Friday, March 29, 2002

The Israelis have been caught spying in the United States, the U. S. government is trying to pretend it didn't happen, reports on the issue are suppressed, and some people are up in arms about it. Not only spying, but spying on those people who would turn out to be 9-11 terrorists. Not only that, but observing and filming the WTC at the time of the first terrorist attack, and cheering it on. The darkest theories are that the Israelis are behind the 9-11 attacks, or at least had specific foreknowledge of them and let them happen by failing to warn the U. S. These theories don't make sense to me: 1) If the Israelis were behind 9-11, why did they have to follow the terrorists around? Why would they surveil their own people? 2)The result of being caught by the U. S. as being behind 9-11 would be the immediate end of Israel, and isn't worth the risk, even for a benefit such as providing the U. S. with an excuse to attack Iraq. If this was a set-up to provide a reason for the U. S. to attack Iraq, why didn't they make some effort to tie the 9-11 terrorists to Iraq (there was an effort to tie Atta to an Iraqi intelligence agent through a meeting in Prague, but surely they could have done better than that?)? 3) We know the Israelis had foreknowledge of 9-11, as Israel was one of the countries that tried to warn the U. S. prior to September 11, so why would they give the U. S. any kind of warning if they were hoping to catch the U. S. by surprise? The fact of the matter is that Israel is always spying on the U. S. (they probably have a couple of programs going on right now). Usually, it is industrial espionage, and the U. S. seems to regard its toleration of this kind of spying as part of its contribution to Israel. There appear to be two unwritten rules: 1) don't do anything with the information you get which would seriously affect U. S. national security (the U. S. got really mad when the Israelis sent the Pollard information to the Russians in trade for some emigration concessions); and 2) be professional and discrete enough that you don't get caught and embarrass the U. S. by making it look like a chump. Israel appeared to use semi-amateur spies in this case, got caught, and embarrassed the U. S. government, which is now pretending nothing happened so as not to appear too ridiculous, as well as trying to ignore the fact that the U. S. intelligence agencies should have been able to do the surveillance that the Israelis were doing on the terrorists (the same embarrassment they have over Lindh - just how did he get to meet bin Laden when such a feat was impossible for the CIA?). What is the real story behind all this? My guess is that the Israelis came to the U. S. authorities at a very high level with detailed intelligence as to what was planned by the terrorists, information which dovetailed with the intelligence of the Americans. Immediately, the U. S. junta realized that allowing this to happen would provide the excuse they wanted to immediately attack Afghanistan (and possibly save Enron), get control of the Central Asian oil reserves, drastically increase defence spending, and introduce a fascist security state to the United States. They could handle the big details of standing down the air defence system and planning a fake attack on the Pentagon. What they couldn't handle was the rather mundane task of continuing to keep an eye on the terrorists to ensure thay didn't get up to any unexpected terrorism. The U. S. junta couldn't send their own people to watch the terrorists, because the danger was too great that such surveillance would be detected or that one of the surveilling agents would put two and two together, thus proving U. S. government foreknowledge of, and thus complicity in, the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Fortunately, as it happens the Israelis were mounting a major intelligence operation in the U. S., using fake 'art students' selling or showing paintings to gain access to U. S. security and military installations, and in particular, the offices of the DEA and the homes of DEA agents. Some people think that Israeli-owned companies have access to all U. S. government wiretaps, including those of the DEA. One can only guess that the Israelis were looking for information as to which DEA agents could be blackmailed or bribed in order to facilitate some form of Israeli sponsored drug smuggling or money laundering operation. Just by chance, good police work by the DEA (it is a shame that such excellent police talent is wasted on the asinine and counterproductive war on drugs) uncovered the whole spy ring. Against the common view that the Mossad is some kind of super-efficient espionage agency, this was practically an amateur operation, and interrogation of the spies, who followed an amazingly similar pattern and didn't even have their stories well memorized, broke the whole thing open. The only problem was that by accident the DEA managed to reveal that a good number of the 'art students' were in Florida, living in the same place and only a few blocks from Atta and in other places in close proximity to Arabs under scrutiny by the U. S. government (how would thy know where these people were unless they were getting the information from the U. S. government?). Once a draft (pdf) of this report came out, it was immediately hushed up, the spies were quietly deported or allowed to escape, and the U. S. junta tried to pretend that it didn't happen. Of course, the whole point of using the Israelis was just for this eventuality - if someone were discovered spying on the terrorists, it could be covered up by blaming it on those sneaky Israelis, whose excuse was that they were actually spying on the DEA (I feel that many of the acts of perfidity by the Israelis, including the Pollard and Liberty cases, have to them an aspect of cooperation between the Israeli and American security operations). The cheering spies watching the WTC crash were probably pleased with themselves for predicting what happened, or expressing the surprisingly (to an American) normal anti-Americanism that exists in most places in the world. I can see no good reason for the Israelis to have anything directly to do with the September 11 terrorism. Their role was to provide some 'plausible deniability' to the U. S. government while conducting some much needed discrete intelligence.