|Southwest Asia News Digest
AIPAC and Wolfowitz Cabal Have Much To Worry About in Franklin Spy Case
Pentagon analyst Lawrence Anthony Franklin signed his life away to the Department of Justiceat least for the next several yearsin a plea agreement over charges that he passed classified information to people whom he knew to be "agents" of Israel, and who could do injury to the national security of the United States. The charges were read aloud in detail by Federal District Judge T.S. Ellis, in Alexandria, Va. Ellis asked Franklin if he understood both the charges against him, and the consequences of his pleading guilty. Franklin, who had spent more than 30 years in the U.S. military, and then as a civilian working in both the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and in the Pentagon, said that he understood fully both the charges, and the consequences, but then told the judge, that he "never intended" to harm the United Stateseven though the laws, to which he pleaded guilty, explicitly state that he threatened the security of the United States.
For many observers in the courtroom, the severity of the sentence, which Franklin faces, was a bit of a surprise: a maximum of 25 years in prison, more than $600,000 in fines, and up to nine years of supervised release after he serves his prison sentence. In addition, Franklin forfeits his U.S. government pension, except for a "survivor's benefit," which will go to his wife, provided that she continues to cooperate with Federal authorities in their continuing investigation of unspecified matters about which Franklin and she were knowledgeable. Franklin will be sentenced in January 2006.
From Judge Ellis's reading of the plea agreement, in the courtroom, on Oct. 5, Franklin's superiors at the Pentagon, and the Israeli conduits to whom he gave information, have much to be nervous about.
Ellis told Franklin, "You have agreed to cooperate on any criminal conduct you know about,..." and that this cooperation is not restricted to the specific charges filed against him. This "cooperation" includes that Franklin agrees to testify at any grand jury investigations, or trial, in which the Federal prosecutors require his testimony; agrees to make himself available for debriefings on any subjects of criminal investigation about which the Justice Dept. wants to question him; agrees to provide all documents or "any other materials" that he has possession of, that might assist the DoJ in their investigations; agrees to submit to a government-selected polygraph test; understands that he has no protection from being prosecuted by the state or local authorities for matters relating to the indictments against him; agrees that he will cooperate with other Federal prosecutors, in any other cases that may concern his activities or knowledge; agrees that his wife, who has already been cooperating with the Federal prosecutors, will continue to "fully cooperate." If either Franklin or his wife is determined to have given anything less than full cooperation, her pension will be forfeited. Franklin also agreed to renew all "non-disclosure agreements," as to classified and other materials that he had with the government, and he is forbidden to speak to, or give interviews to any author of a book, film, documentary, article, or memoir; or write, or participate in the writing of any book, film, etc. for as long as his sentence and supervised release continues, without submitting all statements, etc., to the DoD for approval. Violations of these agreements, or any false statement that Franklin were to make to the government debriefers or lawyers, would mean that all his statements, on any subject in the debriefings, could be used against him, in prosecuting the cases to which he pleaded guilty.
What are these charges? And who is involved with Franklin? As reported in several past articles in EIR Online, Franklin's immediate principals in receiving the classified information are Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, two of the leading lights of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which calls itself "America's Pro-Israel Lobby," and which ranks among the "top five lobbying groups" in America, by its own description. Rosen, who has held a number of titles regarding "research" and "Middle East" matters, for more than 25 years, is more than an employee. According to several sources close to AIPAC, Rosen "is AIPAC," and reportedly made the organization what it is today. But after the offices of AIPAC were raided by the FBI, in the Franklin case, in 2004, AIPAC "fired" Rosen and Weissman, apparently on advice of their attorneys.
AIPAC could then cynically tell its contributors and the press that "no current employee" of AIPAC is under Federal investigation. This also provided the cover needed for top Bush Administration officials, such as Condoleezza Rice, to speak at AIPAC affairs, and to invite AIPAC to the White House and State Dept. for consultation.
But, it is widely reported that the "firing" of Rosen and Weissman is only cosmetic, since AIPAC reportedly continues to pay their substantial legal bills.
There is also the matter of Israeli diplomat Naor Gilon, who served as the chief political counselor at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and with whom Franklin admitted meeting eight times. Franklin directly passed Gilon classified information. But various Israeli officials in sensitive positions, such as Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz, insist that Israel was not "running Franklin" as a spy. Steinitz is reported in the Jerusalem Post of Oct. 6, as saying, "Israel is not spying in the United States or against the United States.... The conviction doesn't accuse Israel of activating Franklin or tempting him."
But, the investigation of the role of Israel, whose embassy was involved in another case of spying against the United Statesthat of Jonathan Jay Pollard in 1985is far from over.
Finally, there are officials in the neo-conservative cabal run by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who also have to be concerned. Franklin told the court on Oct. 5, that he worked under Feith at the Office of Special Plans, which has been identified as a "rogue intelligence unit," that manufactured bogus intelligence to justify the Iraq war. Franklin went to Europe with neo-con warmonger Michael Ledeen, to make contacts with Iranian operatives, reportedly to discuss how to engineer an overthrow of the Iranian regime. It was classified documents about Iran, which Franklin claims he gave to the Israelis and their agents.
But Franklin was no wallflower in the Pentagon, buried among hundreds of thousands of employees. He was occasionally included in the highly selective "brown bag lunches" run by Feith, the #3 in the Defense Dept., and Wolfowitz, the #2. Franklin also told the Federal Court that he illegally took home classified documents, so that he would be "prepared" to answer questions when he had face-to-face meetings with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz.
Israel Continues Siege Upon Gaza
Israel still keeps the Gaza Strip under siege, despite its evacuation of settlements. For the first time in one month, Israel allowed only 20 truckloads of food to enter Gaza where 1.5 million souls live. This is having catastrophic consequences which the international media have refused to cover. Even the Rafah crossing into Egypt is closed because of pressure by Israel and the U.S., based on the ridiculous claim that al-Qaeda terrorists and rockets were being smuggled into Gaza.
Former World Bank head James Wolfenson, who is supposed to be the international community's coordinator for aid for Gaza, is totally inept because of his own weakness or maybe his own intentions, in getting Israel to come to reasonable agreements on key issues such as the entry and exit of goods and people to and from Gaza, and the opening of the Gaza airport and harbor. As of now Gaza is little more than a concentration camp.
These conditions are the main source of the current chaos and clashes between Hamas militants and the Palestinian police. While Israel demands that the Palestinian Authority crack down on Hamas, Israel refused to allow the official importation of ammunition into Gaza for use by the police. On Oct. 2, several Palestinian police officers entered the Legislative council and fired the weapons in protest of this fact, after a clash with Hamas which left three of their comrades, including their commander dead. They demanded at least to have ammunition to defend themselves.
Meanwhile, demands by Israel and the U.S. that President Abu Mazen crack down on Hamas, under present conditions, are a setup to attempt to destroy his government.
Malta Calls for Water Desalination in Gaza
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi warned that the tensions in the Middle East, especially in regard to Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories, cannot be solved without addressing the question of water and the need for desalination, the Jerusalem Post reported Oct. 3.
"Tensions in the region are unlikely to subside as long as a real, serious problem remains unaddressedprovision of reliable water supply to a territory that has none." He said that Malta, in cooperation with the European Union, wants to share its expertise in desalination with the Palestinians through "an appropriate partnership," and that he had been in contact with the special coordinator for Gaza, former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, on the question.
More Talk of Bush-Cheney Preventive Nuclear War Doctrine
"The Bush Administration [is] planning to make the U.S. the first country in history to initiate war with nuclear weapons," warned Paul Craig Roberts, a Republican and former high-level Congressional staffer, in his syndicated column Oct. 1. His analysis closely parallels what LaRouche warned of, in his "Guns of August" statement.
Roberts says that the "Bush administration, ... mired in interminable conflict" in Iraq and Afghanistan, is moving towards two more wars, to rally support around itself. But, "with no troops available," U.S. war doctrine is being revamped "to allow for 'preventative nuclear attack.' "
The U.S. is manufacturing false evidence about Iran, which the rest of the world rejects, to launch a nuclear strike. This would cause hell to fall down on U.S. forces in Iraq, and destroy the region, but the administration, "filled with hubris and delusion, is too stupid to know this."
"If the U.S. doesn't want other countries to develop nuclear weapons, the U.S. must stop bombing, invading, and threatening invasions and nuclear attacks ... for there to be peace, the U.S. must drop its belligerent role." But Bush won't do this.
Given Bush's delusions and hubris, "Congress and the American people must find a way to supply the judgment that is missing in the executive branch."
Bush: 'God Made Me Do It,"
According to BBC and Ha'aretz Oct. 6, Bush told Palestinian leaders that he was on a "Mission from God." Nabil Shaath, Foreign Minister of Palestine, reported that in a June 2003 meeting: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." and I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end tyranny in Iraq," and I did. And now again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God, I'm gonna do it ... [And,] now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.' "
Questioned about these reports, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said: "No, that's absurd. He's never made such comments." Asked if he had been in the meetings with Bush and Abbas, McClellan was forced to admit "I didn't travel on that trip."