Monday, October 23, 2006

The Lobby, Unmasked

By Justin Raimondo

"The "good" ship Neocon is a pirate vessel, one that brazenly hoists the Jolly Roger and takes no prisoners: it patrols the sea-lanes in search of victims and, when it finds them, pounces without mercy or hesitation. Up until now, it has evaded all attempts to corner and sink it, and its success is due, in no small part, to its many allies and well-wishers onshore. Yet for those of us who see this crew as a prime candidate for sinking, the neocons' comeuppance on account of the collapse of the Iraq campaign is hardly enough. Their disgrace, properly conceived, has barely begun.

The potential dimensions of the Iraq disaster were not altogether unknowable before the launching of the war, and my own view is that that they were known and utterly disregarded. Ideology induces a kind of blindness, and this is an ailment neoconservatives are especially prone to; it goes with the characteristic arrogance and undue self-regard that invariably colors their actions. However, there's more to neoconservatism than a callous disregard for facts and a persistence that borders on mania.

The complete disregard for American interests – which can be measured in the rising U.S. casualty rate and the worldwide diplomatic and political "blowback" emanating from the decision to invade – goes beyond mere recklessness. It's not as if they made an honest mistake: American interests did not enter into the calculations of key policymakers. Other interests were paramount in the decision to go to war, and since we're talking about the neoconservatives, Israel was surely a major factor, if not the determining factor, pushing us into Iraq.

As I wrote in a piece for The American Conservative, the AIPAC case is the dorsal fin of something much larger lurking just below the surface. This was indicated by hints of Israeli involvement in the faux "intelligence" that was funneled to the White House, Congress, and the American people by the secretive Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon. According to former Pentagon analyst Karen Kwiatkowski, Israelis enjoyed rights of unrestricted access and didn't bother to go through the process of signing in at high-level Pentagon meetings with U.S. officials.

Now we learn that none other than Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a Democratic hawk who is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is under investigation as part of the AIPAC spy probe. One of her aides has already been suspended by the head of the House committee for reportedly leaking the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq to the New York Times just in time for the election. However, the question raised by the Harmon-AIPAC story is, who else did her office leak classified information to, and for what purpose?

Yet if AIPAC is seen as an instrument of Israel's covert activities in the U.S., including gathering classified information, then it isn't hard to imagine under what circumstances someone in Harman's office managed to persuade AIPAC to go to bat for the congresswoman. A simple trade: classified intelligence for political support.

The Lobby isn't just in the business of peddling a glorified, largely fictional portrait of Israel as America's valiant little "democratic" ally, which deserves unconditional support as it tyrannizes its Palestinian helots and rampages through Lebanon and occupied Palestine. It is clearly also performing another service for the state of Israel, namely espionage. Before the AIPAC investigation is through, it could cut a wide swath through the world of Washington politics, ensnaring members of both parties and exposing the true extent of Israel's fifth column in America."

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