engage in” certain kinds of intelligence collection against WikiLeaks, including signals and cyber operations, he said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]That began to change in 2013, when Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, fled to Hong Kong with a massive trove of classified materials, some of which revealed that the U.S. government was illegally spying on Americans. WikiLeaks helped arrange Snowden’s escape to Russia from Hong Kong. A WikiLeaks editor also accompanied Snowden to Russia, staying with him during his 39-day enforced stay at a Moscow airport and living with him for three months after Russia granted Snowden asylum.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In the wake of the Snowden revelations, the Obama administration allowed the intelligence community to prioritize collection on WikiLeaks, according to Evanina, now the CEO of the Evanina Group. Previously, if the FBI needed a search warrant to go into the group’s databases in the United States or wanted to use subpoena power or a national security letter to gain access to WikiLeaks-related financial records, “that wasn’t going to happen,” another former senior counterintelligence official said. “That changed after 2013.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65fb1731-1d56-11ec-b7dd-9a39deb02e8b][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]An image of Edward Snowden on a giant screen in Hong Kong on June 23, 2013. (Sam Tsang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]From that point onward, U.S. intelligence worked closely with friendly spy agencies to build a picture of WikiLeaks’ network of contacts “and tie it back to hostile state intelligence services,” Evanina said. The CIA assembled a group of analysts known unofficially as “the WikiLeaks team” in its Office of Transnational Issues, with a mission to examine the organization, according to a former agency official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Still chafing at the limits in place, top intelligence officials lobbied the White House to redefine WikiLeaks — and some high-profile journalists — as “information brokers,” which would have opened up the use of more investigative tools against them, potentially paving the way for their prosecution, according to former officials. It “was a step in the direction of showing a court, if we got that far, that we were dealing with agents of a foreign power,” a former senior counterintelligence official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Among the journalists some U.S. officials wanted to designate as “information brokers” were Glenn Greenwald, then a columnist for the Guardian, and Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker, who had both been instrumental in publishing documents provided by Snowden.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“Is WikiLeaks a journalistic outlet? Are Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald truly journalists?” the former official said. “We tried to change the definition of them, and I preached this to the White House, and got rejected.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: faeb99d0-1d7b-11ec-bbdb-7d77e449a55c][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Obama administration’s policy was, “If there’s published works out there, doesn’t matter the venue, then we have to treat them as First-Amendment-protected individuals,” the former senior counterintelligence official said. “There were some exceptions to that rule, but they were very, very, very few and far between.” WikiLeaks, the administration decided, did not fit that exception.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In a statement to Yahoo News, Poitras said reported attempts to classify herself, Greenwald and Assange as “information brokers” rather than journalists are “bone-chilling and a threat to journalists worldwide.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“That the CIA also conspired to seek the rendition and extrajudicial assassination of Julian Assange is a state-sponsored crime against the press,” she added.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“I am not the least bit surprised that the CIA, a longtime authoritarian and antidemocratic institution, plotted to find a way to criminalize journalism and spy on and commit other acts of aggression against journalists,” Greenwald told Yahoo News.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]By 2015, WikiLeaks was the subject of an intense debate over whether the organization should be targeted by law enforcement or spy agencies. Some argued that the FBI should have sole responsibility for investigating WikiLeaks, with no role for the CIA or the NSA. The Justice Department, in particular, was “very protective” of its authorities over whether to charge Assange and whether to treat WikiLeaks “like a media outlet,” said Robert Litt, the intelligence community’s senior lawyer during the Obama administration.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][Image: 65fb1730-1d56-11ec-b7f7-6c29a158c5dc][/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras at a news conference in 2014. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Then, in the summer of 2016, at the height of the presidential election season, came a seismic episode in the U.S. government’s evolving approach to WikiLeaks, when the website began publishing Democratic Party emails. The U.S. intelligence community later concluded the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU had hacked the emails.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In response to the leak, the NSA began surveilling the Twitter accounts of the suspected Russian intelligence operatives who were disseminating the leaked Democratic Party emails, according to a former CIA official. This collection revealed direct messages between the operatives, who went by the moniker Guccifer 2.0, and WikiLeaks’ Twitter account. Assange at the time steadfastly denied that the Russian government was the source for the emails, which were also published by mainstream news organizations.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Even so, Assange’s communication with the suspected operatives settled the matter for some U.S. officials. The events of 2016 “really crystallized” U.S. intelligence officials’ belief that the WikiLeaks founder “was acting in collusion with people who were using him to hurt the interests of the United States,” said Litt.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]After the publication of the Democratic Party emails, there was “zero debate” on the issue of whether the CIA would increase its spying on WikiLeaks, said a former intelligence official. But there was still “sensitivity on how we would collect on them,” the former official added.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA now considered people affiliated with WikiLeaks valid targets for various types of spying, including close-in technical collection — such as bugs — sometimes enabled by in-person espionage, and “remote operations,” meaning, among other things, the hacking of WikiLeaks members’ devices from afar, according to former intelligence officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Obama administration’s view of WikiLeaks underwent what Evanina described as a “sea change” shortly before Donald Trump, helped in part by WikiLeaks’ release of Democratic campaign emails, won a surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]As Trump’s national security team took their positions at the Justice Department and the CIA, officials wondered whether, despite his campaign trail declaration of “love” for WikiLeaks, Trump’s appointees would take a more hard-line view of the organization. They were not to be disappointed.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“There was a fundamental change on how [WikiLeaks was] viewed,” said a former senior counterintelligence official. When it came to prosecuting Assange — something the Obama administration had declined to do — the Trump White House had a different approach, said a former Justice Department official. “Nobody in that crew was going to be too broken up about the First Amendment issues.”[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]On April 13, 2017, wearing a U.S. flag pin on the left lapel of his dark gray suit, Pompeo strode to the podium at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank, to deliver to a standing-room-only crowd his first public remarks as Trump’s CIA director.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Rather than use the platform to give an overview of global challenges or to lay out any bureaucratic changes he was planning to make at the agency, Pompeo devoted much of his speech to the threat posed by WikiLeaks.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service and has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence,” he said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” he continued.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo answers questions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]It had been barely five weeks since WikiLeaks had stunned the CIA when it announced it had obtained a massive tranche of files — which it dubbed “Vault 7” — from the CIA’s ultrasecret hacking division. Despite the CIA’s ramped up collection on WikiLeaks, the announcement came as a complete surprise to the agency, but as soon as the organization posted the first materials on its website, the CIA knew it was facing a catastrophe.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Vault 7 “hurt the agency to its core,” said a former CIA official. Agency officials “used to laugh about WikiLeaks,” mocking the State Department and the Pentagon for allowing so much material to escape their control.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo, apparently fearful of the president’s wrath, was initially reluctant to even brief the president on Vault 7, according to a former senior Trump administration official. “Don’t tell him, he doesn’t need to know,” Pompeo told one briefer, before being advised that the information was too critical and the president had to be informed, said the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Irate senior FBI and NSA officials repeatedly demanded interagency meetings to determine the scope of the damage caused by Vault 7, according to another former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The NSA believed that, although the leak revealed only CIA hacking operations, it could also give countries like Russia or China clues about NSA targets and methods, said this former official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo’s aggressive tone at CSIS reflected his “brash attitude,” said a former senior intelligence official. “He would want to push the limits as much as he could” during his tenure as CIA director, the former official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Trump administration was sending more signals that it would no longer be bound by the Obama administration’s self-imposed restrictions regarding WikiLeaks. For some U.S. intelligence officials, this was a welcome change. “There was immense hostility to WikiLeaks in the beginning from the intelligence community,” said Litt.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Vault 7 prompted “a brand-new mindset with the administration for rethinking how to look at WikiLeaks as an adversarial actor,” Evanina said. “That was new, and it was refreshing for the intelligence community and the law enforcement community.” Updates on Assange were frequently included in Trump’s President’s Daily Brief, a top-secret document prepared by U.S. intelligence agencies that summarizes the day’s most critical national security issues, according to a former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The immediate question facing Pompeo and the CIA was how to hit back against WikiLeaks and Assange. Agency officials found the answer in a legal sleight of hand. Usually, for U.S. intelligence to secretly interfere with the activities of any foreign actor, the president must sign a document called a “finding” that authorizes such covert action, which must also be briefed to the House and Senate intelligence committees. In very sensitive cases, notification is limited to Congress’s so-called Gang of Eight — the four leaders of the House and Senate, plus the chairperson and ranking member of the two committees.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But there is an important carveout. Many of the same actions, if taken against another spy service, are considered “offensive counterintelligence” activities, which the CIA is allowed to conduct without getting a presidential finding or having to brief Congress, according to several former intelligence officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Often, the CIA makes these decisions internally, based on interpretations of so-called “common law” passed down in secret within the agency’s legal corps. “I don’t think people realize how much [the] CIA can do under offensive [counterintelligence] and how there is minimal oversight of it,” said a former official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Assange discusses the publication of secret U.S. documents about the war in Afghanistan at a 2010 press conference in London. (Julian Simmonds/Shutterstock)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The difficulty in proving that WikiLeaks was operating at the direct behest of the Kremlin was a major factor behind the CIA’s move to designate the group as a hostile intelligence service, according to a former senior counterintelligence official. “There was a lot of legal debate on: Are they operating as a Russian agent?” said the former official. “It wasn’t clear they were, so the question was, can it be reframed on them being a hostile entity.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Intelligence community lawyers decided that it could. When Pompeo declared WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service,” he was neither speaking off the cuff nor repeating a phrase concocted by a CIA speechwriter. “That phrase was chosen advisedly and reflected the view of the administration,” a former Trump administration official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But Pompeo’s declaration surprised Litt, who had left his position as general counsel of the Office of the Director for National Intelligence less than three months previously. “Based on the information that I had seen, I thought he was out over his skis on that,” Litt said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]For many senior intelligence officials, however, Pompeo’s designation of WikiLeaks was a positive step. “We all agreed that WikiLeaks was a hostile intelligence organization and should be dealt with accordingly,” said a former senior CIA official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Soon after the speech, Pompeo asked a small group of senior CIA officers to figure out “the art of the possible” when it came to WikiLeaks, said another former senior CIA official. “He said, ‘Nothing’s off limits, don’t self-censor yourself. I need operational ideas from you. I’ll worry about the lawyers in Washington.’” CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., sent messages directing CIA stations and bases worldwide to prioritize collection on WikiLeaks, according to the former senior agency official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The CIA’s designation of WikiLeaks as a non-state hostile intelligence service enabled “the doubling down of efforts globally and domestically on collection” against the group, Evanina said. Those efforts included tracking the movements and communications of Assange and other top WikiLeaks figures by “tasking more on the tech side, recruiting more on the human side,” said another former senior counterintelligence official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]This was no easy task. WikiLeaks associates were “super-paranoid people,” and the CIA estimated that only a handful of individuals had access to the Vault 7 materials the agency wanted to retrieve, said a former intelligence official. Those individuals employed security measures that made obtaining the information difficult, including keeping it on encrypted drives that they either carried on their persons or locked in safes, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]WikiLeaks claimed it had published only a fraction of the Vault 7 documents in its possession. So, what if U.S. intelligence found a tranche of those unpublished materials online? At the White House, officials began planning for that scenario. Could the United States launch a cyberattack on a server being used by WikiLeaks to house these documents?[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Assange presents U.S. military documents on the Iraq War at press conference in London on Oct. 23, 2010. (Shutterstock)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Officials weren’t sure if the Defense Department had the authority to do so at the time, absent the president’s signature. Alternatively, they suggested, perhaps the CIA could carry out the same action under the agency’s offensive counterintelligence powers. After all, officials reasoned, the CIA would be erasing its own documents. However, U.S. spies never located a copy of the unpublished Vault 7 materials online, so the discussion was ultimately moot, according to a former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Nonetheless, the CIA had some successes. By mid-2017, U.S. spies had excellent intelligence on numerous WikiLeaks members and associates, not just on Assange, said former officials. This included what these individuals were saying and who they were saying it to, where they were traveling or going to be at a given date and time, and what platforms these individuals were communicating on, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]U.S. spy agencies developed good intelligence on WikiLeaks associates’ “patterns of life,” particularly their travels within Europe, said a former national security official. U.S. intelligence was particularly keen on information documenting travel by WikiLeaks associates to Russia or countries in Russia’s orbit, according to the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]At the CIA, the new designation meant Assange and WikiLeaks would go from “a target of collection to a target of disruption,” said a former senior CIA official. Proposals began percolating upward within the CIA and the NSC to undertake various disruptive activities — the core of “offensive counterintelligence” — against WikiLeaks. These included paralyzing its digital infrastructure, disrupting its communications, provoking internal disputes within the organization by planting damaging information, and stealing WikiLeaks members’ electronic devices, according to three former officials.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Infiltrating the group, either with a real person or by inventing a cyber persona to gain the group’s confidence, was quickly dismissed as unlikely to succeed because the senior WikiLeaks figures were so security-conscious, according to former intelligence officials. Sowing discord within the group seemed an easier route to success, in part because “those guys hated each other and fought all the time,” a former intelligence official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But many of the other ideas were “not ready for prime time,” said the former intelligence official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“Some dude affiliated with WikiLeaks was moving around the world, and they wanted to go steal his computer because they thought he might have” Vault 7 files, said the former official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The official was unable to identify that individual. But some of these proposals may have been eventually approved. In December 2020, a German hacker closely affiliated with WikiLeaks who assisted with the Vault 7 publications claimed that there had been an attempt to break into his apartment, which he had secured with an elaborate locking system. The hacker, Andy Müller-Maguhn, also said he had been tailed by mysterious figures and that his encrypted telephone had been bugged.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Andy Müller-Maguhn speaks at the Cyber Security Summit in Bonn, Germany, in 2014. (Ollendorf/Itterman (Telekom))[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Asked whether the CIA had broken into WikiLeaks’ associates’ homes and stolen or wiped their hard drives, a former intelligence official declined to go into detail but said that “some actions were taken.”[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]By the summer of 2017, the CIA’s proposals were setting off alarm bells at the National Security Council. “WikiLeaks was a complete obsession of Pompeo’s,” said a former Trump administration national security official. “After Vault 7, Pompeo and [Deputy CIA Director Gina] Haspel wanted vengeance on Assange.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]At meetings between senior Trump administration officials after WikiLeaks started publishing the Vault 7 materials, Pompeo began discussing kidnapping Assange, according to four former officials. While the notion of kidnapping Assange preceded Pompeo’s arrival at Langley, the new director championed the proposals, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo and others at the agency proposed abducting Assange from the embassy and surreptitiously bringing him back to the United States via a third country — a process known as rendition. The idea was to “break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want,” said a former intelligence official. A less extreme version of the proposal involved U.S. operatives snatching Assange from the embassy and turning him over to British authorities.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Such actions were sure to create a diplomatic and political firestorm, as they would have involved violating the sanctity of the Ecuadorian Embassy before kidnapping the citizen of a critical U.S. partner — Australia — in the capital of the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally. Trying to seize Assange from an embassy in the British capital struck some as “ridiculous,” said the former intelligence official. “This isn’t Pakistan or Egypt — we’re talking about London.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]British acquiescence was far from assured. Former officials differ on how much the U.K. government knew about the CIA’s rendition plans for Assange, but at some point, American officials did raise the issue with their British counterparts.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange resided for seven years. (Will Oliver/EPA/Shutterstock)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“There was a discussion with the Brits about turning the other cheek or looking the other way when a team of guys went inside and did a rendition,” said a former senior counterintelligence official. “But the British said, ‘No way, you’re not doing that on our territory, that ain’t happening.’” The British Embassy in Washington did not return a request for comment.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In addition to diplomatic concerns about rendition, some NSC officials believed that abducting Assange would be clearly illegal. “You can’t throw people in a car and kidnap them,” said a former national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In fact, said this former official, for some NSC personnel, “This was the key question: Was it possible to render Assange under [the CIA’s] offensive counterintelligence” authorities? In this former official’s thinking, those powers were meant to enable traditional spy-versus-spy activities, “not the same kind of crap we pulled in the war on terror.”[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Some discussions even went beyond kidnapping. U.S. officials had also considered killing Assange, according to three former officials. One of those officials said he was briefed on a spring 2017 meeting in which the president asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him “options” for how to do so.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“It was viewed as unhinged and ridiculous,” recalled this former senior CIA official of the suggestion.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]It’s unclear how serious the proposals to kill Assange really were. “I was told they were just spitballing,” said a former senior counterintelligence official briefed on the discussions about “kinetic options” regarding the WikiLeaks founder. “It was just Trump being Trump."[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Nonetheless, at roughly the same time, agency executives requested and received “sketches” of plans for killing Assange and other Europe-based WikiLeaks members who had access to Vault 7 materials, said a former intelligence official. There were discussions “on whether killing Assange was possible and whether it was legal,” the former official said.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Yahoo News could not confirm if these proposals made it to the White House. Some officials with knowledge of the rendition proposals said they had heard no discussions about assassinating Assange.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In a statement to Yahoo News, Trump denied that he ever considered having Assange assassinated. “It’s totally false, it never happened,” he said. Trump seemed to express some sympathy for Assange’s plight. “In fact, I think he’s been treated very badly,” he added.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Whatever Trump’s view of the matter at the time, his NSC lawyers were bulwarks against the CIA’s potentially illegal proposals, according to former officials. “While people think the Trump administration didn’t believe in the rule of law, they had good lawyers who were paying attention to it,” said a former senior intelligence official.[/font]
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[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Then-President Donald Trump at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)[/font]

[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The rendition talk deeply alarmed some senior administration officials. John Eisenberg, the top NSC lawyer, and Michael Ellis, his deputy, worried that “Pompeo is advocating things that are not likely to be legal,” including “rendition-type activity,” said a former national security official. Eisenberg wrote to CIA General Counsel Courtney Simmons Elwood expressing his concerns about the agency’s WikiLeaks-related proposals, according to another Trump national security official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]It’s unclear how much Elwood knew about the proposals. “When Pompeo took over, he cut the lawyers out of a lot of things,” said a former senior intelligence community attorney.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Pompeo’s ready access to the Oval Office, where he would meet with Trump alone, exacerbated the lawyers’ fears. Eisenberg fretted that the CIA director was leaving those meetings with authorities or approvals signed by the president that Eisenberg knew nothing about, according to former officials.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]NSC officials also worried about the timing of the potential Assange kidnapping. Discussions about rendering Assange occurred before the Justice Department filed any criminal charges against him, even under seal — meaning that the CIA could have kidnapped Assange from the embassy without any legal basis to try him in the United States.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Eisenberg urged Justice Department officials to accelerate their drafting of charges against Assange, in case the CIA’s rendition plans moved forward, according to former officials. The White House told Attorney General Jeff Sessions that if prosecutors had grounds to indict Assange they should hurry up and do so, according to a former senior administration official.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Things got more complicated in May 2017, when the Swedes dropped their rape investigation into Assange, who had always denied the allegations. White House officials developed a backup plan: The British would hold Assange on a bail jumping charge, giving Justice Department prosecutors a 48-hour delay to rush through an indictment.[/font]
[font="Yahoo Sans", YahooSans, "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Eisenberg was concerned about the legal implications of rendering Assange without criminal charges in place, according to a former national security official. Absent an indictment, where would the agency bring him, said another former official who attended NSC meetings on the topic. “Were we going to go back to ‘black sites’?”[/font]
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  Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
Posted by: Lauren Johnson - 18-09-2021, 05:13 AM - Forum: Books - Replies (7)

This is the Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, by Israel Shahak.  He was born (1933) in Warsaw, Poland.  He was a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel.  He earned a PhD in Chemistry and taught in the Hebrew University.  He was a secular humanist active in advocating for human rights for both Jews and Gentiles.  Furthermore, he was a critic of the Israel as a Jewish state, Zionism, and Classical Judaism aka Talmudic Judaism.   And from Wikipediahe was "the last Israeli liberal", who was "above all, one of the last philosophers of the eighteenth-century school of enlightenment, rationalism, and liberalism, in the American meaning of the concept." 

[b]Foreword to the first printing
by Gore Vidal

Sometime in the late 1950s, that world-class gossip and occasional historian, John F. Kennedy, told me how, in 1948, Harry S. Truman had been pretty much abandoned by everyone when he came to run for president. Then an American Zionist brought him two million dollars in cash, in a suitcase, aboard his whistle-stop campaign train. 'That's why our recognition of Israel was rushed through so fast.' As neither Jack nor I was an antisemite (unlike his father and my grandfather) we took this to be just another funny story about Truman and the serene corruption of American politics.
Unfortunately, the hurried recognition of Israel as a state has resulted in forty-five years of murderous confusion, and the destruction of what Zionist fellow travellers thought would be a pluralistic state – home to its native population of Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as a future home to peaceful European and American Jewish immigrants, even the ones who affected to believe that the great realtor in the sky had given them, in perpetuity, the lands of Judea and Samaria. Since many of the immigrants were good socialists in Europe, we assumed that they would not allow the new state to become a theocracy, and that the native Palestinians could live with them as equals. This was not meant to be. I shall not rehearse the wars and alarms of that unhappy region. But I will say that the hasty invention of Israel has poisoned the political and intellectual life of the USA, Israel's unlikely patron.
Unlikely, because no other minority in American history has ever hijacked so much money from the American taxpayers in order to invest in a 'homeland'. It is as if the American taxpayer had been obliged to support the Pope in his reconquest of the Papal States simply because one third of our people are Roman Catholic. Had this been attempted, there would have been a great uproar and Congress would have said no. But a religious minority of less than two per cent has bought or intimidated seventy senators (the necessary two thirds to overcome an unlikely presidential veto) while enjoying support of the media.
In a sense, I rather admire the way that the Israel lobby has gone about its business of seeing that billions of dollars, year after year, go to make Israel a 'bulwark against communism'. Actually, neither the USSR nor communism was ever much of a presence in the region. What America did manage to do was to turn the once friendly Arab world against us. Meanwhile, the misinformation about what is going on in the Middle East has got even greater and the principal victim of these gaudy lies – the American taxpayer to one side – is American Jewry, as it is constantly bullied by such professional terrorists as Begin and Shamir. Worse, with a few honorable exceptions, Jewish-American intellectuals abandoned liberalism for a series of demented alliances with the Christian (antisemtic) right and with the Pentagon-industrial complex. In 1985 one of them blithely wrote that when Jews arrived on the American scene they 'found liberal opinion and liberal politicians more congenial in their attitudes, more sensitive to Jewish concerns' but now it is in the Jewish interest to ally with the Protestant fundamentalists because, after all, "is there any point in Jews hanging on dogmatically, hypocritically, to their opinions of yesteryear?' At this point the American left split and those of us who criticised our onetime Jewish allies for misguided opportunism, were promptly rewarded with the ritual epithet 'antisemite' or 'self-hating Jew'.
Fortunately, the voice of reason is alive and well, and in Israel, of all places. From Jerusalem, Israel Shahak never ceases to analyse not only the dismal politics of Israel today but the Talmud itself, and the effect of the entire rabbinical tradition on a small state that the right-wing rabbinate means to turn into a theocracy for Jews only. I have been reading Shahak for years. He has a satirist's eye for the confusions to be found in any religion that tries to rationalise the irrational. He has a scholar's sharp eye for textual contradictions. He is a joy to read on the great Gentile-hating Dr Maimonides.
Needless to say, Israel's authorities deplore Shahak. But there is not much to be done with a retired professor of chemistry who was born in Warsaw in 1933 and spent his childhood in the concentration camp at Belsen. In 1945, he came to Israel; served in the Israeli military; did not become a Marxist in the years when it was fashionable. He was – and still is – a humanist who detests imperialism whether in the names of the God of Abraham or of George Bush. Equally, he opposes with great wit and learning the totalitarian strain in Judaism. Like a highly learned Thomas Paine, Shahak illustrates the prospect before us, as well as the long history behind us, and thus he continues to reason, year after year. Those who heed him will certainly be wiser and – dare I say? – better. He is the latest, if not the last, of the great prophets.
– Gore Vidal

Chapter One: A Closed Utopia?

This book, although written in English and addressed to people living outside the State of Israel, is, in a way, a continuation of my political activities as an Israeli Jew. Those activities began in 1965-6 with a protest which caused a considerable scandal at the time: I had personally witnessed an ultra-religious Jew refuse to allow his phone to be used on the Sabbath in order to call an ambulance for a non-Jew who happened to have collapsed in his Jerusalem neighbourhood. Instead of simply publishing the incident in the press, I asked for a meeting which is composed of rabbis nominated by the State of Israel. I asked them whether such behavior was consistent with their interpretation of the Jewish religion. They answered that the Jew in question had behaved correctly, indeed piously, and backed their statement by referring me to a passage in an authoritative compendium of Talmudic laws, written in this century. I reported the incident to the main Hebrew daily, Ha'aretz, whose publication of the story caused a media scandal.

The results of the scandal were, for me, rather negative. Neither the Israeli, nor the diaspora, rabbinical authorities ever reversed their ruling that a Jew should not violate the Sabbath in order to save the life of a Gentile. They added much sanctimonious twaddle to the effect that if the consequence of such an act puts Jews in danger, the violation of the Sabbath is permitted, for their sake. It became apparent to me, as drawing on Talmudic laws governing the relations between Jews and non-Jews, that neither Zionism, including its seemingly secular part, nor Israeli politics since the inception of the State of Israel, nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora, could be understood unless the deeper influence of those laws, and the worldview which they both create and express is taken into account. The actual policies Israel pursued after the Six Day War, and in particular the apartheid character of the Israeli regime in the Occupied Territories and the attitude of the majority of Jews to the issue of the rights of the Palestinians, even in the abstract, have merely strengthened this conviction.

By making this statement I am not trying to ignore the political or strategic considerations which may have also influenced the rulers of Israel. I am merely saying that actual politics is an interaction between realistic considerations (whether valid or mistaken, moral or immoral in my view) and ideological influences. The latter tend to be more influential the less they are discussed and 'dragged into the light'. Any form of racism, discrimination and xenophobia becomes more potent and politically influential if it is taken for granted by the society which indulges in it. This is especially so if its discussion is prohibited, either formally or by tacit agreement. When racism, discrimination and xenophobia is prevalent among Jews, and directed against non-Jews, being fuelled by religious motivations, it is like its opposite case, that of antisemitism and its religious motivations. Today, however, while the second is being discussed, the very existence of the first is generally ignored, more outside Israel than within it.

Without a discussion of the prevalent Jewish attitudes to non-Jews, even the concept of Israel as 'a Jewish state', as Israel formally defines itself, cannot be understood. The widespread misconception that Israel, even without considering its regime in the Occupied Territories, is a true democracy arises from the refusal to confront the significance of the term 'a Jewish state' for non-Jews. In my view, Israel as a Jewish state constitutes a danger not only to itself and its inhabitants, but to all Jews and to all other peoples and states in the Middle East and beyond. I also consider that other Middle Eastern states or entities which define themselves as 'Arab' or 'Muslim', like the Israeli self-definition as being 'Jewish', likewise constitute a danger. However, while this danger is widely discussed, the danger inherent in the Jewish character of the State of Israel is not.

The principle of Israel as 'a Jewish state' was supremely important to Israeli politicians from the inception of the state and was inculcated into the Jewish population by all conceivable ways. When, in the early 1980s, a tiny minority of Israeli Jews emerged which opposed this concept, a Constitutional Law (that is, a law overriding provisions of other laws, which cannot be revoked except by a special procedure) was passed in 1985 by an enormous majority of the Knesset.

By this law no party whose programme openly opposes the principle of 'a Jewish state' or proposes to change it by democratic means, is allowed to participate in the elections to the Knesset. I myself strongly oppose this constitutional principle. The legal consequence for me is that I cannot belong, in the state of which I am a citizen, to a party having principles with which I would agree and which is allowed to participate in Knesset elections. Even this example shows that the State of Israel is not a democracy due to the application of a Jewish ideology directed against all non-Jews and those Jews who oppose this ideology. But the danger which this dominant ideology represents is not limited to domestic affairs. It also influences Israeli foreign policies. This danger will continue to grow, as long as two currently operating developments are being strengthened: the increase in the Jewish character of Israel and the increase in its power, particularly in nuclear power. Another ominous factor is that Israeli influence in the USA political establishment is also increasing. Hence accurate information about Judaism, and especially about the treatment of non-Jews by Israel, is now not only important, but politically vital as well.

Let me begin with the official Israeli definition of the term 'Jewish', illustrating the crucial difference between Israel as 'a Jewish state' and the majority of other states. By this official definition, Israel 'belongs' to persons who are defined by the Israeli authorities as 'Jewish', irrespective of where they live, and to them alone. On the other hand, Israel doesn't officially 'belong' to its non-Jewish citizens, whose status is considered even officially as inferior. This means in practice that if members of a Peruvian tribe are converted to Judaism, and thus regarded as Jewish, they are entitled at once to become Israeli citizens and benefit from the approximately 70 per cent of the West Bank land (and the 92 per cent of the area of Israel proper), officially designated only for the benefit of Jews. All non-Jews ( not only all Palestinians) are prohibited from benefiting from those lands. (The prohibition applies even to Israeli Arabs who served in the Israeli army and reached a high rank.) The case involving Peruvian converts to Judaism actually occurred a few years ago. The newly-created Jews were settled in the West Bank, near Nablus, on land from which non-Jews are officially excluded. All Israeli governments are taking enormous political risks, including the risk of war, so that such settlements, composed exclusively of persons who are defined as 'Jewish' (and not 'Israeli' as most of the media mendaciously claims) would be subject to only 'Jewish' authority.

I suspect that the Jews of the USA or of Britain would regard it as antisemitic if Christians would propose that the USA or the United Kingdom should become a 'Christian state', belonging only to citizens officially defined as 'Christians'. The consequence of such doctrine is that Jews converting to Christianity would become full citizens because of their conversion. It should be recalled that the benefits of conversions are well known to Jews from their own history. When the Christian and the Islamic states used to discriminate against all persons not belonging to the religion of the state, including the Jews, the discrimination against Jews was at once removed by their conversion. But a non-Jew discriminated against by the State of Israel will cease to be so treated the moment he or she converts to Judaism.This simply shows that the same kind of exclusivity that is regarded by a majority of the diaspora Jews as antisemitic is regarded by the majority of all Jews as Jewish. To oppose both antisemitism and Jewish chauvinism is widely regarded among Jews as a 'self-hatred', a concept which I regard as nonsensical.

The meaning of the term 'Jewish' and its cognates, including 'Judaism', thus becomes in the context of Israeli politics as important as the meaning of 'Islamic', when officially used by Iran, or 'communist' when it was officially used by the USSR. However, the meaning of the term 'Jewish' as it is popularly used is not clear, either in Hebrew or when translated into other languages, and so the term had to be defined officially.

According to Israeli law a person is considered 'Jewish' if either their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother were Jewesses by religion; or if the person was converted to Judaism in a way satisfactory to the Israeli authorities, and on condition that the person has not converted from Judaism to another religion, in which case Israel ceases to regard them as 'Jewish'. Of the three conditions, the first represents the Talmudic definition of 'who is a Jew', a defintion followed by Jewish Orthodoxy. The Talmud and post-Talmudic rabbinic law also recognise the conversion of a non-Jew to Judaism (as well as the purchase of a non-Jewish slave by a Jew followed by a different kind of conversion) as a method of becoming Jewish, provided that the conversion is performed by authorised rabbis in a proper manner. This 'proper manner' entails for females, their inspection by three rabbis while naked in a 'bath of purification', a ritual which, although notorious to all readers of the Hebrew press, is not often mentioned by the English media in spite of its undoubted interest for certain readers. I hope that this book will be the beginning of a process which will rectify this discrepancy.

But there is another urgent necessity for an official definition of who is, and who is not 'Jewish'. The State of Israel officially discriminates in favour of Jews and against non-Jews in many domains of life, of which I regard three as being most important: residency rights, the right to work and the right to equality before the law. Discrimination in residency is based on the fact that about 92 per cent of Israel's land is the property of the state and is administered by the Israel Land Authority according to regulations issued by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), and affiliate of the World Zionist Organization. In its regulations the JNF denies the right to reside, to open a business, and often to work, to anyone who is not Jewish, only because he is not Jewish. At the same time, Jews are not prohibited from taking residence or opening businesses anywhere in Israel. If applied in another state against the Jews, such discriminatory practice would instantly and justifiably be labelled antisemitism and would no doubt spark massive public protests. When applied by Israel as a part of its 'Jewish ideology', they are usually studiously ignored or excused when rarely mentioned.

The denial of the right to work means that non-Jews are prohibited officially from working on land administered by the Israel Land Authority according to the JNF regulations. No doubt these regulations are not always, or even often, enforced but they do exist. From time to time Israel attempts enforcement campaigns by state authorities, as, for example, when the Agriculture Ministry acts against 'the pestilence of letting fruit orchards belonging to Jews and situated on National Land [i.e., land belonging to the State of Israel] be harvested by Arab labourers', even if the labourers in question are citizens of Israel. Israel also strictly prohibits Jews settled on 'National Land' to sub-rent even a part of their land to Arabs, even for a short time; and those who do so are punished, usually by heavy fines. There is no prohibitions on non-Jews renting their land to Jews. This means, in my own case, that by virtue of being a Jew I have the right to lease an orchard for harvesting its produce from another Jew, but a non-Jew, whether a citizen of Israel or a resident alien, does not have this right.

Non-Jewish citizens of Israel do not have the right to equality before the law. This discrimination is expressed in many Israeli laws in which, presumably in order to avoid embarrassment, the terms 'Jewish' and 'non-Jewish' are usually not explicitly stated, as they are in the crucial Law of Return. According to that law only persons officially recognised as 'Jewish' have an automatic right of entry to Israel and of settling in it. They automatically receive an 'immigration certificate' which provides them on arrival with 'citizenship by virtue of having returned to the Jewish homeland', and with the right to many financial benefits, which vary somewhat according to the country from which they emigrated. The Jews who emigrate from the states of the former UUSR receive 'an absorption grant' of more than $20,000 per family. All Jews immigrating to Israel according to this law immediately acquire the right to vote in elections and to be elected to the Knesset – even if they do not speak a word of Hebrew.

Other Israeli laws substitute the more obtuse expressions 'anyone who can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return' and 'anyone who is not entitled to immigrate in accordance with the law of Return'. Depending on the law in question benefits are them granted to the first category and systematically denied to the second. The routine means for enforcing discrimination in everyday life is the ID card, which everyone is obliged to carry at all times. ID cards list the official 'nationality' of a person, which can be 'Jewish', 'Arab', 'Druze' and the like, with the significant exception of 'Israeli'. Attempts to force the Interior Minister to allow Israelis wishing to be officially described as 'Israeli', or even as 'Israeli-Jew' in their ID cards have failed. Those who have attempted to do so have a letter from the Ministry of the Interior stating that 'it was decided not to recognise an Israeli nationality'. The letter does not specify who made this decision or when.

There are so many laws and regulations in Israel which discriminate in favour of the persons defined in Israel as those 'who can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return' that the subject demands seperate treatment. We can look here at one example, seemingly trivial in comparison with residence restrictions, but nevertheless important since it reveals the real intentions of the Israeli legislator. Israeli citizens who left the country for a time but who are defined as those who 'can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return' are eligible on their return to generous customs benefits, to receive subsidy for their children's high school education, and to receive either a grant or a loan on easy terms for the purchase of an apartment, as well as other benefits. Citizens who cannot be so defined, in other words, the non-Jewish citizens of Israel, get none of these benefits. The obvious intention of such discriminatory measures is to decrease the number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel, in order to make Israel a more 'Jewish' state.

The Ideology of 'Redeemed' Land

Israel also propagates among its Jewish citizens an exclusivist ideology of the Redemption of Land. Its official aim of minimizing the number of non-Jews can be well perceived in this ideology , which is inculcated to Jewish schoolchildren in Israel. They are taught that it is applicable to the entire extent of either the State of Israel or, after 1967, to what is referred to as the Land of Israel.

.According to this ideology, the land which has been 'redeemed' is the land which has passed from non-Jewish ownership to Jeish ownership. The ownership can be either private, or belong to either the JNF or the Jewish state. The land which belongs to non-Jews is, on the contrary, considered to be 'unredeemed'. Thus, if a Jew who committed the blackest crimes which can be imagined buys a piece of land from a virtuous non-Jew, the 'unredeemed' land becomes 'redeemed' by such a transaction. However, if a virtuous non-Jew purchases land from the worst Jew, the formerly pure and 'redeemed' land becomes 'unredeemed' again. The logical conclusion of such an ideology is the expulsion, called 'transfer', of all non-Jews from the area of land which has to be 'redeemed'. Therefore the Utopia of the 'Jewish ideology' adopted by the State of Israel is a land which is wholly 'redeemed' and none of it is owned or worked by non-Jews. The leaders of the Zionist labour movement expressed this utterly repellent idea with the greatest clarity. Walter Laquer a devoted Zionist, tells in his History of Zionism1 how one of these spiritual fathers, A.D. Gordon, who died in 1919, 'objected to violence in principle and justified self defence only in extreme circumstances. But he and his friends wanted every tree and bush in the Jewish homeland to be planted by nobody else except Jewish pioneers'. This means that they wanted everybody else to just go away and leave the land to be 'redeemed' by Jews. Gordon's successors added more violence than he intended but the principle of 'redemption' and its consequences have remained.

In the same way, the kibbutz, widely hailed as an attempt to create a Utopia, was and is an exclusivist Utopia; even if it is composed of atheists, it does not accent Arab members on principle and demands that potential members from other nationalities be first converted to Judaism. No wonder the kibbutz boys can be regarded as the most militaristic segment of the Israeli Jewish society.

It is this exclusivist ideology, rather than all the 'security needs' alleged by Israeli propaganda, which determined the takeovers of land in Israel in the 1950s and again in the mid-1960s and in the Occupied Territories after 1967. This ideology also dictated official Israeli plans for 'the Judaizition of Galilee'. This curious term means encouraging Jews to settle in Galilee by giving them financial benefits. (I wonder what would be the reaction of US Jews if a plan for 'the Christianization of New York' or even only of Brooklyn, would be proposed in their country.) But the Redemption of the Land implies more than regional 'Judaization'. In the entire area of Israel the JNF, vigorously backed by Israeli state agencies (especially by the secret police) is spending great sums of public money in order to 'redeem' any land which non-Jews are willing to sell, and to preempt any attempt by a Jew to sell his land to a non-Jew by paying him a higher price.

Israeli Expansionism
 The main danger which Israel, as 'a Jewish state', poses to its own people, to other Jews and to its neighbors, is its ideologically motivated pursuit of territorial expansion and the inevitable series of wars resulting from this aim. The more Israel becomes Jewish or, as one says in Hebrew, the more it 'returns to Judaism' (a process which has been under way in Israel at least since 1967), the more its actual politics are guided by Jewish ideological considerations and less by rational ones. My use of the term 'rational' does not refer here to a moral evaluation of Israeli policies, or to the supposed defence or security needs of Israel – even less so to the supposed needs of 'Israeli survival'. I am referring here to Israeli imperial policies based on its presumed interests. However morally bad or politically crass such policies are, I regard the adoption of policies based on 'Jewish ideology', in all its different versions as being even worse. The ideological defence of Israeli policies are usually based on Jewish religious beliefs or, in the case of secular Jews, on the 'historical rights' of the Jews which derive from those beliefs and retain the dogmatic character of religious faith.

My own early political conversion from admirer of Ben-Gurion to his dedicated opponent began exactly with such an issue. In 1956 I eagerly swallowed all of Ben-Gurion's political and military reasons for Israel initiating the Suez War, until he (in spite of being an atheist, proud of his disregard of the commandments of Jewish religion) pronounced in the Knesset on the third day of that war, that the real reason for it is 'the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon' to its Biblical borders. At this point in his speech, almost every Knesset member spontaneously rose and sang the Israeli national anthem. To my knowledge, no zionist politician has ever repudiated Ben-Gurion's idea that Israeli policies must be based (within the limits of pragmatic considerations) on the restoration of the Biblical borders as the borders of the Jewish state. Indeed, close analysis of Israeli grand strategies and actual principles of foreign policy, as they are expressed in Hebrew, makes it clear that it is 'Jewish ideology', more than any other factor, which determines actual Israeli policies. The disregard of Judaism as it really is and of 'Jewish ideology' makes those policies incomprehensible to foreign observers who usually know nothing about Judaism except crude apologetics.

Let me give a more recent illustration of the essential difference which exists between Israeli imperial planning of the most inflated but secular type, and the principles of 'Jewish ideology'. The latter enjoins that land which was either ruled by any Jewish ruler in ancient times or was promised by God to the Jews, either in the Bible or – what is actually more important politically – according to a rabbinic interpretation of the Bible and the Talmud, should belong to Israel since it is a Jewish state. No doubt, many Jewish 'doves' are of the opinion that such conquest should be deferred to a time when Israel will be stronger than it is now, or that there would be, hopefully, a 'peaceful conquest', that is , that the Arab rulers or peoples would be 'persuaded' to cede the land in question in return for benefits which the Jewish state would then confer on them.

A number of discrepant versions of Biblical borders2 of the Land of Israel, which rabbinical authorities interpret as ideally belonging to the Jewish state, are in circulation. The most far-reaching among them include the following areas within these borders: in the south, all of Sinai and a part of nothern Egypt up to the environs of Cairo; in the east, all of Jordan and a large chunk of Saudi Arabia, all of Kuwait and a part of Iraq south of the Euphrates; in the north, all of Lebanon and all of Syria together with a huge part of Turkey (up to lake Van); and in the west, Cyprus. An enormous body of research and learned discussion based on these borders, embodied in atlases, books, articles and more popular forms of propaganda is being published in Israel, often with state subsidies, or other forms of support. Certainly the late Kahane and his followers, as will as influential bodies such as Gush Emunim, not only desire the conquest of those territories by Israel, but regard it as a divinely commanded act, sure to be successful since it will be aided by God. In fact, important Jewish religious figures regard the Israeli refusal to undertake such a holy war, or even worse, the return of Sinai to Egypt, as a national sin which was justly punished by God. One of the more influential Gush Emunim rabbis, Dov Lior, the rabbi of Jewish settlements of Kiryat Arba and of Hebron, stated repeatedly that the Israeli failure to conquer Lebanon in 1982-5 was a well-merited divine punishment for its sin of 'giving a part of Land of Israel', namely Sinai, to Egypt.

Although I have chosen an admittedly extreme example of the Biblical borders of the Land of Israel which 'belong' to the 'Jewish state', those borders are quite popular in national-religious circles. There are less extreme versions of Biblical borders, sometimes also called 'historical borders'. It should however be emphasized that within Israel and the community of its diaspora Jewish supporters, the validity of the concept of either Biblical borders or historical borders as delineating the borders of land which belongs to Jews by right is not denied on grounds of principle, except by the tiny minority which opposes the concept of a Jewish state. Otherwise, objections to the realisation of such borders by a war are purely pragmatical. One can claim that Israel is now too weak to conquer all the land which 'belongs' to the Jews, or that the loss of Jewish lives (but not of Arab lives!) entailed in a war of conquest of such magnitude is more important than the conquest of the land, but in normative Judaism one cannot claim that 'the Land of Israel', in whatever borders, does not 'belong' to all the Jews. In May 1993, Ariel Sharon formally proposed in the Likud Convention that Israel should adopt the 'Biblical borders' concept as its official policy. There were rather few objections to this proposal, either in the Likud or outside it, and all were cased on pragmaic grounds. No one even asked Sharon where exactly are the Biblical borders which he was urging that Israel should attain. Let us recall that among those who call themselves Leninists there was no doubt that history follows the principles laid out by Marx and Lenin. It is not only the belief itself, however dogmatic, but the refusal that it should ever be doubted, by thwarting open discussion, which creates a totalitarian cast of mind. Israeli-Jewish society and diaspora Jews who are leading 'Jewish lives' and organised in purely Jewish organisations, can be said therefore to have a strong streak of totalitarianism in their character.

However, an Israeli grand strategy, not based on the tenets of 'Jewish ideology', but based on purely strategic or imperial considerations had also developed since the inception of the state. An authoriative and lucid description of the principles governing such strategy was given by General (Reserves) Shlomo Gazit, a former Military Intelligence commander.-- According to Gazit,

Quote:"Israel's main task has not changed at all [since the demise of the USSR] and it remains of crucial importance. The geographical location of Israel at the centre of the Arab-Muslim Middle East predestines Israel to be a devoted guardian of stability in all the countries surrounding it. Its [role] is to protect the existing regimes: to prevent or halt the processes of radicalization, and to block the expansion of fundamentalist religious zealtory.
Quote:For this purpose Israel will prevent changes occuring beyond Israel's borders [which it] will regard as intolerable, to the point of feeling compelled to use all its military power for the sake of their prevention or eradication."

In other words, Israel aims at imposing a hegemony on other Middle Eastern states. Needless to say, according to Gazit, Israel has a benevolent concern for the stability of the Arab regimes. In Gazit's view, by protecting Middle Eastern regimes, Israel performs a vital service for 'the industrially advanced states, all of which are keenly concerned with guaranteeing the stability in the Middle East'. He argues that without Israel the existing regimes of the region would have collapsed long ago and that they remain in existence only because of Israeli threats. While this view may be hypocritical, one should recall in such contexts La Rochefoucault's maxim that 'hypocrisy is the tax which wickedness pays to virtue'. Redemption of the Land is an attempt to evade paying any such tax.

Needless to say, I also oppose root and branch the Israeli non-ideological policies as they are so lucidly and correctly explained by Gazit. At the same time, I recognize that the dangers of the policies of Ben-Gurion of Sharon, motivated by 'Jewish ideology', are much worse than merely imperial policies, however criminal. The results of policies of other ideologically motivated regimes point in the same direction. The existence of an important component of Israeli policy, which is based on 'Jewish ideology', makes its analysis politically imperative. This ideology is, in turn based on the attitudes of historic Judaism to non-Jews, one of the main themes of this book. Those attitudes necessarily influence many Jews, consciously or unconciously. Our task here is to discuss historic Judaism in real terms.

The influence on 'Jewish ideology' on many Jews will be stronger the more it is hidden from public discussion. Such discussion will, it is hoped, lead people take the same attitude towards Jewish chauvinism and the contempt displayed by so many Jews towards non-Jews (which will be documented below) as that commonly taken towards antisemitism and all other forms of xenophobia, chauvinism and racism. It is justly assumed that only the full exposition, not only of antisemitism, but also of its historical roots, can be the basis of struggle against it. Likewise I am assuming that only the full exposition of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism can be the basis of struggle against those phenomena. This is especially true today when, contrary to the situation prevailing fifty or sixty years ago, the political influence of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism is much greater than that of antisemitism. But there is also another important consideration. I strongly believe that antisemitism and Jewish chauvinism can only be fought simultaneously.

A Closed Utopia?
Until such attitudes are widely adopted, the actual danger of Israeli policies based on 'Jewish ideology' remains greater than the danger of policies based on purely strategic considerations. The difference between the two kinds of policies was well expressed by Hugh Trevor-Roper in his essay 'Sir Thomas More and Utopia'3 in which he termed them Platonic and Machiavellian:
Quote:"Machiavelli at least apologized for the methods which he thought necessary in politics. He regretted the necessity of force and fraud and did not call them by any other name. But Plato and More sanctified them, provided that they were used to sustain their own Utopian republics."

In a similiar way true believers in that Utopia called the 'Jewish state', which will strive to achieve the 'Biblical borders', are more dangerous than the grand strategists of Gazit's type because their policies are being sanctified either by the use of religion or, worse, by the use of secularized religious principles which retaim absolute validity. While Gazit at least sees a need to argue that the Israel diktat benefits the Arab regimes, Ben-Gurion did not pretend that the re-establishment of the kingdom of David and Solomon will benefit anybody except the Jewish state.

Using the concepts of Platonism to analyse Israeli policies based on 'Jewish ideology' should not seem strange. It was noticed by several scholars, of whom the most important was Moses Hadas, who claimed that the foundations of 'classical Judaism', that is, of Judaism as it was established by talmudic sages, are based on Platonic influences and especially on the image of Sparta as it appears in Plato4. According to Hadas, a crucial feature of the Platonic political system, adopted by Judaism as early as the Maccabean period (142-63 BC), was 'that every phase of human conduct be subject to religious sanctions which are in fact to be manipulated by the ruler'. There can be no better definition of 'classical Judaism' and of the ways in which the rabbis manipulated it than this Platonic definition. In particular, Hadas claims that Judaism adopted what 'Plato himself summarized [as] the objectives of his program', in the following well-known passage:
Quote:"The principle thing is that no one, man or woman, should ever be without an officer set over him, and that none should get the mental habit of taking any step, whether in earnest or in jest, on his individual responsibility. In peace as in war he must live always with his eyes on his superior officer... In a word, we must train the mind not to even consider acting as an invidual or know how to do it." (Laws, 942ab)

If the word 'rabbi' is substituted for 'an officer' we will have a perfect image of classical Judaism. The latter is still deeply influencing Israeli-Jewish society and determing to a large extent the Israeli policies.

It was the above quoted passage which was chosen by Karl Popper in The Open Society and Its Enemies as describing the essence of 'a closed society'. Historical Judaism and its two successors, Jewish Orthodoxy and Zionism, are both sworn enemies of the concept of the open society as applied to Israel. A Jewish state, whether based on its present Jewish ideology or, if it becomes even more Jewish in character than it is now, on the principles of Jewish Orthodoxy, cannot ever contain an open society. There are two choices which face Israeli-Jewish society. It can become a fully closed and warlike ghetto, a Jewish Sparta, supported by the labour of Arab helots, kept in existence by its influence on the US political establishment and by threats to use its nuclear power, or it can try to become an open society. The second choice is dependent on an honest examination of its Jewish past, on the admission that Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism exist, and on an honest examination of the attitudes of Judaism towards the non-Jews.

(Source: https://ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/shahak.html#3

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  New Film Released 9/11/2021
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  On collaboration between Nazis and Zionists
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This is a clip from an article about Zionism in the Britain's Labour Party:


“Collaboration with the Nazis”
What was all the fuss about? In order to answer that, it is necessary to relate a well-documented, but little-known episode.

Perdition was based on the 1954 Gruenwald-Kasztner trial in Israel.
Malchiel Gruenwald – a refugee from Hungary who lost 50 relatives to the Nazi Holocaust – was sued for writing a pamphlet accusing Labor Zionist functionary Rezső Kasztner of “collaboration with the Nazis” back in their native country.
A press spokesperson for an Israeli ministry, Kasztner was a member of the ruling Mapai party, the forerunner of Israel’s present-day Labor Party.
Mapai leaders were hoping to get Kasztner into the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. He was a Mapai candidate for the first two Knesset elections, and initially for the third, before he was removed as an embarrassment.
[Image: rezso-kasztner-1950.jpg?itok=DjxlVfr5&ti...1630599354]
Rezső Kasztner speaking on Israeli state radio. Kasztner’s cooperation with Nazi war criminals in his native Hungary caused a national scandal after his actions came under the microscope during a 1954 libel trial in Israel. (Wikimedia Commons)

Party leaders had a degree of loyalty to Kasztner, as he had been their man in Hungary during the war. If Kasztner was a collaborator, so were they, they reasoned. Gruenwald’s accusations could not be allowed to stand.
According to a 1950 Israeli law, if Kasztner was a Nazi collaborator, he could even have faced the death penalty. The government resolved to sue Gruenwald for libel. They would come to regret it.
After months of hearings, the court found Gruenwald had not defamed Kasztner and decided that the Mapai man had indeed collaborated. Kasztner had “sold his soul to the devil,” the judge famously ruled.
Worse still for the Labor Zionists, the hearings became a trial of Kasztner in the court of public opinion – and by extension a trial of them. The affair still resonates in Israel decades later.
The trial exposed a gruesome history of Nazi-Zionist cooperation which Israeli leaders would have preferred remain buried.
[font="din next w01 medium", sans-serif]Deadly lies[/font]
After the March 1944 German invasion of Hungary, Kasztner, a local member of the Zionist leadership, worked directly with the Nazis.
He agreed to help maintain calm in the Hungarian Jewish community, particularly the 20,000 Jews of Kasztner’s native town of Kluj. The Nazis wanted to ensure there was no repeat of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in Poland the year prior.
The Jews of Kluj were concentrated in a ghetto prior to deportation, and were told a tale about “Kenyermeze,” a work camp in a German-occupied area where they would supposedly be sent and kept alive.
But this was a deadly lie: The trains were actually taking people to Auschwitz, the death camp in occupied Poland, where the Nazis murdered 12,000 Hungarian Jews per day.
Almost half a million Hungarian Jews were ultimately exterminated.
To ensure there was no rebellion, Kasztner’s men told the Jewish community that they would be safe. Fake postcards and letters from “Kenyermeze” were distributed or read by his group assuring the Jews in Kluj that all was well. Thinking they were being deported to labor camps, Jews in Hungary mostly did not resist.
As Ben Hecht writes in Perfidy, his 1961 book on the affair, the Jews of Kluj were guarded in their ghetto by fewer than two dozen Nazi and Hungarian guards. They could have easily overcome them and escaped to safety across the Romanian border, just three miles away, had Kasztner told them what fate he knew really awaited them.
But Kasztner had personally negotiated a deal with senior Hitler aide and Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann. Kasztner knew where the “resettlement” trains were actually headed, but remained silent.
[font="din next w01 medium", sans-serif]“A success for Zionism”[/font]
In exchange for deceiving his community, the Nazis agreed to let Kasztner select a group – mostly fellow Zionists, friends and family – who would be permitted to escape Hungary on a train to Switzerland. The idea was that the elite group would join the Zionist settler-colony in Palestine.
Zionists and Nazis both agreed on the goal of removing European Jews from Europe.
Eichmann was captured in Argentina in 1960 by Mossad agents and brought back to Israel, where he would be tried and executed in 1962.
Speaking to a pro-Nazi Dutch journalist, while still at large in 1955, Eichmann himself fondly recalled working with Kasztner. He described the Nazi-Zionist meeting of minds in chillingly frank terms.
According to Eichmann, Kasztner’s main concern was to make it possible for a select group of Hungarian Jews to go to Palestine.
“You can have the others,” Eichmann recalled Kasztner saying, “but let me have this group here.”
The Nazi also asserted that “there was a very strong similarity between our attitudes in the SS and the viewpoint of these immensely idealistic Zionist leaders.”

“I believe that Kasztner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal,” Eichmann said. “He was not interested in old Jews or those who had become assimilated into Hungarian society. But he was incredibly persistent in trying to save biologically valuable Jewish blood – that is, human material that was capable of reproduction and hard work.”
“Because Kasztner rendered us a great service by helping keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his group escape,” Eichmann explained.
Judge Benjamin Halevy took nine months to write his ruling, concluding on 21 June 1955 that “the Nazis’ patronage of Kasztner, and their agreement to let him save six hundred prominent Jews, were part of the plan to exterminate the Jews.”
He said that Kasztner “considered the rescue of the most important Jews as a great personal success and a success for Zionism.”
[font="din next w01 medium", sans-serif]“How could the judge dare!”[/font]
The Israeli press extensively covered the story and the affair dominated the 1955 Knesset elections. The government immediately appealed to the high court. There were calls in the Knesset and press to have Kasztner tried under the Nazi collaborators law.
“A nightmare, a horror,” Prime Minister Moshe Sharett wrote in his diary. “How could the judge dare!”
Kasztner had become a liability. He was leaking inconvenient facts like a damaged bucket.
[Image: moshe-sharett.jpg?itok=svtYhbWP&timestamp=1630657095]
Israel’s second prime minister Moshe Sharett, who called the verdict “a nightmare.” (Wikimedia Commons)

If the appeal had not gone the government’s way, calls to try Kasztner as a Nazi collaborator would have been much harder to resist.
But before he could take the stand again, Kasztner was silenced forever.
In March 1957, he was assassinated outside his home. The three killers were already known to the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, and immediately arrested. One of them, Zeev Eckstein, confessed to having been a Shin Bet agent prior to the killing.
During and after the Gruenwald trial, Kasztner was given police protection. Shortly before his assassination, this was lifted. There were allegations that the Israeli security establishment had made a decision to murder Kasztner to shut him up.
The killers were sentenced to life in prison – yet only five years later they were released. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had personally intervened to help secure their freedom.
The high court overturned most of the libel trial verdict. The judges did not dispute the facts that emerged in the trial about what Kasztner had done, but only Judge Halevy’s legal interpretation of what they amounted to. In some instances the judges even justified his actions.
What did Kasztner have left to tell? It’s likely that some secrets died with him.
Notably, his collaboration with Nazi war criminals did not end with the war.
After the Holocaust he traveled to Germany and testified at Nuremberg in defense of several Nazis involved in the extermination of Jews, such as SS officer Kurt Becher. As a result, Becher escaped the noose and eventually became one of West Germany’s richest industrialists.
Kasztner had originally been brought to Nuremberg to testify against Nazi war criminals, as detailed in Akiva Orr’s 1994 book Israel: Politics, Myths and Identity Crises.
But according to one American prosecutor, “Kasztner roamed the Nazi prison camp for Nazi officers searching for those he could help by testimony or intervention on their behalf. In the end we were very glad when he left.”
[font="din next w01 medium", sans-serif]Jones’ double game[/font]
While Kasztner’s behavior may have been particularly egregious, it came within the context of broader Zionist-Nazi cooperation, as both movements shared the goal of removing Jews from Europe.
Kasztner’s affidavit to the Nuremberg tribunal on behalf of the Nazi Kurt Becher stated that it was given “not only in my name, but also on behalf of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish World Congress” – two of the leading bodies of the Zionist movement at the time.
In the appeal of the Gruenwald verdict, Israel’s attorney general admitted as much.
“Kasztner did nothing more and nothing less than was done by us,” he stated. “It has always been our Zionist tradition to select the few out of the many in arranging the immigration to Palestine.”
What do we learn from all this?
Owen Jones is often referred to on the British left as a weather vane, because he changes his positions so often.
In 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn was popular, Jones supported his leadership.
But at the first test in 2016, when there was an attempted coup by Labour MPs and the Israel lobby, Jones turned against him, writing that he was in “despair” about Labour under Corbyn.
Soon before the June 2017 election, Jones went further and explicitly called for Corbyn to quit.
After Corbyn’s Labour came within a few thousand votes of winning that election, depriving the ruling Conservative Party of its majority and ultimately forcing Prime Minister Theresa May to step down, Jones flip-flopped once again, writing that he had made a mistake.
Unchastened, Jones has played a similar double game ever since. He has long fueled the Labour witch hunt over “anti-Semitism,” endorsing calls for socialists like Chris WilliamsonJackie Walker and this author to be suspended or expelled.
Now, with Loach expelled, Jones again wants it both ways. He wants to claim he doesn’t support expulsion, but at the same time he unjustly condemns Loach’s work as “incredibly distressing to Jewish people” – and thus implies there’s merit to the expulsion.
Owen Jones is no true friend to socialists or Palestinians.[font=Georgia, "times new roman", "dejavu serif", serif]

[*]Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (Atlanta: On Our Own Authority, 2014), pages 284-291

[*]Ben Hecht, Perfidy, (New York: Julian Messner, Inc., 1961)

[*]Akiva Orr, Israel: Politics, Myths and Identity Crises (London: Pluto Press, 1994), pages 81-116

[*]Tom Segev, The Seventh Million (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993), pages 255-296, 305-310

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