Archive for the Breaking it Down! Category

The Khazarian Empire strikes back

Posted in Breaking it Down! with tags on August 11, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

GeorgiaAccording to the well known Mossad news agency Debka Israel aids Georgia by military advisers, logistics, and Israel’s “interest” in the conflict from military sources.Also reports filtering out of the Georgia South Ossetia are claiming that “foreign fighters” have been found among dead Georgia troops. Eyewitnesses are telling Russian reporters that the bodies of “foreignes” wearing “black uniforms” (Blackwater) have been found among Georgian dead. European Tribune

a former Russian ambassador, said on Al jazeera Arabic on Sunday, August 10, 2008 , “Israel supplied and trained Georgia in the Conflict, he spoke in detail about the Israeli connection and reasons being outwardly Oil & Gas but it is strategic Control of the region”, he was cut off then later returned and did not mention Israel again. The former ambassador ‘s Israel Mention was omitted from the English report.

The South Ossetian government is claiming that the Georgian government employed mercenaries in their attack on the city of Tskhinvali.

Authorities in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia claim that dark-skinned mercenaries took part in the attack on Tskhinvali, reports RIA Novosti, citing representative of the South Ossetian president in Russia Dmitry Medoev. He said there were bodies of many Georgian soldiers on the streets on Tskhinvali. “There were blacks among the dead, who were probably either mercenaries or instructors in the Georgian armed forces,” Medoev said.

Wait, it gets better.

Old Blackwater keep on rollin’?

In a phone interview with Russian media, the South Ossetian representative in Moscow indicated that the Georgian government has been employing foreign nationals in the fighting. In addition to the two black soldiers described above, they are suggesting that the lead tanks in the attack were crewed by Ukrainians.

If either of these charges is accurate, then the its likely that the conflict is going to grow more complex. The involvement of Ukrainian soldiers would threaten to involve that country in the fighting. Much of the eastern third of Ukraine is ethnically Russian and desires greater ties with Moscow not the West. One of the most visible aspects of that is the use of Russian, not Ukrainian as the language they prefer to communicate in. The map below shows the results of a 2003 KIIS (Kiev Institute of International Sociology) survey of language preference in the country.

There’s a Russian speaking swath here that extends from Kharkov and Donetsk in the East all the way west to the Moldovan breakaway region of Transnistria. The Ukrainian government looks on Moscow with a wary because of this, and ethnic intrigue is a core part of Ukrainian politics. The have a reason to avoid allowing the Russians to set a precedent that they may act to protect ethnic enclaves in CIS states.

While the last thing that the world needs is a conflict in which the former Soviet Republics form into rival, armed blocs, I’m much more concerned about the possibility that Blackwater might have been involved in the Georgian attack. While the the South Ossetian representative in Moscow suggests that the bodies of dead soldiers were black, an interview by Russian media with a first hand observer suggests that there was a misunderstanding.

(Skip to 10 min 30 secs, and yes I have to give Alex Jones a hat tip for a lot of the info in this section of my diary.)

In the video above a women being interviewed in Tskhinvali tells the reporter that:

There are also bodies over there. People that have been killed, mostly Ossetians, but also Georgians that had American emblems on the forearms and they were in black uniforms.

I was suspicious when I first heard this story, because it came from Infowars. However this checks out. It seems very, very likely that there are Blackwater personnel fighting in Georgia against Russian soldiers. This is so wrong in so many ways.

First, this has the potential to involved the United States in a fight against the choosing of our elected government because a bunch of *censored*wits want to go play soldier of fortune. If they are in fact Blackwater, why they hell are they wearing American emblems. What right do they have to claim the protection of the US government while fighting in a war to which we are not a party?

Actually, this sort of makes me happy, because at this point thy officially meet the legal definition of something that we’ve always know them to be: Mercenaries.

Let me explain.

The privatization of military force is one of my areas of interest. It’s another symptom of the horrible type of capitalism that our society has been infected by. As the title of one book title called it “Everything for Sale.”

There is no room for the sacred, and the use of lethal force is such a great threat to the preservation of human life that there must be strict limits on its use. There must be rules, not the vague incentives of the market. And ultimately it’ a small twist of the law that has turned the Blackwater corporation into a criminal entity. The same twist of the law that allowed them to avoid the fate of Sandline, Executive Outcomes, and the other mercenary organizations that operated in Africa during the 1990’s.

International law is very specific in defining whom is a mercenary and thus does not have the rights of a lawful combatant. Article 47 of Protocol I (1977)to the Geneva Conventions

Art 47. Mercenaries

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.

2. A mercenary is any person who:
(a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

Blackwater and the other Private Security Corporations operating in Iraq have only been able to avoid designation as a mercenary organization as the result of a very specific section of this definition. Article 47 (2) d: “is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict.”

At the beginning of the Iraq War, Blackwater and other firms got themselves into trouble because they had hired a bunch of ex security forces guys from South Africa and Chile. Those individuals met the definition of mercenaries, but the firm itself being American (yes, I know that they aren’t officially headquartered in the US) was in the clear.

The US was a party to the Iraq War. If it is in fact true that Blackwater is sending US nationals to fight in Georgia on behalf of the Georgian government, then they’ve crossed the line. They have become mercenaries, because they are “neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict.”

Maybe old Blackwater ain’t going to keep on rolling away after all.

In opening itself to the charge of being a mercenary organization it may become what is none as Hostis humani generis.

Hostis humani generis (Latin for “enemy of mankind”) is a legal term of art, originating from the admiralty law, and referring to the peculiar status, before the public international law, of maritime pirates, since time immemorial, and slavers, since the 18th century. It is also used in the present to describe the status of torturers….

It is considered an offense of universal jurisdiction, such that any state may board and seize a ship engaged in piracy, and any state may try a pirate and impose sanctions according to that state’s own law. Piracy is defined in Article 101 of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the 1958 Convention on the High Seas also regulates this exercise of jurisdiction. Under the same principles, these treaties, as well as the customary international law, allow states to act similarly against slavers on the high seas.

This has been the legal justification offered by the Bush administration for why prisoners at Guatanamo are not to be afforded the status of prisoners of war.

If Blackwater is operating in Georgia, their personnel are not going to have legal status are combatants. Being mercenaries, they are unlawful combatants, and thus hold the same legal status that the US applies to Al Qaeda.

And while I don’t think that there’s case law against a mercenary firm, I think that a strong case can be made that the Blackwater corporation must face the same charges that apply to those they appear to have sent to fight in Georgia.

Do you think that the Bush Admnistration will take appropriate action?

Israel backs Georgia in Caspian Oil Pipeline Battle with Russia
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
August 8, 2008, 4:26 PM (GMT+02:00)
Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin threatened a “military response.”

Former Soviet Georgia called up its military reserves after Russian warplanes bombed its new positions in the renegade province.

In Moscow’s first response to the fall of Tskhinvali, president Dimitry Medvedev ordered the Russian army to prepare for a national emergency after calling the UN Security Council into emergency session early Friday.
Reinforcements were rushed to the Russian “peacekeeping force” present in the region to support the separatists.
Georgian tanks entered the capital after heavy overnight heavy aerial strikes, in which dozens of people were killed.

Lado Gurgenidze, Georgia’s prime minister, said on Friday that Georgia will continue its military operation in South Ossetia until a “durable peace” is reached. “As soon as a durable peace takes hold we need to move forward with dialogue and peaceful negotiations.”
DEBKAfile’s geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.

The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

Saakashvili need only back away from this plan for Moscow to ditch the two provinces’ revolt against Tbilisi. As long as he sticks to his guns, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will wage separatist wars.

DEBKAfile discloses Israel’s interest in the conflict from its exclusive military sources:

Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.

Aware of Moscow’s sensitivity on the oil question, Israel offered Russia a stake in the project but was rejected.

Last year, the Georgian president commissioned from private Israeli security firms several hundred military advisers, estimated at up to 1,000, to train the Georgian armed forces in commando, air, sea, armored and artillery combat tactics. They also offer instruction on military intelligence and security for the central regime. Tbilisi also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel.

These advisers were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian army’s preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital Friday.

In recent weeks, Moscow has repeatedly demanded that Jerusalem halt its military assistance to Georgia, finally threatening a crisis in bilateral relations. Israel responded by saying that the only assistance rendered Tbilisi was “defensive.”

This has not gone down well in the Kremlin. Therefore, as the military crisis intensifies in South Ossetia, Moscow may be expected to punish Israel for its intervention.

Russia seizes Georgia base, opens second front

Russia opened a second front of fighting in Georgia on Monday, sending armored vehicles beyond two breakaway provinces and seizing a military base and police stations in the country’s west, the Georgian government and a Russian official said.

The new forays into Georgia – even as Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on signed a cease-fire pledge – appeared to show Russian determination to subdue the small, U.S.-backed country, which has been pressing for NATO membership.

The latest developments indicate that Russian troops have invaded Georgia proper from the separatist province of Abkhazia while most Georgian forces are locked up in fighting around another breakaway region of South Ossetia.

The West has sharply criticized Russia’s military response to Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia as disproportionate, and the world’s seven largest economic powers urged Russia on Monday to accept an immediate cease-fire and agree to international mediation.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations spoke by telephone and pledged their support for a negotiated solution to the conflict that has been raging since Friday between the former Soviet state and Russia, a State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the call had not yet been formally announced.

Nana Intskerveli, the Georgian Defense Ministry’s spokeswoman, said Russian armored personnel carriers rolled into the base in Senaki, about 20 miles inland from the Black Sea port of Poti.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said Russian forces also took over police stations in the town of Zugdidi – about 20 miles from the base and also outside Abkhazia.

In Moscow, a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name, confirmed the move into Senaki and said it was intended to prevent Georgian troops from concentrating.

The move followed Russia’s warning to Georgian forces west of Abkhazia to lay down arms or face a Russian military action. Senaki is located about 30 miles east of the Inguri River, which separates Abkhazia from Georgia proper.

Update Posted on Mon, Aug. 11, 2008

Russia opens new front, drives deeper into Georgia


Associated Press Writers

Russian soldiers seen atop a military vehicle, somewhere in South Ossetia, Monday, Aug. 11, 2008.  Russian armored vehicles rolled deep into western Georgia on Monday, quickly taking control of several towns and a military base and slicing open a damaging second front in Russia's battle with Georgia.  Other Russian forces captured the key central city of Gori.
Musa Sadulayev
Russian soldiers seen atop a military vehicle, somewhere in South Ossetia, Monday, Aug. 11, 2008. Russian armored vehicles rolled deep into western Georgia on Monday, quickly taking control of several towns and a military base and slicing open a damaging second front in Russia’s battle with Georgia. Other Russian forces captured the key central city of Gori.

Russian tanks roared deep into Georgia on Monday, launching a new western front in the conflict, and Russian planes staged air raids that sent people screaming and fleeing for cover in some towns.

The escalating warfare brought sharp words from President Bush, who pressed Moscow to accept an immediate cease-fire and pull its troops out to avert a “dramatic and brutal escalation” of violence in the former Soviet republic.

Russian forces for the first time moved well outside the two restive, pro-Russian provinces claimed by Georgia that lie at the heart of the dispute. An Associated Press reporter saw Russian troops in control of government buildings in this town just miles from the frontier and Russian troops were reported in nearby Senaki.

Georgia’s president said his country had been sliced in half with the capture of a critical highway crossroads near the central city of Gori, and Russian warplanes launched new air raids across the country.

The Russian Defense Ministry, through news agencies, denied it had captured Gori and also denied any intentions to advance on the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

The western assault expanded the days-old war beyond the central breakaway region of South Ossetia, where a crackdown by Georgia last week drew a military response from Russia.

While most Georgian forces were still busy fighting there, Russian troops opened the western attack by invading from a second separatist province, Abkhazia, that occupies Georgia’s coastal northwest arm.

Russian forces moved into Senaki, 20 miles inland from the Black Sea, and seized police stations in Zugdidi, just outside the southern fringe of Abkhazia. Abkhazian allies took control of the nearby village of Kurga, according to witnesses and Georgian officials.

U.N. officials B. Lynn Pascoe and Edmond Mulet in New York, speaking at an emergency Security Council meeting asked for by Georgia, also confirmed that Russian troops have driven well beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia, U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity because it was a closed session. They said Russian airborne troops were not meeting any resistance while taking control of Georgia’s Senaki army base.

“A full military invasion of Georgia is going on,” Georgian Ambassador Irakli Alasania told reporters later. “Now I think Security Council has to act.”

France also circulated a draft resolution calling for the “cessation of hostilities, and the complete withdrawal of Russian and Georgian forces” to prior positions. The council is expected to take up the draft proposal Tuesday.

The Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, told CNN late Monday that Russian forces were cleansing Abkhazia of ethnic Georgians.

“I directly accuse Russia of ethnic cleansing,” he said. At the U.N. on Friday, each side accused the other of ethnic cleansing.

By late Monday, Russian news agencies, citing the Defense Ministry, said troops had left Senaki “after liquidating the danger,” but did not give details.

Early Tuesday, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that separatist troops in Abkhazia started an operation to push Georgian forces out of the northern Kodori Gorge, the only area of Abkhazia still under Georgian control. Interfax reported that Abkhazia defense headquarters said the offensive began about 2 a.m.

The new Russia assault came despite a claim earlier in the day by a top Russian general that Russia had no plans to enter undisputed Georgian territory.

Saakashvili earlier told a national security meeting Russia had also taken central Gori, which its on Georgia’s only east-west highway, cutting off the eastern half of the nation from the western Black Sea coast.

But the news agency Interfax cited a Russian Defense Ministry official as denying Gori was captured. Attempts to reach Gori residents by telephone late Monday did not go through.

Fighting also raged Monday around Tskhinvali, the capital of the separatist province of South Ossetia.

Even as Saakashvili signed a cease-fire pledge Monday with European mediators, Russia flexed its military muscle and appeared determined to subdue the small U.S. ally, which has been pressing for NATO membership.

“The bombs that are falling on us, they have an inscription on them: This is for NATO. This is for the U.S.,” Saakashvili told CNN.

Russia’s massive and multi-pronged offensive has drawn wide criticism from the West, but Russia has rejected calls for a cease-fire and said it was acted to protect its citizens. Most residents of the separatist regions have Russian passports.

In Zugdidi, an AP reporter saw five or six Russian soldiers posted outside an Interior Ministry building. Several tanks and other armored vehicles were moving through the town but the streets were nearly deserted. Shops, restaurants and banks were shut down.

In the city of Gori, an AP reporter heard artillery fire and Georgian soldiers warned locals to get out because Russian tanks were approaching. Hundreds of terrified residents fled toward Tbilisi, many trying to flag down passing cars.

An AP film crew saw Georgian tanks and military vehicles speeding along the road from Gori to Tbilisi. Firing began and people ran for cover. Cars could be seen in flames along the side of the road.

Both provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990, and both have close ties with Moscow.

When Georgia began its offensive to regain control over South Ossetia, the Russian response was swift and overpowering – thousands of troops and tanks poured in.

Georgia had pledged a cease-fire, but it rang hollow Monday. An AP reporter saw a small group of Georgian fighters open fire on a column of Russian and Ossetian military vehicles outside Tskhinvali, triggering a 30-minute battle. The Russians later said all the Georgians were killed.

Another AP reporter was in the village of Tkviavi, 7 1/2 miles south of Tskhinvali inside undisputed Georgian territory, when a bomb from a Russian warplane struck a house. The walls of neighboring buildings fell as screaming residents ran for cover. Eighteen people were wounded.

Hundreds of Georgian troops headed north Monday along the road toward Tskhinvali, pocked with tank regiments creeping up the highway into South Ossetia.

In a statement in the Rose Garden, Bush said there was an apparent attempt by Russia to unseat the pro-Western Saakashvili. He said further Russian action would conflict with Russian assurance its actions were meant to restore peace in the pro-Russian separatist areas.

Bush and other Western leaders have also complained that Russian warplanes – buzzing over Georgia since Friday – have bombed Georgian oil sites and factories far from the conflict zone.

The world’s seven largest economic powers urged Russia to accept an immediate cease-fire agree to international mediation.

Putin criticized the United States for viewing Georgia as the victim instead of the aggressor, and for airlifting Georgian troops back home from Iraq on Sunday.

“Of course, Saddam Hussein ought to have been hanged for destroying several Shiite villages,” Putin said in Moscow. “And the incumbent Georgian leaders who razed ten Ossetian villages at once, who ran elderly people and children with tanks, who burned civilian alive in their sheds – these leaders must be taken under protection.”

The U.S. military was informing Russia about the flights from Iraq to avoid mishaps, one military official said Monday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the subject on the record.

A Defense Department spokesman said the U.S. expected to have all Georgian troops out of Iraq by day’s end.

Pentagon officials said Monday that U.S. military was assessing the fighting every day to determine whether to pull the fewer than 100 remaining American trainers out of the country.

EU envoys were headed to Moscow to try to persuade Russia to accept a cease-fire. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he will meet Tuesday in Moscow with President Dmitri Medvedev and then travel to Tbilisi for a meeting with Saakashvili.

Saakashvili voiced concern Russia’s true goal was to undermine his pro-Western government. “It’s all about the independence and democracy of Georgia,” he said.

The Georgian president said Russia had sent 20,000 troops and 500 tanks into Georgia. He said Russian warplanes were bombing roads and bridges, destroying radar systems and targeting Tbilisi’s civilian airport. One Russian bombing raid struck the Tbilisi airport area only a half-hour before EU envoys arrived, he said.

Another hit near key Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which carries Caspian crude to the West. No supply interruptions have been reported.

At least 9,000 Russian troops and 350 armored vehicles were in Abkhazia, according to a Russian military commander.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said more than 2,000 people have been killed in South Ossetia since Friday, most of them Ossetians with Russian passports. The figures could not be independently confirmed, but refugees who fled Tskhinvali over the weekend said hundreds had been killed.

Many found shelter in the Russian province of North Ossetia.

“The Georgians burned all of our homes,” said one elderly woman, as she sat on a bench under a tree with three other white-haired survivors. “The Georgians say it is their land. Where is our land, then?”

The Khazarian Empire strikes back


The Sins of their Fathers — The Guardian reports how the children of Nazis now live in Israel as practicing Jews

Posted in Breaking it Down! with tags , on August 10, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Just when you thought the official Holocaust narrative couldn’t get any more bizarre, prominent UK newspaper The Guardian reports how the descendants of Nazis are currently living — as practicing Jews — in Israel.

In this article of August 6, 2008, reporter Tanya Gold explores “the strange subculture of Nazi-descended Jews” in Israel, offering a glimpse into the obscure relationship — seldom discussed — between Nazism and Zionism. Gold interviews one Nazi scion currently serving as a senior rabbi in the Israeli armed forces, as well as a relative of Hitler himself — now a professor of Jewish studies at a prominent Israeli university.

The Sins of their Fathers
The Guardian, August 6 2008
A relative of Hitler is now Jewish and living in Israel. So is the son of a Waffen-SS man. Tanya Gold talks to the descendants of Nazis who have embraced Judaism

Two years ago I read a strange little story in an obscure American magazine for Orthodox Jews, claiming that a descendant of Adolf Hitler had converted to Judaism and was living in Israel. I had heard rumors in Jewish circles for years about “the penitents” — children of Nazis who become Jews to try to expiate the sins of their fathers.

Could it be true? I dug further and discovered that a man with a family connection to Hitler does indeed live in Israel as an Orthodox Jew. Virtually unnoticed in the English-speaking world, he was exposed seven years ago in an Israeli tabloid. Then he sank from sight. I went to Israel to meet him — and on the way I was plunged into the strange subculture of the Nazi-descended Jews.

I am walking through the alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem, to meet Aharon Shear-Yashuv. He is the son of a Nazi. And yet he was a senior rabbi in the Israeli armed forces.

Gali Tibbon

Rabbi Aharon Shear-Yashuv’s father was a soldier in the Waffen-SS. Photograph: Guardian - Gali Tibbon

He lives in an apartment in the Jewish quarter, near the Western Wall. I walk through a pale gold alley; Orthodox Jewish men in long black coats and round fur hats dart past. He opens the door and looks like every other rabbi I have ever met — a black suit, a beard, a questioning shrug. He takes me into his study, settles into a chair, and says, in a thick German accent: “My father was in the Waffen-SS.”

He was, he explains, born in the Ruhr Valley in 1940. During the war, his father served on the eastern front with Hitler’s elite troops. What did his father do in the Waffen-SS? “I don’t know,” he says calmly. “When I grew up I tried to ask, but there weren’t really answers.”

He was four when he first met his father. “I don’t remember anything about that,” he says. It seems he doesn’t want to talk about his father; he doesn’t describe his conversion in psychological terms but in grand theological and historical ones.

“During my theological studies at university it became clear that I couldn’t be a minister in the church,” he says. “I concluded that Christianity was paganism. One of [its] most important dogmas is that God became man, and if God becomes man then man also can become God.” He pauses. “Hitler became a kind of god.”

So would he have become a Jew even if the Holocaust had never happened, even if his family had been anti-Nazi? He looks surprised. “Oh yes.” I try to draw him back to his father, but he seems exasperated. “Well, you see, he is a father, of course, but ideologically, there was no connection. I was so involved in my conviction that I had found the right path, all the other items no longer had any importance.”

Fragments of the story begin to emerge through the haze of theological reasoning. His father was “shocked and enraged” when he went to study Judaism in America, he concedes. “For him that was the end of the world. ‘My son is leaving Germany to study in a Jewish rabbinical seminary!’ He told me I was crazy and renounced me as a son.”

When he moved to Israel, his parents pretended that it hadn’t happened; they told their neighbors he was still in America. Years later, his sister arranged a meeting with his parents at a station in Düsseldorf. Shear-Yashuv arrived with a Jewish friend. His father peered out of the train, saw the Jewish stranger, and refused to get off.

Today, he believes Germany is doomed. “People there don’t get married, and if they do they have one child,” he says. “But the Turks and the other foreigners have many children. So it is a question of time that Germany will no longer be German.” Why does he think this has happened? “I think it is a punishment for the Holocaust,” he says, matter-of-factly. “Germany will leave the stage of history, no doubt about it.” But the Jews, by contrast, will never die. This is a neat irony of history that he loves. “All the great cultures have left the stage of history,” he says. “The Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Babylonians. But this little people, who gave so much to the world, do not.” He chuckles. “That is something.”

I walk through the Old City, pondering my encounter with this strange, kindly man. Something seems to be missing from his story. To stand in front of a rabbi whose father was in the SS and to hear he became a Jew because he doubted the Trinity is absurd.

So I telephone Dan Bar-On, a professor of psychology at Ben Gurion University, and a world expert on the psychology of the children of perpetrators. He tells me, flatly, pitilessly: “The motive of the converts is to join the community of the victims. If you become part of the victim community, you get rid of the burden of being part of the perpetrator community.” He interviewed Shear-Yashuv for his book Legacy of Silence. “For me,” he says, “Shear-Yashuv represents a person who ran away from the past.”

A few days later, I take a tatty bus to the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, on a mountain just outside Jerusalem. There is an air of absolute, manufactured silence. In the middle is a glass-and-concrete mausoleum — the memorial. I am here to meet a woman who works in the educational department. She was born in Munich, she told me on the telephone, and she is a convert.

I meet her in a cafe on the terrace; it is very chichi, but the wind is blowing in from the desert. She is in her late 30s and her head is covered. Her face is stereotypically German but the mannerisms — her emphatic movements and the soaring cadences of her voice — are all Jewish.

I cannot name her, she says. (Apart from Shear-Yashuv, every convert refuses to be named.) She tells me, briskly and crossly, that although her grandparents were not perpetrators in the Holocaust, they were bystanders, anti-Semites. Her mother, she explains, still says things like, “There are a lot of rich Jews in America,” and her family have what she calls “a classic German narrative” about the war.

She bunches her fists. “There were no Jews in these stories and no Nazis in these stories,” she says. And she imitates them, angrily. “No, no, there were no Nazis, we are not Nazis. We didn’t know any Jews, we didn’t know anything.” How did she feel about it? She pauses, and then says, “I was annoyed.”

Her favored word for Germany is “annoyed”. She was “annoyed” when a synagogue recently opened in Munich. “People said, ‘Now we have closed the circle; now everything is fine,'” she says. “It was like nothing had happened. But there were 11,000 Jews in Munich before the Holocaust. Where are they now?”

She is annoyed by the affluence of Germany. “Everything is so clean,” she says. “Everything is so … nice. And here,” she stares out over the mountains, “the life is so difficult sometimes.”

Why did she become Jewish? “Because I was annoyed by how the narrative was fixed,” she says. She tells me a story from the Midrash, a Jewish commentary on the Bible. There are, it states, non-Jews who are born with Jewish souls. They belong to the Jewish people, and will eventually join them. “It is only a matter of time,” she says, speaking very seriously, “before you learn you should convert.” I remember Shear-Yashuv said this too.

I ask her if she believes that Nazi children convert to expiate the guilt of their parents — but this angers her. “There is something not right when you do it to get rid of your German burden,” she says. “That is not honest in my eyes. Do you stop being the daughter of a Wehrmacht soldier if you are Jewish? No. That is no solution. You don’t get rid of it.”

So why is she here? “To live here, to work here, to be this bridge between two worlds.” She repeats the word “bridge” and she calls it “exciting”. She talks of her “motivation package” and she calls the “discourse about the Holocaust” in Germany “sophisticated”. There is something emotionless about it, something deeply unsaid. And precisely on the stroke of the hour, she looks at her watch and says, “I have to go now.”

I call Bar-On again. I feel the converts are giving me half-answers, scraps of answers. They talk about despising the Trinity and the terrible things that the Germans did to the Jews, but it seems like they are talking a genocide that doesn’t exist, even in their memories. I can’t escape the feeling that it is all about something else.

I tell Bar-On they talk obsessively about the Trinity. But is incredulity really a reason for abandoning a religion with a three-in-one god for one that still believes bushes talk and that waves are parted by the will of God? “That is another way of saying what I have already told you,” he says. “They want to join the community of the victim. They may have their own way of rationalizing it.”

Later that day, I meet a young man. He bounces into a kebab shop on West Jerusalem’s main drag. He is 24, handsome and excitable. He tells me, simply, that he hated Germany.

“In Germany I didn’t care about anyone,” he spits. “I didn’t give a *censored*.” He describes a jumbled youth, being thrown out of school, joining the army, rejecting the army. After a while, he drags me off to the Independence Park, sipping a Coke, and telling me how wonderful it all is in Israel.

He describes growing up in a small town in industrial western Germany. A terrible anger leaks into his sentences. When I ask him why he converted, he stares at the spindly trees, bunches his arms between his knees like an adolescent boy, and says, “I hate that question. I don’t know.”

He calms down and says that something wasn’t right for him in Germany, ever: “I was always looking for my place. I hated Catholicism. I have hated it since I was 14.” He educated himself and what he likes about Judaism, he says, is that “what counts is the deed. In Christianity it is enough just to believe.”

“I didn’t think of my family of being like ‘the Germans’,” he says. “I didn’t say, ‘Grandfather, did you kill anyone?’ My grandmother said, ‘As kids under the Nazis, before the war, we had a wonderful time. They sent us to Croatia, they sent us to Sweden, and we had youth camps. How could we not be thankful for what they gave us?'”

The Holocaust was just a subject you learned in history, he says. “You went in the classroom twice a week, they told you, you fell asleep.”

But he tells me one of his grandmother’s anecdotes about Nazism. “She remembers Kristallnacht,” he says. “She was 13. She says she remembered there were Jewish shops that got burned down and it was a big loss. Because, she said, you could always go to the Jews and buy something and if you didn’t have the money you could bring it in next time.”

And that is his family. He never asked them about the war — I have yet to meet a convert who has. According to Bar-On, converts and their parents almost never speak about the war. He calls it the “double wall”: both the parent and child erect a wall of silence; even if one tries to break it, the other will keep it firmly in place.

This man told his parents he was converting one Christmas Day. He has had death threats from neo-Nazis, he says. His hometown is full of them. Why does he think they became neo-Nazis? “Ask them — don’t ask me,” he replies.

Did he become Jewish because of the Holocaust? “People ask me that a lot,” he says, “and when I say no they don’t believe me.” Does he really believe that? “Maybe.” He sighs and looks around at the trees. “Maybe what the war made Germany into …” He pauses and then says, “I feel myself turning into a block of ice every time when I go back. I have to force myself to melt down again.”

I call Bar-On a final time. They all say they are happy now, I tell him. Is this true? The conversion “may give them an illusion of peace”, he says. “But it is not the way to work through the role of the parents [in the war]. I think it is running away from it. In order to be able to really work through the past, you have to try to understand how could it be that your father was a mass murderer. You have to think of the possibilities that had you lived at this time you might also have been able to do such things.”

Is he telling me that they are always wondering what they would have done in Nazi Germany to the Jews they have become? “Being in Israel is to keep away as far as possible from it,” he replies. “I am not sure to what extent they have really been accepted into Israeli society. I think they are struggling. I don’t envy them.”

As far as I can tell, the converts may know of each other, but they do not come together. In Judaism it is a sin to point the finger at a convert. And why would they? They are not here to be German; they are here to be Jewish.

I return to the suburbs to meet an artist. This convert is also a member of an organization that promotes human rights for Palestinians. An incredibly beautiful woman answers the door and I say hello. “Oh, no,” she says. “You are not here to speak to me — you are here to speak to my girlfriend.” The woman I have come to interview is small and wiry, with short hair; she says she is 42. She speaks very, very fast. The words pour out of her.

She sits me down and gives me cake and coffee. I say I have interviewed a lot of converts. “Are they all mad?” she asks me, and laughs. What does she mean? “Well,” she says, “I met some who surprised me. Some of them were shockingly unintelligent. I even wondered why they would have the intellectual independence to make this choice — especially the people who chose to be ultra-Orthodox, who chose to throw away their freedom.”

She shrugs. “There is stigma in conversion,” she says. “People end up being fanatics.”

She sips her coffee and says that she believes there is a parallel between the way that some Jews respond to the Palestinians and the way some Germans responded to the Nazis. She never asked her grandmother about the war, she says, because she loved her too much.

“I was worried I would get hurt by information I didn’t want to know,” she says. “Sometimes I feel that a lot of Israelis live that way. It is better not to ask questions, and not be hurt, and so you don’t have to look at yourself or your family or your nation. And you can live with the illusion of who is good and who is bad.”

She says she was eight years old when she first heard of a Jew. “I heard a boy next door call another boy a ‘stupid Jew’,” she says. “I asked my mother, ‘What is a Jew, and is it something bad?'”

When she learned about the Holocaust, it literally made her retch. “I was horrified by what Germans did to Jews,” she says. “I was physically disgusted. And I was totally disgusted by even my own Germanness.”

It is strange to hear things like this over coffee in a clean apartment in the Middle East. “I didn’t want to be German,” she says. “And because this entered my mind so early, it became as natural as brushing my teeth.”

So why did she convert? She grimaces. “It isn’t rational. We are talking about religion here.” But she says she ran away to Israel to convert when she was 25. And today, she berates herself for her immaturity in doing it.

She was shocked by the racism in Israel. Towards her? “Towards the Arabs,” she replies. “I felt that I was being told that to be a good Jew, you had to hate Arabs.” So she stands at West Bank checkpoints to observe the behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians.

“It causes a lot of tension to come here and say the things that I say,” she says. So why does she say them? “Because it would be very inconsistent to have had so much criticism of Germans who were terrible cowards when it was still possible to say something, and then to come here and not speak up for justice.”

She is through with Israel. She says it is because of the triple whammy of otherness — German, leftwing, gay. A shrink would say that she came here to be wrong, I tell her. “Don’t think I haven’t thought about it in those terms myself,” she replies. “I had wanted to connect myself to a history I did not perceive as shameful. Now I am wondering if I will stay. I am more or less sure that I won’t. Sometimes I feel I am not built for it, that I am not strong enough for this country.”

She runs her hands through her hair briskly, and shakes her head. “Sometimes I feel that just by existing I am always wrong here. But I cannot live with personal attacks now. I cannot bear it.”

Later that day, I meet the man who brought me here to Israel, the man who started all this — the so-called Jewish Hitler. He is a professor at the Jewish studies faculty at one of the universities. I telephoned him, and to my surprise he answered.

How could I ask: “Are you a Hitler?” I told him I was writing a story about German converts to Judaism, and he said I could come over immediately. So I go to an apartment just around the corner from where the artist lives. It is a grimy white block, with a few scrubby bushes outside.

I walk upstairs and a woman with the headscarf of all married orthodox Jewish women answers the door. She doesn’t say anything, simply gestures for me to sit at a table in a room heaving with books. And then he comes in. Is this my Jewish Hitler?

He is incredibly tall and slim, in a blinding yellow shirt, very animated, and his accent — an odd pulp of German, English and Hebrew — seems to zoom out of him. He is holding two pieces of paper. One is a family tree; the other is a printout of an account of the life of Alois Hitler Junior — Adolf Hitler’s half-brother.

“I will tell you the whole story,” he says, “on the condition that you do not print my name”. He places the first piece of paper in front of me, points at names, and begins a strange, almost incomprehensible account of the lives of Germans who died more than a century ago.

At the end of each summary of a long finished life, he jabs his finger on the table and says, “OK?” It only becomes clear what he is doing when I follow the tree down to a name I know — Alois Hitler.

Alois Hitler had two sons who lived to maturity — Adolf (that Adolf) and Alois Junior. This half-brother of the Führer then produced an illegitimate son called Hans. “OK?” he says. “Hans married my grandmother Erna after she divorced my grandfather.”

He immediately states that he hates the Hitler branch of his family. He becomes agitated. “I have neither any blood nor DNA from Adolf and his family,” he insists. “I was not socialised by that family.” He met Hans only once.

The Hitlers came for tea when he was 12 years old. “Hans was a very nice man,” he says. “No passions, no brutality.” But Erna was thrilled to have married into the Hitler clan, and remained a Nazi until she died. “I didn’t know her,” he says of his grandmother. “She wasn’t part of my family.”

The professor explains that his mother severed all connections with the Hitlers. As a teenager she was beaten for refusing to go to Hitler Youth dances, and when she gave birth to the professor — an illegitimate child she conceived during an affair with a married man — her mother and stepfather disowned her. He was raised in a series of rented rooms, while the Hitlers lived well. After the war, his grandmother changed her name, but her beliefs remained.

He begins to tell me what happened to his mother during the war. She worked as a typist for the Wehrmacht in Poland and she saw dead Jews hanging in the town squares. “She was a girl in the war,” he says, “but I always appreciated that she told me the truth about it. We spoke frankly. I never heard that normal German lie you hear so often from that generation.”

His voice rises and he impersonates them with a fierce whine: “‘We didn’t know, we just did our duty.'” And he thumps the table. “My grandparents never understood what they had done,” he says. “My mother understood.”

When she came home after the Allied victory, she was denounced as a Nazi, and the Communists seized her flat. “She became one of those German ladies who cleared up after all the bombing.” He stomps to the kitchen and comes back, thrusting two silver spoons at me. “That is all that my mother brought home from the war. I keep them to honor her.”

It was a brutal childhood: he barely saw his father, and his mother beat him — one time so severely that she couldn’t go to work for three days because her fingers were too swollen to type. “She was a fighter,” he says. “It is not the nicest thing you can be.” Was she religious? He gives a deranged giggle. “She had the religion of herself,” he says.

His mother was entirely alone. “Nobody helped anybody at that time,” he says. His father had another family — a real family: “I saw my father very seldom and the times I saw him I was so proud to have a father that it was not the time to ask what he did in the war. He died when I was 19. So I never asked him what he did.”

But he does know his father was a major in the Wehrmacht. So, barring a miracle, he killed people for Hitler.

His journey towards Judaism was long. “It was not a sudden light from heaven that came down.” When he was a teenager he met a girl who was interested in Judaism, and he read Mein Kampf. “I was embarrassed when I read it,” he says. “How could people be so stupid as to elect a person who was writing things like this? It’s awful.”

He blinks at me. “I don’t think you can really understand how awful it is if you don’t read it in German. I put it away. But I keep it here.” Did he ever finish it? He scowls at me for the first and only time. “No.”

When the time came for him to be conscripted into the German army, he decided to take a theology degree, because he wanted to benefit from an ironic leftover from Nazism: Hitler promised the Pope in 1933 that he wouldn’t conscript priests, and the law has never been repealed. “I am a pacifist,” he says. “You raise up an army if you think you have to use it.”

As part of the degree, he was due to spend six weeks in Israel in the early 1970s. “I felt at home. I was no longer living in a conflict. I didn’t have to reject the older generation. And I thought I had met for the first time a nationality that at that point in history — today it is more problematic — still had good reasons to be proud of itself.” So he stayed.

We go out on to the balcony to smoke. He really enjoys his cigarette; I can see he is a pleasure-savouring man. He does not have the heaviness of the other converts, who all seemed crushed by an invisible burden.

Is it because he spoke to his mother about it all? I steel myself and ask: would he have become Jewish without the Holocaust? “I think not,” he says. “The sharp distinction between the generations that committed the crimes and the generation born after wouldn’t exist. Non-Germans hardly understand that a whole generation checked out our teachers and asked, ‘Where were you 20 years ago?'”

And then, to my surprise, he calls his son — his Israeli son — a fascist. “When I hear my own son speak — as I did last weekend — I sat like this,” and he does the Hitler salute. “Two of my sons are chauvinists and one of them is even partially racist. I can’t listen to fascistic discourse. I don’t suffer that.”

They talk about the Palestinians with contempt. “Each time I hear it is another time too much. If the Holocaust and the Third Reich have really somehow shaped me, I am a sworn democrat. I believe that democracy has to prove itself by keeping the rights of its minorities.”

I have been with this man for three hours, insistently asking why — why did you convert? Why? This stray branch of the Hitler family tree stares out at his dull suburban street at the heart of the Jewish state, puffs on his cigarette, and begins to talk about the images of the Holocaust that linger in his mind.

“I see that soldier trampling that child and in the end killing it, and I remember that kind of aggression. I remember the feeling of the child, too. I remember both. I could see my father or my grandfather really standing there.”

And as he says this, his shoulders seem to relax. He is giving me my answer. “And all I can say, Tanya,” he says from inside his little cloud of smoke, “is that since I came to Israel, that feeling isn’t there any more.”

The Sins of their Fathers — The Guardian reports how the children of Nazis now live in Israel as practicing Jews

Jewish Communists

Posted in Breaking it Down! with tags , , on August 10, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Jews have made a disproportionate contribution to the Left“Modern political history indicates a clear connection between being Jewish and being radical, Both as individual theorists and activists of the stature of Marx, Luxemburg, Trotsky and Emma Goldman, and as organized mass labour movements in, for example, revolutionary Russia and early 20th century Britain and the USA, Jews have made a disproportionate contribution to the Left.”

— Philip Mendes, THE NEW LEFT, THE JEWS AND THE VIETNAM WAR, 1965-1972, Lazare Press, North Caulfield, Victoria, Australia, pp 9-10, from information in Rechter, David. Beyond The Pale: Jewish Communism in Melbourne. Master of Arts Thesis, Department of History, University of Melbourne. 1986, p1; Beer, Max. 50 Years of International Socialism. 1976, pplO3-107; Beit-Haltahmi, Benjamin. Original Sins. Actions in the History of Zionism and Israel. Pluto Press. London. 1992, pp28-31, Jacobs, Jack. On Socialists and the Jewish Question after Marx. New York University Press. New York. 1992, p159; Wistrich, Robert, Revolutionary Jews From Marx To Trotsky.
Harrap. London. 1976, p1.

Jewishness Was International Communism — Vladimir Ilich Lenin“There the great world-progressive features of Jewish culture stand clearly revealed: its internationalism, its identification with the advanced movements of the epoch (the percentage of Jews in the democratic and proletarian movements is everywhere higher than the percentage of Jews among the population).”

— Lenin, Vladimir Ilich. “National Culture” in Lumer, Hyman. Lenin on the Jewish Question. International Publishers. New York. 1974, p107, via Philip Mendes, THE NEW LEFT, THE JEWS AND THE VIETNAM WAR, 1965-1972, Lazare Press, North Caulfield, Victoria, Australia, p 9.

Gavrilo Princeps, Jewish Inspired Anarchist
Who was the Anarchist Follower of Emma Goldman, Jewish Leader & Founder of the World Anarachist Movement

In Yugoslavia, the home of World War One, where Gavrilo Princeps who was a Jewish Inspired Anarchist suffering from fatal tuberculosis in Sarajevo shot the son of Archduke Ferdinand and plunged millions of white boys to their untimely deaths, a singular tyrant by the name of Marshal Tito ruled with an iron fist.

–Frank Weltner, The Enslavement of Mankind, The Marshal Tito Gambit, An intelligent and inquisitive excursion into the history and philosophy of this world’s mostly unwritten past. Internet free edition.

The Leadership of the Working Parties
and The Communist Internationale
Were Mostly Jews

“In many countries, in Russia and Rumania for instance, but above all in Hungary and in Poland. the leadership of the working-class parties (the Russian Social Revolutionary Party excepted) is almost exclusively in the hands or Jews, as is plainly apparent from an extermination of the personality of the delegates to the international congresses”.

— Philip Mendes, THE NEW LEFT, THE JEWS AND THE VIETNAM WAR, 1965-1972, Lazare Press, North Caulfield, Victoria, Australia, p 9, from information found in Michels, Robert. Political Parties. A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modem Democracy. The Free Press. New York. 1962, p 247.

Jewish Communists
Many thanks for this list of Jewish communists which was compiled by
Michael A. Hoffman II

V.I. Lenin, supreme dictator.Leon Bronstein (Trotsky): supreme commander of the Soviet Red Army.

Grigory Apfelbaum (Zinoviev): executive, Soviet Secret Police. S

olomon Lozovsky: deputy Soviet foreign minister.

Maxim Wallach (Litvinov): Soviet foreign minister.

Yuri Andropov: director, Soviet KGB, later supreme dictator of the Soviet Union.

Jacob Sverdlov: first president of the Soviet Union. Sverdlov ordered the massacre of the Czar’s family-women and children-in the town named after Catherine the Great, Yekaterinburg, (renamed Sverdlovsk in 1924 in honor of the murderer).

Jacob Yurovsky: commander, Soviet Secret Police. Yurovsky led the death squad which carried out Sverdlov’s order for the murder of the Czar’s family, including the bayoneting to death of the Czar’s daughters. The Ipatyev house, where, in the basement, the massacre had occurred, stood intact until 1977, when the local Communist party boss at that time, Boris Yeltsin, ordered it demolished, lest it become a shrine to anti-Jewish sentiment.

Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich (pictured at left): chief mass murderer for Stalin, ordered the deaths of millions and the wholesale destruction of Christian monuments and churches, including the great Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Standing amid the rubble of the cathedral, Kaganovich proclaimed, “Mother Russia is cast down. We have ripped away her skirts.” (N.Y. Times, Sept. 26, 1995).

Mikhail Kaganovich: deputy commissar of heavy industry, supervisor of slave labor, brother of Lazar. Rosa Kaganovich: Stalin’s mistress; sister of Lazar. Paulina Zhemchuzina: member of the Central Committee and wife of Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov.

Olga Bronstein: officer, Soviet Cheka Secret Police, sister of Trotsky, wife of Kamenev.

Genrikh Yagoda: chief of Soviet Secret Police, mass murderer extraordinaire. (Jewish poet Romain Rolland, winner of the Nobel Prize, wrote a hymn of praise to Yagoda).

Matvei Berman and Naftaly Frenkel: founders, the Gulag death camp system.

Lev Inzhir, commissar for Soviet death camp transit and administration.

Boris Berman: executive officer of the Soviet Secret Police and brother of Matvei. K.V. Pauker: chief of operations, Soviet NKVD Secret Police.

Firin, Rappoport, Kogan, Zhuk: commissars of death camps and slave labor, supervised the mass deaths of laborers during the construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal.

M.I. Gay: commander, Soviet Secret Police.

Slutsky and Shpiegelglas: commanders, Soviet Secret Police.

Isaac Babel: officer, Soviet Secret Police.

Leiba Lazarevich Feldbin (Aleksandr Orlov): commander, Soviet Red Army; officer, Soviet Secret Police. Feldbin was chief of Soviet Security in the Spanish Civil War. He supervised the massacre of Catholic priests and peasants in Spain.

Yona Yakir: general, Soviet Red Army, member of the Central Committee.

Dimitri Shmidt: general, Soviet Red Army.

Yakov (“Yankel”) Kreiser: general, Soviet Red Army.

Miron Vovsi: general, Soviet Red Army.

David Dragonsky: general, Soviet Red Army, Hero of the Soviet Union.

Grigori Shtern: general, Soviet Red Army.

Mikhail Chazkelevich: general, Soviet Red Army.

Shimon Kirvoshein: general, Soviet Red Army.

Arseni Raskin: deputy-commander, Soviet Red Army.

Haim Fomin, commander of Brest-Litovsk, Soviet Red Army. At least one hundred Soviet generals were Jewish (cf. Canadian Jewish News, April 19, 1989).

Generals who were not themselves Jewish often had Jewish wives. Among these were Marshal Voroshilov, Marshal Bulganin, Marshal Peresypkin and General Pavel Sudoplatov (Sudoplatov assassinated hundreds of Christian leaders including Ukranian Catholic Archbishop Teodor Romzha). This Jewish wife “insurance policy” extended to Politburo members such as Andrei Andreyev and Leonoid Brezhnev.

Sergei Eisenstein: director of communist propaganda films which depicted Christian peasants (kulaks) as hideous, money-grabbing parasites. The kulaks were subsequently massacred. (Cf. for example Eisenstein’s Bezhin Meadow).

KOMZET: commission for the settlement of Jewish Communists on land seized from murdered Christians in Ukraine; funded by Jewish-American financier Julius Rosenwald.

Ilya Ehrenburg, Minister of Soviet Propaganda and disseminator of anti-German hate material dating from the 1930s. Ehrenburg instigated the Soviet Red Army rape and murder of German civilians. Referring to German women, Ehrenburg gloated to the advancing Red Army troops, “that blonde hag is in for a bad time.”

In a leaflet addressed to Soviet troops, Ehrenburg wrote: “…the Germans are not human beings…nothing gives us so much joy as German corpses.”(Anatol Goldberg, Ilya Ehrenburg, p. 197). Goldberg concedes that Ehrenburg, “…had always disliked the Germans…now that there was a war on he turned his old prejudice into an asset.”(Ibid., p. 193).
Another publication distributed to the Red Army, this time as the soldiers approached Danzig, was described by a historian: “Millions of leaflets were air-dropped on the troops with a message composed by the propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg and signed by Stalin: ‘Soldiers of the Red Army! Kill the Germans! Kill all Germans! Kill! Kill! Kill!” (Christopher Duffy, Red Storm on the Reich).
The Soviet leadership acknowledged that Ehrenburg sought the extermination of the entire German people (cf. Pravda, April 14, 1945. [Pravda was also published in a Yiddish edition, Einikeyt). Ehrenburg won the Order of Lenin and the Stalin Prize. He willed his papers to the Israeli Yad Vashem ‘Holocaust’ Museum.

Solomon Mikhoels: commissar of Soviet propaganda.

Soviet film propagandists:

Mark Donsky,

Leonid Lukov, Y

uli Reisman,

Vasily Grossman,

Yevgeny Gabrilovich,

Boris Volchok

and Lillian Hellman (old movies written by her continue to be broadcast on American telelvision).

Soviet propagandist: Yevgeny Khaldei who staged the photo of the raising of the hammer and sickle flag over the Reichstag in Berlin, May 2, 1945. Afterward, a special plane was waiting to fly Khaldei, Stalin’s top Tass photographer, to a Moscow lab, where his photo was further doctored (loot displayed on one of the Soviet soldier’s wrists was removed in the negative and Khaldei added clouds and smoke to the scene for dramatic effect (see photo of Khaldei and his beloved flag at left). Khaldei continued to work as a premier Soviet propagandist until his retirement from Pravda in 1972. His Communist propaganda is proudly on display at the Jewish Museum of New York and the Jewish Museum of San Francisco. N.Y. Times writer Vicki Goldberg exulted in the raising of the blood-drenched Soviet flag, emblem of the slaughter of millions of peasants and Christians; describing it as, “…a national (and worldwide) symbol of triumph, justice and revenge.” (Jan. 31, 1997, p. B-26).

Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC): new form of the Bolshevik YEVKOM, Stalin’s recruiting conduit for funding money, supplies and political influence for Soviet Russia from world Jewry as well as the dissemination of gas chamber atrocity propaganda (cf. The Black Book).

Nikolai Bukharin: Lenin’s chief theorist.

Samuel Agursky: commissar.

Karl Radek: member, Central Committee.

Mikhail Gruzenberg (Borodin) commissar.

A.A. Yoffe: commissar.

David Ryazanov: advisor to Lenin.

Lev Grigorievich Levin: physician, poisoner of Stalin’s enemies.

Lev Rosenfeld (Kamenev): member of the Central Committee.

Ivan Maisky: Soviet Ambassador to Britain. Itzik Solomonovich Feffer: commissar, Soviet Secret Police.

Abraham Sutskever: Soviet terrorist-partisan.

Mark Osipovich Reizen: Soviet propagandist, winner of three Stalin Prizes.

Lev Leopold Trepper: Soviet espionage officer.

Bela Kun (Kohen): supreme dictator of Hungary in 1919. Kun was later Stalin’s chief terrorist in the Crimea.

Zakharovich Mekhlis: top executioner for Stalin.

Henrykas Zimanas: leader of Lithuanian communist terrorists, butcher of Christians.

Moshe Pijade (sometimes spelled Piade): commander, Yugoslav Communist People’s Army. Tito’s top butcher of hundreds of thousands of Croatian Christians. Pijade later served as president of the Yugoslav Communist Parliament. At least eighteen generals in the Yugoslav Communist People’s Army were Jewish. The Yugoslavian communist party sent massive arms shipments to Jewish fighters in Palestine in the 1940s.

In post-war Poland that nation was completely dominated by Jewish communists: the torturer Jacek Rozanski, head of the Secret Police; the Politboro commander Jacob Berman (pictured at right) and commissars Minc, Specht (Olszewski) and Spychalski. These men murdered or deported to Kolyma and the other Arctic death camps, tens of thousands of Catholic Poles.

According to Jewish researcher John Sack, “In 1945 many Poles felt (and not without reason) that Jews ran the Office of State Security…the chief of the Office was Jacob Berman, a Jew, and all or almost all the department heads were Jews.” Sack reports that 75% of the officers of the Communist Secret Police in Silesia were Jews. He noted that many Jews in the Communist terror apparatus in Poland changed their names to Polish ones like General Romkowski, Colonel Rozanski, Capt. Studencki and Lt. Jurkowski. (cf. John Sack, The New Republic, Feb. 14, 1994, p. 6. Sack in this article also refutes some shoddy research performed by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners, who, in the double standard typical of the Jewish mentality, refuses to accept the proven fact that Jews ran the Polish Communist secret police even as Goldhagen asserts the racist myth that the entire German nation was guilty of genocide. Sack does a good job of proving Goldhagen wrong about Poland).

In Poland, “…a disproportionate number of Communists were Jews. In 1930, at its peak, 35% of the members of the party were Jewish. In Communist youth organizations, Jewish membership was even higher, while Communists of Jewish origin occupied most of the seats on the central committee. Communism appealed to some Jews because it opposed anti-Semitism more vigorously than any other Polish party…Jewish Communists reached their apogee in the years immediately after World War Two, when the party leadership was totally in the hands of the prewar Communist leadership that abhorred anti-Semitism.” (Sheldon Kirshner, The Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 5, 1992, p. 16).
Of course when one encounters the issue of Jews, Communists and Catholics in Poland in the Establishment media or universities today, the mass murder of the Polish Catholics at the hands of the Jewish Communists, is never raised. Instead, a minor attack on Jews by Polish peasants enraged at the role of Jews in Communist terror, which occurred in July, 1946 at Kielce and which has come to be called the “Kielce pogrom” will be the centerpiece of the “discussion. ” The motivation for the attack is not usually mentioned. Rather, the Catholic peasantry are painted in terms of “fiendish bigots” whose “blind, irrational hate” for the “poor, persecuted Jews” resulted in “yet another martyrdom of God’s Chosen.”

But the Catholic Primate of Poland at the time, Cardinal Hlond, a brave prelate in a stalwart tradition of Christian resistance to Jewish tyranny in Poland, so different from the traitorous philo-Judaism of the current Pontiff, stated that the attack in Kielce occurred because of resentment ‘due to the Jews who today occupy leading positions in Poland’s (Communist) government and endeavor to introduce a governmental structure that the majority of Poles do not wish to have.” (Ibid., Kirshner).

As Piotr S. Wandycz of Yale University observes, “The average Pole could not but notice in the Stalinist era that the two most powerful men in the country-Berman and Minc-were both Jewish as was the dreaded security official Rozanski.” (N.Y. Review of Books, Aug. 18, 1983, p. 51).

With this record it is interesting to note that the Polish occupant of the papacy, John Paul II, consistently lent his prestige and his presence to canonizations and commemorations of politically correct victims of the Nazis. Nowhere did this Pope breath a word about the openly Jewish, Communist massacres of Polish Catholics, Spanish Catholics, Croatian Catholics, Lithuanian Catholics-he was too busy, intoning the Shoah, referring to the heirs of the Pharisees as “our Elder Brothers in the Faith” giving official recognition to an Israeli state which even many orthodox, Haredi rabbis regard as a blasphemous and abominable entity, and attacking the German people as “the image of the beast.”

Solomon Morel (pictured at left): commandant of a post-war Communist concentration camp for Germans in Poland. Stalin deliberately put Jews in charge of such camps. Morel tortured and murdered thousands of Germans, sometimes with his bare hands (cf. “The Wrath of Solomon,” Village Voice, March 30, 1993 and John Sack, An Eye for an Eye). Morel is comfortably esconsed in Tel Aviv. German survivors of Morel’s camp have demanded he be tried as a war criminal, but for the Establishment media and the phony, partisan, “human rights” groups, bringing Morel to justice is simply a non-issue. After all, he murdered helpless Germans, so what’s the problem?

Julius Hammer, M.D.: New York abortionist and co-founder of the American communist party.

Armand Hammer: fundraiser and financier for Lenin and Stalin, son of Julius.

Lev Davidovich Landau: Stalinist physicist, co-father of the Soviet atomic bomb.

Klaus Fuchs: helped steal atomic bomb secrets for Stalin.

Ruth Werner: colonel, Red Army GRU intelligence, assisted Fuchs.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg: stole American atomic bomb secrets for Stalin.

Morris Cohen (Peter Kroger): assisted the Rosenbergs.

Markus Wolf: chief of German Communist Stasi Secret Police.

Howard Fast: American communist propagandist for Stalin.

David Dubinsky:Stalin’s ally, head of the U.S. International Ladies Garment Workers Union.

Nahum Goldmann: founder, World Jewish Congress, communist propagandist.

Rabbi Moses Rosen: agent, Romanian communist party.

Victor Rothschild: top British espionage agent for Stalin.

Mark Zborowski: “…considered by historians of Soviet terror operations to have been the most fearsome…(Soviet) spy of all time” (Stephen Schwartz, Forward, Jan. 26, 1996). Zborowski, a medical researcher, murdered a dissident with a poisoned orange at the Soviet-run hospital in Paris. Zborowski was implicated in several other assassinations in 1936 and 1937. In the 1940s worked for both the American Jewish Committee and the KGB. In the 1960s Zborowski worked as a medical researcher at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. He trained numerous psychiatrists and medical specialists in the Bay Area. He died in 1990 (cf. “The Strange Case of Doctor Zborowski and Monsieur Etienne” by Philippe Videlier, in Le Monde Diplomatique, Dec. 1992).

On Oct. 16, 1948, 50,000 Jewish communists turned out in Moscow’s Red Square to welcome the first Israeli delegation to Moscow. Stalin supported Zionism’s 1947 Palestine partition plan, gave crucial recognition to the newly-created state of Israel and voted for Israel’s admission to the United Nations.

In 1951 communist and Marxist parties had twenty-three seats in the Israeli Knesset. The kibbutz system was the most powerful movement in the country and the most powerful kibbutz leaders were nearly all Marxists. The biggest Israeli holiday was May Day, celebrated with rallies, marches, red banners and red songs.

As recently as 1987 the Israelis were providing the KGB with American intelligence secrets (cf. UPI dispatch by Richard Sale, Dec. 13, 1987 and The City Paper [Washington, DC], Jan. 15, 1988). Jonathan Jay Pollard was part of one such spy ring. British traitor and Communist spy Kim Philby was assisted in obtaining safe haven in the Soviet Union by the Israeli Mossad (cf. Sunday Telegraph [England], April 16, 1989). This was most appropriate since Philby’s KGB handler in Moscow was also Jewish.

Romania’s communist regime received favorable trade deals from the U.S. for years due to Israeli pressure on Congress in its behalf (N.Y. Times, Jan. 18, 1992, p. 23). The notion that the Zionist Jewish movement was anti-communist is a fallacy. The truth is more complex. There was a left wing and a right wing within Zionism. The rightists, like the terrorists Jabotinsky and Stern, took a fascist approach. Leftist Zionists like David “I am a Bolshevik” Ben-Gurion admired the Soviet model of Jewish power and sought to incorporate it as the political economy of the Israeli state.

“National and racial chauvinism is a vestige of the misanthropic customs characteristic of the period of cannibalism. Anti-semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism…under USSR law active anti-Semites are liable to the death penalty.” (Stalin, Collected Works, vol. 13, p. 30).

The African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa was guided by two Communist Jews, Albie Sachs, “one of its foremost intellectuals”( London Sunday Times, Aug. 29, 1993) and Yossel Mashel Slovo (Joe Slovo).

Slovo was born in a shtetl in Lithuania and grew up speaking Yiddish and studying the Talmud. He joined the ANC’s terrorist wing, the Umkhonto we Sizwe, in 1961 and eventually became its commander. He was named Secretary General of the South African Communist Party in 1986. (“Joe Slovo,” Jewish Chronicle, Jan. 13, 1995).

Slovo had been the ” planner of many of the ANC terrorist attacks, including the 1983 car bomb that killed 19 people and injured many others… Slovo, who had traveled to the Soviet Union many times, was awarded a Soviet medal on his 60th birthday…Slovo is a dedicated Communist, a Marxist Leninist without morality of any kind, for whom only victory counts, whatever the human cost, whatever the bloodshed…Slovo disputes little of his image as ‘the Communist mastermind’ behind the ANC’s armed struggle. For him the fears of South Africa’s whites are both a measure of the ANC’s growing strength and a crucial factor in hastening what he believes will be its ultimate victory. ‘Revolutionary violence has created the inspirational impact that we had intended, and it has won for the ANC its leading position,’ Slovo said.” (“Rebel Strategist Seeks to End Apartheid,” L.A. Times, Aug. 16, 1987, p. 14). When Nelson Mandela’s ANC took over South Africa, Slovo was named Minister of Housing.

Nelson Mandela and Joe Slovo give the clenched fist salute in front of the blood-drenched Hammer and Sickle flag of Jewish Bolshevism.

Slovo, a Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian Jew, was Secretary General of the South African Communist Party and director of the military wing of the ANC, which perpetrated numerous terror bombings against white civilians.

Mandela was hailed as a great statesman by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in her 1996 Christmas message to the realm.
When we look at these gruesome personalities, who are only the tip of the Jewish iceberg that was Soviet Communism and who were responsible for the deaths of upwards of thirty million people; when we realize how little is written or filmed about their crimes, we begin to realize that the exclusive focus on the crimes of the Germans, real and imagined, is a function of propaganda.

If the facts about the Jewish Communist holocaust against the peasants and Christians of Russia and Eastern Europe were given massive publicity, the supposed “special evil” of the Germans would stand exposed as a racist fraud.

German actions during World War Two must be viewed in a vacuum in order for the New World Order to advance its covert objective of Jewish supremacy.

When Nazi actions are placed within the context of Jewish Communism’s abominable crimes against the Christian people of Russia and Eastern Europe, the public will begin to understand that Hitler and the Nazis were a reaction, however unbalanced and excessive, to the Jewish Communist genocide against millions of Christians and peasants in the East.
This is why the crucial facts about Jewish Communism must never be documented in Hollywood films, discussed in university courses or pictured in contemporary news magazines. This is why Malcolm Muggeridge’s book, an eyewitness account of the Jewish Communist holocaust against Christians, Winter in Moscow, has been tightly suppressed.

In the Sunday Telegraph (London, England: Nov. 18, 1990) the question is asked, “Why then has it (Winter in Moscow) never been republished? The answer may lie in Muggeridge’s handling of what was then called the ‘Jewish question.’…Winter in Moscow is acutely concerned with Jews…It was of course the case that a very disproportionate number of the early Bolsheviks were Jews and thus of commissars and apparatchiki…”

The Campaign for Radical Truth in History’s documentation of these forbidden facts constitutes the chief motivation for the suppression attempts of such Stalinist censorship groups as the A.D.L. and Simon Wiesenthal Center. Both of these organizations would, if they could, have this writer jailed for publishing the documentation herein in Germany, France, or Austria. They regularly supply “intelligence files” to those governments on pro-Christian and pro-German writers. In 1995 the ADL sought to assist the prosecution of 69 year old American writer Hans Schmidt who was imprisoned in Germany for publishing a newsletter in Florida. These Jewish censors would like to have similar laws passed worldwide, resulting in the jailing of more writers and researchers who will not toe the party line or worship the Golden Calf.

To give the other side of history, the revisionist side-to give voice to the voiceless millions of dead victims of Jewish Communism-is regarded as “hateful” by the vain Zionists who demand for themselves the right to vomit forth a daily barrage of sewage upon the sacred memory of our grandparents and ancestors.

To defend against the dishonoring of our heritage and our ancestors, is surely not hate; it is the right of self-defense against psychological warfare.
Michael A. Hoffman II
P.O. Box 849
Coeur d’Alene
Idaho 83816 U.S.A.

Jewish Communists

Jewish Professor outrages Jews with book claim in Italy

Posted in Breaking it Down! with tags , , , , on August 5, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

By Andrew M Rosemarine Last Updated: 1:14AM GMT 09 Feb 2007

ritual murder

ritual murder

A Jewish academic has shocked Italy by claiming Jews murdered Christians for their blood in the Middle Ages so it could be used in rituals.
The details were revealed in the Italian newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, which published extracts of the book, Easter of Blood by Professor Ariel Toaff.
The claims were denied by leading Jewish figures including his father Elio, once the chief Rabbi of Rome.
In the book, Prof Toaff alleges the ritual killing was carried out by members of a fundamentalist group in reaction to the persecution of Jews.

Blood Passover book cover

Blood Passover book cover

The book describes the mutilation and crucifixion of a two-year-old boy to recreate Christ’s execution at Pesach, the Jewish Easter. The festival marks the fleeing of the Jews from Egypt and Prof Toaff says Christian blood was used for “magic and therapeutic practices”.

In some cases the blood was mixed with dough to make azzimo (Mozza), unleavened bread, eaten at Pesach. He says the acts took place in around the city of Trento in modern northern Italy, between the 11th and 14th centuries.

Prof Toaff based his book on confessions he says came from Jews captured and tried for the practice. He said several were executed after confessing to the crucifixion of Christian children.

Italy’s senior rabbis, including Elio Toaff, issued a joint statement condemning the book. “There has never existed in Jewish tradition any permission or custom for using human blood for ritual purposes. Such a practice is considered with horror.

“It is absolutely improper to use centuries old statements, extracted under torture, to formulate singular and aberrant historical theses. The only blood shed in these stories is that of many innocent Jews.”

Prof Toaff, who teaches mediaeval and Renaissance history at Bar Ilan University in Jerusalem, said the reaction was a “disgrace” as they had not read the book, which has yet to be published.

He emphasised the practice was confined to “a small group of fundamentalists.”

He added that attacking the whole of Judaism would be similar to blaming Islam for the acts of extremist Muslims. “They had suffered from the trauma of mass suicides. [sic] It was both a kind of revenge and a way, for them, of seeking redemption.”

Easter of Blood. European Jews and ritual homicides. – by Professor Ariel Toaff
Jew man sacrifice of white children.

Professor Ariel Toaff teaches at the Bar Illan University near Tel Aviv, a Jewish academic who has cause a fuss by writing a book stating that over a four hundred year period, Jews murdered Christians during the Middle Ages so that their blood could be used in rituals.

Last night his claims were denied by other Jews including his father Elio, a former chief rabbi in Rome.

In the book, Prof Toaff describes the mutilation and crucification of a two-year-old boy to recreate Christ’s execution at Pesach, the Jewish Easter. Pesach marks the fleeing of the Jews from Egypt and Prof Toaff says Christian blood was used for “magic and therapeutic practices.”
In some cases the blood was mixed with dough to make the azzimo, unleavened bread, eaten at Pesach.

He says the acts took place in northern Italy, around the city of Trento in German-speaking areas that border modern-day Austria.

Prof Toaff bases his book on confessions he says came from Jews captured and put on trial for the practice, which took place from 1100 and 1500. He writes that several confessed to the crucifixion of Christian children and that they were executed.

Toaff’s book was condemned by Jewish leaders in Rome. Their declaration read: “There has never existed in the Jewish tradition any ritual involving human blood”.

Corriere Della Sera. 07/Feb/07 click here to read original storyItalian newspaper provides national and local news for the Milan area. It began publication in 1876. It has an approximate circulation of 0.64 million.This newspaper is owned by RCS Quotidiani Spa.
Easter of Blood. European Jews and ritual homicides. by Professor Ariel Toaff
DT .UK web news 8/2/07

Easter of Blood. European Jews and ritual homicides

Prof. Toaff caves-in due to the Jewish media inquisition. He published a full apology, stopped distribution of his book, promised to submit it to Jewish censorship, and also promised to donate all the funds forthcoming from the sale of his book to the Anti-Defamation League

Jpost ‘Blood libel’ author halts press

Haaretz Author of blood libel book halts distribution

Israel Read the full book BLOOD PASSOVER now!
Israel Shamir denies Israeli orchestration of 911 and only responds to left gatekeepers when rebutting any evidence topics or so called truth seekers. he says “There is always a place for critique and argument — even against Chomsky, and I have had my go at that, too. However, there are some red lines we should try to observe in friendly critique, and this one was a crude ad hominem and paranoid attack. Barrett is similar to the holocaust-obsessed Jews (and their ‘denying’ counterparts) who need your confirmation of their narrative and do not let go of your buttonhole until you respond. Let Barrett fight this war himself, without Chomsky at his disposal. This is a free country, more or less. For instance, I do not deny or confirm holocausts and massacres. Peak Oil does not pique me overmuch. And as for 9/11 whodunit, I feel that the 911 Truth Movement of Barrett et al. trivializes the event, turning it into a successful insurance swindle.I wrote about the event, at the time it took place:

“The kamikaze could be practically anybody: American Nationalists, American Communists, American Fundamentalist Christians, American Anarchists, anybody who rejects the twin gods of the dollar and the M-16, who hates the stock market and interventions overseas, who dreams of America for Americans, who does not want to support the drive for world domination. They could be Native Americans returning to Manhattan, or Afro-Americans who still have not received compensation for slavery.

They could be foreigners of practically any extraction, as Wall Street and the Pentagon ruined many lives of people all over the globe. Germans can remember the fiery holocaust of Dresden with its hundreds of thousands of peaceful refugees incinerated by the US Air Force. The Japanese will not forget the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima. The Arab world still feels the creeping holocaust of Iraq and Palestine. Russians and East Europeans feel the shame of Belgrade. Latin Americans think of American invasions of Panama and Granada, of destroyed Nicaragua and defoliated Colombia. Asians count their dead of Vietnam War, Cambodia bombings, Laos CIA operations in millions. Even a pro-American, Russian TV broadcaster could not refrain from saying, ‘now Americans begin to understand the feelings of Baghdad and Belgrade’.

The Riders could be anybody who lost his house to the bank, who was squeezed from his work and made permanently unemployed, who was declared an Untermench by the new Herrenvolk. They could be Russians, Malaysians, Mexicans, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Congolese, Brazilians, Vietnamese, as their economy was destroyed by Wall Street and the Pentagon. They could be anybody, and they are everybody. Their identity is quite irrelevant as their message is more important than their personalities, and their message is read loud and clear in the choice of targets.”
I guess Mr. Shamir is just another left-gatekeeper with very enticing subject discussed such as blood libel, but will not address the 800 Pound Gorilla in the Room of Israeli orchestration and cover-up of 911.

Jewish Professor outrages Jews with book claim in Italy

U.S. Deports Israelis Amid Warnings of Espionage Activities

Posted in Breaking it Down! with tags , , , , on August 5, 2008 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

By Ted Bridis – Associated Press Writer – Published: Mar 5, 2002



Authorities have arrested and deported dozens of young Israelis since early last year who represented themselves as art students in efforts to gain access to sensitive federal office buildings and the homes of government employees, U.S. officials said.
The Israeli ‘Art Student’ Mystery
By Christopher Ketcham – – 5-8-2
For almost two years, hundreds of young Israelis falsely claiming to be art students haunted federal offices — in particular, the DEA. No one knows why — and no one seems to want to find out.

U.S. Deports Israelis Amid Warnings of Espionage Activities
By Ted Bridis
Associated Press Writer
Published: Mar 5, 2002
Israeli Art Students story WASHINGTON (AP) – Authorities have arrested and deported dozens of young Israelis since early last year who represented themselves as art students in efforts to gain access to sensitive federal office buildings and the homes of government employees, U.S. officials said.
A draft report from the Drug Enforcement Administration – which first characterized the activities as suspicious – said the youths’ actions “may well be an organized intelligence-gathering activity.”
Immigration officials deported them for visa violations; no criminal espionage charges were filed.
The arrests, made in an unspecified number of major U.S. cities from California to Florida, came amid public warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies about suspicious behavior by people posing as Israeli art students and “attempting to bypass facility security and enter federal buildings.”
The Israelis were arrested and deported on charges of working in the United States without authorization or overstaying visits on tourist visas, said Russ Bergeron, a spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington. He described dozens of arrests since early 2001 but gave no exact figures.
The DEA report said a majority of the students questioned by U.S. investigators acknowledged having served in military intelligence, electronic signals interception or explosive ordnance units in the Israeli military. The DEA said one person questioned was the son of a two-star Israeli general, one had served as the bodyguard to the head of the Israeli Army and another served in a Patriot missile unit.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Yaffa Ben-Ari said it was “nonsense” that the students were spying on the United States.
Another Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Irit Stopper, confirmed that a few Israelis posing as art students were expelled from the United States for working without permits. However they were not accused of espionage, she said. She did not say how many Israelis were expelled and did not give any additional details.
The DEA report was first obtained by a French Web site that specializes in intelligence news,, and confirmed Tuesday as authentic by DEA spokeswoman Rogene Waite in Washington. The Web site said 120 Israelis had been arrested.
“That these people are now traveling in the U.S. selling art seems not to fit their background,” the report said.
An FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted there were no espionage charges filed against any of the individuals and that they had been deported. Asked whether any spying activity occurred, the official repeated that no charges had been filed.
A Justice Department official, also asking not to be publicly identified, said investigators have been aware of some “alleged linkage” between the students and alleged espionage activities in the United States since early 2001, and said authorities have made arrests in Dallas, Chicago, San Diego and in south Florida. INS spokesman Rodney Germain in Miami said five or six people were arrested in that area at least six months ago on immigration counts.
Although security experts at the DEA first characterized the youths’ behavior as suspicious, and INS authorities later arrested them, the FBI typically investigates espionage cases in the United States.
The DEA report said that among U.S. sites apparently targeted was Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, home to the military’s AWACS surveillance planes and the place where many of the nation’s B-1 bombers are repaired. Investigators also said that one female art student went to the home of a worker for the Environmental Protection Agency in Denver to sell paintings and returned later to photograph the house, according to the report.
No one within the Justice Department has expressed concerns about the Israeli students possibly committing espionage, Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra said. The deputy U.S. attorney general, Larry Thompson, declined to discuss the arrests when asked about them during a news conference Tuesday.
The U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, a federal agency, circulated a public warning in March 2001 urging employees to report contact with people describing themselves as Israeli art students.
“These individuals have been described as aggressive,” the warning said. “They attempt to engage employees in conversation rather than giving a sales pitch.”
Cooperation with Israel, a longtime key ally, is increasingly important in the U.S. war on terrorism.

The Israeli ‘Art Student’ Mystery
By Christopher Ketcham
For almost two years, hundreds of young Israelis falsely claiming to be art students haunted federal offices — in particular, the DEA.
No one knows why — and no one seems to want to find out.
May 7, 2002 | In January 2001, the security branch of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency began to receive a number of peculiar reports from DEA field offices across the country. According to the reports, young Israelis claiming to be art students and offering artwork for sale had been attempting to penetrate DEA offices for over a year. The Israelis had also attempted to penetrate the offices of other law enforcement and Department of Defense agencies. Strangest of all, the “students” had visited the homes of numerous DEA officers and other senior federal officials.
As a pattern slowly emerged, the DEA appeared to have been targeted in what it called an “organized intelligence gathering activity.” But to what end, and for whom, no one knew.
Reports of the mysterious Israelis with an inexplicable interest in peddling art to G-men came in from more than 40 U.S. cities and continued throughout the first six months of 2001. Agents of the DEA, ATF, Air Force, Secret Service, FBI, and U.S. Marshals Service documented some 130 separate incidents of “art student” encounters. Some of the Israelis were observed diagramming the inside of federal buildings. Some were found carrying photographs they had taken of federal agents. One was discovered with a computer printout in his luggage that referred to “DEA groups.”
In some cases, the Israelis visited locations not known to the public — areas without street addresses, for example, or DEA offices not identified as such — leading authorities to suspect that information had been gathered from prior surveillance or perhaps electronically, from credit cards and other sources. One Israeli was discovered holding banking receipts for substantial sums of money, close to $180,000 in withdrawals and deposits over a two-month period. A number of the Israelis resided for a period of time in Hollywood, Fla. — the small city where Mohammed Atta and three terrorist comrades lived for a time before Sept. 11.
In March 2001, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX), a branch of the CIA, issued a heads-up to federal employees about “suspicious visitors to federal facilities.” The warning noted that “employees have observed both males and females attempting to bypass facility security and enter federal buildings.” Federal agents, the warning stated, had “arrested two of these individuals for trespassing and discovered that the suspects possessed counterfeit work visas and green cards.”
In the wake of the NCIX bulletin, federal officials raised several other red flags, including an Air Force alert, a Federal Protective Services alert, an Office of National Drug Control Policy security alert and a request that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) investigate a specific case. Officials began dealing more aggressively with the “art students.” According to one account, some 140 Israeli nationals were detained or arrested between March 2001 and Sept. 11, 2001. Many of them were deported. According to the INS, the deportations resulted from violations of student visas that forbade the Israelis from working in the United States. (In fact, Salon has established that none of the Israelis were enrolled in the art school most of them claimed to be attending; the other college they claimed to be enrolled in does not exist.) After the Sept. 11 attacks, many more young Israelis — 60, according to one AP dispatch and other reports — were detained and deported.
The “art students” followed a predictable modus operandi. They generally worked in teams, typically consisting of a driver, who was the team leader, and three or four subordinates. The driver would drop the “salespeople” off at a given location and return to pick them up some hours later. The “salespeople” entered offices or approached agents in their offices or homes. Sometimes they pitched their artwork — landscapes, abstract works, homemade pins and other items they carried about in portfolios. At other times, they simply attempted to engage agents in conversation. If asked about their studies, they generally said they were from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem or the University of Jerusalem (which does not exist). They were described as “aggressive” in their sales pitch and “evasive” when questioned by wary agents. The females among them were invariably described as “very attractive” — “blondes in tight shorts or jeans, real lookers,” as one DEA agent put it to Salon. “They were flirty, flipping the hair, looking at you, smiling. ‘Hey, how are you? Let me show you this.’ Everything a woman would do if she wanted to get something out of you.” Some agents noted that the “students” made repeated attempts to avoid facility security personnel by trying to enter federal buildings through back doors and side entrances. On several occasions, suspicious agents who had been visited at home observed the Israelis after the “students” departed and noted that they did not approach any of the neighbors.
The document detailing most of this information was an internal DEA memo: a 60-page report drawn up in June 2001 by the DEA’s Office of Security Programs. The document was meant only for the eyes of senior officials at the Justice Department (of which the DEA is adjunct), but it was leaked to the press as early as December 2001 and by mid-March had been made widely available to the public. On the face of it, this was a blockbuster tale, albeit a bizarre and cryptic one, full of indeterminate leads and fascinating implications and ambiguous answers: “Like a good Clancy novel,” as one observer put it. Was it espionage? Drug dealing? An intelligence game? The worldís wackiest door-to-door hustle? Yet the mainstream media has almost entirely ignored the allegations or accepted official “explanations” that explain nothing. Even before the DEA memo was leaked, however, some reporters had begun sniffing around the remarkable story.
On Oct. 1 of last year, Texas newswoman Anna Werner, of KHOU-TV in Houston, told viewers about a “curious pattern of behavior” by people with “Middle Eastern looks” claiming to be Israeli art students. “Government guards have found those so-called students,” reported Werner, “trying to get into [secure federal facilities in Houston] in ways they’re not supposed to — through back doors and parking garages.” Federal agents, she said, were extremely “concerned.” The “students” had showed up at the DEA’s Houston headquarters, at the Leland Federal Building in Houston, and even the federal prosecutor’s office; they had also appeared to be monitoring the buildings. Guards at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas found one “student” wandering the halls with a floor plan of the site. Sources told Werner that similar incidents had occurred at sites in New York, Florida, and six other states, “and even more worrisome, at 36 sensitive Department of Defense sites.”
“One defense site you can explain,” a former Defense Department analyst told Werner. “Thirty-six? That’s a pattern.” Ominously, the analyst concluded that such activity suggested a terrorist organization “scouting out potential targets and … looking for targets that would be vulnerable.”
Post-9/11, this should have been the opening thrust in an orgy of coverage, and the scoop of a lifetime for Werner: Here sheíd gotten a glimpse into a possible espionage ring of massive proportions, possibly of terrorists scouting new targets for jihad — and those terrorists were possibly posing as Israelis. KHOUís conclusions were wrong — these werenít Arab terrorists — but at the time no one knew better. And yet the story died on the vine. No one followed up.
Just about the same time that KHOU was stabbing in the dark, reporter Carl Cameron of the Fox News Channel was beginning an investigation into the mystery of the art students that would ultimately light the way into altogether different terrain. In a four-part series on Foxís “Special Report With Brit Hume” that aired in mid-December, Cameron reported that federal agents were investigating the “art student” phenomenon as a possible arm of Israeli espionage operations tracking al-Qaida operatives in the United States. Yes, you read that right: a spy ring that may have been trailing al-Qaida members in the weeks and months before Sept. 11 — a spy ring that according to Cameronís sources may have known about the preparations for the Sept. 11 attacks but failed to share this knowledge with U.S. intelligence. One investigator told Cameron that “evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.”
According to Cameron, some 60 Israeli nationals had been detained in the anti-terrorism/immigrant sweeps in the weeks after Sept. 11, and at least 140 Israelis identified as “art students” had been detained or arrested in the prior months. Most of the 60 detained after Sept. 11 had been deported, Cameron said. “Some of the detainees,” reported Cameron, “failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States.” Some of them were on active military duty. (Military service is compulsory for all young Israelis.) Cameron was careful to note that there was “no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks” and that while his reporting had dug up “explosive information,” none of it was necessarily conclusive. Cameron was simply airing the wide-ranging speculations in an ongoing investigation.
Incendiary as it was, that story died on the vine, too, and the scuttlebutt in major newsrooms was that Cameronís sources — all anonymous — were promulgating a fantasy. Reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post hit up their go-to people inside Justice and FBI and CIA, but no one could seem to confirm the story, and indeed numerous officials laughed it off. Fox got it wrong, the newspapers of record concluded. And nothing more was heard on the topic in mainstream quarters.
But inside the DEA, the Fox piece reverberated. An internal DEA communiquÈ obtained by Salon indicates that the DEA made careful note of Cameronís reports; the communiquÈ even mentions Fox News by name. Dated Dec. 18, four days after the final installment in the Fox series, the document warns of security breaches in DEA telecommunications by unauthorized “foreign nationals” — and cites an Israeli-owned firm with which the DEA contracted for wiretap equipment — breaches that could have accounted for the access that the “art students” apparently had to the home addresses of agents.
It wasnít until nearly three months after the Fox reports that the “art student” enigma resurfaced in newsrooms, this time in Europe. On Feb. 28, the respected Paris-based espionage newsletter Intelligence Online reported in detail on what turned out to have been one of Cameron’s key source documents: the 60-page DEA memo. The memo itself, which Salon obtained in mid-March, went no further than to speculate in the most general terms that the “nature of the individualsí conduct” suggested some sort of “organized intelligence gathering activity.” The memo also pointed out that there was some evidence connecting the art students to a drug ring. “DEA Orlando has developed the first drug nexus to this group,” the memo read. “Telephone numbers obtained from an Israeli Art Student encountered at the Orlando D.O. [District Office] have been linked to several ongoing DEA MDMA (Ecstasy) investigations in Florida, California, Texas and New York.”
However, Intelligence Online and then France’s newspaper of record, Le Monde, came to a much more definite — and explosive — conclusion. This was the jackpot, they concluded, a proven spy ring run by the Mossad or the Israeli government. Thus you had Intelligence Online leading its Feb. 28 piece with the statement that “a huge Israeli spy ring operating in the United States was rolled up,” and you had Le Monde trumpeting on March 5 that a “vast Israeli spy network” had been dismantled in the “largest case of Israeli spying” since 1985, when mole Jonathan Pollard was busted selling Pentagon secrets to the Mossad. Reuters that same day went with the headline “U.S. Busts Big Israeli Spy Ring,” sourcing Le Mondeís story.
The two French journals came to conclusions that the memo itself clearly did not. And yet they had unearthed some intriguing material. Six of the “students” were apparently carrying cell phones purchased by a former Israeli vice consul to the United States. According to Le Monde, two of the “students” had traveled from Hamburg to Miami to visit an FBI agent in his home, then boarded a flight to Chicago and visited the home of a Justice Dept. agent, then hopped a direct flight to Toronto — all in one day. According to Intelligence Online, more than one-third of the students, who were spread out in 42 cities, lived in Florida, several in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — one-time home to at least 10 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers. In at least one case, the students lived just a stone’s throw from homes and apartments where the Sept. 11 terrorists resided: In Hollywood, several students lived at 4220 Sheridan St., just down the block from the 3389 Sheridan St. apartment where terrorist mastermind Mohammed Atta holed up with three other Sept. 11 plotters. Many of the students, the DEA report noted, had backgrounds in Israeli military intelligence and/or electronics surveillance; one was the son of a two-star Israeli general, and another had served as a bodyguard to the head of the Israeli army.
The DEA report on which the French journals based their investigations contained a wealth of remarkable tales. To take just a few samples:
On March 1, 2001, a DEA special agent in the Tampa division offices “responded to a knock at one of the fifth floor offices. At the door was a young female who immediately identified herself as an Israeli art student who had beautiful art to sell. She was carrying a crudely made portfolio of unframed pictures.” Aware of the “art student” alert, the agent invited the girl to an interview room, where he was joined by a colleague to listen to the girl’s presentation. “She had approximately 15 paintings of different styles, some copies of famous works, and others similar in style to famous artists. When asked her name, she identified herself as Bella Pollcson, and pointed out one of the paintings was signed by that name.” Then things got interesting: In the middle of her presentation, she changed her story and claimed that the paintings were not for sale, but “that she was there to promote an art show in Sarasota, Fla., and asked for the agents’ business cards so that information regarding the show could be mailed to them.” Well, where’s the show? asked the agents. When’s it going up? Pollcson couldn’t say: didn’t know when or where — or even who was running it. Later it was determined that she had lied about her name as well.
On Oct. 20, 2000, in the Houston offices of the DEA, a “male Israeli art student was observed by the Security Officers [entering] an elevator from a secure area. [The officers] were able to apprehend the art student before he could enter a secure area on the second floor.” Three months later, in January 2001, a “male Israeli” was apprehended attempting to enter the same building from a back door in a “secured parking lot area.” He claimed “he wanted to gain access to the building to sell artwork.”
On April 30, 2001, an Air Force alert was issued from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City concerning “possible intelligence collection being conducted by Israeli Art Students.” Tinker AFB houses AWACS surveillance craft and Stealth bombers. The report does not elaborate on what kind of intelligence was being sought.
On May 19, 2001, two Israeli nationals “requested permission to visit a museum” at Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Camp Douglas, Wis. “Approximately ten minutes after being allowed on the base, the two were seen on an active runway, taking photographs.” The men, charged with misdemeanor trespass, were identified as 26-year-old Gal Kantor and 22-year-old Tsvi Watermann, and were released after paying a $210 fine. According to the Air Force security officer on duty, “Both were asked if they were involved in the selling of art while in the U.S. Kantor became very upset over this, and questioned why they were being asked about that … Kantor’s whole demeanor changed, and he then became uncooperative.”
So it went week after week, month after month, for more than a year and a half. In addition to the locations mentioned above, there were “art student” encounters in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego, Little Rock, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Arlington, Texas, Albuquerque, and dozens of other small cities and towns.
“Their stories,” the DEA report states, “were remarkable only in their consistency. At first, they will state that they are art students, either from the University of Jerusalem or the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem. Other times they will purport to be promoting a new art studio in the area. When pressed for details as to the location of the art studio or why they are selling the paintings, they become evasive.”
Indeed, they had reason to be nervous, because they were lying. Salon contacted Bezalel Academy’s Varda Harel, head of the Academic Students’ Administration, with a list of every “student” named in the DEA report, including their dates of birth, passport numbers, and in some cases military registration numbers. Not a single name was identified in the Bezalel database, either as a current student or as a graduate of the past 10 years (nor had any of the “students” tried to apply to Bezalel in the last ten years). As for the University of Jerusalem, there is no such entity. There is the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but Heidi Gleit, the school’s foreign press liaison, told me that Israelis commonly refer to the school as Hebrew University, not the University of Jerusalem. (Hebrew University, she said, does not release student records to the public.)
Still, the U.S. press was uninterested. Just one day after the Le Monde report, the Washington Post ran a story on March 6 that seemed to put the whole thing to rest. Headlined “Reports of Israeli Spy Ring Dismissed,” the piece, by John Mintz and Dan Eggen, opened with official denials from a “wide array of U.S. officials” and quoted Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden as saying, “This seems to be an urban myth that has been circulating for months. The department has no information at this time to substantiate these widespread reports about Israeli art students involved in espionage.”
The Post quoted anonymous officials who said they thought the allegations had been “circulated by a single employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration who is angry that his theories have not gained currency … [T]wo law enforcement officials said the disgruntled DEA agent, who disagreed with the conclusion of FBI and CIA intelligence experts that no spying was taking place, appears to be leaking a memo that he himself wrote.”
An INS spokesman acknowledged to the Post that several dozen Israelis had been deported, but said it was the result of “routine visa violations.” At the same time, DEA spokesman Thomas Hinojosa told the Post that “multiple reports of suspicious activity on the part of young Israelis had come into the agency’s Washington headquarters from agents in the field. The reports were summarized in a draft memo last year, but Hinojosa said he did not have a copy and could not vouch for the accuracy of media reports describing its contents.”
The Post’s apparent debunking was far from convincing, even to the casual reader. Of course there was no proof that the art students were part of a spy ring: Intelligence Online and Le Monde had jumped the gun. However, the real possibility that they were part of a spy ring could not be dismissed — any more than could any other theory one might advance to explain their unusual behavior. With that in mind, Justice spokeswoman Dryden’s assertion that reports of an Israeli spy ring were an “urban myth” was an oddly overplayed denial. A response that fit the facts would have been something like “There have been numerous reports of suspicious behavior by Israelis claiming to be art students. We are looking into the allegations.” Instead, Dryden appeared to be trying to forestall any discussion of just what the facts of the case were. Given the political sensitivities and the potentially embarrassing nature of the case, that was not surprising,
If the whole thing was an “urban myth,” like the sewer reptiles of Manhattan, and if it all led back to one deskbound nut job in the DEA, then what were those “reports of suspicious activity” that had come in from agents in the field? Hinojosa’s statement about the DEA memo was suspiciously evasive: If the “media reports describing its content” (that is, the articles in Le Monde and Intelligence Online) were in fact based on the DEA memo whose existence Hinojosa acknowledged, then the “lone nut” explanation offered by anonymous U.S. officials was at best irrelevant and at worst a rather obvious piece of disinformation, an attempt to shove the story under the rug. (In fact, the French articles were based on the actual DEA memo — a fact any news organization could have quickly verified, since the leaked DEA document had been floating around on various Web venues, such as, as early as March 21).
To someone not familiar with the 60-page DEA memo, or to reporters who didn’t bother to obtain it, the fact that a disgruntled employee leaked a memo he wrote himself might seem like decisive proof that the whole “art student” tale was a canard. In reality, the nature of the memo makes its authorship irrelevant. The memo is a compilation of field reports by dozens of named agents and officials from DEA offices across America. It contains the names, passport numbers, addresses, and in some cases the military ID numbers of the Israelis who were questioned by federal authorities. Pointing a finger at the author is like blaming a bank robbery on the desk sergeant who took down the names of the robbers.
Of course, the agent (or agents) who wrote the memo could also have fabricated or embellished the field reports. That does not seem to have been the case. Salon contacted more than a half-dozen agents identified in the memo. One agent said she had been visited six times at her home by “art students.” None of the agents wished to be named, and very few were willing to speak at length, but all confirmed the veracity of the information.
Despite such obvious holes in the official story, neither the Post nor any other mainstream media organization ran follow-up articles. The New York Times has not yet deemed it worth covering — in fact, the paper of record has not written about the art student mystery even once, not even to pooh-pooh it. One or two minor media players did some braying — Israel had been caught spying, etc. ñ and the bonko conspiracy fringe had a field day, but the rest of the media, taking a cue from the big boys, decided it was a nonstarter: the Post’s “debunking” and the Times’ silence had effectively killed the story.
So complete was the silence that by mid-March, Jane’s Information Group, the respected British intelligence and military analysis service, noted: “It is rather strange that the U.S. media seems to be ignoring what may well be the most explosive story since the 11 September attacks — the alleged break-up of a major Israeli espionage operation in the USA.”
The only major American media outlet aside from Fox to seriously present the “art student” allegations was Insight on the News, the investigative magazine published weekly by the conservative Washington Times. In a March 11 article, Insight quoted a senior Justice Department official as saying, “We think there is something quite sinister here but are unable at this time to put our finger on it” — essentially echoing what the DEA report concluded.
Managing editor Paul M. Rodriguez, who wrote the Insight story and had quietly tracked the art student phenomenon for weeks before Intelligence Online scooped him, took an agnostic stance toward the mystery. “There is zero information at this time to suggest that these students were being run by the Mossad,” he told me. “Nothing we’ve come across would suggest this. We have seen nothing that says this is a spy ring run by the Israeli government directly or with a wink and a nod or some other form of sub rosa control. Based on what we’ve been told, seen and obtained I just don’t see the so-called spy ring as a certain fact. Does that make it not so? I don’t know.”

Rodriguez added, “I think the investigators’ take is this: What were these ‘students’ doing going around accessing buildings without authorization, tracking undercover cops to their homes — if not for some sort of intel mission? It’s sort of a mind-*censored* scenario, if one were to believe this was a conspiracy by a foreign intel source and/or a bunch of nutty ‘kids’ *censored*ing around just to see how far they could push the envelope — which they seem to have pushed pretty damn far, given the page after page after page of intrusions and snooping alleged.”
The Israeli embassy denies the charges of a spy ring. “We are saying what we’ve been saying for months,” spokesman Mark Reguev told Salon, referring to the Fox series in December. “No American official or intelligence agency has complained to us about this. The story is nonsense. Israel does not spy on the United States.”
Whether or not the “art students” are Israeli spies, Reguev’s blanket disavowal is untrue: Israel does spy on the United States. This should come as no surprise: Allies frequently spy on each other, and Israeli intelligence is renowned as among the best and most aggressive in the world. Israel has been at war off and on since its birth as a nation in 1948 and is hungry for information it deems essential to its survival. And America’s relationship to Israel and support for it is essential to the survival of the Jewish state. Add these things up, and espionage against the United States becomes understandable, if not justifiable.
The U.S. government officially denies this, of course, but it knows that such spying goes on. In 1996, the U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report indicating that “Country A,” later identified as Israel, “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally.” A year earlier, the Defense Investigative Service circulated a memo warning U.S. military contractors that “Israel aggressively collects [U.S.] military and industrial technology” and “possesses the resources and technical capability to successfully achieve its collection objectives.” The memo explained that “the Israelis are motivated by strong survival instincts which dictate every facet of their political and economic policies.”
In the history of Israeli espionage in and against the United States, the case of Jonathan Pollard was certainly the most heinous. Pollard, a civilian U.S. naval intelligence analyst, provided Israeli intelligence with an estimated 800,000 pages of classified U.S. intelligence information. The Israelis in turn passed the information to the Soviets, compromising American agents in the field — several of whom were allegedly captured and killed as a result. Israel at first denied, and then admitted, Pollard’s connections to the Mossad after he was arrested in 1985 and imprisoned for life. The case severely strained American-Israeli relations, and continues to rankle many American Jews, who believe that since Pollard was spying for Israel, his sentence was unduly harsh. (Other American Jews feel equally strongly that Pollard and the Israelis betrayed them.)
Any attempt to understand the official U.S. response to the Israeli art student mystery — and to some degree, the media response — must take into account both the smoke screen that states blow over incidents that could jeopardize their strategic alliances, and America’s unique and complex relationship with Israel. The Jewish state is a close if problematic ally with whom the United States enjoys a “special relationship” unlike that maintained with any other nation in the world. But U.S. and Israeli interests do not always coincide, and spying has always been deemed to cross a line, to represent a fundamental violation of trust. According to intelligence sources, the United States might perhaps secretly tolerate some Israeli spying on U.S. soil if the government decided that it was in our interest (although it could never be acknowledged), but certain types of spying will simply not be accepted by the United States, whether the spying is carried out by Israel or anyone else.
If England or France spied on the United States, American officials would likely conceal it. In the case of Israel, there are far stronger reasons to hide any unseemly cracks in the special relationship. The powerful pro-Israel political constituencies in Congress; pro-Israel lobbies; the Bush administration’s strong support for Israel, and its strategic and political interest in maintaining close ties with the Jewish state as a partner in the “war against terror”; the devastating consequences for U.S.-Israeli relations if it was suspected that Israeli agents might have known about the Sept. 11 attack — all these factors explain why the U.S. government might publicly downplay the art student story and conceal any investigation that produces unpalatable results.
The pro-Israel lobby is a vast and powerful force in American politics; the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, is the No. 1 foreign-policy lobby and the fourth most powerful lobby in Washington, according to Fortune Magazine. Michael Lind, a senior fellow of the New America Foundation and a former executive editor of the National Interest, calls the Israel lobby “an ethnic donor machine” that “distorts U.S. foreign policy” in the Middle East. Among foreign service officers, law enforcement and the military, there is an impression, says Lind, that you can’t mess with Israel without suffering direct and indirect smears, such as being labeled an Arabist. Lind, who himself has been virulently attacked as an anti-Semite for his forthrightness on the subject, acknowledges that the Israel lobby is no different from any other — just more effective. “This is what all lobbies do,” Lind observes. “If you criticize the AARP, you hate old people and you want them to starve to death. The Israel lobby is just one part of the lobby problem.”
Considering the volatility of the issue, it is not surprising that almost no one in officialdom wants to go on the record for a story like the art students. “In government circles,” as Insight’s Rodriguez put it, “anything that has to do with Israel is always a hot topic, a third rail — deadly. No one wants to touch it.” Fox News’ Cameron quoted intelligence officers saying that to publicly air suspicions of Israeli wrongdoing was tantamount to “career suicide.” And the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in one of its bloodiest and most polarizing phases, has only exacerbated sensitivities.
Some of the same pressures that keep government officials from criticizing Israel may also explain why the media has failed to pursue the art student enigma. Media outlets that run stories even mildly critical of Israel often find themselves targeted by organized campaigns, including form-letter e-mails, the cancellation of subscriptions, and denunciations of the organization and its reporters and editors as anti-Semites. Cameron, for example, was excoriated by various pro-Israel lobbying groups for his expos�. Representatives of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) argued that the Fox report cited only unnamed sources, provided no direct evidence, and moreover had been publicly denied by spokesmen for the FBI and others (the last, of course, is not really an argument).
In a December interview with Salon, CAMERA’s associate director, Alex Safian, said that several “Jewish/Israeli groups” were having “conversations” with representatives of Fox News regarding Cameron’s piece. Safian said he questioned Cameron’s motives in running the story. “I think Fox has always been fair to Israel in its reporting,” said Safian. “I think it’s just Cameron who has something, personally, about Israel. He was brought up in the Middle East. Maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe he’s very sympathetic to the Arab side. One could ask.” The implicit suggestion was that Cameron is a bigot; in conversation, Safian would later make the same allegation about the entire editorial helm at Le Monde, which he called an anti-Semitic newspaper.
Told of Safian’s comments, Cameron said, “I’m speechless. I spent several years in Iran growing up because my father was an archaeologist there. That makes me anti-Israel?” The chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, Cameron had never before been attacked for biased coverage of Israel or Israeli-related affairs — or for biased coverage of Arabs, for that matter. Cameron defends his December reporting, saying he had never received any heat whatsoever from his superiors, nor had he ever been contacted by any dissenting voices in government.
Oddly, four days after the Cameron investigation ran, all traces of his report — transcripts, Web links, headlines — disappeared from the archives. (Normally, Fox leaves a story up for two to three weeks before consigning it to the pay archive.) When Le Monde contacted Fox in March for a copy of the original tapes, Fox News spokesmen said the request posed a problem but would not elaborate. (Fox News now says Le Monde never called.) Asked why the Cameron piece disappeared, spokesman Robert Zimmerman said it was “up there on our Web site for about two or three weeks and then it was taken down because we had to replace it with more breaking news. As you know, in a Web site you’ve got x amount of bandwidth — you know, x amount of stuff you can put stuff up on [sic]. So it was replaced. Normal course of business, my friend.” (In fact, a text-based story on a Web site takes up a negligible amount of bandwidth.)
When informed that Cameron’s story was gone from the archives, not simply from the headline pages (when you entered the old URL, a Fox screen appeared with the message “This story no longer exists”), Zimmerman replied, “I don’t know where it is.”
The extreme sensitivity of the Israeli art student story in government circles was made clear to this reporter when, in the midst of my inquiries at DEA and elsewhere, I was told by a source that some unknown party had checked my records and background. He proved it by mentioning a job I had briefly held many years ago that virtually no one outside my family knew about. Shortly after this, I received a call from an individual who identified himself only by the code name Stability. Stability said he was referred to me from “someone in Washington.” That someone turned out to be a veteran D.C. correspondent who has close sources in the CIA and the FBI and who verified that Stability was a high-level intelligence agent who had been following the art student matter from the inside.
Stability was guarded in his initial conversation with me. He said that people in the intelligence committee were suspicious about my bona fides and raised the possibility that someone was “using” me. “Your name is known and has been known for quite a while,” Stability said. “The problem is that you’re going into a hornet’s nest with this. It’s a very difficult time in this particular area. This is a scenario where a lot of people are living a bunker mentality.” He added, “There are a lot of people under a lot of pressure right now because there’s a great effort to discredit the story, discredit the connections, prevent people from going any further [in investigating the matter]. There are some very, very smart people who have taken a lot of heat on this — have gone to what I would consider extraordinary risks to reach out. Quite frankly, there are a lot of patriots out there who’d like to remain alive. Typically, patriots are dead.”
In a subsequent conversation, Stability said that the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility is currently undertaking an aggressive investigation targeting agents suspected of leaking the June 2001 memo. The OPR inquiry was initiated as a result of Intelligence Online’s expos� of the DEA document in late February. According to Stability, at least 14 agents — including some in agencies other than DEA — are now under intense scrutiny and interrogation. Half a dozen agents have been polygraphed several times over, computers have been seized, desks have been searched.
A DEA spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the allegation. “Anything that has to do with internal security, which would include OPR, is not anything we’re able to discuss,” the spokesman said.
As for the DEA document itself, Stability said that all information gathering for it ceased around June 2001. He also noted that “there are multiple variations of that document” floating around DEA and elsewhere.
“It was a living, breathing document,” Stability said, “that grew on a week-by-week basis, that was being added to as people forwarded information. To say this was a coordinated effort would be a stretch; it was ad hoc. But that document [the DEA memo] didn’t just happen. That document was the result of literally dozens of people providing input, working together. These events were going on, people were looking at them, but could not understand them.
“It wasn’t until the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001 that field agents ran across a series of visits that occurred within a very close period of time,” Stability said. Agents from across the country began talking to each other, comparing notes. “There was an embryonic understanding that there was something here, something was happening. People kept running across it. And agents being who they are, gut feelings being what they are, they would catch a thread. They’d start to pull a thread, and next thing, they’d end up with the arm of the jacket and the back was coming off, and then you’d end up with reports like you saw. The information, in its scattered form, is one thing. The information compiled, documented, timelined, indexed, is a horrific event for some of these people. Because it is indisputable.”
“Agents started to realize that people were coming to their homes,” he continued. “If you are part of an organization like this, you tend to be careful about your security. When something disturbs that sense of security, it’s unnerving. One thing that was understood fairly early on was that the students would go to some areas that didn’t have street signs, and in fact they would already have directions to these areas. That indicated that someone had been there prior to them or had electronically figured where the agents were located — using credit card records, things of that nature. This sat in the back of people’s minds as to the resources necessary to do that.”
“I will tell you that there is still great debate over what [the art students�] specific purposes were and are,” Stability went on. “When you take an individual who picks up a group of individuals from an airport, individuals who supposedly have no idea what they’re doing in-country, who fly on over from a foreign land, whose airline tickets could in some instances total a value greater than $15,000 — and who get picked up at the airport and drive specifically to one individual’s home, which they know the exact directions to: Yeah, you could say there’s a problem here. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that. The overarching item is that a lot of work went into going to people’s houses to sell them junk from China in plastic frames.”
But to what end? What was the value? What was to be gained? “Unknown, unknown,” Stability said. “You could be anywhere from D.C. to daylight on that one. Even on our side, you have to take all the stuff and draw it all out and clean out all the chaff. I will tell you that from those who are working ground zero [of this case], it is a difficult puzzle to put together, and it is not complete by any means.” Even the spooks are baffled; they have no answers.
So let�s draw out the chaff ourselves and see if we can at least speculate. In intel circles, there are a number of working theories, according to Stability. “Profiling of federal agents is one,” said Stability. “Keeping tabs on other people, other foreign nationals, is another. A third is that they were working for organized crime — that’s an easy one, and it almost sounds more like a cover than a reality. The predominant thought is that it was a profiling endeavour, and from a profiling aspect, also one of intimidation.”
You mean this whole vast scheme was a mind *censored*, to use Paul Rodriguez�s elegant phrasing? A psy-ops endeavor to spook the spooks? Perhaps. As Stability put it, “Almost nothing is wrong in this particular instance, Mr. Ketcham. In this particular situation, right is wrong, left is right, up is down, day is night.”
Yet for the most part the targeted agents weren�t spooks in the strictest sense: They were DEA — cops who bust drug dealers. And that leads us into Theory No. 1, also known as the Art Student/Drug Dealer Conspiracy. This theory has a piece of evidence to support it: the link, mentioned in the leaked DEA memo, between an Ecstasy investigation and the telephone numbers provided by an Israeli detained in Orlando. There are “problems” with Israeli nationals involved in the Ecstasy business, according to Israeli Embassy spokesman Reguev. “Israeli authorities and the DEA are working together on that issue,” he said. In a statement before Congress in 2000, officials with the U.S. Customs Service, which intercepted some 7 million Ecstasy tablets last year, noted that “Israeli organized-crime elements appear to be in control” of the multibillion-dollar U.S. Ecstasy trade, “from production through the international smuggling phase. Couriers associated with Israeli organized crime have been arrested around the world, including … locations in the U.S. such as Florida, New Jersey, New York and California.”
Miami was cited as one of the main entry points of Ecstasy into the United States and was specified as one of the central “headquarters for the criminal organizations that smuggle Ecstasy”; Houston was also cited for large Ecstasy seizures — an interesting nexus, given the large number of “art students” who congregated both in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area and in Houston. “Israeli nationals in the Ecstasy trade have been very sophisticated in their operations,” says a U.S. Customs officer who has investigated the groups. “Some of these individuals have been skilled at counterintelligence and in concealing their communications and movements from law enforcement.”
It would thus seem that Israeli organized crime has at least the capacity to pull off a widespread surveillance and intelligence operation. The drug connection would also explain the sizable reserves of cash one Tampa student was handling. One DEA agent named in the “art student” report told Salon that the best possible explanation for the affair �- and he admitted to being utterly baffled by it — was that drug dealers were involved.
“Why us if not because of the DEA’s mission?” the agent asked. “I mean, what would Israeli intel want with us? Here’s another avenue of inquiry to take: Israeli organized crime is the now the biggest dealer of Ecstasy in the United States. These students? It was Israeli organized crime judging our strength, getting a survey of our operations. What if I wanted to burglarize your building and go through your files? I’d do a reconnoiter. Get a sense of the floor plan and security, where the guards are stationed, how many doors, what kind of locks, alarm systems, backup alarm systems.”
The trouble with this theory is the obvious one: In the annals of crime chutzpah, for drug dealers to brazenly approach drug agents in their homes and offices may represent the all-time world record. And what conceivable useful intelligence could they gather that would be worth the risk? Were the tee-heeing tight-sweatered Israeli babes pulling some kind of Mata Hari stunt, seducing paunchy middle-aged DEA boys and beguiling them into loose-lipped info sharing?
Theory No. 2 is that they were all engaged in espionage. This scenario has the virtue of simplicity — if it smells like a spy, walks like a spy, and talks like a spy, it probably is a spy — but doesn’t make much sense, either. Why would the Mossad — or any spy outfit with a lick of good sense — use kids without papers as spies? And, just as our incredulous DEA agent noted, what intelligence useful to Israel could be gathered from DEA offices, anyway?
I suggested to Stability that the operation, if it was that, was purposely conspicuous — almost oafish. “Yes, it was,” he replied. “It was a noisy operation. Did you ever see ‘Victor/Victoria’? It was about a woman playing a man playing a woman. Perhaps you should think about this from that aspect and ask yourself if you wanted to have something that was in your face, that didn’t make sense, that couldn’t possibly be them.” He added, “Think of it this way: How could the experts think this could actually be something of any value? Wouldn’t they dismiss what they were seeing?”
That�s where you enter truly dark territory: Theory No. 3, the Art Student as Agent as Art Student Smoke Screen. It has major problems, but let�s roll with it for a moment. This theory contends that the art student ring was a smoke screen intended to create confusion and allow actual spies — who were also posing as art students — to be lumped together with the rest and escape detection. In other words, the operation is an elaborate double fake-out, a hiding-in-plain-sight scam. Whoever dreamed it up thought ahead to the endgame and knew that the DEA-stakeout aspect was so bizarre that it would throw off American intelligence. According to this theory — Stability’s “Victor/Victoria” scenario — Israeli agents wanted, let’s say, to monitor al-Qaida members in Florida and other states. But they feared detection. So to provide cover, and also to create a dizzyingly Byzantine story that would confuse the situation, Israeli intel flooded areas of real operations with these bumbling “art students” — who were told to deliberately stake out DEA agents.
Perhaps. Why not? Up is down, left is right. I nudged Stability on the obvious implication of the “Victor/Victoria” scenario: If this was a ruse, a decoy to conceal another operation, what was that other operation? “Unknown,” Stability said.
Then of course there�s Theory No. 4: that they really were art students. Either they were recruited in Israel as part of an art-selling racket or they simply hit upon the idea themselves. This theory is basically the de facto position held by the U.S. and Israeli governments, which insist that the only wrong committed by the “students” was to sell art without the proper papers. There are almost too many problems with this to list, but it’s worth mentioning a few: Why in the world would people try to sell cheap art market to DEA officials? Why would they almost all use the same bogus Bezalel Academy of Arts cover story? Why would anyone running such a racket to make money use foreign nationals without green cards, knowing that they would quickly be snagged for visa violations? And why did so many of these itinerant peddlers, wandering the United States on their strange mission of hawking cheap Chinese knockoff paintings, have “black information” about federal facilities?
There are other theories. One is that these were spies in training, newly minted Mossad graduates on test runs to see how they would operate in field conditions. I asked Stability how hotly the matter was now being pursued in intel and law enforcement. “Depends on who you speak to,” he told me. “Some people say that it’s a dead issue, a fantasy. Most of the investigations are happening at an ad hoc level. There are people out there that you couldn’t sway off some of the cases, because that’s how dedicated they are.”
Apparently, at least some agents in FBI remain quite concerned about the art student problem. According to several intelligence sources, including Stability, on Dec. 3, 2001, six separate FBI field offices simultaneously forwarded communiqu�s to FBI headquarters inquiring into the status of the investigation. The FBI agents wanted to have a “clarification” as to what was going on.
The subject may not be officially dead yet. The art student matter may be taken up by the congressional committees investigating intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, according to another source.
What about the crucial Washington Post article, in which anonymous federal agents alleged the DEA memo was the work of a disgruntled employee?
“The Washington Post article was a plant — that’s obvious. The story was killed,” Stability told me. Who planted the story? Stability claimed the FBI was behind it. “Every organization is running scared,” Stability added, “because they’re afraid of the next shoe to drop. There are many smoking guns out there, many. So consequently every one is at a level of heightened anxiety, and when they’re anxious they make mistakes.”
Yes, but what are they afraid of? What will the smoking guns prove? Questions, questions, labyrinthine questions, and the more you ask in this matter, the fewer get answered. When I called the CIA to inquire about the agency’s March 2001 alert — an alert that evinced deep disquiet over the affair — an official who was aware of the inquiry told me, “I’ll make a recommendation to you: Don’t write a story. This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. As far as we’re concerned, we reported it, yes, but subsequently it’s nothing of interest to us. And we’ve just closed the book on it. And I really recommend you do the same. Let it go. There’s nothing here.”
Not everyone else in law enforcement is so sure. “There’s a lot of concern among the agents,” said the DEA source. “We’re investigators. We’re not satisfied when we don’t have answers. This is a mystery that has an answer and it has to be resolved.”
About the writer – Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer in New York City. Copyright 2002

U.S. Deports Israelis Amid Warnings of Espionage Activities