Iran, Israel, some exposed anti-Pentagon weapons espionage for antiwar purposes, preventing war escalation? Teh convoluted spy stuff

Antiwar.com Blog · Did Israelis Leak New Spy Info to Thwart War?

Things in the Middle East are always too thoroughly linked together, backwards, forwards, each way through the hall of mirrors. And it's going to be the traditional 'summer fightin' months' all around the region soon enough.

Deadlock in Afghanistan, Negotiations in Pakistan | The Agonist

There's a certain preamble of mega-spin going on right now. Hillary makes these weird statements about obliterating Iran, and McCain is chuckling all the way to the Big Red Button.

As usual, the rationality of the Baby Boomer generation drifts towards paranoia, incoherence, rage and infinite debt. Whether or not the American people get it together and block the Middle East mega-war from blowing up out of control seems to be the big question.

Iran gets blamed for killing American soldiers occupying Iraq. Not surprisingly, the guys selling this line never acknowledge that the arms market is quite a free market over in Iraq, with many busy arms dealers working all directions. And people are buying weapons that come from Iran. Is that some kind of surprise? "FREE MARKET WEAPONS FOR IRAQ: ALWAYS PLENTY OF DEALS!" That's a motto which the Iranians should try... Then remind everyone which country is importing the most weapons into Iraq, handing them over to parties unknown...

British dealers supply arms to Iran: The Observer

As you may have noticed, there has been a lot of extra buzz about possible American conflict with Iran in the news (after cooling for a couple months prior).

Is War With Iran Imminent?- by Justin Raimondo

A couple weeks ago, the story from last fall about the mysterious Israeli bombing of a purported nuclear-or-something site in Syria came back strong into the news: exciting tidbits that the North Koreans were propagating some nuclear research at the Syrian location. Very exciting stuff for the news.

For example, Stratfor.com is all over this case and its exciting murkiness:

What is important to note is this information is not new. It is a confirmation of the story leaked by the administration shortly after the attack and also leaked by the Israelis a bit later. The explanation for the attack was that it was designed to take out a reactor in Syria that had been built with North Korean help. There are therefore three questions. First, why did the United States go to such lengths to reveal what it has been saying privately for months? Second, why did the administration do it now? Third, why is the United States explaining an Israeli raid using, at least in part, material provided by Israel? Why isn’t Israel making the revelation?

It has never been clear to us why the Israelis and Americans didn’t immediately announce that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor. Given American hostility toward Syria over support for jihadists in Iraq, we would have thought that they would have announced it instantly. The explanation we thought most plausible at the time was that the intelligence came from the North Koreans in the course of discussions of their nuclear technology, and since the North Koreans were cooperating, the United States didn’t want to publicly embarrass them. It was the best we could come up with.

The announcement on Thursday seems to debunk that theory, at least to the extent that the primary material displayed was U.S. satellite information and the Israeli video, which was said to have been used to convince the United States of the existence of the reactor and of North Korean involvement. So why didn’t the administration condemn Syria and North Korea on Sept. 7? It still seems to us that part of the explanation is in the state of talks with North Korea over its own program. The North Koreans had said that they would provide technical information on their program — which they haven’t done. Either the United States lost its motivation to protect North Korean feelings because of this or the Bush administration felt that Thursday’s briefings would somehow bring pressure to bear on North Korea. Unless the United States is planning to use these revelations as justification for attacks on the North Koreans, we find it difficult to see how this increases pressure on them.

More interesting is the question of why the United States — and not Israel — is briefing on an Israeli raid. Israeli media reported April 23 that the Israelis had asked the Americans not to brief Congress. The reason given was that the Israelis did not want the United States to embarrass Syria at this point. As we noted on April 23, there appeared to have been some interesting diplomatic moves between Syria and Israel, and it made sense that revealing this information now might increase friction.

Meanwhile another more original story got lost in the sea of buzz: some old defense engineer, 84-year-old Ben-Ami Kadish, got caught by the FBI stealing secret documents from his top secret research lab during his career, and has admitted everything. Antiwar.com broke that to me:

Pollard's Ghost- by Justin Raimondo. Check this out for a well-linked background in the case, though I'm not totally sold on Raimondo's spin...

Kadish would smuggle out the papers, photograph them, send 'em over to his foreign spy handler, and bring them back to the lab, no one the wiser. A pretty classic scheme which should have gotten a bit of news bounce in the War on Terror, but of course it didn't. The engineer was passing secrets to Israel. Uff da...

This raises the question of how big the Israeli espionage thingy really gets. It's a big question especially since two AIPAC officers are supposed to go on trial this summer for circulating secrets between neo-con Pentagon staffer Lawrence "Larry" Franklin and the Mossad officers over at the Israeli embassy in Washington.

In the Fed's case for this "big" AIPAC scandal, everyone pretty much got caught red-handed, so the AIPAC defense strategy appears to be "graymailing" the Justice Department into disclosing all kinds of classified stuff. (The idea is that the feds' tummies turn sour and they give up because they don't want to cough up the docs. This is the traditional strategy DC lawyers for Oliver North / Elliot Abrams type guys use to get their guys off the hook in scandals like Iran-Contra.)

But let's go back to the beginning of the "big" AIPAC scandal. How did it start? The FBI was already spying on the AIPAC officers when Franklin wandered up to them at a DC restaurant. The Feds already wanted AIPAC on espionage. Why? The short speculative answer: the FBI has continuously been looking for a high-level spy/mole known by code name MEGA.

MEGA was the secret guy somewhere in the U.S. government in the 1980s who (among other things) provided extremely secret document numbers to the Israelis. In turn, the Israelis sent a more disposable spy, Jonathan Pollard, the low-level Pentagon staffer, as a gofer to get the documents. Pollard got caught; he's still in a U.S. jail. (There's a rumor Bush might pardon him, ugh). MEGA never got caught. So we could speculate that officially the FBI was looking to see if MEGA sends AIPAC messages, enter Franklin accidentally.

Ok ok... this is pretty baroque spy stuff. Why did this engineer get exposed? How did the FBI catch him? Well, they got a tip. A tip from somewhere in Israel.

Reportedly, someone in Ehud Olmert's government tipped off the FBI about the engineer spy because they wanted to prevent the expanding middle east war. In other words, an Israeli exposed an old engineer spy in order to damage the neocons / hawks' chances of ginning up the war with Iran.

Old school ex-CIA dude Phil Giraldi spilled it:

"Israeli sources are reporting that the FBI investigation of the Ben-Ami Kadish spy case resulted from a leak coming from inside the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The information on Kadish and on a number of other Americans who have spied for Israel was provided to the FBI anonymously, leading to the Bureau's opening of a full investigation. One source reports that the National Security Agency was provided with Yosef Yagur's current phone number and address and was able to obtain corroborating information on the case by tapping the phone."

It was interesting to read that, in a change-up, some Israeli military officials would not brief the U.S. Congress about the big bad Muslim threats because the Congress would now grill them over that just-exposed Israeli espionage.

Sounds like a good time to put out some fun stories about evil Syrians and bombing their weird shacks of shadiness.

Interesting stuff I suppose... If you're into that kind of thing. Beyond that, there is of course the Sibel Edmonds scandal, which involves a certain network of nuclear secrets traffickers, intersecting with heroin and Washington lobbyists, or something.

Someone speculated that MEGA was really Marc Grossman, a longterm DC hack who is certainly in well over his head on this scandal. Grossman also has been rumored to have tipped off the Turks and Pakistanis that Valerie Plame's front company, Brewster Jennings, was really a CIA front. But he got caught on an FBI wiretap which Sibel Edmonds probably had to listen to, while she worked there.

So there is that angle. Good luck figuring it out, kids! There's a good chance this stuff will get some sunlight during the summer. I'll drink to that!!

********

Some more awkward PR that had to get drowned out: Carter calls Gaza blockade a crime and atrocity | World | Reuters

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Tags for Iran, Israel, some exposed anti-Pentagon weapons espionage for antiwar purposes, preventing war escalation? Teh convoluted spy stuff