Tuesday, April 21, 2009

AIPAC caught at it

SEEMS the habit of bugging, like other forms of surveillance, can have its advantages after all. A story about the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC), which is probably America's main Zionist lobby outfit if we leave out the Christian variety, reaches me courtesy of the US West Coast-based Jewish Peace News(JPN).

JPN's Judith Norman writes:

'An AIPAC-related intrigue has come to light. The National Security Agency (NSA) recorded a conversation that took place several years ago between a suspected Israeli agent and Rep. Jane Harman (a Democrat from California). In the conversation, Harman agrees to pressure the Justice Department to ³reduce espionage related charges² against two AIPAC officials. In return, the suspected Israeli agent would help get Harman appointed chair of the Intelligence Committee.

This deal was known, or at least suspected, in 2006. An FBI investigation recording of this conversation has surfaced (the recording came from of a court-approved wiretapping of the suspected agent); and second, that it appears that the FBI investigation against Harman was not dropped for lack of evidence after all. Rather, it was dropped because then-attorney general Alberto Gonzales intervened to get the charges dismissed, so that Harman, a big cheerleader for the Bush administration¹s warrantless wiretapping program, could be free to defend it (this was at the time when news of the program was breaking in the New York Times).

The deal was ultimately unsuccessful, from the standpoint of the players involved: Harman never got her committee appointment after all, and the two AIPAC officials (Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman) still face trial (in June) ­ lest we be tempted to draw conclusions about the omnipotence of AIPAC. What happens next remains to be seen.

There is lots of information about this at:

http://innovation.cq.com/liveonline/54/landing http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/20/harman/print.html http://static.cqpolitics.com/harman-3098436-page1.html

Judith Norman


AIPAC might have qualified for the Guiness Book of Records with the number of standing ovations it managed for former Vice President Dick Cheney when he addressed its conference at the hight of his unpopularity with US voters. Well to the right of most American Jewish opinion it could certainly qualify as a laughing stock, if it was not that it still commands big money, and when it speaks, politicians, including it seems Barack Obama, still listen.

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