December 17, 2001
When is American foreign policy going to start putting America first? The US had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by vetoing a UN resolution condemning violence on all sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The resolution condemned terrorism, no matter what the source, called for the creation of a "monitoring mechanism" to prevent violence, denounced executions without trial, and said the destruction of property must cease. You gotta problem with that?
This administration does: John Negroponte, American ambassador to the UN, justified the US veto by averring that the resolution aimed to "isolate politically one of the parties to the conflict through an attempt to throw the weight of the Council behind the other party.'' The resolution, said Negroponte, was unsatisfactory because it didn't specifically mention "recent acts of terrorism'' against Israelis. Naturally, this scuttled the whole thing, as it was intended to do.
For this argument, if carried on long enough, would lead to an infinite regression of victimological examples: the pro-Arab bloc would insist on specifically mentioning the supposedly accidental killing of five Palestinian children by an Israeli booby-trap bomb planted near a school. This would be the cue for the Israeli side to come up with a Hamas-Hizbollah atrocity that merits inclusion and, before you know it, we're all the way back to 1948 with the pro-Arabists demanding the inclusion of the massacre at Deir Yassein, and, naturally, the Zionist bloc doing them one better by moving for some mention of the Roman conquest and persecution of the Jews.
The US veto undermines the war effort, and makes the Americans seem as if they are waging a war not only on Islam, but against the entire world on behalf of Israel. After decades of trying to prove its bona fides as an honest broker of peace in the region, it is the US that is effectively isolated. The resolution was co-sponsored (or amended) by France and the Security Council vote was 12-1, with Britain and Norway abstaining. Whatever credibility the US had in the Arab world very little, I'm afraid was lost with that one arrogant gesture. So much for the grand "coalition" that Colin Powell has been building: the Israeli lobby in the US has demolished it with a single blow.
Is that the demonic laughter of the Mad Sheik I hear, chortling in his cave at this act of American self-sabotage? It may be Osama bin Laden is not long for this world. Yet he will die happy in the knowledge that the US is sowing the seeds of his future warrior army, who will spring like Muslim Myrmidons out of Palestine's blood-soaked earth.
Speaking of sabotage, the story of the gigantic Israeli spy operation in the US and its mysterious activities in the weeks prior to 9/11 continues to amaze and shock even me. When I wrote, a few weeks ago, that the detention of some 60 Israelis in connection with 9/11 was "ominous" little did I realize just how much of an understatement that would turn out to be. It is often said that, post-9/11, the US is going through what the Israelis have had to endure for decades. The series of Fox News special reports on Israeli penetration of US intelligence assets puts this insight in an entirely new light. For it appears, from what we are learning, that the struggle between two desert tribes in a far away land has truly been brought home to the US: America, we are discovering to our horror, has become a battleground for both sides in that ancient conflict.
As I related last week, the first part of this astonishing four-part series by Fox News reporter Carl Cameron presents credible evidence suggesting Israeli intelligence had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. The second and third parts show they had the means to acquire this knowledge. According to Cameron,
"Fox News has learned that some American terrorist investigators fear certain suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks may have managed to stay ahead of them, by knowing who and when investigators are calling on the telephone."
Cameron takes us through an explanation of how and why virtually all telephone calls in the US are billed by a single company, Amdocs Ltd., which just happens to be headquartered in Israel. Chances are that when you make a call, the record of the call and the billing is done through Amdocs. With a virtual monopoly in the US, and tentacles worldwide, Cameron reports that "it is virtually impossible to make a call on normal phones without generating an Amdocs record of it." Amdocs denies any wrongdoing, but sources tell Fox News that, in 1999,
"The super secret national security agency, headquartered in northern Maryland, issued what's called a Top Secret sensitive compartmentalized information report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States were getting into foreign hands in Israel, in particular."
It's not that anyone is listening in on all these calls, but that these methods are a way to know who is calling whom, when, and for how long vital information in and of itself. Cameron assures us that the White House and the Pentagon are immune from such surveillance, but an article in Insight, the magazine put out by the Washington Times, showed how Israeli intelligence had thoroughly penetrated the communications system at the Clinton White House. According to co-authors J. Michael Waller and Paul M. Rodriguez, writing in May of last year, the FBI was
"Probing an explosive foreign-espionage operation that could dwarf the other spy scandals plaguing the U.S. government. Insight has learned that FBI counterintelligence is tracking a daring operation to spy on high-level US officials by hacking into supposedly secure telephone networks. The espionage was facilitated, federal officials say, by lax telephone-security procedures at the White House, State Department and other high-level government offices and by a Justice Department unwillingness to seek an indictment against a suspect."
"The espionage operation may have serious ramifications," wrote Waller and Rodriguez, "because the FBI has identified Israel as the culprit."
Dozens of officials confirmed the story, telling the authors of this fascinating piece how the Israelis had managed to penetrate not only State Department telephone lines, but also those in the White House, the Defense Department, and the Justice Department. That the President knew this at the time is beyond doubt; it came out, you'll remember, during l'affaire Lewinsky, when Monica testified that, on March 29, 1997, she and Clinton were desecrating the Oval Office and she specifically remembered it because, as the Starr Report put it:
"He suspected that a foreign embassy was tapping his telephones, and he proposed cover stories. If ever questioned, she should say that the two of them were just friends. If anyone ever asked about their phone sex, she should say that they knew their calls were being monitored all along, and the phone sex was just a put on."
That "foreign embassy" was the Israelis'. It is spooky, in retrospect, to read the comments of the American intelligence and law enforcement officials who sourced this pioneering Insight piece (which, for some reason, is no longer available on their website but is still available, thanks to the miracle of Google). "It's a huge security nightmare," said one senior US official. "The implications are severe," another unnamed official chimed in. "We're not even sure we know the extent of it," said a third high-ranking intelligence official. "All I can tell you is that we think we know how it was done. That alone is serious enough, but it's the unknown that has such deep consequences."
Ah, but the deepness of these consequences is just beginning to be known. As the Fox News revelations make all too clear, they are a lot deeper than anyone, including Waller and Rodriguez, could possibly have imagined last year. The picture that is beginning to emerge out of the murk is this: the Israelis were watching the hijackers and/or their associates, and they very possibly had access to a complete set of the conspirators' phone records, if not direct access to the content of their conversations. In the months prior to the attacks, the Israelis did indeed issue a warning of "massive" terrorist attacks, but, in an effort to protect both their sources and methods, their warning gave no details and was therefore practically useless.
The third part of the Fox series shows how the Israelis had access, not only to phone records, but also to the wiretaps being conducted by US law enforcement agencies. This access could have easily been provided, Cameron points out, by yet another hi-tech Israeli communications company, Comverse, which operates as practically a branch of the Israeli government, and enjoys near monopolistic status here in the US.
When you place a call, it goes through a complicated network of routers and switchers. The way wiretapping works is that customized computers are linked to that network via specialized software, and the system intercepts, records, and stores wiretapped calls. But this system has a "back door" that could have easily been opened by Israeli intelligence. Comverse maintains a link to the wiretapping computers, on the grounds that it is necessary for system "maintenance." Over the opposition of some patriotic law enforcement officers, this process was authorized by the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). But that wasn't the end of it. According to Fox News,
"Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were both warned Oct. 18 in a hand-delivered letter from 15 local, state and federal law enforcement officials, who complained that 'law enforcement's current electronic surveillance capabilities are less effective today than they were at the time CALEA was enacted.'"
But Ashcroft is too busy rounding up Arabs and closing down their organizations to worry about the wholesale penetration of our communications system including "secure" networks at the White House, the Defense Department, and elsewhere by our wonderful allies, the Israelis. Cameron cites several unnamed law enforcement agents concerned about the ominous implications of the Israeli penetration in light of 9/11 who say that even raising the issue is "career suicide."
Okay, so the Israelis have the phone lines over at the White House, the Defense Department, the Justice Department, and, for all we know, your local dogcatcher's office bugged to the max. So they have the capability to know where and when practically every phone call in the US, and large sections of the rest of the world, is made, and to whom. As fantastic as it sounds, given the advance of technology and the reputation of the Mossad, I'm willing to believe it. What's really alarming, however, is that, as Cameron reports:
"On a number of cases, suspects that they had sought to wiretap and survey immediately changed their telecommunications processes. They started acting much differently as soon as those supposedly secret wiretaps went into place."
The implications of this stunning news go far beyond my original contention: that the Israelis had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and simply failed to let us know the details. For it all depends on the intended target of the wiretaps: was it the Israelis, or Bin Laden's agents? If the former were acting differently after wiretaps were put in place, it means only that the Israelis were using their sources and methods to protect their own: if the latter, it means the Israelis were using their sources and methods to protect the Bin Ladenites. That is a possibility no one including me wants to contemplate, and, in all truthfulness, I must confess I cannot believe it. I am forced to concede, however, that, given what we now know, it is possible. Until and unless the government comes clean, we won't know for sure.
At the end of his second report, Carl Cameron remarked to Brit Hume that the question of the Israeli connection to 9/11 "came up in the select intelligence committee on Capitol Hill today," and "they intend to look into what we reported last night." Naturally, all this is occurring in secret, with the likelihood of a cover-up all but certain. What is needed is a public investigation, and full disclosure of the Israeli role, if any, in 9/11.
That, of course, is the role of the media and, in this regard, it is interesting to note that Cameron's explosive investigation has not been picked up by a single news outlet, as far as I know (although I would be happy to be proved wrong) or discussed by a single "mainstream" columnist. Yet Fox News is hardly a marginal new source. In a business where scandal and especially spy stories are hot, you would think that a story like this, with its tie-in to 9/11, would have the other networks and the major media falling all over themselves to get a piece of the action. But not this time, at least so far.
It's funny, but when I wrote my first column on this subject, I got a whole bunch of nutball letters from anti-Semitic cranks who told me that "the Jews" would never let me get away with it, and that I am now a "marked man." This story, wrote one correspondent, "will go nowhere," because "the Jews" control the media, blah blah blah. I laughed, reading these perfervid notes, most of them WRITTEN IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, wondering at the infinite capacity of people to fit reality into ideological categories rather than the other way 'round. After all, the mere fact that the story was broadcast on Fox News, a major media organization, appears to contradict the self-evidently absurd thesis that the "Elders of Zion," sitting in a control room somewhere, determine what news we're allowed to read.
I can only hope, for Mr. Cameron's sake, that what amounts to "career suicide" in law enforcement doesn't hold true at Fox News. Israel certainly has many vocal and very active supporters, who are quick to make their opinions known. But it is false to posit a "Jewish-controlled" media, no matter what the ethnicity or political persuasion of editors, owners, or whatever: these media companies are beholden to their shareholders, and to the market. Reporting the news is an intensely competitive business: there is no way to enforce an embargo on certain information, not in this day and age. There is no "Jewish conspiracy" only the machinations of a particular foreign government and its uncritical supporters in this country, who span the ethnic and religious as well as the political spectrum.
It is too soon to say whether or not this story has "legs," as they say, and is going anywhere soon. But one thing's for sure: Fox News has blown the mystery of 9/11 wide open. This isn't going to just go away. On September 11, the American people looked on in disbelief at the sight of not only the World Trade Center going down but the Pentagon the Pentagon, fer chrissake! under attack and apparently defenseless. My first thought, at any rate, was: How could this happen? With these latest surprising developments pointing to an ambiguous Israeli role, at best, in all this I fear we are just beginning to discover the answer to that question.
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