Archive for December, 2010

Arabic-language press: Egypt uncovers Israeli spy network that eavesdropped on govt officials

Posted in Media Watch on December 19, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Authorities arrest members of alleged Egypt-based Israeli spy ring’

Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt); December 19, 2010

Egyptian security forces have arrested several people suspected of belonging to an Israeli spy network operating in Egypt. The alleged network reportedly consists of two fugitive Israeli officers and four Egyptian nationals.

The State Security apparatus is currently conducting a highly secretive investigation of the suspects.

Investigations have so far revealed that network members had succeeded in establishing two communications offices, one in Cairo and one in the UK, through which they recorded telephone calls made by prominent Egyptian government officials. The calls were then allegedly transferred to a communications office in Israel.

Investigations have further revealed that one of the Israeli officers had managed to recruit a female Egyptian public relations director working at a tourism company to supply him with information, in return for money, about places frequented by certain groups of tourists — including those from China and Japan — near the border region of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

After being provided with the information, the Israeli officer was then able to kidnap a number of tourists who were allegedly taken to Israel. After several days, kidnapped tourists were then reportedly returned to the place from which they had been abducted. The operation’s apparent objective was to destabilize security in the Sinai Peninsula.

Confessions by the defendants have revealed that the two officers had recruited a former female basketball player and her friend to rent a communications office in Cairo, which was run by a third person who has also been arrested. This office was reportedly linked to a communications office in the UK.

The defendants were thus able to monitor and record telephone calls made from certain landlines in Egypt — as specified by the two officers — which were then transferred to the UK office before being re-transmitted to a communications office in Israel.

Egyptian security forces have arrested and detained the Egyptian suspects pending investigation, while public prosecutors have charged them with conducting espionage for a foreign country, recording telephone calls without permission, and forming a “terrorist cell” aimed at disrupting public order.

Interpol, meanwhile, has been asked to issue arrest warrants for the Israeli suspects.

Al-Masry Al-Youm has learned that the case file contains more than 15 telephone calls involving high-ranking government officials that were successfully recorded by the suspected spies.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

The above article can be found here:



Also see ‘Arabic-language press: Former Zionist intel chief boasts of Israeli infiltration of Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Iran’ here:

Also see ‘Israel Takes Control of Lebanon’ here:

Also see ‘In Egypt, 9/11 questions linger (not least about the role of Israel)’ here:

Also see ‘Israel applauds Egyptian regime’s suppression of Muslim opposition in rigged parliamentary elections’ here:

Also see ‘ABC News: Still active in US, Israeli art student spies case NSA data center’ here:

Also see ‘Mossad in America’ here:


WAGGING THE DOG: World’s only superpower admits failure to stop Israel’s illegal settlement drive

Posted in ZOGs on December 18, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Obama administration gives up on settlement freeze’

Associated Press (AP); December 7, 2010

WASHINGTON — From the start of his term, President Barack Obama was determined to defy the cynics and doubters and push for peace in the Middle East.

[False. The latest developments only serve to confirm what we already knew: that the Zionist-managed Obama regime, from the very beginning, was never sincere about its stated desire to see the emergence of an independent Palestinian state -- 800]

But by Tuesday, the White House’s efforts to broker a deal in the decades-old dispute between Israelis and Palestinians had faltered — demonstrating once again why it is one of the world’s most intractable conflicts.

After months of grueling diplomacy, using a mixture of pressure and promises, the White House abandoned attempts to persuade Israel to slow West Bank settlement activity.

The Palestinians had demanded the freeze in exchange for engaging in direct talks that were supposed to lead to a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel. That deal, it was hoped, would lead to a broader Middle East peace accord.

Two American officials said the administration has concluded that the strategy of seeking a freeze wasn’t working, while insisting the administration was not back at square one.

But the talks stalled in September, barely a month after they started. The Palestinians refused to return to direct negotiations until a new freeze was in place following the expiration of an earlier, 10-month Israeli slowdown in settlement expansion.

Now, said the US officials, American pressure for a three-month moratorium and the US incentives package, which included political, diplomatic and security assurances for Israel, are off the table. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Obama’s ambitious bid to succeed in the Middle East where other presidents had failed was always a gamble.

But the effort’s apparent breakdown comes at a time when the administration is struggling on a number of other fronts abroad. There is slow progress in the Afghanistan war, increasing friction with China and the embarrassing deluge of confidential diplomatic cables released by the website [read 'psy-op'] WikiLeaks.

The US officials said the administration was not giving up efforts to broker a peace deal and noted that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will visit Washington next week for consultations.

The US will be talking with both sides in the coming days, one of the officials said, while Arab states and other interested countries also will be consulted.

However, the administration’s decision to drop support for the Palestinians’ key demand could mean the end of the moribund peace process.

Obama had made Israeli-Palestinian peace a major goal of his administration, appointing seasoned peace negotiator George Mitchell as his special Mideast envoy on his second day in office.

Mitchell made dozens of trips to the region to get the parties to agree to direct talks. In early September, with the expiration of the initial slowdown looming, Obama brought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian [Authority] President [and Zionist front-man] Mahmoud Abbas along with the leaders of Jordan and Egypt to launch the face-to-face discussions, which failed.

Neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials would comment on the developments in Washington before their official announcement.

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the US had halted talks with Israel on settlement activity because Washington was distracted by the WikiLeaks release of secret documents.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded that Israel may have been preoccupied with putting out a huge forest fire that burned until Sunday.

The US had been pressing Israel to renew a moratorium on new settlement construction in exchange for security guarantees and diplomatic assurances of support. Israel wanted those in writing, as well as a pledge that east Jerusalem would be exempt from the moratorium.

The Palestinians refused to return to the peace talks unless Israel halted all building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — lands they want for part of their future state.

Peace talks began in September but ground to a halt three weeks later after Israel’s original moratorium on new West Bank construction expired.

Netanyahu returned from a November trip to the US with a list of guarantees, including 20 next-generation stealth fighter planes and US pledges to veto anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, according to Israeli officials.

In exchange, Israel was asked to renew the expired limits on settlement construction.

Days later, the deal snagged after members of Netanyahu’s Cabinet demanded a written pledge from the US that the moratorium would exclude east Jerusalem. Such a pledge never materialized.

The US had wanted a moratorium in the hopes that it would allow Israel and the Palestinians to make enough progress in drawing their future borders to make the settlement question irrelevant.

With borders determined, Israel could resume building on any territories it would expect to keep under a final peace deal.

But Israeli officials said Tuesday that short of an understanding on borders, a crisis could erupt if Israel agreed to the freeze sought by the US.

Now, said Israeli officials, insisting on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the contacts, the US and Israel have agreed on a statement that “in the coming days and weeks, efforts will continue toward finding ways to renew the direct negotiations in order to reach a framework that would lead in the end to an agreement between the two sides.”

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the PLO, blamed Israel for the impasse.

It is clear that the failure of the American efforts is entirely a result of the obstacles and conditions placed by Mr. Netanyahu,” Rabbo said. He said the Palestinians would have to consult with their Arab allies on their next move.

The above article can be found here:



‘Disappointment all round’

Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt); December 16, 2010

On 7 December, the Obama administration admitted defeat in its attempts to cajole, beg and bribe the Israeli government into accepting a partial West Bank settlement “freeze” so that direct negotiations with the Palestinians could continue — and that the anchor of its Middle East policy for 20 months had sunk.

Not that failure, shipwreck, collapse appeared in any of the official Washington dispatches.

“We have been pursuing a moratorium as a means to create conditions for a return to meaningful and sustained negotiations,” said State Department spokesman PJ Crowley. But “after a considerable effort, we have concluded that this does not create a firm basis to work towards our shared goal of a framework agreement.”

The moratorium — a 90-day limited freeze on settlement starts in the occupied West Bank — had been sugarcoated with incentives (such as 20 free F-35 stealth bombers and a guaranteed US veto on “hostile” resolutions at the UN Security Council) for Israel’s ultranationalist coalition government to swallow.

Binyamin Netanyahu spat them out. He knew such gifts will come gratis given Washington’s promises to protect Israel at the UN or preserve its “qualitative” military edge in the region. Even as he was negotiating the moratorium Congress was approving an increase in military aid to Israel from $2.75 billion in 2010 to $3 billion in 2011.

What the Israeli prime minister was really looking for was a written US pledge that occupied East Jerusalem would be excluded from any freeze, in effect conferring an Israeli “right” to build there. Even for an administration as supine as Obama’s this was an “incentive” too far.

Instead, the moratorium idea was ditched amid un-attributable briefings that Israel and the Palestinians were unlikely to resolve in 90 days final status issues they had been unable to resolve in 17 years.

True, but no amount of spin can camouflage the scale of the American retreat. Barack Obama began his presidency accepting the Palestinian and Arab view that a complete settlement freeze throughout the occupied territories was necessary for any credible peace process to resume.

Faced with pretty minor Israeli resistance, he accepted a partial moratorium in the West Bank while arm-twisting the Palestinians to go back to negotiations they knew were meaningless.

Now — while still not accepting the “legitimacy of continued settlement activity” on Palestinian land — he has simply tossed back settlements as one more bilateral final status issue to be sorted out by the parties themselves. In less than two years, his administration has swung from absolute opposition to absolute acceptance of settlements.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Yasser Abed Rabbo was aghast: “If they [the US] can’t convince Israel or force it to stop settlement construction for a specified period of time, how will they make Israel accept a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders?”

The short answer is they can’t or won’t. At a Washington conference on 9 December, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her administration would be replacing its single-minded focus on a freeze (full or partial) with an even more hopeless policy: proximity talks so the two sides can talk to the Americans about the issues that divide them, something they have been doing for even longer than 17 years.

She said nothing about her government’s goal of reaching a framework agreement within a year. And she warned the Palestinian leadership not to take their case to international forums like the UN Security Council: an “alternative” to bilateral talks buoyed by the recent decisions of Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina to “recognize Palestine as a free and independent state” based on the 1967 armistice lines.

“The US and international community cannot impose a solution,” she said. “And even if we could, we would not, because it is only a negotiated agreement between the parties that will be sustainable… Unilateral efforts at the UN are not helpful and undermine trust.”

The West Bank Palestinian leadership met the US failure with anger, dismay and inaction. But there would be no Palestinian response to this “difficult crisis in peace process” until the PLO had consulted with Egypt, Jordan and the Arab League, said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 7 December.

It’s easy to see why. If the crisis is humiliating for the US, it’s downright impossible for Abbas and his Arab allies. In scrapping the freeze and opposing any attempt to take the conflict to the UN, the Americans have left them with no diplomatic, peaceful options. And resistance has never been part of Abbas’s armory.

Instead, he will be left heading a West Bank PA obligated to provide unconditional security to Israeli settlers while offering only conditional economic security to a small part of its people. He will also have to bless indirect negotiations with an Israeli government, the core settler constituency of which has made colonization, especially in East Jerusalem, the touchstone of support.

Such a political reality cannot last. But the likely victim of any opposition will not be Israel or even the settlements but Abbas and those other Arab leaders who have given license to a process that has long been void of substance. For the last two years the hope had been that Obama would spare them such a fate. But Obama has no policy other than capitulation when faced by the obduracy of Netanyahu’s Israel — and neither do they.

The above article can be found here:



‘Netanyahu hails US retreat on settlement freeze demands’

Haaretz (Israel); December 13, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed on Monday a US decision to drop efforts to achieve a construction freeze on Israeli settlements and focus on resolving core issues of the Middle East conflict.

“To reach peace, we have to discuss the issues that are truly delaying peace … I welcome the fact that we will now begin discussing these issues and try to narrow gaps,” Netanyahu said in a speech to an economic forum, hours before a US envoy George Mitchell was due to arrive in Israel.

In the speech, Netanyahu cited issues such as his demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, security arrangements and the future of Palestinian refugees.

Mitchell will meet with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday evening to put forth US ideas for moving the peace process forward.

Mitchell is expected to make clear to Netanyahu that the Obama administration wants the prime minister to take a position in the coming weeks on the core issues, with an emphasis on borders.

Mitchell is also scheduled to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. But the brunt of the work will be in Israel because the Palestinians have already submitted their opening positions on all the core issues — borders, security, Jerusalem, refugees, water and the settlements.

The Americans have heard little new from Netanyahu, with the exception of ideas on security and aspects considered secondary such as the environment and the economy.

Mitchell’s visit to Israel will be his first in three months. On September 15 he took part with Clinton in a tripartite meeting with Netanyahu and Abbas.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled when Israel’s 10-month freeze on settlement construction expired on September 26.

Last week, the US and Israel announced that talks on a deal for Israel to renew the settlement freeze in exchange for a set of US guarantees had reached a dead end.

The US now wants a return to indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks.

On Monday, Netanyahu hailed the US decision to drop its efforts to get Israel to renew the settlement freeze.

“I welcome this American decision. It is good for Israel. It is good for peace,” Netanyahu said.

The above article can be found here:



Also see ‘Obama offers Israel free stealth fighters, UNSC vetoes, Jordan Valley for 90-day settlement freeze’ here:

Also see ‘Israel-firsters sweep US mid-terms; GOP majority will ‘serve as check’ on Obama, republican leader tells Netanyahu’ here:

Also see ‘OTHER PEOPLE’S LAND: Zionist state to build another 1300 Jewish-only housing units in occupied W. Bank’ here:

Also see ‘While Washington plays peacemaker, US Treasury supports illegal Israeli settlement drive’ here:


ZIONIST CRIME LOG: Book by ex-soldiers presents further testimony to Israeli barbarity

Posted in Israel on December 17, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Our lives became something we’d never dreamt’: The former Israeli soldiers who have testified against army abusesThe Independent (UK); December 12, 2010

For anyone who has covered Israel, the West Bank and Gaza over the past few years, reading Occupation of the Territories, the new book from the Israeli ex-soldiers organization Breaking the Silence, can be an eerily evocative experience.

A conscript from the Givati Brigade, for example, describes how troops in the company operating next to his inside Gaza during 2008 had talked about an event earlier in the day. After knocking on the door of a Palestinian house and receiving no immediate answer, they had placed a “fox” — military slang for explosives used to break through doors and walls — outside the front door.

At that very moment, the woman of the house had reached the door to open it. “Her limbs were smeared on the wall and it wasn’t on purpose,” the soldier recalls. “And then her kids came and saw her. I heard it during dinner after the operation, someone said it was funny, and they cracked up from the situation that the kids saw their mother smeared on the wall…”

[Note: Just because some former soldiers have chosen to testify against army abuses does not make them "good Israeli Jews," because "good Israeli Jews" do not exist. If an Israeli Jew would like to be "good," i.e., do "the right thing" as it were, he/she should relinquish his/her Israeli citizenship and, as Helen Thomas put it, "get the hell out of Palestine" to make room for the land's rightful owners -- at which point he/she would no longer be Israeli. Ergo, there is no such thing as a "good Israeli Jew" -- 800]

A second-hand story, of course; one without names, dates or supporting detail. Except that it stirred a memory I had of reporting the death of a Palestinian UN schoolteacher east of Khan Younis. Wafer Shaker al-Daghma was killed when the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) commandeered her house during an incursion in May 2008. Her husband had been out at the time.

When we came to the house five days later, another incursion was under way and we could hear, uncomfortably close, the gunfire from Israeli armored military vehicles while Majdi al-Daghma described his wife’s death at the age of 34. When she realized troops were nearby, she’d ordered ‘ the children, Samira, 13, Roba, four, and Qusay, two, into the bedroom, put on a headscarf and prepared to open the door. “Samira heard a loud explosion and there was a lot of smoke,” he explained. “She looked for her mother but couldn’t see her.”

It was surely the same incident. You have to assume that the laughter alluded to by the conscript was a nervous reaction, a manifestation of delayed shock from the soldiers. They had, after all, had the presence of mind to cover Mrs. al-Daghma’s mutilated body with a carpet, and to keep the children confined to the bedroom for the five hours they had remained in the house.

[Why the writer feels the need to make excuses for the soldiers' barbaric behavior is a mystery. Examples of Israeli soldiers laughing while abusing innocent Palestinians, or even smiling for photos with dead children or bound captives, are manifold -- 800]

Samira said she had asked one of them, “Where is my mother?” but had not understood his reply in Hebrew. She explained how, when the soldiers finally left after nightfall, “There were still tanks outside our house… I tried to call my father on my mother’s Jawwal [mobile phone] but there was no line. I lifted the carpet and saw a bit of my mother’s clothes. She was not moving. I did not see her head.”

The point of this is not just that the soldier’s story is shocking, but that it is so apparently corroborated. Especially given that the conscript’s short account — unlike many others in the book, some every bit as disquieting — is based on hearsay, it is powerfully suggestive of the testimonies’ authenticity as a portrait of a 43-year-old occupation. These testimonies, checked and cross-checked, of young Israeli men and women struggling to come to terms, sometimes years after the event, with their military service in the West Bank and Gaza, add up to an unprecedented inside account, as the book’s introduction puts it, of “the principles and consequences of Israeli policy in the [Palestinian] territories”.

Breaking the Silence is a unique organization. No other country — including those with recent and problematic military histories, such as the US and Britain — has anything comparable. [Is the writer suggesting here that Israel should be admired for maintaining an occupation so brutal that soldiers themselves are moved to condemn it? -- 800]

Since it began in 2004, it has collected 700 testimonies from conscripts and reservists, spanning the decade since the beginning of the second intifada. In July last year, it made its greatest impact by publishing accounts from around 30 combat soldiers involved in the onslaught on Hamas-controlled Gaza only six months earlier, challenging the military’s assertion that it had done “the utmost to avoid harming uninvolved civilians”.

Breaking the Silence has since taken two more decisive steps. The Israeli military has long complained about the anonymity of its witnesses. In July, the IDF even questioned whether all the testimonies were genuine. Anonymity was understandable; the soldiers risked alienation and heavy criticism from their own communities as well as from the state itself, not to mention the possibility of proceedings brought by the military. Now, for the first time, 27 of those who had testified have allowed the Jerusalem-based photographer Quique Kierszenbaum to take their portraits, and use their names, along with summaries of why and what they testified.

The second step change, having in the past let the testimonies speak for themselves, is that Breaking the Silence has been emboldened by the sheer number of them to offer a broader analysis of what it believes they expose: in part that, while Israeli forces have indeed had to deal with “concrete threats in the past decade, including terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens”, their operations, especially in the West Bank, extend beyond the solely defensive and “systematically” lead to the “de facto annexation” of occupied territory “through the dispossession of Palestinian residents”.

In arguing that Israel exercises a measure of control over Palestinians that extends beyond its own security needs, the book (published in Hebrew on 21 December, with an English version to follow in the new year), takes four technical terms in frequent use by the Israeli military and tries to show in its introductions to the testimonies what Breaking the Silence sees as their real, as opposed to ostensible, meaning.

The first of these terms is “Prevention” [sikkul in Hebrew] which, it argues, has become a “code word” that allows almost every form of military action, offensive as well as defensive, to be classified as “prevention of terrorist activity”. It says the principle, first enunciated by the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon of “searing it into the consciousness” of Palestinians that violence does not pay, translates into “intimidation… and indiscriminate punishment of the Palestinian population”.

The examples given include: sending a military truck into the village of Tubas at 3am in 2003 “with stun grenades and just throwing them in the street, for no reason, waking people up [to say] ‘We are here. The IDF is here.’”; shooting ‘ a visibly unarmed man walking on a roof in Nablus in 2002 (“The company commander declared him a lookout, meaning that he understood there was no threat from the guy, and he gave the order to kill him”); and halting stone-throwing in Tekoa by using a “moving human shield” — a Palestinian man tied to the front of a vehicle — before driving round the village.

The second term is “Separation” [hafradah], meaning the separation of Palestinians not only from Israelis but from other Palestinians (within the West Bank and between Gaza and the West Bank) and their own land by using checkpoints, separation barriers, Israeli-only roads used by West Bank settlers, and a strict permit regime enforcing “isolation” of many communities. While much of this “separation” — including loss of land — is permanent, in the past two years, post-intifada, some obstacles have eased. But Breaking the Silence insists the “paradigm” is unchanged. “It’s obvious Israel relaxes its grip when things are easier,” says the organization’s Mikhael Manekin. “But it always has the grip. It can relax or tighten it as it chooses.”

There was the “separation” of Nablus in 2003 from the surrounding villages: “You have to understand the proportionality. A person between the ages of 16 and 35, who lives in Nablus has not left Nablus in the past four years, even to go to a village next to Nablus.” Another example was the Qalqilya area in 2002: “Someone whose fig grove they uprooted came in tears, and he said to me: ‘I worked for 30 years to buy the land, I worked this grove for 10 years, I waited 10 years for it to bear fruit, I enjoyed it for one year and they [the IDF] are uprooting it.’”

Next is “Fabric of life” [mirkam hayyim], the term used by the IDF to underline that it does its best to ensure as normal a life as possible for Palestinians — a proposition strongly contested in the book. It claims that Israel controls the passage of civilians and goods into Israel and within the West Bank, the opening of private businesses, transport of school-children, university students and medical cases. “[Property] can all be taken at the discretion of a regional commander or a soldier in the field… troops will burst into the house in the dead of night and arrest one of the inhabitants, only to release him later — all in order to practice arrest procedures.”

Among the examples is the story of a Palestinian truck driver trying to bring milk containers into Hebron from Yatta during a curfew in 2002, who was detained, handcuffed and blindfolded on a hot summer morning. He had some 2,000 liters of milk — all of which spoiled as he sat all day, restrained. “When I look at it [now],” says a former soldier, “I feel embarrassed… Did it contribute to the security of the state? No.”

Another example concerns illegal workers and their families trying to get into the Wadi Ara of northern Israel from the West Bank. One former soldier recalls “Pouring out the kids’ bags and playing with their toys… They cried and were afraid.” The adults cried, too? “Of course. One of the goals was always: I got him to cry in front of his kids, I got him to crap in his pants… from being beaten for the most part.”

Finally, in examining the term “Law enforcement” [akhifat hak], the book highlights the dual legal regime in the West Bank, whereby Palestinians are subject to military rule and courts while Israeli settlers are answerable to civilian courts. At the same time, it argues, Israeli settlers are effectively allies of the military — and they have a common enemy.

The book’s stark — and inevitably highly political — conclusion is contrary to the view that “Israel is withdrawing from the Palestinian Territories slowly and with the appropriate caution and security”. The IDF soldiers quoted “describe an indefatigable attempt to tighten Israel’s hold on the territories, as well as on the Palestinian population“.

Not surprisingly perhaps, Manekin acknowledges that those who have — as he deliberately puts it — “come out of the closet”, by allowing themselves to be named and photographed, are among the more activist of the 500 individuals who have testified to the organization. It is no coincidence that this parallel project has happened at a time when Breaking the Silence has decided to promote its own analysis of the past decade of occupation. Manekin says it wasn’t easy to be photographed. “We didn’t do this to be heroes,” he says. “Really, the political significance is the only reason for doing it.”

The above article can be found here:



Also see ‘ZIONIST CRIME LOG: Olive trees uprooted; children targeted; airspace violated’ here:

Also see ‘ZIONIST CRIME LOG: Mosques torched; cemeteries desecrated; Qurans burnt; murderers praised’ here:

Also see ‘OTHER PEOPLE’S LAND: Zionist state to build another 1300 Jewish-only housing units in occupied W. Bank’ here:

Also see ‘GAZA’S BLOOD IS ON OUR HANDS (for ignoring the truth of 9/11)’ here:

Also see ‘THIS IS A WAR’ here:


Avowed Talmudist to decide issue of ‘Internet neutrality’ in U.S.

Posted in ZOGs on December 17, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘A Talmud ace tackles thorny issue of net neutrality’

The Jewish Daily Forward; December 8, 2010

WASHINGTON — How should the United States regulate the Internet?

The answer to this question — which affects the flow of information and culture, the growth of the economy and the future of communications, education and democracy itself — rests largely in the hands of Julius Genachowski, a 48-year-old Jew from Long Island with knowledge of Talmud and an appointment to one of the most critical policy posts in Washington.

If his December 1 proposal to address Internet regulation is any indication, Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since June 2009, is seeking a solution in a very Jewish way: He issued a compromise in the pitched debate over the Internet’s openness, a concept often referred to as net neutrality.

The information and communication technology sector comprises about one-sixth of America’s economy. With more business, paperwork and personal connections moving online, the matter of who can access which website, through which service, and how fast, is becoming increasingly important throughout the country, as is the ability to create new Web businesses.

The high stakes of his job — which includes complicated issues relating to the regulation of television and radio, as well as to the Internet — mean that Genachowski (pronounced jen-uh-COW-ski) spends his days threading the needle between the interests of global media concerns and grassroots activists, telecommunications corporations and think tanks, Congress and the White House.

Those are tensions he may be comfortable mediating in part because he once was a Talmud ace.

“The education I was lucky enough to receive is a very important part of my background,” Genachowski, whose schooling has run the gamut from Orthodox day school to Harvard Law School, told the Forward in an interview at his Washington office. “We’re all the products of our background, and I’m sure it informs what I do in many ways.”

He said the FCC’s most immediate goals are to employ underused parts of the broadcast spectrum for innovation and increased wireless capacity, and to make the country more economically competitive through technology. “We have real opportunities to help improve the American economy through information and communication technologies,” he said. “To be in this job at this time, working on economic issues and our global competitiveness, is something that’s rewarding and that keeps us all working around the clock every day.”

But the question of net neutrality — how open the Internet should be, and the FCC’s role in enforcing that openness — has received the most press attention and controversy of late. Because of broadband Internet’s current classification within the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC cannot regulate broadband communications, as determined by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Comcast vs. FCC last April.

Calls for increased regulation stem from consumer groups and liberals who say that the lack of competition between Internet service providers is detrimental to Internet users — especially when service providers can freely block or slow down content that competes with their own offerings, or offer different speeds and access levels based on price.

Genachowski landed in this demanding role because of his past association with the FCC and with the president, as well as his experience as a media executive. While attending Harvard Law School, Genachowski worked as co-notes editor of the Harvard Law Review — under Barack Obama. The two became and remained friends, even attending each other’s weddings.

After graduating, Genachowski worked in the office of then-US Rep. Charles Schumer and clerked for Abner Mikva, former chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for Supreme Court justices William Brennan Jr. and David Souter. He worked in the FCC as chief counsel to Chairman Reed Hundt, who served under President Clinton. His longest private sector gig was as chief of business operations at the media company IAC.

The Obama campaign tapped Genachowski in 2008 to chair its Technology, Media & Telecommunications Policy Working Group. “I was not looking to come back from the private sector,” he recalled. He advised the campaign’s use of technology and articulated a clear plan for achieving net neutrality, one that excited free Internet purists.

This past January, Obama sent Genachowski and his family as part of America’s delegation to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. “To be on the ground of Auschwitz as a representative of President Obama… it was a proud moment for me,” Genachowski said. In his office he keeps a stone that he picked up at the camp.

Although reluctant to discuss his personal religious practices publicly, Genachowski is proud and open about the cultural component of his Judaism. In fact, he began his remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing by telling the story of his parents, Lithuanians who fled the Nazis.

His family’s roots are deeply enmeshed in the Jewish world. The chairman’s brother, Joey Genachowski, is president of the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach and a board member of the Young Israel of Woodmere, both on Long Island. His first cousin once removed is Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s Worldwide Kosher Division. His great uncle, Eliyahu Moshe Genachowski, served in the Israeli Knesset. Genack told the Forward that the Genachowskis can even be traced back to the students of the storied Vilna Gaon, the Vilnius Genius.

Julius Genachowski was born August 19, 1962, to Adele and Azriel Genachowski. He grew up in Great Neck, a Long Island suburb, in a family that attended the local Young Israel. He attended Orthodox day school at North Shore Hebrew Academy and summered at Camp Raleigh. His high school was the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, which is part of Yeshiva University. Though he says he cut classes to play basketball, he won the Talmud award.

Genachowski spent a year after high school studying in Jerusalem at Yeshivat HaKotel, where he and his peers practiced “learning, discussing, questioning each other, even the possibilities of different points of view,” he recalled. “One of the things that you take away from learning Talmud, learning Gemara, is that two or three brilliant people can look at the same passage and have different interpretations and views, each of which makes a lot of sense, but they’re not all consistent. So I enjoyed that.”

Today, Genachowski attends Sabbath services regularly at Adas Israel, Washington’s largest Conservative synagogue. He’s married to Rachel Goslins, a maker of such film documentaries as “God’s House,” a feature about Muslim Albanians who rescued Jews during World War II. Goslins now serves as executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The couple lives in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of DC with their three children.

Genachowski’s Talmudic streak was evident in his recent proposal on regulating the Internet. In a speech December 1, Genachowski outlined what he called the “rules of the road” for regulation. They included an obligation of transparency for ISPs, the prohibition of ISPs from blocking content, gutting “unreasonable discrimination” on the flow of Internet traffic, and allowing providers to charge different prices for different amounts of broadband use and different speeds. In short, the proposal would have the FCC regulate telecommunications corporations more than the companies would have liked, but less than consumer groups felt was necessary for preserving an open Internet.

“He was able to balance both the current constituencies with the need to keep the eye on the future,” said Steven Waldman, who is Genachowski’s senior adviser at the FCC as well as his good friend (and the founder and former editor of Beliefnet). “He was practical in that he listened for a year to the concerns that different groups had, and he made some adjustments.”

Another associate takes a dimmer view of Genachowski’s moves at the FCC. Sascha Meinrath worked under Genachowski during the Obama campaign and used to be a fan of the telecom czar. But now, as director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative — one of the interest groups, along with players like Free Press, that are lined up against industry lobbies like the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in the ongoing fight over net neutrality — Meinrath is a critic.

“As chairman,” Meinrath said, “he’s incredibly timid in that he has initiated a number of processes that are either far too drawn out — we have not seen incredibly important decisions made in a timely manner — or he’s attempted to create third ways or compromise solutions.”

As soon as Genachowski announced the plan, the FCC’s Republican commissioners criticized it for exceeding the FCC’s mandate. Telecommunications companies stayed neutral, with some delivering mild praise and others saying it would take an act of Congress to solve the problem.

On the other side, public interest groups were incensed, saying the regulations failed to protect consumers and had a weak legal foundation. Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps — whose vote Genachowski needs — agrees, and recently told an audience at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism that if establishing stable rules that force openness “requires reclassifying advanced telecommunications… we should just do it and get it over with.”

Over the next few weeks, Genachowski will discuss the plan with associates and adversaries. He needs at least two votes from the four other commissioners at a meeting set for December 21. He may have to tweak his proposal before then, and his training in Talmudic reasoning could come in handy during the process.

“Not to stereotype Jewishness, but he’s a questioner,” Waldman said. “He likes to probe and discuss and argue. That’s certainly part of Jewish tradition.”

The above article can be found here:

Also see ‘Jacob Lew (Jewish Zionist) to replace Peter Orszag (Jewish Zionist) as White House budget chief’ here:

Also see ‘At Lubavitch retreat, Virginia senator reveals secret Jewish heritage’ here:

Also see ‘Jewish general to pilot evangelical-friendly air force (2008)’ here:

Also see ‘Jewish US attorney general blocked moves to combat mortgage fraud in 2008′ here:

Also see ‘Former senior Washington correspondent: Congress, White House, Hollywood, Wall Street owned by Zionists’ here: 


Israel applauds Egyptian regime’s suppression of Muslim opposition in rigged parliamentary elections

Posted in ZOGs on December 13, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Ex-Israeli envoy hails NDP suppression of Islamists’

Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt); December 8, 2010

Jerusalem — While controversial in Egypt and abroad, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP)’s ”success” in the recent parliamentary elections is being quietly applauded by many Israelis.

Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Eli Shaked, said Israel is satisfied with the poll because it dealt a blow to radical Islamist forces and, in his view, strengthened the position of the regime, seen by Israel as a linchpin of regional stability and a de facto partner against Hamas and Iran.

[This report supports the theory that the autocratic Arab regimes to emerge following the post-WWI breakup of the Ottoman Empire (including Egypt) were put in place by the Rothschild-financed colonial powers -- and maintained until today -- for the express purpose of suppressing majority-Muslim populations in the Middle East in the face of an ascendant Israel -- 800]

Several leading independent Israeli analysts of Egyptian politics, however, take a different view of the elections. They predict that the shut out of the opposition will increase domestic tensions and ”boomerang” on the NDP in the run up to the presidential elections, scheduled for September 2011.

Hebrew University’s Elie Podeh expects increased street violence as the date of the presidential election approaches, adding that its intensity will depend on the behavior of security forces.

Shaked, who served as ambassador to Cairo from 2003 to 2005 and is now retired, said the results ”are positive from an Israeli point of view, for the West in general and for reasonable actors in the region because the Mubarak regime has proven to be moderate and stable and the alternative might bring dangerous instability.”

Final results showed the NDP won 474 out of 508 seats. The Muslim Brotherhood, which had gained a fifth of the assembly seats in the 2005 elections, secured only one seat in the 2010 elections. Brotherhood leaders have threatened to oust the lone victor from the movement if he claims office. Analysts expect him to bow out, leaving virtually no Brotherhood representation in the new chamber.

Shaked was unimpressed by rights groups’ charges that fraud and manipulation determined the NDP sweep, saying that the elections were never expected to be clean.

”The results are not surprising,” Shaked said. ”You would have to be very stupid to repeat twice the same mistake,” he said in reference to the regime’s permittance of the Brotherhood’s relative success in 2005. ”The results have shown the regime has learned the lesson of the mistake of the previous election,” he added.

Reflecting a widely held view among the Israeli policy making elite, Shaked suggested that free and fair elections are not appropriate in the Egyptian context and should not be demanded of Egypt.

”You cannot let anti-democratic, radical forces enjoy freedom in a crucial time of elections just in order to take advantage of this freedom to advance an antidemocratic, anti-liberal agenda,” he said. “I prefer this kind of non-democratic Egypt ruled by moderate, sensible people rather than an Egypt ruled by radical fundamentalists like the Muslim Brotherhood.”

”The alternative to the regime in Egypt is a fundamentalist radical Muslim regime that will bring Egypt down. It is not to the benefit of Israel to have this kind of regime in Egypt. We should pray for Mubarak to live until he is 120 years old. The alternative can be horrible.”

”It’s enough for us to know that Mubarak won the elections,” Shaked added. ”How he did it and whether it was clean is of less importance.”

Shaked argues the method of NDP victory was irrelevant, while arguing the shut out of the opposition carries a signal to the international community in advance of the September presidential elections.

”People have seen the regime is not playing anymore with [soft] gloves and is ready to take the toughest measures,” he said.Whenever it feels there is a challenge it will stop it before it raises its head. The regime in Egypt won’t appease the US and Europe with nice words about democracy.”

In Shaked’s view, security conduct during the poll seeks to inform the international community to not “interfere and don’t send observers. We won’t let them move around.”

Hebrew University’s Elie Podeh, says, however, that the regime ”overplayed its hand” and harmed its own interests by aggressively stifling the opposition.

”In the long run this will be a setback for the regime,” he said. ”The result looks completely rigged. There is no way you can persuade anyone that this reflects public opinion, that it reflects Egyptian society.”

Podeh foresees an amplification of voices critical of the regime on the street and on the internet.

”There are other opposition parties now with no representation in parliament,” he said. “They will have to work on the street, the internet, wherever possible. So from below there will be a lot of mounting pressure against the government and this will be dealt with forcefully by the government.”

Podeh says it’s nearly impossible to determine the exact nature of street clashes in the future. He does not expect radical change, such as a successful coup, but predicts sizable unrest.

”The amount of confrontation depends on the response of the government, and the police, how forcefully they will react,” Podeh said.

Ben Gurion University Egypt specialist Yoram Meital also believes the regime overplayed its hand.

”If the major aim of the NDP was to take back parliament, they succeeded but they did it in a counterproductive way,” Meital said. “There will be a boomerang effect. The severe harm the regime caused the opposition camp would most probably make its way back to the face of the regime. The regime could have achieved a significant majority in parliament without putting the opposition to the wall.”

Meital believes the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wafd Party will now enter a more ”face to face struggle” against the NDP’s efforts to promote its own candidate for the presidency, be it President Mubarak or his son Gamal.

”The way the regime handled the elections has put the opposition in a much more antagonistic position to fight against the regime. Now I think the opposition will try to take to the streets to actually protest against inheritance,” Meital said. ”Opposition criticism won’t be focused on the parliamentary level but on the presidency itself.”

“The opposition shutout in the parliamentary elections and their lack of credibility will be used by the Muslim Brotherhood for ‘de-legitimization’ of the NDP and the regime itself. It’s not that the Muslim Brotherhood camp will grow in terms of numbers. The most significant outcome will be the de-legitimization of the NDP members in parliament, in general, and it will harm the regime’s efforts to promote its own candidate for the next election to the presidency.”

From the Israeli government perspective, the parliamentary elections were ”excellent news,” Meital says. “They don’t want to see the Muslim Brothers even close to the power they had in 2005.”

The above article can be found here:

Rabbi admits number of beast’s hidden kabalistic significance

Posted in Etc. on December 13, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Ask the Rabbi’


Dear Rabbi – You recently wrote: “The numerical value of “Meah Shearim” is 666, a number which has esoteric and kabalistic meaning in Judaism, as indicated by the Vilna Gaon in his commentary to the Zohar.” Now you’ve got me curious: In American media, I only hear of 666 for its mystic significance in Christianity — a negative meaning, associated with “Satan.” So what is the mystic significance of 666 in Judaism?   -Prof. Zev bar-Lev, Dept. of Linguistics & Oriental Languages in San Diego State University

Dear Rabbi — Could you tell us more about the kabalistic meaning of 666? I live in a community with a large conservative Christian presence. Recently there was a big uproar over a supermarket’s ad campaign because they believed the numbers 666 were hidden within. Thank you.   -M. Brinn in Greenville, SC

Dear Professor Bar-Lev and M. Brinn,

Oh, I can’t tell you the answer to your question….It’s a mystical secret!

Just kidding. Sort of. The truth is that the key to mystical secrets are not in any book, they’re in your heart. Even if someone “reveals” a “kabalistic secret,” it remains a secret as long as you are not able to understand it. (So have no fear: The secrets of Kabala are perfectly safe with Madonna.) But I will explain as much as I know on the subject:

The number 666 has significance as the numerical value of the Hebrew verse: “Ata yigdal na koach Ado-nai – Now, I pray, let the Power of my Lord be great.” (Numbers 14:17). This was Moshe’s prayer invoking Divine Mercy on behalf of the Jewish People.

“Mosad Hayesod” cites the Vilna Gaon’s commentary on the Zohar that “the number 666 contains hidden within it exalted and lofty messianic potential.” No other explanation is offered there.

We do know that the number six represents the physical world. The Torah describes the creation of the universe as a six part, six day, process.

Our ancient sources describe the universe as emanating in six directions — north, south, east, west, up, down — from a central point. All physical space and all physical objects have these six dimensions.

666 is six repeated three times. Repeating a concept three times represents the affirmation and strength of that concept.

The number 666 could thus represent the strength and perfection of the physical world, which Judaism teaches will occur in the messianic era, when the physical world will reach its ultimate purpose, to be a vehicle through which the created experience the Creator.


· Mosad Hayesod pp. 204-205

· Rabbi Dovid Rossoff, author of “Where Heaven Touches Earth,” Guardian Press

The above article can be found here:


Also see ‘Is Lucifer the god of Judaism? Reply to a Jewish scholar’ here:

Also see ‘Jewish rock band celebrates child sacrifice’ here:

Also see ‘Ancient Jews used skulls in ceremonies despite (Mosaic) ban’ here:

Also see ‘They are going to try to rebuild the temple (pt 1)’ here:

Also see ‘They are going to try to rebuild the temple (pt 2)’ here:

Israeli rabbis line up to endorse ban on renting/selling property to non-Jews

Posted in Israel on December 12, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Support grows for Israeli rabbis’ ‘racist letter’

Agence France Presse (AFP); December 10, 2010

JERUSALEM — Scores more Israeli rabbis have added their names to a document calling on Jews to avoid renting or selling property to non-Jews, despite an outpouring of criticism, media reported on Thursday.

Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported that some 300 religious figures had signed the public statement, which warns that “it is forbidden in the Torah [read 'Talmud' -- 800] to sell a house or a field in the land of Israel to a foreigner.”

The document first emerged on Tuesday, and was swiftly condemned by figures across Israeli society, from rabbinical groups and rights organizations to politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The statement calls for those who rent or sell property to non-Jews to be ostracized by the larger community.

“After someone sells or rents just one flat, the value of all the neighboring flats drops … He who sells or rents (to non-Jews) causes his neighbors a big loss and his sin is great,” it says.

“Anyone who sells (property to a non-Jew) must be cut off!!”

The manifesto quotes extensively from Jewish writings, including from the Bible. It cites Exodus 23:33 [entirely out of context, of course -- 800], which reads: “Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.”

The document initially garnered the signatures of some 50 rabbis, most of them employed by the state and minister to Jewish communities across Israel.

By Thursday, that number had reportedly grown to more than 300, prompting widespread condemnation and calls for Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to take action against the signatories on grounds of incitement to racism.

Weinstein’s office promised to look into the allegations.

“The attorney general has instructed the relevant bodies in our office to examine whether there exist criminal or disciplinary aspects to the document attributed to the rabbis,” Weinstein’s assistant wrote in reply to an opposition MP, in a letter made public by the justice ministry.

[And, of course, no mainstream media report touching on the issue of racism would be complete without the following dose of Jewish suffering and obligatory comparison with the 'Holocaust' -- 800]

Noah Flug, head of the International Association of Holocaust Survivors, told Ynet he was shocked by the content of the letter, saying it reminded him of when the Nazis banned Jews from living near them.

“I remember the German Nazis throwing Jews out of their apartments and city centers in order to create ghettos,” he told the news website.

“I remember how they wrote on benches that no Jews were allowed, and of course it was prohibited to sell or rent to Jews. We thought that in our country this wouldn’t happen.”

The [oxymoronically named] Association for Civil Rights in Israel has called on Netanyahu to discipline state-employed rabbis who signed the letter, and Arab-Israeli lawmaker Mohammed Barakeh called for a legal investigation.

On Wednesday, around 150 demonstrators gathered to condemn the letter in a protest outside Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue.

Speaking to Haaretz newspaper, parliamentary speaker Reuven Rivlin described the public statement “as an embarrassment to the Jewish people, and another nail in the coffin of Israeli democracy.”

Despite the condemnation, Menachem Friedman, a specialist on the Jewish world at Bar Ilan University, said there was widespread support for the views in the letter.

“They are expressing the fears of the whole population, particularly those in the poorest sectors of society,” he told AFP.

“The threats that Israel faces comes from Islamism, and the hostile positions the state takes towards the Arab minority contributes to fear and creates a ghetto mentality among the Jews, even though they are the majority in Israel.”

Historian Ilan Greilsammer agreed, saying the sentiments expressed in the letter were merely a reflection of what people were actually thinking.

“The rabbis are saying above what the people are thinking below. What’s new is that they are expressing it publicly.”

Israel has 1.3 million Arab citizens — Palestinians who remained in the country following the [illegitimate] creation of the Jewish state in 1948 and their descendants.

The above article can be found here:


‘Don’t rent to non-Jews, Israeli rabbis warn’

Agence France Presse (AFP); December 7, 2010

JERUSALEM — Fifty Israeli rabbis have signed an open letter warning Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews, saying those who do should be “ostracized,” a copy of the letter showed on Tuesday.

“In answer to the many questions, we say that it is forbidden in the Torah [Talmud] to sell a house or a field in the land of Israel to a foreigner,” says the letter, [ostensibly] referring to the Pentateuch — the first five books of the Bible.

The letter, which was signed mostly by state-employed rabbis, warns that “he who sells or rents them a flat in an area where Jews live causes great harm to his neighbors.”

“After someone sells or rents just one flat, the value of all the neighboring flats drops… He who sells or rents (to non-Jews) causes his neighbors a big loss and his sin is great,” the letter said, in what was largely understood to refer to Israel’s Arab minority.

“Anyone who sells (property to a non-Jew) must be cut off!!”

According to the Israeli news website Ynet, the letter is to be published in religious newspapers and distributed in synagogues across the country later this week.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel slammed the letter as “racist” and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn “the incitement expressed by the rabbis.”

“Rabbis who are civil servants have an obligation to the entire public, including Israel’s Arab citizens. It is unthinkable that they would use their public status to promote racism and incitement,” the group said in a statement.

The organization called on Netanyahu to take disciplinary action against state-employed rabbis who signed the document.

Mohammed Barakeh, an Arab-Israeli member of parliament, called the letter “supremely racist.”

“It seems that the signatories realize that the Israeli establishment is complicit in the crimes of incitement to racial hatred, so they are acting without fear,” he said in a statement.

“We call on the government’s legal adviser to undertake an inquiry into this gang and bring them to justice.”

The letter appeared as tensions grow between religious Jewish and Arab-Israeli residents of the northern town of Safed, where local rabbi Shmuel Eliahu has called on Jews to avoid renting or selling property to Arabs.

Safed’s college attracts Arab-Israeli students from the surrounding area, many of whom seek accommodation in the town while studying.

In October, a group of Jewish youths attacked several Arab-Israeli students at the college, shouting “death to Arabs” in an incident police had to break up.

A November poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 46 percent of Jewish Israelis preferred not to live next door to Arabs, while two-thirds — or 67 percent — of Arabs preferred not to live next to ultra-Orthodox Jews.

It also found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis backed government incentives for Arabs to emigrate.

Israel has 1.3 million Arab citizens — Palestinians who remained in the country after the creation of the Jewish state in 1948 and their descendants.

Arab citizens, who make up 20 percent of the population, have long complained of systematic discrimination in resources and opportunities.

The above article can be found here:


Also see ‘Leading Israeli rabbi: Gentiles exist to serve Jews’ here:

Also see ‘Israeli rabbi says Palestinians should perish from this earth’ here:

Also see ‘Israelis told to fight holy war in Gaza’ here:

Also see ‘Israel’s war effort gains religious imperative’ here:

Also see ‘Book about killing gentile children becomes bestseller in Israel’ here:

Israeli economy continues to surge amid worsening global depression

Posted in Israel on December 12, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Israel turns in 6th straight quarter of growth’

YNetNews (Israel); November 20, 2010

Israel’s economy grew for a sixth straight quarter in the July-September period, but falling exports stemming from weak US and European economies slowed the rate and are expected to dampen growth into 2011.

Gross domestic product grew an annualized 3.8% in the third quarter, the Central Bureau of Statistics said in an initial estimate on Tuesday. A Reuters survey of nine analysts had forecast a 3.2% increase.

Growth slowed from a 4.5% pace in the second quarter but the economy has expanded at least 3.6% in every three-month period since the third quarter of 2009, as Israel rebounds from a brief recession in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The Bank of Israel forecasts 4% growth in 2010, easing to 3.8% in 2011. The economy grew 0.8% to NIS 768 billion (about $210 billion) in 2009.

“The economy is very robust. We are seeing a rapid growth rate and other drivers are making up for the drop in exports, so the total economy is in pretty good shape,” said HSBC economist Jonathan Katz. “Because of the soft global environment, growth may come down a notch to 3.4%.”

Some analysts believe the data support another short-term interest rate increase later this month. Strong growth and high inflation expectations have already led to six quarter-point rate increases to 2% since August 2009.


Israel’s two main growth drivers — exports and consumer spending — were weak in the third quarter and resulted in a slowdown from the previous quarter. However, a jump in government spending and in investments softened the blow.

“The composition of growth was disappointing. Private consumption was very weak, exports and imports declined sharply and most of the contribution to growth came from public consumption, from investment in residential construction and from the activity of start-up companies,” said Michael Sarel, head of economic research at Harel Finance.

Consumer spending slowed to a growth rate of 1.3%, mainly due to a large decline in spending on durable goods, while exports fell 9.6%.

Exports — which comprise more than 40% of Israel’s economic activity — grew sharply in the prior four quarters but slipped in the third quarter due to weak US and European economies, which account for some 70% of Israeli exports.

Imports dipped 4.6% for the first decline since the first quarter of 2009.

Government spending rose 10.2% after marginal gains in the prior two quarters and investment in fixed assets increased 9.7% to continue strong gains this year following a weak 2009.

“The composition of the data shows the start of a process moving to growth based on domestic demand compared with early stages of exiting the recession that was based on higher exports,” said Rafi Gozlan, an economist at Leader Capital Markets.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer believes the country needs to base its economy more on domestic activity than exports. He has urged exporters to expand sales to faster growing markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Excluding state spending, Israel‘s economy grew 3.9% in the third quarter, slower than a 5.1% pace in the second quarter.

Second-quarter GDP growth was unrevised at 4.5%.

The above article can be found here:,7340,L-3986968,00.html

Also see ‘Israel depositors won’t be harmed by crisis’ here:

With US economy in freefall, Washington to foot bill for Israeli missile shield

Posted in ZOGs on December 11, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘US allocates $205 million for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system’

Haaretz (Israel); December 12, 2010

Barack Obama’s administration has allocated $205 million toward funding Israel‘s advanced anti-rocket system, the Iron Dome.

The House of Representatives made the decision 212-206 after it passed a continuing resolution regarding funds for the 2011 fiscal year.

“This was a priority of Congress and President Obama, and it is the first funding of its kind for this important short-range rocket and artillery shell defense system,” said Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

The funds are in addition to the more than $200 million allocated for the Arrow and David’s Sling, joint US-Israel anti-missile systems.

“This funding sends a strong message, to both our enemies and allies, by providing more total dollars than ever before toward these rocket and missile defense programs,” said Rothman. “This is only the latest example that when it comes to defense, military, and intelligence cooperation, the relationship between the US and Israel has never been stronger.”

“Given the scrutiny that our nation is appropriately giving to every dollar expended for all purposes — including the defense of the United States and its allies — it is a mark of the great importance of these projects that they were included in this funding bill,” Rothman added.

The US Congress passed last week the Obama administration’s initiative to provide Israel with the grant to procure Iron Dome batteries just before the system aced its final test over the summer.

To date, the Defense Ministry has bought two batteries. Several months ago, the ministry’s top brass estimated the sum the Americans allotted would be sufficient for procuring eight or nine batteries, half of what is necessary to protect the Negev and the Galilee from short- and intermediate-range rockets and missiles.

The defense establishment is still weighing the balance between the number of radars for the systems to the number of intercept missiles necessary. Different estimates suggest that each intercept missile will cost $40,000.

The above article can be found here:

‘US House approves Israel missile defense aid’

Agence France Presse (AFP); December 9, 2010

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved more than $200 million to help Israel deploy a short-range anti-missile defense system called “Iron Dome.”

The money was included in a catch-all spending bill covering government expenses in the fiscal year that began 1 October, which cleared the House by a 212-206 margin and now heads to the Senate.

“This is only the latest example that when it comes to defense, military, and intelligence cooperation, the relationship between the US and Israel has never been stronger,” said Democratic Representative Steve Rothman.

Israel completed tests in January on its Iron Dome system, designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells fired at Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah. The next phase is to integrate the system into the army. Israel hopes the Iron Dome will help counter rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and from Lebanon.

Palestinian militants have fired thousands of home-made rockets into southern Israel [causing few, if any, casualties -- 800], prompting Israel’s devastating assault on Hamas in Gaza on 27 December 2008 [which killed more than 1500, mostly civilian, Palestinians -- 800].

The Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah also fired some 4,000 rockets into northern Israel during a 2006 war with Israel. The group is believed to have an arsenal of some 40,000 rockets.

“This funding sends a strong message, to both our enemies and allies, by providing more total dollars than ever before toward these rocket and missile defense programs,” said Rothman, a key backer of the funding.

The above article can be found here:

‘House Okays administration earmark for Israel’s Iron Dome’

National Journal (US); December 10, 2010

Tucked into a massive continuing resolution approved by the House on Wednesday is $205 million for an Israeli missile-defense system that the Obama administration views as essential to the security of the Jewish state.

President Obama sought the funds in May — well after his fiscal 2011 budget request was sent to Congress — to help pay for production of Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield, which is designed to stop short-range rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The money comes on top of a separate $200 million provision in the CR to support the Arrow theater missile-defense program and other well-established US-Israel missile defense ventures.

This was a priority of Congress and President Obama, and it is the first funding of its kind for this important short-range rocket and artillery shell defense system,” Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., a member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said about the Iron Dome funds. “Given the scrutiny that our nation is appropriately giving to every dollar expended for all purposes – including the defense of the United States and its allies — it is a mark of the great importance of these [missile defense] projects that they were included in this funding bill.”

The added funds for Iron Dome have received scant attention inside the Beltway, probably because, as a Democratic appropriations staffer noted, there was no particular controversy over adding the money to a measure that traditionally provides funds to keep the federal government operating at the previous year’s spending levels. “Israel does enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress, so it was more amenable to include these types of funding,” the aide said.

But the looming switch to Republican control in the House next month has clearly changed the political environment in favor of deficit reduction and greater discipline in drafting spending measures, the staffer acknowledged. “I’ve talked with very pro-Israel Republican members of Congress who obviously supported the project because they support Israel, but even they hesitated because of the costs,” he said.  “They didn’t want to support any of these [appropriations in the CR] because they interpret their [overall] mandate as cutting spending.”

Nonetheless, the ever-growing threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the increasing strength of its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza, made the funding for the Iron Dome essential to pass, he added.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama went to Sderot, Israel, to affirm Israel’s right to defend its citizens against Qassam rockets fired at the town and nearby communities by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“The president recognizes the threat missiles and rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah pose to Israelis, and has therefore decided to seek funding from Congress to support the production of Israel’s short-range rocket defense system called Iron Dome,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said when Obama asked Congress for the extra funding in May.

Cables released in the latest WikiLeaks dump [read 'psy-op' -- 800] of secret diplomatic documents also confirm the administration’s concerns about proliferation of weapons in the region not just by Iran, but also Syria. Cables reveal Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “deep concern” over Syrian efforts to supply Hezbollah with ballistic missiles. A Pentagon official quoted in The New York Times fears that conflicts could erupt into full-scale regional war now that Hezbollah’s arsenal includes about 50,000 rockets and missiles, including some 40 to 50 Fateh-110 missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and most of Israel, and 10 Scud-D missiles.

An official from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the Israeli manufacturer of Iron Dome, told National Journal that the mobile defense shield has been deemed “operational” and “ready to be used” after achieving a 100 percent success rate during the last set of tests in July. The system’s name is derived from the literal translation of its Hebrew name, “Kippah Barzel” or “Dome of Iron” — with “kippah” being the same word for the head covering worn by Jewish men.

“It was tested against a variety of threats — the same kind of threats it was designed to intercept, all the way from mortars to artillery shells, Qassams and Katyusha rockets,” he said. Even under a barrage of missiles all fired at the same time, the system successfully intercepted all of them, the official said.

Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister recently appointed chairman of the Israeli Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Relations and Security, confirmed that Israelis are very worried about the increasing threats of Hezbollah during a briefing arranged for reporters by the Israel Project, a nonprofit media group with offices in Jerusalem and Washington.

Of the Iron Dome shield, designed to protect a specific area from short-range rockets, Mofaz said, “It’s good to have it, but it’s not the answer.”

Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with the Western countries should “build a wall against Iran,” Mofaz said. This “wall” would require the combination of economic sanctions, leaving “all options on the table” in terms of a possible military strike, he said, and pushing for peace negotiations between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Syria.

The above article can be found here:–20101210

‘Eisenkot: Missile defense for IDF bases, not civilians’

YNetNews (Israel); December 1, 2010

Northern Command Chief Major-General Gadi Eisenkot on Tuesday said that active rocket and missile interception systems — such as the Iron Dome and Arrow – are designed to protect the Israel Defense Forces’ offensive capabilities, and not necessarily civilians.

During a speech at the University of Haifa, Eisenkot stressed that “the residents of Israel shouldn’t be under the illusion that someone will open an umbrella over their heads.

The systems are designed to protect military bases, even if this means that citizens suffer discomfort during the first days of battle,” he added.

At the beginning of November, regional council heads from the Gaza vicinity appealed to the High Court of Justice and demanded that the state installs the Iron Dome in order to protect its residents — or alternatively place portable shelters throughout the vicinity.

‘Army must act according to gov’t decisions’

Eisenkot’s comments stirred a storm in the Gaza vicinity regional councils.

Shaar Hanegev Regional Council head Alon Shuster said that he was not entirely surprised by the major-general’s comments.

“In a sense it explains the ambiguity surrounding our appeal. Every one knows that the government promised the Iron Dome for the protection of Israel’s citizens — no one mentioned IDF bases in the decision,” he said.

“I do not deal with strategy and defense, but it was made clear that the system was allocated to the Gaza vicinity. Two years after the government decision it seems we were all led astray, including perhaps the government,” Shuster said, adding that the council heads intend to present Eisenkot’s statements during their appeal hearing at the Supreme Court.

Eshkol Regional Council Head Haim Yalin said, “I wish to remind everyone that there is a government decision in regards to the development of the Iron Dome, which is part of the NIS1 billion (about $270 million) of the state budget that was allocated to the protection of the Gaza vicinity communities.

“Last time I checked on Google, we were still living in a democratic country [!], and the army is obliged to act according to the government’s decisions,” he said.

Israel’s aerial defense apparatus consists of various systems including the Iron Dome — meant to intercept rockets with ranges of 5-70km; David’s Sling — scheduled to be operational by 2013 and designed to intercept long-range missiles; and Arrow — designed to intercept ballistic missiles at high altitudes.

The newest Arrow 3 missile interception system was unveiled during an aerospace convention in Jerusalem earlier this month.

The system is slated to be completed by 2015 and will include an interception system for short-range missiles as well as “Kamikaze satellites” that can blow up ballistic missiles outside of the atmosphere.

The above article can be found here:,7340,L-3992238,00.html

Also see ‘Zionist state comes out of WikiLeaks debacle smelling like roses’ here:

Also see ‘Analyst: Iran nuclear weapons allegations fabricated by Israel’ here:

Also see ‘US to store another $400 million worth of military equipment in Israel’ here:

Also see ‘Obama offers Israel free stealth fighters, UNSC vetoes, Jordan Valley for 90-day settlement freeze’ here:

Also see ‘Israel-firsters sweep US mid-terms; GOP majority will serve as check on Obama, republican leader tells Netanyahu’ here:

Analyst: Iran nuclear weapons allegations fabricated by Israel

Posted in Israel on December 6, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

‘Evidence of Iran nuclear weapons program may be fraudulent’

Truthout; November 18, 2010

By Garth Porter

Since 2007, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — with the support of the United States, Israel and European allies UK, France and Germany — has been demanding that Iran explain a set of purported internal documents portraying a covert Iranian military program of research and development of nuclear weapons.

The “laptop documents,” supposedly obtained from a stolen Iranian computer by an unknown source and given to US intelligence in 2004, include a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle that appears to be an effort to accommodate a nuclear weapon, as well as reports on high explosives testing for what appeared to be a detonator for a nuclear weapon.

In one report after another, the IAEA has suggested that Iran has failed to cooperate with its inquiry into that alleged research, and that the agency, therefore, cannot verify that it has not diverted nuclear material to military purposes.

That issue remains central to US policy toward Iran. The Obama administration says there can be no diplomatic negotiations with Iran unless Iran satisfies the IAEA fully in regard to the allegations derived from the documents that it had a covert nuclear weapons program.

That position is based on the premise that the intelligence documents that Iran has been asked to explain are genuine. The evidence now available, however, indicates that they are [Israeli] fabrications.

The drawings of the Iranian missile warhead that were said by the IAEA to show an intent to accommodate a nuclear weapon actually depict a missile design that Iran is now known to have already abandoned in favor of an improved model by the time the technical drawings were allegedly made. And one of the major components of the purported Iranian military research program allegedly included a project labeled with a number that turns out to have been assigned by Iran’s civilian nuclear authority years before the covert program is said to have been initiated.

The former head of the agency’s safeguards department, Olli Heinonen, who shaped its approach to the issue of the intelligence documents from 2005 and 2010, has offered no real explanation for these anomalies in recent interviews with Truthout.

These telltale indicators of fraud bring into question the central pillar of the case against Iran and raise more fundamental questions about the handling of the Iranian nuclear issue by the IAEA, the United States and its key European allies.

Drawings of the wrong missile warhead

In mid-July 2005, in an effort to get the IAEA fully behind the Bush administration’s effort to refer the Iranian nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council, Robert Joseph, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, made a formal presentation on the purported Iranian nuclear weapons program documents to the agency’s leading officials in Vienna. Joseph flashed excerpts from the documents on the screen, giving special attention to the series of technical drawings or “schematics” showing 18 different ways of fitting an unidentified payload into the re-entry vehicle or “warhead” of Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile, the Shahab-3.

When IAEA analysts were allowed to study the documents, however, they discovered that those schematics were based on a re-entry vehicle that the analysts knew had already been abandoned by the Iranian military in favor of a new, improved design. The warhead shown in the schematics had the familiar “dunce cap” shape of the original North Korean No Dong missile, which Iran had acquired in the mid-1990s, as former IAEA Safeguards Department Chief Olli Heinonen confirmed to this writer in an interview on November 5. But when Iran had flight tested a new missile in mid-2004, it did not have that dunce cap warhead, but a new “triconic” or “baby bottle” shape, which was more aerodynamic than the one on the original Iranian missile.

The laptop documents had depicted the wrong re-entry vehicle being redesigned.

When I asked Heinonen, now a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, why Iran’s purported secret nuclear weapons research program would redesign the warhead of a missile that the Iranian military had already decided to replace with an improved model, he suggested that the group that had done the schematics had no relationship with the Iranian missile program. “It looks from that information that this group was working with this individual,” said Heinonen, referring to Dr. Mohsen Fakrizadeh, the man named in the documents as heading the research program. “It was not working with the missile program.”

Heinonen’s claim that the covert nuclear weapon program had no link to the regular missile program is not supported by the intelligence documents themselves. The IAEA describes what is purported to be a one-page letter from Fakrizadeh to the Shahid Hemat Industrial Group dated March 3, 2003, “seeking assistance with the prompt transfer of data” for the work on redesigning the re-entry vehicle.

Shahid Hemat, which is part of the Iranian military’s Defense Industries Organization, was involved in testing the engine for the Shahab-3 and, in particular, in working on aerodynamic properties and control systems for Iranian missiles, all of which were reported in the US news media. “Project 11″ was the code name given to the purported re-entry vehicle project.

Heinonen also suggested that the program’s engineers could have been ordered to redesign the older Shahab-3 model before the decision was made by the missile program to switch to a newer model and that it couldn’t change its work plan once it was decided.

However, according to Mike Elleman, lead author of the most authoritative study of the Iranian missile program thus far, published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) last May, Iran introduced the major innovations in the design of the medium-range missile, including a longer, lighter airframe and the new warhead shape, over a period of two to five years. Elleman, told me in an interview that the redesign of the re-entry vehicle must have begun in 2002 at the latest.

The schematics on the laptop documents’ redesigned warhead were dated March-April 2003, according to the IAEA report of May 2008.

Heinonen’s explanation assumes that the Iranian military ordered an engineer to organize a project to redesign the warhead on its intermediate-range ballistic missile to accommodate a nuclear payload, but kept the project in the dark about its plans to replace the Shahab-3 with a completely new and improved model.

That assumption appears wholly implausible, because the reason for the shift to the new missile, according to the IISS study, was that the Shahab-3, purchased from North Korea in the early to mid-1990s, had a range of only 800 to 1,000 km, depending on the weight of the payload. Thus, it was incapable of reaching Israel. The new missile, later named the Ghadr-1, could carry a payload of conventional high-explosives 1,500 to 1,600 kilometers, bringing Israel within the reach of an Iranian missile for the first time.

The missile warhead anomaly is a particularly telling sign of fraud, because someone intending to fabricate such technical drawings of a re-entry vehicle could not have known that Iran had abandoned the Shahab-3 in favor of the more advanced Ghadr-1 until after mid-August 2004. As the IISS study points out, the August 11, 2004, test launch was the first indication to the outside world that a new missile with a triconic warhead had been developed. Before that test, Elleman told me, “No information was available that they were modifying the warhead.”

After that test, however, it would have been too late to redo the re-entry vehicle studies, which would have the biggest impact on news media coverage and political opinion.

Iranian statements about the Shahab-3 missile would have been misleading for anyone attempting to fabricate these schematics. The IISS study recalls that Iran had said in early 2001 that the Shahab-3 had entered “serial production” and declared in July 2003 that it was “operational.” The IISS study observes, however, that the announcement came only after the US invasion of Iraq, when Iran felt an urgent need to claim an operational missile capability. The study says it is “very dubious” that the missile was ever produced in significant numbers.

Skepticism and resistance at the IAEA

A second inconsistency between the laptop documents and the established facts emerged only in 2008. At a briefing for IAEA member states in February 2008, Heinonen displayed an organization chart of the purported research program, showing a “Project 5″ with two sub-projects: “Project 5/13″ for uranium conversion and “Project 5/15″ for uranium ore processing. Kimia Maadan, a private Iranian firm, is shown to be running “Project 5.”

One of the key documents in the collection, a one-page flow sheet for a uranium-conversion process, dated May 2003, with Kimia Maadan’s name on it, is marked “Project 5/13.”

Bush administration hardliners and the IAEA safeguard department had been convinced in the 2004-2005 period that Kimia Maadan was a front for the Iranian military. In a 2005 report, the IAEA questioned how that company, with such “limited experience in ore processing,” could have established an ore processing plant at Gchine in such a short time from 2000 to mid-2001 on its own.

But in January 2008, Iran provided documents to the IAEA showing that Kimia Maadan had actually been created by the civilian Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) in 2000 solely to carry out a contract to design, build and put into operation an ore-processing facility. The documents also established that the firm’s core staff consisted entirely of experts who had previously worked for AEOI’s Ore Processing Center and that the conceptual design and other technical information had been provided to Kimia Maadan by AEOI.

But the most explosive new evidence provided by Iran showed that the code number of “Project 5/15″ on ore processing, supposedly assigned by the Iranian military’s secret nuclear weapon research program, had actually been assigned by the AEOI more than two years before the purported nuclear weapons program had been started. In the context of the documents on Kimia Maadan’s relationship with AEOI, the IAEA report of February 2008 acknowledged, “A decision to construct a UOC [uranium ore concentration] plant at Gchine, known as ‘project 5/15,’ was made August 25, 1999.”

An unpublished paper by the IAEA safeguards department, leaked to the media and the Washington, DC-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in 2009, identified early 2002 as the formal beginning of what it called the Iranian military’s “warhead development program.”

Asked about this contradiction, Heinonen told me he couldn’t answer the question, because he did not recall the specific dates involved.

After the IAEA had acquired that new evidence of fraud in January 2008, an IAEA official familiar with the internal debate inside the agency told me that some IAEA officials had demanded that the agency distance itself publicly from the intelligence documents. But IAEA reports made no concession to those demands. Instead, beginning with the May 2008 report, the agency began to use language implying that the documents were considered reliable.

Behind the scenes, a conflict was about to boil over between Heinonen and then IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei, who was skeptical about the authenticity of the laptop documents and refused to give them any official IAEA endorsement. In late 2008, Heinonen began pushing ElBaradei to approve publication of his department’s favorable assessment of the intelligence documents, which concluded that Iran had done research and development on nuclear weapons components and speculated that it was continuing to do so.

But ElBaradei refused to do so, and in August 2009, diplomats from the UK, France and Germany, who were supporting Heinonen’s view of the documents, leaked to Reuters and The Associated Press that, for nearly a year, ElBaradei had been suppressing “credible” evidence of Iran’s covert work on nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei responded to those political pressures to publish the safeguards department speculative study in an interview with The Hindu on October 1, 2009, in which he declared, “The IAEA is not making any judgment at all whether Iran even had weaponisation studies before because there is a major question of authenticity of the documents.”

Evidence of Israel’s role

The origin of the laptop documents may never be proven conclusively, but the accumulated evidence points to Israel as the source. As early as 1995, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ military intelligence research and assessment division, Yaakov Amidror, tried unsuccessfully to persuade his American counterparts that Iran was planning to “go nuclear.” By 2003-2004, Mossad’s reporting on the Iranian nuclear program was viewed by high-ranking CIA officials as an effort to pressure the Bush administration into considering military action against Iran’s nuclear sites, according to Israeli sources cited by a pro-Israeli news service.

In the summer of 2003, Israel’s international intelligence agency, Mossad, had established an aggressive program aimed at exerting influence on the Iran nuclear issue by leaking alleged intelligence to governments and the news media, as Israeli officials acknowledged to journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins. According to the book, “The Nuclear Jihadist,” as part of the program, Mossad sometimes passed on purported Iranian documents supposedly obtained by Israeli spies inside Iran.

German sources have suggested that the intelligence documents were conveyed to the US government, directly or indirectly, by a group that had been collaborating closely with Mossad. Soon after Secretary of State Colin Powell made the existence of the laptop documents public in November 2004, Karsten Voight, the coordinator of German-American cooperation in the German Foreign Ministry, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying that they had been transferred by an Iranian “dissident group.” A second German source familiar with the case was even more explicit. “I can assure you,” the source told me in 2007, “that the documents came from the Iranian resistance organization.” That was a reference to the Mujahideen-E-Khalq (MEK), also known as the People’s Mujahideen of Iran, the armed Iranian exile group designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department.

The National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), the political arm of the MEK, was generally credited by the news media with having revealed the existence of the Iranian nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak in an August 2002 press conference in Washington, DC. Later, however, IAEA, Israeli and Iranian dissident sources all said that the NCRI had gotten the intelligence on the sites from Mossad.

An IAEA official told Seymour Hersh that the Israelis were behind the revelation of the sites and two journalists from Der Spiegel reported the same thing. So did an adviser to an Iranian monarchist group, speaking to a writer for The New Yorker. That episode was not isolated, but was part of a broader pattern of Israeli cooperation with the MEK in providing intelligence intended to influence the CIA and the IAEA. Israeli authors Melman and Javadanfar, who claimed to have good sources in Mossad, wrote in their 2007 book that Israeli intelligence had “laundered” intelligence to the IAEA by providing it to Iranian opposition groups, especially the NCRI.

[Despite his news reports purporting to expose Israeli covert activities, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is not to be trusted. See 'Seymour Hersh, professional liar' here: -- 800]

Israeli officials also went to extraordinary lengths to publicize the story of covert Iranian experiments on a key component of a nuclear weapon, which was one of the messages the intelligence documents conveyed. As a result of satellite intelligence brought to the attention of the IAEA in 2004 by Undersecretary of State John Bolton, the IAEA requested two separate investigations at the main Iran military research center at Parchin. The investigations, in January 2005 and November 2005, were aimed at examining the charge that Iran was using facilities at Parchin to test high explosives used in the detonation of a nuclear weapon. In each investigation, the IAEA investigators were allowed complete freedom to search and take environmental samples at any five buildings in the complex and their surroundings. But they failed to find any evidence of any Iranian nuclear weapons-related experiments.

At that point, Israeli intelligence came up with a new story. Hersh reported that, earlier in 2006, Mossad had given the CIA an intelligence report — purportedly from one of its agents inside Iran — claiming that the Iranian military had been “testing trigger mechanisms” for a nuclear weapon. The experiment supposedly involved simulating a nuclear explosion without using any nuclear material, so that it could not be detected by the IAEA. But there were no specifics on which to base an IAEA investigation — no test site specified and no diagrams — and CIA officials told Hersh they could not learn anything more about the identity of the alleged Israeli agent.

The CIA evidently did not regard the Israeli claim as credible, because the intelligence community issued a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in late 2007, which said that Iran had ended all work on nuclear weapons in 2003 and had not restarted it. Israel expressed dismay at the US intelligence estimate, but Israeli officials admitted that the official position that Iran was still working actively on a nuclear weapon was based on an assumption rather than any hard evidence.

Israel encountered yet another problem in its effort to promote the covert Iranian nuclear weapon narrative. The IAEA analysts doubted that Iran would be able to develop a nuclear weapon small enough to fit into the missile it had tested in 2004 without foreign assistance, as David Albright, former IAEA contract officer and director of the Institute for Science and International Security, wrote in a letter to The New York Times in November 2005.

Sometime between February and May, however, yet another purported Iranian document conveniently materialized that addressed the problem of the US NIE and the “small bomb” issue noted by Albright. The document was a long, Farsi-language report purporting to be about the testing of a system to detonate high explosives in hemispherical arrangement. Based on the new document, the IAEA safeguard department concluded that the “implosion system” on which it assumed Iran was working “could be contained within a payload container believed to be small enough to fit into the re-entry body chamber of the Shahab-3 missile.”

The document was given to the IAEA by a “Member State,” which was not identified in the leaked excerpts from an unpublished IAEA report describing it. But Albright, who knows Heinonen well, told me in a September 2008 interview, that the state in question was “probably Israel.”

The day before the Reuters and Associated Press stories attacking ElBaradei over his refusal to publish the report appeared in August 2009, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Israel “has been striving to pressure the IAEA through friendly nations and have it release the censored annex.” The operation was being handled by the director general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission and the Foreign Ministry, according to the report. The Israeli objective, Haaretz reported, was to “prove that the Iranian effort to develop nuclear weapons is continuing, contrary to the claims that Tehran stopped its nuclear program in 2003.”

Rethinking the case against Iran

Once the intelligence documents that have been used to indict Iran as plotting to build nuclear weapons are discounted as fabrications likely perpetrated by a self-interested party, there is no solid basis for the US policy of trying to coerce Iran into ending all uranium enrichment. And there is no reason for insisting that Iran must explain the allegations in those documents to the IAEA as a condition for any future US-Iran negotiations.

News coverage of the purported intelligence documents over the past few years has created yet another false narrative that distorts public discourse on the subject. Almost entirely ignored is the possibility that the real aim of Iran’s nuclear program is to maintain a bargaining chip with the United States, and to have a breakout capability to serve as a deterrent to a US or Israeli attack on Iran.

The evidence that documents at the center of the case for a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program are fraudulent suggests the need for a strategic reset on Iran policy. It raises both the possibility and the need for serious exploration of a diplomatic solution for the full range of issues dividing the two countries, which is the only sensible strategy for ensuring that Iran stays a non-nuclear state.

The above article can be found here:



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