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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Spy Chronicles

It has been a sad aspect of the Universalist creed displayed by Jewish Utopians that in possessing the vision, they too often do not concern themselves with its potential abuse.  Those that preach, often do so conditionally to hide their moral failure.

I believe in a Utopian vision of universal justice; freedom from poverty and disease and the absence of fear for all. I would like to see the cruelty of theocracies and dictatorships as well as the inequalities that encourage discrimination removed from our society.  I would especially like to see theocratic regimes and all despotic nations celebrate these ideals within their own societies.  But if they do not, I do not want their citizens to come to my home and preach their ‘values’ to me or to my friends or even, to my enemies in my country.

My society may indeed be tainted by crime and corruption and by injustice and poverty but we can all work together to improve the lot of our own people without having to fight against the prejudices of those who are committed to something totally at variance with our beliefs.  Those idealists who betray their own nation usually do so because they do not believe their society has merit.  I admire their courage but the act of treason is in the betrayal of the society that has nurtured and protected them.  When they betray their country they actively work to undermine it.  And that is completely different to working to change society from within.  It is working to undermine and therefore to destroy rather than to enhance the conditions under which we all live.

Which is why the cases of Mordechai Vanunu and Jonathan Pollard are so interesting.

Mordechai Vanunu is a former Israeli nuclear technician who was found guilty of treason.  He secretly photographed the Dimona nuclear reactor and then passed on information to the British Sunday Times for publication (having been promised $1m). He was jailed in 1986 and served an 18 year sentence.  His total rejection of any Jewish or Israeli national rights while he championed every other ethnic or religious groups right to self-determination and free expression make his subsequent complaints about the restrictions placed on his free association and liberty rather bizarre and Amnesty Internationals championing of his freedom similarly unconscionable.  Having steered clear of equating treason with freedom of conscience Mordechai Vanunu is the only exception to this rule in the annals of Amnesty International’s 51 year history.

Jonathan Pollard was an American Naval analyst who passed on secrets to Israel. His defence at the time of his capture was that the US had agreements (a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries) to share vital security intelligence with Israel. By withholding information deemed to be crucial to Israel’s defence the USA was deliberately breaking that agreement with Israel.  Jonathan Pollard made a plea-bargain agreement with the Reagan administration for leniency on full disclosure of his complicity in passing over secret documents to Israel. That agreement was violated at the personal intervention of Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger (allegedly placed in that political post to alleviate Arab concerns of pro-Israel bias). The average sentence served for treason in the US is 4 years.  Pollard was convicted of passing classified information to an ally in 1985. After 27 years he remains incarcerated.  

There is a precedent for America withholding vital intelligence information from its ally Israel in times where Israel’s existence was threatened. During the 6-Day War America was accused of listening in on military communications deemed vital to the successful defeat of the Arab enemy and of passing on that information to that same enemy (Syria and Egypt). The reason put forward was the consensus view within the State Department that a decisive Israeli victory was not in the best interests of the USA.  The State Department was traditionally viewed as balancing the Pro-Israel perception of the Defence Department by being Pro-Muslim and anti-Semitic. It was generally accepted that a more nuanced outcome to the 6-Day War was needed. This is usually translated as meaning that Israel must not only suffer defeat in battle but also a significantly higher number of casualties.  The more deaths the better seemed to be the desirable outcome mandated by the US Department of State.  A direct outcome of this ‘policy’ was that Israel knew of a planned joint surprise attack on the 6th of October 1973.  The politicians decided that Israel’s ‘friends’ would not countenance a pre-emptive strike against Israel’s enemies as it had done on the 5th of June 1967.  This decision cost Israel well over a thousand Israeli lives including hundreds of Israeli soldiers who were allegedly executed on their capture by Egyptian and Syrian forces.

Pollards’ version of events is therefore not unreasonable and American collusion with Israel’s enemies is similarly not unheard of, but its results have been known to be catastrophic for its ally.  Much of a speculative nature has since been written about this case, some of it no doubt written with mischief in mind.   Perhaps it is best we appreciate that while Israel is a useful ally, it is not in the first tier in terms of the sharing of intelligence nor will it ever be fully trusted and while anti-Semitism will play a not insignificant part in this, the unfortunate reality is that Jewish spies that have betrayed America will not contribute to changing that behaviour.

But perhaps the nastiest aspect of this subject is the subsequent cases of spying reported both in the USA and the UK where those found guilty of treason (that is to say, of passing on information vital to the defence of the nation to our enemies) have had their cases heard, sentence passed and periods of incarceration imposed. All have served considerably less time than Pollard.  The Liberal-Left coalition has remained silent.  Moreover, in both countries they have not uttered a single word of protest at the continued imprisonment of Pollard.  But from the beginning they have protested Vanunu’s.  None of these heroes of Liberal Democratic tradition whether they are clergy, famous actors and actresses, politicians or something else have interfered in the judicial process that denies traitors their public fame. So British traitors, imprisoned in their own land have no web site devoted to their cause nor do their American counterparts. 

The only possible explanation is that there is safety in protesting for those happy to betray Israel. Cowardice appears to be part of the intellectual armour of the righteous hypocrite. When betrayal is conditionally acceptable within the Western family of nations (and Israel is one of these nations) it can only be explained by the corrupt nature of Western thinking.

As history goes, Ilan Pappe (born and raised in Israel) is an anti-Israel propagandist who best summarises as he encapsulates the ethical corruption of the Left. He is on record as stating that “we do historiography (the body of literature that deals with history) because of ideological reason, not because we are truth seekers.” As a Marxist historian he will proudly state that “there is no such thing as truth, only a collection of narratives” (which The Guardians are able to invent as they see fit).

The junior partner in any asymmetric relationship will often suffer abuse. Tolerating that abuse only encourages its continuation and in more extreme cases, its escalation to what is sadly and too often, tragic consequences for the victim. According to the British Guardian newspaper of 29th July 2012:

The National Security Agency historically has kept tabs on Israel…. the U.S. started spying on Israel even before the state was created in 1948.  Matthew Aid, author of "The Secret Sentry," about the NSA said the U.S. had a station on Cyprus dedicated to spying on Israel until 1974. Today, teams of Hebrew linguists are stationed at Fort Meade, Md., at the NSA, listening to intercepts of Israeli communications, he said.
CIA policy generally forbids its officers in Tel Aviv from recruiting Israeli government sources, officials said. To do so would require approval from senior CIA leaders, two former senior officials said. During the Bush administration, the approval had to come from the White House”.
That these guidelines are in place and publicly acknowledged, indicates that those signatures have been obtained.  That their activity does not pierce the public domain is either an indicator of successful American infiltration in Israel or the imbalance in the relationship that ensures silence, when they are caught.  That articles highlighting this dysfunctional relationship between ‘friends’ have appeared as Mitt Romney was visiting Israel should be investigated.

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