Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire - And Ten Steps to Take to Do So

By Chalmers Johnson

However ambitious President Barack Obama's domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of our military bases around the world, our empire consists of 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. We deploy over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and territories. In just one such country, Japan, at the end of March 2008, we still had 99,295 people connected to U.S. military forces living and working there -- 49,364 members of our armed services, 45,753 dependent family members, and 4,178 civilian employees. Some 13,975 of these were crowded into the small island of Okinawa, the largest concentration of foreign troops anywhere in Japan.

These massive concentrations of American military power outside the United States are not needed for our defense. They are, if anything, a prime contributor to our numerous conflicts with other countries. They are also unimaginably expensive. According to Anita Dancs, an analyst for the website Foreign Policy in Focus, the United States spends approximately $250 billion each year maintaining its global military presence. The sole purpose of this is to give us hegemony -- that is, control or dominance -- over as many nations on the planet as possible.

We are like the British at the end of World War II: desperately trying to shore up an empire that we never needed and can no longer afford, using methods that often resemble those of failed empires of the past -- including the Axis powers of World War II and the former Soviet Union. There is an important lesson for us in the British decision, starting in 1945, to liquidate their empire relatively voluntarily, rather than being forced to do so by defeat in war, as were Japan and Germany, or by debilitating colonial conflicts, as were the French and Dutch. We should follow the British example. (Alas, they are currently backsliding and following our example by assisting us in the war in Afghanistan.)

Here are three basic reasons why we must liquidate our empire or else watch it liquidate us.

1. We Can No Longer Afford Our Postwar Expansionism

Shortly after his election as president, Barack Obama, in a speech announcing several members of his new cabinet, stated as fact that "[w]e have to maintain the strongest military on the planet." A few weeks later, on March 12, 2009, in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington DC, the president again insisted, "Now make no mistake, this nation will maintain our military dominance. We will have the strongest armed forces in the history of the world." And in a commencement address to the cadets of the U.S. Naval Academy on May 22nd, Obama stressed that "[w]e will maintain America's military dominance and keep you the finest fighting force the world has ever seen."

What he failed to note is that the United States no longer has the capability to remain a global hegemon, and to pretend otherwise is to invite disaster.

According to a growing consensus of economists and political scientists around the world, it is impossible for the United States to continue in that role while emerging into full view as a crippled economic power. No such configuration has ever persisted in the history of imperialism. The University of Chicago's Robert Pape, author of the important study Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House, 2005), typically writes:

"America is in unprecedented decline. The self-inflicted wounds of the Iraq war, growing government debt, increasingly negative current-account balances and other internal economic weaknesses have cost the United States real power in today's world of rapidly spreading knowledge and technology. If present trends continue, we will look back on the Bush years as the death knell of American hegemony."

There is something absurd, even Kafkaesque, about our military empire. Jay Barr, a bankruptcy attorney, makes this point using an insightful analogy:

"Whether liquidating or reorganizing, a debtor who desires bankruptcy protection must provide a list of expenses, which, if considered reasonable, are offset against income to show that only limited funds are available to repay the bankrupted creditors. Now imagine a person filing for bankruptcy claiming that he could not repay his debts because he had the astronomical expense of maintaining at least 737 facilities overseas that provide exactly zero return on the significant investment required to sustain them… He could not qualify for liquidation without turning over many of his assets for the benefit of creditors, including the valuable foreign real estate on which he placed his bases."

In other words, the United States is not seriously contemplating its own bankruptcy. It is instead ignoring the meaning of its precipitate economic decline and flirting with insolvency.

Nick Turse, author of The Complex: How the Military Invades our Everyday Lives (Metropolitan Books, 2008), calculates that we could clear $2.6 billion if we would sell our base assets at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and earn another $2.2 billion if we did the same with Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. These are only two of our over 800 overblown military enclaves.

Our unwillingness to retrench, no less liquidate, represents a striking historical failure of the imagination. In his first official visit to China since becoming Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner assured an audience of students at Beijing University, "Chinese assets [invested in the United States] are very safe." According to press reports, the students responded with loud laughter. Well they might.

In May 2009, the Office of Management and Budget predicted that in 2010 the United States will be burdened with a budget deficit of at least $1.75 trillion. This includes neither a projected $640 billion budget for the Pentagon, nor the costs of waging two remarkably expensive wars. The sum is so immense that it will take several generations for American citizens to repay the costs of George W. Bush's imperial adventures -- if they ever can or will. It represents about 13% of our current gross domestic product (that is, the value of everything we produce). It is worth noting that the target demanded of European nations wanting to join the Euro Zone is a deficit no greater than 3% of GDP.

Thus far, President Obama has announced measly cuts of only $8.8 billion in wasteful and worthless weapons spending, including his cancellation of the F-22 fighter aircraft. The actual Pentagon budget for next year will, in fact, be larger, not smaller, than the bloated final budget of the Bush era. Far bolder cuts in our military expenditures will obviously be required in the very near future if we intend to maintain any semblance of fiscal integrity.

2. We Are Going to Lose the War in Afghanistan and It Will Help Bankrupt Us

One of our major strategic blunders in Afghanistan was not to have recognized that both Great Britain and the Soviet Union attempted to pacify Afghanistan using the same military methods as ours and failed disastrously. We seem to have learned nothing from Afghanistan's modern history -- to the extent that we even know what it is. Between 1849 and 1947, Britain sent almost annual expeditions against the Pashtun tribes and sub-tribes living in what was then called the North-West Frontier Territories -- the area along either side of the artificial border between Afghanistan and Pakistan called the Durand Line. This frontier was created in 1893 by Britain's foreign secretary for India, Sir Mortimer Durand.

Neither Britain nor Pakistan has ever managed to establish effective control over the area. As the eminent historian Louis Dupree put it in his book Afghanistan (Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 425): "Pashtun tribes, almost genetically expert at guerrilla warfare after resisting centuries of all comers and fighting among themselves when no comers were available, plagued attempts to extend the Pax Britannica into their mountain homeland." An estimated 41 million Pashtuns live in an undemarcated area along the Durand Line and profess no loyalties to the central governments of either Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The region known today as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan is administered directly by Islamabad, which -- just as British imperial officials did -- has divided the territory into seven agencies, each with its own "political agent" who wields much the same powers as his colonial-era predecessor. Then as now, the part of FATA known as Waziristan and the home of Pashtun tribesmen offered the fiercest resistance.

According to Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, experienced Afghan hands and coauthors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story (City Lights, 2009, p. 317):

"If Washington's bureaucrats don't remember the history of the region, the Afghans do. The British used air power to bomb these same Pashtun villages after World War I and were condemned for it. When the Soviets used MiGs and the dreaded Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships to do it during the 1980s, they were called criminals. For America to use its overwhelming firepower in the same reckless and indiscriminate manner defies the world's sense of justice and morality while turning the Afghan people and the Islamic world even further against the United States."

In 1932, in a series of Guernica-like atrocities, the British used poison gas in Waziristan. The disarmament convention of the same year sought a ban against the aerial bombardment of civilians, but Lloyd George, who had been British prime minister during World War I, gloated: "We insisted on reserving the right to bomb niggers" (Fitzgerald and Gould, p. 65). His view prevailed.

The U.S. continues to act similarly, but with the new excuse that our killing of noncombatants is a result of "collateral damage," or human error. Using pilotless drones guided with only minimal accuracy from computers at military bases in the Arizona and Nevada deserts among other places, we have killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unarmed bystanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani and Afghan governments have repeatedly warned that we are alienating precisely the people we claim to be saving for democracy.

When in May 2009, General Stanley McChrystal was appointed as the commander in Afghanistan, he ordered new limits on air attacks, including those carried out by the CIA, except when needed to protect allied troops. Unfortunately, as if to illustrate the incompetence of our chain of command, only two days after this order, on June 23, 2009, the United States carried out a drone attack against a funeral procession that killed at least 80 people, the single deadliest U.S. attack on Pakistani soil so far. There was virtually no reporting of these developments by the mainstream American press or on the network television news. (At the time, the media were almost totally preoccupied by the sexual adventures of the governor of South Carolina and the death of pop star Michael Jackson.)

Our military operations in both Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been plagued by inadequate and inaccurate intelligence about both countries, ideological preconceptions about which parties we should support and which ones we should oppose, and myopic understandings of what we could possibly hope to achieve. Fitzgerald and Gould, for example, charge that, contrary to our own intelligence service's focus on Afghanistan, "Pakistan has always been the problem." They add:

"Pakistan's army and its Inter-Services Intelligence branch... from 1973 on, has played the key role in funding and directing first the mujahideen [anti-Soviet fighters during the 1980s]… and then the Taliban. It is Pakistan's army that controls its nuclear weapons, constrains the development of democratic institutions, trains Taliban fighters in suicide attacks and orders them to fight American and NATO soldiers protecting the Afghan government." (p. 322-324)

The Pakistani army and its intelligence arm are staffed, in part, by devout Muslims who fostered the Taliban in Afghanistan to meet the needs of their own agenda, though not necessarily to advance an Islamic jihad. Their purposes have always included: keeping Afghanistan free of Russian or Indian influence, providing a training and recruiting ground for mujahideen guerrillas to be used in places like Kashmir (fought over by both Pakistan and India), containing Islamic radicalism in Afghanistan (and so keeping it out of Pakistan), and extorting huge amounts of money from Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf emirates, and the United States to pay and train "freedom fighters" throughout the Islamic world. Pakistan's consistent policy has been to support the clandestine policies of the Inter-Services Intelligence and thwart the influence of its major enemy and competitor, India.

Colonel Douglas MacGregor, U.S. Army (retired), an adviser to the Center for Defense Information in Washington, summarizes our hopeless project in South Asia this way: "Nothing we do will compel 125 million Muslims in Pakistan to make common cause with a United States in league with the two states that are unambiguously anti-Muslim: Israel and India."

Obama's mid-2009 "surge" of troops into southern Afghanistan and particularly into Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold, is fast becoming darkly reminiscent of General William Westmoreland's continuous requests in Vietnam for more troops and his promises that if we would ratchet up the violence just a little more and tolerate a few more casualties, we would certainly break the will of the Vietnamese insurgents. This was a total misreading of the nature of the conflict in Vietnam, just as it is in Afghanistan today.

Twenty years after the forces of the Red Army withdrew from Afghanistan in disgrace, the last Russian general to command them, Gen. Boris Gromov, issued his own prediction: Disaster, he insisted, will come to the thousands of new forces Obama is sending there, just as it did to the Soviet Union's, which lost some 15,000 soldiers in its own Afghan war. We should recognize that we are wasting time, lives, and resources in an area where we have never understood the political dynamics and continue to make the wrong choices.

3. We Need to End the Secret Shame of Our Empire of Bases

In March, New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert noted, "Rape and other forms of sexual assault against women is the great shame of the U.S. armed forces, and there is no evidence that this ghastly problem, kept out of sight as much as possible, is diminishing." He continued:

"New data released by the Pentagon showed an almost 9 percent increase in the number of sexual assaults -- 2,923 -- and a 25 percent increase in such assaults reported by women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan [over the past year]. Try to imagine how bizarre it is that women in American uniforms who are enduring all the stresses related to serving in a combat zone have to also worry about defending themselves against rapists wearing the same uniform and lining up in formation right beside them."

The problem is exacerbated by having our troops garrisoned in overseas bases located cheek-by-jowl next to civilian populations and often preying on them like foreign conquerors. For example, sexual violence against women and girls by American GIs has been out of control in Okinawa, Japan's poorest prefecture, ever since it was permanently occupied by our soldiers, Marines, and airmen some 64 years ago.

That island was the scene of the largest anti-American demonstrations since the end of World War II after the 1995 kidnapping, rape, and attempted murder of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by two Marines and a sailor. The problem of rape has been ubiquitous around all of our bases on every continent and has probably contributed as much to our being loathed abroad as the policies of the Bush administration or our economic exploitation of poverty-stricken countries whose raw materials we covet.

The military itself has done next to nothing to protect its own female soldiers or to defend the rights of innocent bystanders forced to live next to our often racially biased and predatory troops. "The military's record of prosecuting rapists is not just lousy, it's atrocious," writes Herbert. In territories occupied by American military forces, the high command and the State Department make strenuous efforts to enact so-called "Status of Forces Agreements" (SOFAs) that will prevent host governments from gaining jurisdiction over our troops who commit crimes overseas. The SOFAs also make it easier for our military to spirit culprits out of a country before they can be apprehended by local authorities.

This issue was well illustrated by the case of an Australian teacher, a long-time resident of Japan, who in April 2002 was raped by a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, then based at the big naval base at Yokosuka. She identified her assailant and reported him to both Japanese and U.S. authorities. Instead of his being arrested and effectively prosecuted, the victim herself was harassed and humiliated by the local Japanese police. Meanwhile, the U.S. discharged the suspect from the Navy but allowed him to escape Japanese law by returning him to the U.S., where he lives today.

In the course of trying to obtain justice, the Australian teacher discovered that almost fifty years earlier, in October 1953, the Japanese and American governments signed a secret "understanding" as part of their SOFA in which Japan agreed to waive its jurisdiction if the crime was not of "national importance to Japan." The U.S. argued strenuously for this codicil because it feared that otherwise it would face the likelihood of some 350 servicemen per year being sent to Japanese jails for sex crimes.

Since that time the U.S. has negotiated similar wording in SOFAs with Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Denmark. According to the Handbook of the Law of Visiting Forces (2001), the Japanese practice has become the norm for SOFAs throughout the world, with predictable results. In Japan, of 3,184 U.S. military personnel who committed crimes between 2001 and 2008, 83% were not prosecuted. In Iraq, we have just signed a SOFA that bears a strong resemblance to the first postwar one we had with Japan: namely, military personnel and military contractors accused of off-duty crimes will remain in U.S. custody while Iraqis investigate. This is, of course, a perfect opportunity to spirit the culprits out of the country before they can be charged.

Within the military itself, the journalist Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007), speaks of the "culture of unpunished sexual assaults" and the "shockingly low numbers of courts martial" for rapes and other forms of sexual attacks. Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq (Beacon Press, 2009), quotes this figure in a 2009 Pentagon report on military sexual assaults: 90% of the rapes in the military are never reported at all and, when they are, the consequences for the perpetrator are negligible.

It is fair to say that the U.S. military has created a worldwide sexual playground for its personnel and protected them to a large extent from the consequences of their behavior. As a result a group of female veterans in 2006 created the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN). Its agenda is to spread the word that "no woman should join the military."

I believe a better solution would be to radically reduce the size of our standing army, and bring the troops home from countries where they do not understand their environments and have been taught to think of the inhabitants as inferior to themselves.

10 Steps Toward Liquidating the Empire

Dismantling the American empire would, of course, involve many steps. Here are ten key places to begin:

1. We need to put a halt to the serious environmental damage done by our bases planet-wide. We also need to stop writing SOFAs that exempt us from any responsibility for cleaning up after ourselves.

2. Liquidating the empire will end the burden of carrying our empire of bases and so of the "opportunity costs" that go with them -- the things we might otherwise do with our talents and resources but can't or won't.

3. As we already know (but often forget), imperialism breeds the use of torture. In the 1960s and 1970s we helped overthrow the elected governments in Brazil and Chile and underwrote regimes of torture that prefigured our own treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. (See, for instance, A.J. Langguth, Hidden Terrors [Pantheon, 1979], on how the U.S. spread torture methods to Brazil and Uruguay.) Dismantling the empire would potentially mean a real end to the modern American record of using torture abroad.

4. We need to cut the ever-lengthening train of camp followers, dependents, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and hucksters -- along with their expensive medical facilities, housing requirements, swimming pools, clubs, golf courses, and so forth -- that follow our military enclaves around the world.

5. We need to discredit the myth promoted by the military-industrial complex that our military establishment is valuable to us in terms of jobs, scientific research, and defense. These alleged advantages have long been discredited by serious economic research. Ending empire would make this happen.

6. As a self-respecting democratic nation, we need to stop being the world's largest exporter of arms and munitions and quit educating Third World militaries in the techniques of torture, military coups, and service as proxies for our imperialism. A prime candidate for immediate closure is the so-called School of the Americas, the U.S. Army's infamous military academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, for Latin American military officers. (See Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire [Metropolitan Books, 2004], pp. 136-40.)

7. Given the growing constraints on the federal budget, we should abolish the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and other long-standing programs that promote militarism in our schools.

8. We need to restore discipline and accountability in our armed forces by radically scaling back our reliance on civilian contractors, private military companies, and agents working for the military outside the chain of command and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (See Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater:The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army [Nation Books, 2007]). Ending empire would make this possible.

9. We need to reduce, not increase, the size of our standing army and deal much more effectively with the wounds our soldiers receive and combat stress they undergo.

10. To repeat the main message of this essay, we must give up our inappropriate reliance on military force as the chief means of attempting to achieve foreign policy objectives.

Unfortunately, few empires of the past voluntarily gave up their dominions in order to remain independent, self-governing polities. The two most important recent examples are the British and Soviet empires. If we do not learn from their examples, our decline and fall is foreordained.

Chalmers Johnson is the author of Blowback (2000), The Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006), and editor of Okinawa: Cold War Island (1999).

[Note on further reading on the matter of sexual violence in and around our overseas bases and rapes in the military: On the response to the 1995 Okinawa rape, see Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, chapter 2. On related subjects, see David McNeil, "Justice for Some. Crime, Victims, and the US-Japan SOFA," Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 8-1-09, March 15, 2009; "Bilateral Secret Agreement Is Preventing U.S. Servicemen Committing Crimes in Japan from Being Prosecuted," Japan Press Weekly, May 23, 2009; Dieter Fleck, ed., The Handbook of the Law of Visiting Forces, Oxford University Press, 2001; Minoru Matsutani, "'53 Secret Japan-US Deal Waived GI Prosecutions," Japan Times, October 24, 2008; "Crime Without Punishment in Japan," the Economist, December 10, 2008; "Japan: Declassified Document Reveals Agreement to Relinquish Jurisdiction Over U.S. Forces," Akahata, October 30, 2008; "Government's Decision First Case in Japan," Ryukyu Shimpo, May 20, 2008; Dahr Jamail, "Culture of Unpunished Sexual Assault in Military,", May 1, 2009; and Helen Benedict, "The Plight of Women Soldiers," the Nation, May 5, 2009.]

Copyright 2009 Chalmers Johnson

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Monday, July 27, 2009

A audácia de Avigdor Lieberman

A audácia de Avigdor Lieberman

Christopher Hitchens
Dos Estados Unidos

Um amigo e colega confiável jura que viu o seguinte incidente alguns anos atrás nos territórios ocupados por Israel. Um médico palestino, precisando urgentemente de permissão para viajar, estava tentando persuadir um soldado em uma barricada na estrada a permitir que ele continuasse até a próxima cidade. Primeiramente, ele tentou falar com o guarda sem expressão em hebraico, no qual muitos árabes são fluentes, mas não recebeu resposta. Então fez uma tentativa em inglês, que é algo como uma língua franca local, mas ainda assim não conseguiu resultado melhor. Após um intervalo desagradável de não-comunicação mútua, tornou-se evidente que a única palavra que o soldado israelense sabia era não, e a única língua na qual conseguia falar isto era em russo.

As palavras ocupação e desapropriação são jogadas por ali bem livremente, mas eu convido você a imaginar uma vida sob ocupação na qual o seu policial hostil da vizinhança nem mesmo falasse a língua do estado ao qual servia, para não dizer qualquer língua conhecida de você. Falando nisso, há uma considerável chance de que o soldado nem fosse judeu; é um segredo descoberto em Israel que dezenas de milhares de imigrantes russos usaram documentos falsificados como uma forma de saírem do seu país natal, fingindo exercitar o "direito de retorno". Então aqui está mais um insulto para encher aqueles cujos trisavós nasceram na Palestina, mas ainda assim são tratados como se vivessem lá apenas por consentimento.

Apesar disso, se você for um ex-leão-de-chácara nascido na Moldávia soviética, como Avigdor Lieberman, você pode vir morar na Terra Santa como de direito e tornar-se o líder de um partido que propõe instituir um "juramento de lealdade" não apenas para os cidadãos árabes do Estado de Israel, mas para todos os membros judeus de seitas religiosas ortodoxas que não se declaram como sionistas. E este partido grotesco, chamado de Israel Beiteinu, ou "Israel é nosso lar", é agora o influente, e o seu líder é o pistolão no processo eleitoral israelense.

No início de seu período como imigrante em Israel, Lieberman foi, por pouco tempo, um membro do Kach, o grupo histérico liderado pelo Rabino Meir Kahane, que era morbidamente obcecado com a vida sexual dos árabes e que gritava pela sua expulsão em massa ou - para empregar o eufemismo comum - "transferência". Agora, de alguma forma, ele refinou sua posição, pregando uma troca de territórios e pessoas que se aproximaria mais de uma partição ou mesmo de uma solução de dois estados. Mas como no caso de qualquer uma destas propostas, isto ainda deixa um grande número de árabes sob a soberania israelense, tanto na Cisjordânia como no "território" de Israel. Duvido que Lieberman esteja realmente falando sério quanto a quaisquer negociações de "terra para paz" -- ele discutiu até com Ariel Sharon sobre a retirada de Gaza, então, se fosse por ele, supostamente haveria mais colonos israelenses na faixa. Ele mudou todo o tom do argumento ao decidir questionar a presença dos árabes israelenses que, ao contrário dos seus primos sob ocupação, gozam do direito de cidadania e voto, bem como do privilégio de viver sob a bandeira israelense.

O melhor livro sobre esta comunidade extremamente interessante e negligenciada foi escrito pelo romancista israelense David Grossman em 1992, e se chama "Sleeping on a Wire". Ele contém micro-flashes de esclarecimento (como a probabilidade de que mais árabes israelenses falem hebraico do que judeus americanos) e também algumas reflexões memoráveis sobre a língua e sua relação com literatura e cultura. Todos lembramos que Maimônides escrevia fluentemente em árabe, mas talvez seja menos conhecido que: "A conversa cotidiana dos israelenses palestinos cintila com expressões da Bíblia e do Talmud, de Bialik e Rabino Yehuda Halevy e Agnon. O poeta Naim Araideh derrama: 'Você sabe o que significa escrever em hebraico para mim? Você sabe como é escrever na língua na qual o mundo foi criado?' "

Pode-se não desejar ir tão longe assim, mas permanece o caso que o marxista árabe-israelense Emile Habibi, autor do romance clássico "The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist" foi premiado uma vez com o prêmio anual de Israel para melhor produção literária em hebraico.

Pode-se acrescentar que os mísseis do Hamás e Hezbollah caem sobre estas pessoas, também, em Jaffa e outras cidades, exatamente como eles caem sobre os armênios e drusos israelenses. As discussões e imbricações que unem e formam as camadas dos candidatos contraditórios à terra da Palestina são tão fortes quanto sutis, tão antigas quanto modernas. É por isso que Grossman ficou tão deprimido ao descobrir, no final do seu livro, que a lembrança de 1948 ainda estava nítida mesmo entre os mais bem-sucedidos e prósperos árabes israelenses e que todos eles se sentiam inseguros e secretamente temiam uma renovação da exigência pela sua expulsão. Em 1993, ele se sentiu capaz, até certo ponto, de tranqüilizá-los quanto a isto.

Agora temos que assistir ao surgimento de um brutamontes e um demagogo que tem exigido, com prazer, a execução dos membros árabes eleitos do Parlamento de Israel se eles se encontrarem com o Hamás, que tem exigido o afogamento dos prisioneiros palestinos no Mar Morto, cujos apoiadores cantam "Morte aos árabes" nos seus comícios, e que tem materializado os piores medos daqueles árabes que tem feito os ajustes de mais longa duração com o estado judeu. De qualquer forma, o estilo essencialmente totalitário e inquisitorial de Avigdor Lieberman pode estar ainda mais manifesto na sua insistência que os haredim não-sionistas, ou judeus devotos, também façam um juramento de lealdade ou percam a sua cidadania. Isto leva o machado à raiz da idéia de que os judeus têm uma presença em Jerusalém desde tempos imemoriais e que seus direitos resultantes não são derivados ou dependentes de qualquer estado ou qualquer ideologia. Será uma vergonha se Benjamin Netanyahu fizer uma aliança, mesmo que temporária, com Lieberman. Por mais questionável que o "direito de retorno" já possa ser, ele certamente não pode conceder o direito de expulsar.

Christopher Hitchens é jornalista, escritor e colunista de Vanity Fair e Slate Magazine. É autor do livro "Deus não é Grande: como a religião envenena tudo". Artigo distribuído pelo The New York Times Syndicate.

Opiniões expressas aqui são de exclusiva responsabilidade do autor e não necessariamente estão de acordo com os parâmetros editoriais de Terra Magazine.

Terra Magazine

The Gaza ghetto

A street destroyed in Rafah, southern Gaza, after the war which claimed 1,300 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives. A top UN official remarked, "It may not be very clear who actually won this conflict, if such a concept means anything in Gaza, but I think it's pretty clear who lost and that was the civilian population of Gaza."

The Gaza ghetto

Children on the ruins of their destroyed mosque in the town of Jabalya. Half of the 1.4m people who live in Gaza are children, and at least 292 were killed and 1,500 injured during Israel's 18-day offensive. Kawather Abed Rabbo, a mother from Jabalya, described how her two daughters, aged two and eight, were killed when they tried to run to safety after a tank started shelling their house: "They had a white flag, made out of our scarves. But as they opened the door there was machine gun fire from the tank."

The Gaza ghetto

Palestinians survey the wreckage in Jabalya on January 20. Many had been unable to leave their houses for three weeks. With Hamas fighters staying mostly in residential areas throughout the conflict, Israeli attempts to eradicate them were focused in the towns and cities of Gaza. In all, their bombing and bulldozers destroyed more than 4,000 buildings, leaving over 50,000 Gazans homeless and 400,000 without running water.

The Gaza ghetto

The scene near Jabalya refugee camp. Many streets are covered in sewage, and food and medicine are in short supply. One estimate for the cost of repairing the damage caused by Israel's assault is almost $2bn. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has said that his country will donate half.

The Gaza ghetto

Workers scavenge for boxes of food on rubble that was once their factory in Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip. After Israeli forces retreated from the ruins of Gaza, thousands of Hamas supporters took to the streets claiming victory.

The Gaza ghetto

A Palestinian woman in Jabalya refugee camp. This area used to be a haven of fertile farming land and citrus trees.

The Gaza ghetto

Palestinian medics search for bodies amongst the rubble at Beit Lahiya after the ceasefire. Speaking from his hospital bed, Fared al-Bayar, a father of six, described the situation he now faces: "I left my home and it was OK, but I don't know what happened to it. So far all of my neighbours' homes have been demolished. I have no place to go to when I leave the hospital. Maybe we will have to put up a tent."


Avigdor Lieberman


Date of birth = Birth date and age|1958|6|5|mf=y
Place of birth = Kishinev, Soviet Union
Year of Aliyah = 1978
Date of death =
Knesset(s) = 15th, 16th, 17th (current)
Party = Yisrael Beiteinu
Former parties = National Union
Gov't roles = Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Strategic Affairs
Minister of Transportation
Minister of National Infrastructure

Avigdor Levi Lieberman ( _he. אביגדור ליברמן, also spelled Liberman, born 5 June 1958) is an Israeli politician and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.

In October 2006, Lieberman and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed a coalition agreement. Under the agreement, Lieberman became the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, a new position with a focus towards the strategic threat from Iran. [,7340,L-3318674,00.html PM, Lieberman sign coalition deal] Ynetnews, October 23, 2006.] However, he left the cabinet when Yisrael Beiteinu resigned from the coalition in January 2008.A polarizing figure within Israeli politics, Lieberman is quoted as saying, "I've always been controversial because I offer new ideas. For me to be controversial, I think this is positive." [ [ A hard-line Israeli official, Avigdor Lieberman, stakes out extreme positions] ]


Born in Kishinev in the Soviet Union (today Chişinău, Moldova), Lieberman worked as a nightclub bouncer in Moldavia, [ [ The Father of Palestine] (subscribers-only access), The New Republic, 13 February 2008] and as a broadcaster in Baku before emigrating to Israel in 1978 at the age of 21. In Israel he served in the Israel Defense Forces, and received a BA in International Relations and Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

From 1983 to 1988 Lieberman helped found the "Zionist Forum for Soviet Jewry" and was a member of the "Board of the Jerusalem Economic Corporation" and the Secretary of the Jerusalem branch of the "Histadrut Ovdim Le'umit" ("National Workers' Union"). From 1993 to 1996 he served as Director-General of the Likud party, and from 1996 to 1997 was Director-General of the Prime Minister's office serving Benjamin Netanyahu. In 1999 he founded the Yisrael Beiteinu party, and was the editor of the newspaper "Yoman Yisraeli" ("Israeli Diary"). Lieberman supports Israeli membership of the European Union and NATO. [ [ Avigdor Lieberman: Israel should press to join NATO, EU] , Ha'aretz, January 1, 2007.]

Lieberman was elected to the Knesset in 1999, and served as Chairman of the "Israel-Moldova Parliamentary Friendship League". In March 2001 Lieberman was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure, but resigned the post in March 2002. He was re-elected in January 2003 as part of a joint National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu list, and in February was appointed Minister of Transportation. However, he was sacked from the cabinet by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in May 2004 due to his opposition to the disengagement plan.

Lieberman is married, with three children, and resides in Nokdim in the West Bank.

Lieberman Plan

In late May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan in which the populations and territories of Israeli Jews and Arabs, including some Israeli Arabs, would be "separated". According to the plan, Israeli Arab town adjacent to Palestinian Authority areas would be transferred to Palestinian Authority, and only those Arabs who felt a connection with the State of Israel and were loyal to it would be allowed to remain. On May 30 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned Lieberman's statements, stating "We regard Israeli Arabs as part of the State of Israel." [ Lieberman presents to Russia plan to expel 'disloyal' Arabs] Ha'aretz, May 30, 2004.] On 4 June 2004, as the disputes over the up-coming disengagement plan grew more intense, Sharon dismissed Lieberman from the cabinet. [ [ PM sacks National Union ministers] , Ha'aretz, June 5, 2004.] [ [ Sharon sacks hardliners who stand in his way] The Guardian, June 5, 2004.]

Many Israelis see Lieberman's plan as a form of forced population transfer similar to proposals by the far-right Israeli political parties such as Moledet, Herut or Hayil.Fact|date=March 2008 Though Lieberman's plan would not uproot Arab residents from their homes, it would forcibly revoke their Israeli citizenship and transfer their sovereignty to the Palestinian Authority. The plan has drawn sharp criticism from both Left and Right of Israeli politics; by the former for its discriminatory overtones, and by the latter for the idea of ceding parts of the Land of Israel.Fact|date=March 2008

According to Lieberman, "The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict." [ [,7340,L-3338320,00.html Lieberman: The unfaithful cannot be citizens] Ynetnews, December 10, 2006.]

Popularity and constituency

In a poll published by Yedioth Ahronoth on September 21, 2006, Lieberman had more support than any politician except for Netanyahu to be the next Prime Minister of Israel (Olmert came in fifth, with 7%). [,7340,L-3306587,00.html Poll: Only 7 percent want Olmert as PM] Ynetnews, September 21, 2006.] Some Druze support Lieberman, and one third of the Israeli Druze living in Golan Heights voted for him. [,7340,L-3315769,00.html Nobody's citizens] Ynetnews, October 16, 2006.] The majority of his constituency are secular Russian-speaking Israelis as well as former Likud supporters, who feel that party has drifted from its founding Jabotinskian|date=May 2008


Population exchange and loyalty tests

Lieberman advocates giving the Palestinian Authority Arab-Israeli towns near the West Bank and having Arabs who remain Israeli citizens take loyalty tests. Those who refuse would be stripped of their citizenship, but could remain in Israel as permanent residents.Myre, Greg. (2006, December 7.) [ Israeli Official Discusses Iran and His Controversial Agenda] . "New York Times".] [ New Cabinet minister Lieberman calls on government to separate Jews and Arabs] . "Associated Press", 5 November 2006. Quote: Under Lieberman's proposal, Arabs permitted to remain in Israel would have to pass a loyalty test to keep their citizenship. Arabs make up roughly one-fifth of Israel's population.] [ Israel's new politics: Shutting itself in, hoping for the best] (subscribers-only access), The Economist, March 23, 2006.]

Bombing commercial centers and drowning prisoners

Following nine Palestinian attacks on Israelis during a two day period in March 2002, [- [ 'Weekend of terror leaves 23 Israelis dead'] , March 4, 2002.
- On March 4, the first Qassam rocket attack of March 2002 was made into Israel, there were no casualties. (Source: IDF Spokesperson Statistics).Fact|date=April 2008
- [] Palestinian gunmen took up a position on a pedestrian bridge above Petah Tikva Road at the center of Tel Aviv and attacked two restaurants below, "The Steak Gathering" and "Sea Food Market" killing 3 Israelis and injuring 31 (four severely).
- [] suicide bomber detonated in an Egged No. 823 bus.
- [] [] Bethlehem bypass "tunnel" attack.
- [] [] [] Qassam rocket attack on Sderot injured a 16 month-old baby.] the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Lieberman's proposal for an ultimatum to the Palestinians to halt all terror activity or face wide-ranging attacks on commercial centers: "if it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at ten in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah, for example." [ [,7340,L-1727248,00.html]
- Following terrorist acts in recent days right wing politicians suggest to open war, bomb civilian targets in the Palestinian Authority and conquer the West Bank.
_he. - בעקבות הפיגועים בימים האחרונים מציעים פוליטיקאים מהימין לפתוח במלחמה, להפציץ מטרות אזרחיות ברשות ולכבוש את הגדה.
- Minister of Infrastructure Avigdor Lieberman said: "If it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at ten in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah, for example."
_he. - שר התשתיות אביגדור ליברמן אמר: "אם היה הדבר תלוי בי הייתי מודיע לרשות שמחר בעשר בבוקר אנו נפציץ את כל בתי העסק שלהם ברמאללה, למשל".] This led Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to respond that excessive military measures could lead to accusations of war crimes. [Paul Peachey: [ We risk charges of war crimes, Peres tells Cabinet] The Independent, March 7, 2002.]

In July 2003, reacting to a commitment made by Ariel Sharon to the US, where amnesty could be given to approximately 350 Palestinian prisoners including members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Lieberman rejected a chance to participate in the related committee and said "It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that's the lowest point in the world,"McGreal, Chris. [ Palestinian PM's leadership at stake when he pleads with Bush to help free detainees.] "The Guardian", 25 July 2003.] Abu Toameh, Khaled. (2003, 21 July.) [ PA prepares own dossier on 'incitement'.] ] Chazan, Guy. [ Hawkish Palestinian TV Starts to Incubate Doves.] Wall Street Journal] Liebreman continued, according to Galei Tzahal ('Israel Army Radio'), stating his willingness, as Minister of Transport, to supply buses to take the prisoners there. [ [ 'Lieberman offered to drown the Palestinian prisoners at sea'] by Walla!, July 6, 2003
- On Galei Tzahal it was reported that Lieberman said at the cabinet meeting that as Minister of Transport he's willing to provide buses to take them at sea and drown them there.
_he. בגלי צה"ל דווח שליברמן אמר בישיבת הממשלה שכשר התחבורה הוא מוכן לספק אוטובוסים לאסירים שיקחו אותם לים ולהטביע אותם שם.] Lieberman's suggestion also led to confrontation between Lieberman and Arab-Israeli MKs Ahmed Tibi (Hadash-Ta'al), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Taleb el-Sana, Abdelmalek Dahamsha (United Arab List) as well as opposition leader Shimon Peres. [ Lieberman blasted for suggesting drowning Palestinian prisoners] Ha'aretz, July 8, 2006.]

Israeli Arab MKs as collaborators

In November 2006, Lieberman called for the execution of any Arab Knesset members who meet with representatives of the Palestinian government, saying, "World War II ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset] ." [ [ Lieberman calls Arab MKs who meet with Hamas 'collaborators'] Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2006.] In response, Ahmad Tibi demanded that "a criminal investigation be initiated against Lieberman for violating the law against incitement and racism". [,7340,L-3323027,00.html Prosecution: Lieberman's anti-Arab remarks kosher] Ynetnews, November 2, 2006.] Lieberman was cleared of racism charges by the Israeli Deputy State prosecutor, while admitting that the office objected to the content of his statement. Tibi strongly objected to Lieberman's ministerial appointment, describing him as "a racist and a fascist". Labour minister Ophir Pines-Paz, who resigned over Lieberman's appointment, echoed Tibi's remarks, saying that Lieberman was tainted "by racist declarations and declarations that harm the democratic character of Israel". [ Labour minister quits over Lieberman's role] The Independent, October 31, 2006.]

In remarks in the Knesset in March 2008, shortly after the 6 March attack at Jerusalem's Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, Lieberman stated that "yesterday's attack can not be disconnected from the Arab MKs incitement, which we hear daily in the Knesset." [Haaretz Service:Lieberman: Jerusalem attack is product of Arab MK incitement [] ] and, directed at Arab MKs, that "a new administration will be established and then we will take care of you." [Shahar Ilan:Lieberman to Arab MKs: One day we will 'take care of you' [] ]

Jericho Casino corruption investigation

In January 2008 Yisrael Beiteinu left the government and Lieberman left his position as Minister of Strategic Affairs, and almost immediately afterwards, "Arutz Sheva" reported that an investigation against Lieberman and his daughter that had been "ongoing for years, suddenly became active again once he left the government last week." [Ezra HaLevi. [, Exposé Links Olmert, Lieberman and Sharon to Jericho Casino] Arutz Sheva 01/24/08] An investigative exposé in Haaretz "targeting Lieberman...unearthed connections between the financier of the corruption-laden Oasis Casino in Jericho and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his predecessor Ariel Sharon." [Ezra HaLevi. [, Exposé Links Olmert, Lieberman and Sharon to Jericho Casino] Arutz Sheva 01/24/08] Police concluded decisively that Sharon had received a $3 million bribe, and Lieberman is still under investigation for receiving a bribe from Austrian-Jewish businessman Martin Schlaff. [Hillel Fendel. [ "Police Say There´s Evidence Linking Sharon to $3 Million Bribe"] Arutz Sheva, 01/03/06]

Coalition agreement

Yisrael Beiteinu agreed to join Ehud Olmert's government on 23 October 2006, with Lieberman offered the post of Minister of Strategic Affairs. Although many in the Labour Party expressed opposition to Yisrael Beiteinu joining the coalition, the party's central committee approved the new coalition and on 30 October, the Knesset voted the party be included in the government by a margin of 61 to 38. In response, Ophir Pines-Paz, who led the opposition camp in the Labour party, announced his resignation, stating that "Lieberman is himself a strategic threat." [ Olmert gets hardline partner] United Press International, October 30, 2006.]

However, the party left the coalition on 16 January 2008 in protest at peace talks with the Palestinian National Authority. [ [ Lieberman blasts Arab MKs, pulls party out of government] Ha'aretz, January 16, 2008.]


External links

* [ The appointment of Israel’s new deputy PM raises fears of a new catastrophe, says Robert Fox]
*Gilad Katz: [ Avigdor Liberman – Politician or Statesman?] ("Omedia", 22 October 2006)
*Akiva Eldar: [ Let's hear it for the Haiders] Ha'aretz, October 31, 2006.
* [ PM: Lieberman opinion on trading Arabs not my own] Ha'aretz, November 5, 2006.
* [ Official website of Yisrael Beiteinu]

NAME = Lieberman, Avigdor Levi
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = אביגדור ליברמן
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Israeli politician
DATE OF BIRTH = 5 June 1958
PLACE OF BIRTH = Kishinev, Moldavian SSR, Soviet Union

См. также в других словарях:

Avigdor Lieberman — Avigdor Lieberma mit US Außemiisteri Codoleezza Rice. Avigdor Lieberma (hebräisch ‏אביגדור ליברמן‎‎, Avigdor Liberma; 5. Jui 1958 i Chişiău, Moldawie) ist ei israelischer Politiker ud Vorsitzeder der Partei Lebe Avigdor Lieberma… (Deutsch Wikipedia)
Avigdor — Das Haus (d') Avigdor ist ei ursprüglich italieisch frazösisches ud später auch britisches Adelsgeschlecht, das sich Ede des füfzehte Jahrhuderts i Nizza iederließ ud dort eies der bedeutedste Privatbakhäuser Europas grüdete.…
Avigdor Dagan — Avigdor Daga (hebr.: אביגדור דגן, früher Viktor Fišl oder Viktor Fischl) ( 30. Jui 1912 i Hradec Králové (damals Köiggrätz, Österreich); gest. 28. Mai 2006 i Jerusalem, Israel) war ei österreichisch tschechischer Dichter, Prosaist ud…
Avigdor Liberman — Avigdor Lieberma mit US Außemiisteri Codoleezza Rice. Avigdor Lieberma (hebräisch ‏אביגדור ליברמן‎‎, Avigdor Liberma; 5. Jui 1958 i Chişiău, Moldawie) ist ei israelischer Politiker ud Vorsitzeder der Partei Lebe Avigdor Lieberma…
Avigdor Kara — Grabmal auf dem Alte jüdische Friedhof i Prag Avigdor Kara († 25. April 1439 i Prag) war ei Rabbier ud Schriftgelehrter. Ihaltsverzeichis 1 Lebe2 Bedeutug3 Literatur4 Webliks // Lebe Avigdor Kara war der Soh des Rabbiers Jizchak…
Ephraim Avigdor Speiser — ( 24. Jauar 1902 i Skalat/Galizie, damals Österreich Ugar, heute Ukraie, Oblast Teropil; † 15. Jui 1965 i Elkis Park, Pesylvaia) war ei amerikaischer Assyriologe polischer Herkuft. Er etdeckte 1927 die…
Lieberman — Lieberma ist der Familieame folgeder Persoe:Avigdor Lieberma ( 1958), israelischer PolitikerBruo Fraz Leopold Lieberma (1759–1844), katholischer TheologeCarl Lieberma (auch Karl Theodor Lieberma; 1842–1914), deutscher…
Joe Lieberman — Joe Lieberma Joseph Isadore Joe Lieberma ( 24. Februar 1942 i Stamford, Coecticut) ist ei Politiker i de Vereiigte Staate. Er vertritt seit 1989 de Budesstaat Coecticut im Seat. Bei der Präsidetschaftswahl 2004 war er ei…
Lieberman — … (Большой англо-русский и русско-английский словарь)
Awigdor Lieberman — Avigdor Lieberma mit US Außemiisteri Codoleezza Rice. Avigdor Lieberma (hebräisch ‏אביגדור ליברמן‎‎, Avigdor Liberma; 5. Jui 1958 i Chişiău, Moldawie) ist ei israelischer Politiker ud Vorsitzeder der Partei Lebe Avigdor Lieberma… (Deutsch Wikipedia)

About those Israel mall vendors: kiosks providing cover for IDF training of militant Jews in United States

WMR has learned from a knowledgeable source with close ties to senior Department of Justice officials that the suspicious activities of young Israeli men and women who aggressively push Israeli cosmetic products at mall kiosks around the United States is not only tied to gathering intelligence from nearby military and government facilities but also to recruit American Jews for specialized "counter-terrorism" training at a militant Jewish training camp in the Catskills in upstate New York.

According to our well-placed source, retired and reserve members of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) are conducting paramilitary training at the Catskills camp. The camp once belonged to the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a designated terrorist organization in the United States. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was once a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the JDL and the outlawed racist Kach Party in Israel. Many Kahanists openly celebrated the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, was associated with the Kahanists/Kachists and a former Mossad chief once told this editor that the fingerprints on the first assassination of an Israeli Prime Minister went right up the chain to Binyamin Netanyahu, the current Israeli Prime Minister.

Today, the IDF training of militant Jews is conducted under the aegis of Kitat Konenut (KK), which is self-described as a "non political, non partisan team of freedom loving Americans devoted to teaching preparedness against terrorism and natural disasters," adding, "Kitat Konenut trains with veterans of the Israel Defense Forces and incorporates elite Israeli fighting skills."

Although it claims non-partisanship, the KK's heroes are all Israeli terrorists, including Zionist fascist leader Zeev Jabotinsky; Avraham (Yair) Stern, the founder of the Jewish terrorist Stern Gang, and first Likud Prime Minister and one-time terrorist Menachem Begin. In fact, the Catskills camp is also sometimes referred to as "Camp Jabotinsky" and has been linked to the Jewish Defense Organization, a spin-off of the JDL.

The extreme-Zionist KK claims to have a close working relationship with the New York City Police and Fire Departments. KK also has a Los Angeles unit that claims members within the Los Angeles Police Department.

North Jersey: epicenter of "Kosher Nostra" and Mossad activity

The recent rolling up of a Syrian Jewish criminal syndicate that was involved in buying off local elected and appointed government officials in north Jersey is but one in a long series of law enforcement operations directed, sometimes unsuccessfully due to the immense power of the Israel Lobby in the United States, against Jewish criminal networks in the New Jersey-New York region. These criminal networks also have one important thing in common: close connections to Israeli politicians and businessmen.

The FBI used a confidential witness to identify a number of Syrian Jewish rabbis who were using synagogues and yeshivas as money laundering fronts reportedly for the illegal sale of knock-off designer hand bags and even human organs. The witness, Solomon Dwek, is a major real estate developer and gambling boat owner who was arrested in 2006 for trying to pass a bad check and defraud PNC Bank of $25 million. Dwek is a member of the powerful Syrian Jewish clan in New Jersey and New York, which has been called the SY Empire" and the "Dwek clan."

Dwek's father, Isaac Dwek, is a rabbi of a synagogue and yeshiva school in the Syrian Jewish enclave of Deal, New Jersey, on the Jersey shore. Deal is a nexus for the radical Israeli right that is opposed to any peace agreement with the Palestinians and the ultra-orthodox Israeli Shas Party, a member of the current Israeli coalition government, has held fundraisers in Deal. The Syrian Jewish community is also heavily involved in worldwide Chabad Houses, which WMR has previously linked to drug smuggling and money laundering, particularly in Mumbai, Bangkok, and other Asian cities. In 1992, the Syrian government lifted travel restrictions and limits on the disposition of property for the Syrian Jewish community. Syrian Jews were relatively free to travel, including to the United States.

Among the rabbis arrested was Saul Kassin, the 87-year-old chief rabbi of the 80,000-member Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Rabbis from Brooklyn and Deal were also arrested for money laundering operations that used the tax-exempt status of Jewish religious organizations to avoid detection and reporting to the government.

The mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus, and Ridgefield were also arrested as part of the bribery probe of the Syrian Jewish syndicate, as well as a Jersey City state assemblyman and an Ocean Township mayor and assemblyman. A member of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's cabinet was also arrested, along with appointed officials in Bayonne, Hoboken, and Jersey City.

The latest reported criminal activity among the region's Syrian Jewish community is nothing new. One prominent member of the community, which traces its origins back to the Syrian city of Aleppo, was Eddie Antar, the owner of a regional chain of consumer electronics stories called "Crazy Eddie's," fled the United States for Israel after being indicted for fraud. Antar had laundered some $80 million through Panamanian and Israeli banks, much of it ending up at the Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv, Swiss banks, a "folding tent" Liberian company, and a Liechtenstein foundation. Antar used a fake passport and the alias of David Jacob Levi Cohen to enter Israel. Antar also used the alias of Alexander Stewart. Antar was eventually arrested near Tel Aviv and was extradited back to the United States where he eventually received an eight-year prison sentence. The chief federal prosecutor against Antar was Michael Chertoff.

Syrian-Jewish businessman Norman Jemal, the head of another influential Syrian-Jewish family and a consumer electronics competitor of Crazy Eddie, saw his store chain Nobody Beats the Wiz, collapse into bankruptcy in 2003.

Another prominent Syrian Jew was Edmond Safra who founded Banco Safra in Brazil in 1955. The Beirut-based Safra family had long served as important bankers for the Ottoman Empire. Safra eventually became a billionaire banking and investment tycoon. Safra founded the Republic National Bank in New York in 1966. In 1999, Safra was killed in an arson attack on his Monte Carlo home. Safra's U.S.-born nurse, Ted Maher, a former U.S. Army Green Beret, was arrested and charged with starting the fire but his conviction was overturned. Safra's killer or killers still remain at large. Safra's security chief, Shmuile Cohen, had recruited a number of Israeli military special forces personnel to guard Safra, but Shmule and the guards were given the night off by Safra's wife. Before his death, Safra was negotiating the sale of Republic Bank to HSBC. Safra was also cooperating with the FBI in its probe of the use of U.S. banks by the Russian-Israeli mafia to launder billions of dollars. There is speculation that Safra was murdered by the Russian-Israeli mob to keep him from divulging more details of their operations to the FBI.

After the recent bust of prominent Syrian-Jews in New Jersey and New York, the FBI and Justice Department revealed their investigation had lasted for ten years. The Safra murder occurred ten years prior to the recent corruption arrests. WMR has learned that the FBI is actually probing a much bigger criminal syndicate, one that involves more powerful politicians and businessmen involved in real estate and financial services in New York and New Jersey. The arrest of mayors, other small-time politicians, and rabbis may lead to higher-ups if there is cooperation from those already arrested from plea deals with prosecutors.

One prominent member of the Syrian Jewish community is Joseph Cayre, the real estate business partner of Larry Silverstein and Lloyd Goldman in the pre-9/11 lease of the World Trade Center from the New York-New Jersey Port Authority and the subsequent re-development of the "Ground Zero" site. Silverstein, Cayre, Goldman, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have recently been feuding with the Port Authority over the terms of the re-development scheme. Part of the re-development strategy is central to the "Cornerstones Project," a project to establish for mega-entertainment and sports complexes in Manhattan connected to two other such centers on Coney Island and at the Meadowlands Xanadu entertainment and shopping complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, next to Secaucus. The Xanadu project is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs and is a favorite of Governor Corzine, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs.

In the criminal complaint against Rabbi Eliahu "Eli" Ben Haim of the Ohel Yaacob congregation in Deal, a co-conspirator only identified as "I.M.," who is based in Israel and was a principal source of cash for Ben Haim, is cited. It is odd that "I.M." is only identified by initials when two other co-conspirators of Ben Haim are identified by their full names: Schmulik Cohen of Brooklyn and Arye Weiss, also of Brooklyn. "I.M."s modus operandi is described in the criminal complaint:

"Defendant BEN HAIM also mentioned that he owed another individual $495,000. This individual, according to defendant BEN HAIM, had wired money from Hong Kong to Israel, and stated that 'he has money in Hong Kong from his –- the kickbacks from the factories.' Defendant BEN HAIM also further described the activities of Coconspirator I.M. in the following terms: 'the head contact’s in Israel . . . He has different people, he has, . . . he has a hundred cus-, no customer in New York [u/i] [unintelligible] money in Israel [u/i] real estate investments, they, they want to hide their money. They don’t want it to show. So they give the cash here to him and he gives me the cash . . . You see the merry-goround? This guy’s been doing it for 20, 30 years.' Defendant BEN HAIM also indicated that he would pick up cash, as coordinated by Coconspirator I.M., at locations in Brooklyn. The CW [confidential witness] offered to pick up the cash that defendant BEN HAIM anticipated would be available to him the following week."

The complaint provides even greater details of "I.M.'s" money laundering activities:

"Defendant BEN HAIM told the CW about 'customers from two, three years ago that are calling me,' and indicated that “[t]hat’s a signal that the market is tight.' Defendant BEN HAIM also discussed his source for cash, Coconspirator I.M., and stated that he spoke to Coconspirator I.M. '[e]very day - every other day.' Referring to Coconspirator I.M., defendant BEN HAIM then asked the CW '[d]id you know that he had me in the last 4 years send out wires every time to a different place in the world to a different name? It’s unbelievable. I never saw anything like it.' When the CW asked whether defendant BEN HAIM was referring to different locations in only Israel, defendant BEN HAIM replied '[n]o, all over the world. . . All over the world. From Australia to New Zealand to Uganda. I mean [u/i] every country imaginable. Turkey, you can’t believe it. . . . All different names. It’s never the same name. . . . Switzerland, everywhere, France, everywhere, Spain . . . . China, Japan.' Defendant BEN HAIM also explained that the market for cash was tight 'only in the beginning of the year and the end of the year.'"

It appears that the FBI was being careful about naming "I.M." due to his extensive contacts from Israel to countries around the world, an indication that "I.M.," unlike the rabbis and the New Jersey politicos, is a big fry who is laundering large sums of money, possibly from gambling operations, through synagogues and Jewish charities. It is known that Solomon Dwek was involved in a casino boat business and that jailed GOP lobbyist was similarly involved in taking control of Sun Cruz Casino boats in Florida. Abramoff also funded radical Israeli settler movements on the West Bank. WMR has learned from a reliable source that the identity of "I.M,", if revealed, would serve as a body blow to the Likud government of Netanyahu and his major coalition partners, Yisrael Beiteinu of extreme right-wing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the ultra-orthodox Shas Party. The revelation of "I.M.'s" identity, we are told, will also provide encouragement to the Palestinians to stand their ground against Israeli encroachment in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. In fact, the timing of the recent arrests in New Jersey and New York may be directly tied to Israel's move to build a residential complex in east Jerusalem over the objections of President Barack Obama.

On July 26, 2009, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Rabbi David Yosef, the son of Shas spiritual leader and former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, left the Long Branch, New Jersey home of Ben-Haim for Israel just hours before the FBI raid that saw the arrest of Ben-Haim. In May, Aryeh Deri visited the Syrian-Jewish community in the New York-New Jersey region seeking funds for a new political party. Deri's successor as the head of Shas, Eliyahu "Eli" Yishai, currently serves as Interior Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister of Israel.

Ovadia Yosef recently condemned President Barack Obama for pressuring Israel on the freeze of settlements. Yosef also called for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple on the site of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites. Yosef complained that there "are Arabs there."

THe north Jersey/Brooklyn area has long been a hub for intelligence and criminal activities by Israeli nationals. In many cases, those arrested have gotten off with light or no sentences. WMR has reported extensively on these, including:

  • On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, New Jersey police arrested five Israeli employees of Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, New Jersey, which is nestled between Jersey City and Hoboken, near Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, next to Secaucus. The Israelis who were earlier seen celebrating, high-fiving, jumping up and down, and videotaping the first and second plane attacks on the World Trade Center.
  • The five Israelis were later linked to an Israeli-owned office moving company called Urban Moving Systems headquartered in Weehawken, New Jersey at 3 West 18th Street. Another Urban Moving office was located on West 50thStreet in Manhattan. Urban Moving’s owner, Dominik Otto Suter, identified by the CIA and FBI as a Mossad officer, fled to Israel shortly before he was to be re-questioned by the FBI. The five Israelis, after being jailed for five months, were quietly deported to Israel without criminal charges being filed.
  • Information Spectrum, Inc. (ISI) of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, a subsidiary of the Fairfax, Virginia-based defense contractor, Anteon, took over the operation of the Jersey City police computer system that handled all incoming emergency phone calls on September 11 . . . According to Jersey City Police officials, after the emergency call system was changed from a Wang to a Windows environment, 8000 emergency 911 system calls registered on September 11 were scrubbed from the archives. In fact, archives dating back to 1989, including those dealing with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, were similarly affected.
  • In October 2000, an Israeli veteran of the Israel Defense Force overheard a conversation between three men in the Gomel Chesed Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey. The three men speaking in Hebrew were discussing the "planes hitting the twins," a reference to the 9/11 attacks some 11 months later. The FBI Newark office was informed of the conversation. There was no follow-up by the FBI.
  • A Syrian Jew named Rimon Alkatri was indicted by a New York City grand jury for phoning a false terrorist threat to the New York City police in May 2006. The indictment charged Alkatri with making a false terrorist threat in the first degree. Alkatri was arrested on July 31, 2006, a little over a week from the hype generated by the "great airplane liquid bombing hoax." Alkatri, who owns the El Castillo de Oro jewelry store on Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn and who arrived in the United States in 1996, was arrested by police while he was leaving his apartment in a Syrian Jewish neighborhood on East 9th Street. In May, Alkatri, using the alias Jose Rodriguez, and claiming to be from Israel, said he overheard five Syrian employees of his store use the phrase "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) and that they were plotting to hide explosives in hollowed-out jewelry and perpetrate a suicide bombing in the New York subway system on the Fourth of July. Police later discovered that the five Syrian "conspirators" identified by Alkatri were not even Muslims, but Christians and Jews. Alkatri, who could have been sentenced to seven years in jail, was given a six month sentence.
  • In 2003, Yehuda Abraham, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, global diamond dealer, and native of Afghanistan, was charged with money laundering for an Indian weapons smuggler named Hemant Lakhani who was attempting to purchase Russian portable missile launchers to bring down American passenger planes, including Air Force One, in the United States. Abraham was later convicted in the scheme that also involved a Malaysian bag man associated with the Southeast Asian Al Qaeda off-shoot Jemaah Islamiya. Abraham and Lakhani conducted their meetings near Newark International Airport. Abraham was sentenced to home detention.
  • In 2003, Israeli-born Mark Brener, proprietor of Emperor's Club VIP and three money laundering firms -- QAT Consulting Group, QAT International, and Protech Consulting -- moved from South Brunswick, New Jersey to an affluent condo in Cliffside Park, New Jersey with his 19-year old girlfriend Cecil ("Ceci") Suwal. Emperor's Club VIP was the escort service that enmeshed New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and, which more recently is said to involve another Governor, reportedly Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. Brener received a 30 month prison sentence.
  • The targeting of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, a former mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey, by Israeli intelligence operative Golan Cipel in a homosexual "honey trap" resulted in McGreevey's sudden resignation from office in 2004. McGreevey appointed Cipel to a top homeland security job for the state of New Jersey. The Emperor's Club VIP expose about Spitzer came on the same day that it was reported that emails from the McGreevey administration were erased from the state's computer systems. Cipel today works as an independent consultant.
  • In December 1995, Israeli Interior Minister Haim Ramon barred from entering Israel seven U.S. six U.S. citizens, all members of the terrorist Jewish Defense League, as well as Rabbi Abraham Hecht of the Syrian Jewish community in New York, for involvement in illegal activities in Israel. Hecht had suggested that assassinated Prime Minister Rabin could have been a "moser," a Jew who handed over Jews or Jewish property to non-Jews, and deserved the death penalty.


WMR has also learned from sources in China of a significant Turkish angle to the illegal Israeli-run human organ smuggling trade. Apparently, Turkish military surgeons have worked with ethnic Uighurs to harvest organs from young Chinese. The center of the human organ trade is in Israel. Recently, police in Shenzen, China raided a Uighur-run restaurant where younger customers had a habit of disappearing. Police then discovered the restaurant had a grisly secret business: that it was an organ harvesting center, operated with medical expertise from Turkish military surgeons who identified usable organs for for wealthy Israelis, as well as Arab potentates. The Turkish military surgeons apparently got their start after the 1999 Izmit-Istanbul earthquake, the first major operation for the organ harvesters.

The Shenzen eatery's refrigerators were primed for cryogenics, the storage of human organs until transport to customers. The human remains -- limbs, spines, and
heads . . . were boiled down and dumped into the sewer or sold to pig
farmers for slop. Bones were crushed and likewise went down the sewer pipes. Police were originally stymied in collecting evidence in their investigation of the criminal enterprise.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Military makes preparations for "significant" flu crisis in October

WMR has learned from a U.S. military source with responsibility for the U.S. military's response to an expected A/H1N1 mutated virus pandemic in October that the threat currently posed by the mutated virus is "significant."

WMR has also learned that Asia and the Pacific are expected to be "ground zero" for the mutated influenza strain and that major U.S. contingency operations to respond to the more virulent form of the current hybrid "swine flu" are now being staged out of Japan.

In addition, the U.S. hospital ships, USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are being readied to respond to the initial stages of the more deadly virus expected to hit in October. The military response to the expected October surge in cases of mutated flu, for which current vaccines will be ineffective, is being coordinated by the Surgeon General of the United States and the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED).

The Department of Defense is engaged in high-level counter-influenza contingency planning in Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. The Pentagon's preparations are said to be "huge."

WMR has also learned of highly-classified military programs involving North Korea when the mutated flu strikes that isolated country. However, details of the program could not be obtained from our source.

Currently, the strategy of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Department of Health and Human Services is not to raise any alarms by closing schools or restricting travel at airports. The government wants to maintain "a sense of normalcy," according to our well-placed source. However, the source also stated that the "alarm should now be sounded" about the coming catastrophic flu season expected to rear its head worldwide in the autumn.

Special fears have been raised for children and pregnant women when the mutated flu begins to spread, revealed our military source.

U.S. military planners are reportedly planning for the worst case scenario but their ranks are plagued with high-level incompetence, WMR has been told. In addition, some military officials are distressed with the approach taken by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in putting too much faith in vaccines. Experts warn that vaccines developed to combat the current hybrid A/H1N1 flu may not be effective against the deadlier mutated strain expected to wreak havoc in the autumn months. Current plans are to have 160 million doses of the vaccine to combat the current strain of A/H1N1 in readiness in October, the same month a public health awareness and vaccination program is set to begin.

WMR has also learned from a financial adviser that financial investment strategies are already being tailored in reaction to the expected mutated swine flu pandemic expected around the October time frame. Many Wall Street insiders fear a "perfect storm" of a jittery economy and a deadly flu pandemic will trigger a "financial catastrophe" in October.

Although there are preparations being made by the military and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for quarantines of cities and regions of the country, contingency planners warn that they "cannot be depended on."