|Southwest Asia News Digest
Israel Computer Spying Linked to 'X Committee'
A computer-espionage scandal is wracking Israel, with top executives from a number of major Israeli companies, and employees from three private detective agencies, having been placed under arrest. The probe centers on the use of "Trojan Horse" computer software to spy on other companies and to steal secret computer data from them.
According to a well-informed Israeli with ties to the intelligence community, the Trojan Horse operation was also used to penetrate British MI6, and U.S. intelligence agencies. The source also said that Trojan Horse is linked to the "Amdocs" operation which EIR had exposed shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
See " 'X Committee' Out To Blow Up Southwest Asia," in this week's InDepth, for the story of how this intersects with the espionage case of Jonathan Jay Pollard, captured in 1985, and with the ongoing probe of Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
'Clean Break' Hit-Men Threaten Syria
A high-level source in Lebanon told EIR on June 10 that neo-con circles around the Hudson Institute are circulating a secret document to the U.S. Senate, allegedly "proving" that Syria was responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; the document claims that Syria has a hit-list of other leading figures targetted for assassination as well.
Since the inauguration of the Bush-Cheney Administration, the Hudson Institute has served as one of the major centers for spreading the doctrine of the "Clean Break" war plan, and for neo-conservative disinformation used to implement the "Clash of Civilizations" war against the extended "axis of evil" list of countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority. In 2003, in an effort to set the stage for immediately expanding the Iraq warwhich had already been drawn up by George W. Bush's Vulcan controllers prior to his electionthe Hudson Institute hosted an anti-Syria event featuring former Lebanese interim President Michel Aoun as the "face of democracy" in Lebanon. Today, as then, Lebanese leaders, including Christians, firmly disagree with building up Aoun as a hero.
And, there is nothing democratic about the Hudson Institute's neo-cons.
The Mideast Policy Center of the Hudson Institute is directed by Meyrav Wurmser, who, along with her husband David Wurmser, Richard Perle, the defrocked head of the Defense Policy Board of the Pentagon until 2004; and Douglas Feith, architect of the rogue intelligence unit, the Office of Special Plans, wrote the infamous 1996 Clean Break document, spelling out an attack on the Mideast peace process. A key element of the Clean Break document was a military assault on Syria and the overthrow of its Ba'athist regime, following the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.
The Wurmsers helped orchestrate the appearance of then-exiled Lebanese General Auon and the now-notorious John Bolton before a House International Affairs Subcommittee, which led to the passage of the October 2003 Syrian Accountability and Restoration of Lebanese Sovereignty Act, which was itself modelled on the Iraq Liberation Act which had set the Iraq war into motion. The UN passed Resolution 1559 on the basis of the Syria Accountability Act. The same neo-con apparatus ran the massive disinformation campaign about Iraq, alleging a nuclear program, and links to al-Qaeda terrorists, which did not exist.
Now, in a replay of the Iraq disinformation debaclethis time against Syriathe "secret report" about Syria's alleged authorship of the assassinations of Hariri and Samir Kassir, being circulated by the neo-cons in Washington, has already been "shopped into" the Administration, and is being used to push for military action, and elimination of the Presidency of Bashar Assad.
On June 9, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated, on the PBS Charlie Rose television program, "We need to be very clear that we expect a full investigation of the assassination of Mr. Kassir, following on the assassination of Mr. Hariri.... Because what we don't want is that there is a pattern now of assassination of key figures ... and I think it would have to point a finger at those forces that have been destabilizing Lebanon."
On June 10, in the State Department daily briefing, spokesman Sean McCormack was asked, "Does the U.S. have credible word that Syria has a hit list targetting opposition figures in Lebanon?" He answered, "We are deeply concerned about Syria's interference and intimidation inside Lebanon. Syria needs to comply fully with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559.... We see a pattern of the use of threat and violence to create an atmosphere of intimidation inside Lebanon." A reporter protested, after McCormack's answers to seven questions along these lines, "That doesn't really tell us what you think Syria is actually up to in this election. I mean, threat and intimidation of whom? How?" McCormack answered, "Again, I can't really get into intelligence matters, but we do, as I said, have these longstanding concerns."
On June 10, President Bush also weighed in, expressing his "concern" about the "pattern" of assassinations.
Since the elections in Lebanon have been open and peaceful, the warmongers in the Bush Administration are resorting to the spread of outright lies and a pastiche of intelligence factoids to justify the unjustifiable war against Syria. It is time for the U.S. Congress, along with true Lebanese patriots to speak out against this disinformation campaign, before another hot war in Southwest Asia is started by the Cheneyacs.
Ex-Shin Beth Chief: Gaza Pullout Will Improve Israel's Security
Former Israeli Shin Beth head Avi Dichter said that the settlers will be pulled out of Gaza, and this will improve, not worsen, Israel's security situation, Ha'aretz reported June 10. This view is widespread, and support for it is growing in Israel, according to senior military and intelligence analysts there.
In a retort to former Israeli Defense Forces' chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon, who had told Ha'aretz the previous week that pulling out of Gaza would renew conflict in the West Bank, Dichter said: "I heard his assessment.... I don't know of intelligence that supports this. I don't know of logic that supports this." The threat of militants in the Gaza Strip launching Qassam rockets at Israel, will not be greater, Dichter said. When the settlers and IDF are out of Gaza, there will be far fewer Israeli targets in Gaza, and, if necessary, the IDF would have more military flexibility.
Dichter said that the pull-out from Gaza will go forward. "Extreme scenarios are possible, but the critical mass of the evacuees will resist passively," he said. "It will be difficult and unpleasant, and it isn't going to look good on television, but we'll get through it."
Construction in Israeli Settlements Skyrockets
There was an 83% increase in new construction in the Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories in the first quarter of 2005despite the announcement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's so-called disengagement plan. The plan calls for an evacuation of all settlements in the Gaza Strip, and four of the 120 in the West Bank. Construction began on some 560 apartments in the settlements in the first three months of this year. In Jerusalem, which is to say, the parts that sit on the other side of the 1967 borders, construction has increased by 113%.
Meanwhile, construction within Israel's 1967 borders decreased by 6% nationally.
Since the publication of the official Sasson Report, which detailed how various government departments and ministries illegally financed the expansion of the settlements, as well as over 100 so-called outposts, no action whatsoever has been taken to stop it. In fact, dozens of buildings have been erected at the outposts, including the related infrastructure, such as roads, water lines, and electricity, turning them into mini-settlements.
Talia Sasson, former government attorney and author of the report, told a seminar at Ben Gurion University, "Since the report was submitted, nothing has happened. It was well publicized, and that's good, but everything is continuing. Perhaps the Housing Authority has closed a few taps, but there has been no operative decision and construction continues in the outposts," Sasson said.
"The goal of the report was to end the illegal construction, she added. "This is not a matter of political outlook; we are talking about the state violating its own laws, and when a state's own authorities break the law, this is a severe blow to the rule of law. When such things happen, the democratic system is liable to be undermined." Sasson cautioned.
The report was commissioned and accepted by Sharon, but was seen as an attempt to placate the Bush Administration, which has dutifully been complaining about expansion of the settlements.
In the first three months of this year, 197 incidents of illegal construction in the outposts were observed, but only in 37 of the cases was something done about it. Two-thirds of these incidents occurred after the release of the Sasson report.
Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Homeless
While the reported numbers are small, so far, given the numbers of people serving in George Bush's two wars and the reported rising rate of post-combat mental disorders, the problem of homeless veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, is likely to grow over the coming years. Linda Boone, the executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, says that about 70 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan contacted her organization for help in 2004, and another 125 have petitioned the Veterans Administration. "It's not a big wave, but it's an indicator," she said, as reported in Stars and Stripes June 2.