Przy okazji: Israeli team design the new Intel chip
A curious op-ed „The Tel Aviv Cluster” by the reliably neoconnish David Brooks appeared in the New York Times on January 12th. Brooks enthused over the prowess of Israel’s high tech businesses, attributing their success in large part to Jewish exceptionalism and genius, which must have provided the ultimate feel good moment for Brooks, who is himself Jewish. That Israel has a booming technology sector is undeniably true, but Brooks failed to mention other contributing factors such as the $101 billion dollars in US economic and military aid over the course of more than four decades, which does not include the additional $30 billion recently approved by President Barack Obama. American assistance has financed and fueled Israel’s business growth while the open access and even „preferential treatment” afforded to Israeli exporters through the Israel Free Trade Implementation Act of 1985 has provided Israelis with the enormous US market to sell their products and services. By act of Congress, Israeli businesses can even bid on most American Federal and State government contracts just as if they were US companies.
Brooks was characteristically undisturbed by the fact that American taxpayer subsidized development of Israeli enterprises combined with the free access to the US economy and government contracts eliminates jobs and damages competing companies on this side of the Atlantic. And there is another aspect of Israel’s growing high tech sector that he understandably chose to ignore because it is extremely sleazy. That is the significant advantage that Israel has gained by systematically stealing American technology with both military and civilian applications. The US developed technology is then reverse engineered and used by the Israelis to support their own exports with considerably reduced research and development costs, giving them a huge advantage against American companies. Sometimes, when the technology is military in nature and winds up in the hands of a US adversary, the consequences can be serious. Israel has sold advanced weapons systems to China that are believed to incorporate technology developed by American companies, including the Python-3 air-to-air missile and the Delilah cruise missile. There is evidence that Israel has also stolen Patriot missile avionics to incorporate into its own Arrow system and that it used US technology obtained in its Lavi fighter development program, which was funded by the US taxpayer to the tune of $1.5 billion, to help the Chinese develop their own J-10 fighter.
The reality of Israeli spying is indisputable. Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called „Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage.” The 2005 report states, „Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.” It adds that Israel recruits spies, uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information. The 2005 report concluded that the thefts eroded US military advantage, enabling foreign powers to obtain expensive technologies that had taken years to develop.
A 1996 Defense Investigative Service report noted that Israel has great success stealing technology by exploiting the numerous co-production projects that it has with the Pentagon. „Placing Israeli nationals in key industries …is a technique utilized with great success.” A General Accounting Office (GAO) examination of espionage directed against American defense and security industries described how Israeli citizens residing in the US had stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes, obtained classified plans for a reconnaissance system, and passed sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users. An Israeli company was caught monitoring a Department of Defense telecommunications system to obtain classified information, while other Israeli entities targeted avionics, missile telemetry, aircraft communications, software systems, and advanced materials and coatings used in missile re-entry. The GAO concluded that Israel „conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally.” In June 2006, a Pentagon administrative judge overruled an appeal by an Israeli who had been denied a security clearance, stating, „The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the US who has access to proprietary information is likely to be a target of such espionage.” More recently, FBI counter intelligence officer John Cole has reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department. He provides a „conservative estimate” of 125 worthwhile investigations into Israeli espionage involving both American citizens and Israelis that were stopped due to political pressure from above.
Two recent stories that have been reported in the Israeli media but are strangely absent from the news on this side of the Atlantic demonstrate exactly what is going on and what is at stake. The first story confirms that Israeli efforts to obtain US technology are ongoing. Stewart David Nozette, a US government scientist who was arrested on October 19, 2009 in an FBI sting operation after offering to spy for Israel has been waiting in jail to go to trial on espionage charges. New documents in the case were presented in the Federal court in Washington last week. The documents confirm that Nozette was a paid consultant for Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and it is believed that he passed to them classified material in return for an estimated $225,000 in consulting fees. Examination of his computer by the FBI revealed that he was planning a „penetration of NASA” the US space agency and that he was also trying to crack into other scientists’ computers to obtain additional classified material. Other documents demonstrate that he was cooperating with two Israeli scientists who were administrators with IAI, Yossi Weiss and Yossi Fishman. Nozette made several trips to Israel without reporting them, which he was required to do because of his high security clearance. The FBI reportedly also has incriminating letters and other documents that were obtained from the computer.
The second story relates to the pending sale of twenty-five F-35 fighter planes to Israel. The F-35 is one of the most advanced fighter planes in the world. The $130 million planes would be purchased with US military assistance money, which means they would effectively be a gift from the US taxpayer. But Israel is balking at the sale reportedly because it wants to install some of its own local content in the aircraft. The Pentagon has already made some concessions but is disinclined to grant approval for all the changes because to do so would require giving the Israelis full access to the plane’s advanced avionics and computer systems. Israel also wants to independently maintain the aircraft, which would also require access to all systems. It would be nice to think that the Pentagon wants to keep the maintenance in American hands to preserve jobs, but the Defense Department has never cared about US workers before when the issue is Israel, and the real reason for the standoff is that Lockheed-Martin and the Pentagon both know that Israel will steal whatever it can if it gains access. It would then use the technology to market its own products at a price below that of US defense contractors. The result would be a triple whammy for Uncle Sam: the expensive planes are given to Israel free, the technology is then stolen, and future sales vanish as our Israeli friends market their knock down versions of weapons systems reliant on the stolen technology.
So to David Brooks I would say that there is most definitely an economic surge taking place in high tech Israel, but it is less a miracle than the fruit of a long series of thefts and manipulations fueled by American tax money and the connivance of a Congress that is always willing to do favors for the country that it appears to love beyond all others. I’m sure most Americans would wish the Israelis well and would applaud the prosperity that derives from their own industry and inventiveness but it is also time to put the brakes on business as usual and to take the Israeli hand out of our pocket. I’m sure Brooks’ job is pretty secure and well paid, but many Americans are out of work and suffering, so let’s take some steps to protect our economy from the information thieves from Tel Aviv and keep our money and jobs over here.
Posted on February 16, 2015 by Wayne Madsen
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s controversial trip to the United States, where he will address a joint session of the Congress over the wishes of the White House and with a partial Democratic boycott of the speech, has brought up once again the age-old question that afflicts those who support Israel: Are they more loyal to the Jewish State or the United States?
According to information received by WMR, a small company called Demodulation is charging that the U.S. government, the State of New York, the State of Israel, the State University of New York, Alfred University, Corning Glass, the Department of Energy-Oak Ridge, Babcock and Wilson, and other parties have conspired to defraud the firm of its proprietary microwire technology, the core technology for which was originally acquired under an exclusive license from a post-Communist Romanian enterprise. Specifically, the company is charging that the conspirators, called “the Enterprise,” are guilty of patent infringement and trade secret violations.
Demodulation reveals the history of its technology from what was then the Communist bloc: “Critical aspects of the supporting core ų microwire science originated under a patent issued by a Romanian scientist, Dr. Horia Chiriac after 1996 during the fall of the Former Soviet Union (FSU). Dr. Chiriac was of interest to the intelligence community because of his numerous technical publications. He was one of a hand full of technologists in the world that possessed extensive knowledge of amorphous metal materials and their processing. Accordingly, he was a person of enormous interest by the military and intelligence apparatus of many technologically advanced countries. For example, during and after the fall of the FSU, the United States mounted major intelligence efforts to identify and clandestinely acquire FSU technologies of military and intelligence significance. It was during this period, that U.S. military and intelligence agencies first became interested in Dr. Chiriac’s work and clandestinely acquired critical aspects of the supporting core ų microwire science. The core ų microwire science, however, was only one critical part of a complete technology package necessary for the U.S. Federal Government and the other members of the Enterprise to practically apply the ų microwire fiber technology for intelligence and military applications.”
The ų wire technology, as described by Demodulation, is based on a glass-coated wire the size of a human hair. There are many commercial, as well as national security, applications. Microwire can be inserted into packages that can be remotely monitored using hand held detectors or even by satellites in space.
Demodulation has presented a case to the FBI that reeks of intelligence agency intrigue. The company even alleges that a murder occurred of an Alfred University employee who discovered financial irregularities at the school. A statement by Demodulation on the case reads: “During the course of our investigation, we discovered probable cause to believe that a homicide was committed at Alfred University in the State of New York. A mid-level accounting official at Alfred University was accused of embezzling cash funds from the Admissions Office and was later reported by the University as having committed suicide. Our interviews of eight individuals either directly or tangentially involved in the matter provided contradicting testimony concerning the circumstances surrounding the death. This testimony includes reports that the Alfred University accounting official was aware of financial irregularities taking place in the University. For example, one witness testified that he, ‘wouldn’t be surprised if she found out something and was murdered.’”
Demodulation alleges that it was at Oak Ridge where the Department of Energy and Babcock and Wilson Technical Services began turning over the company’s proprietary technical details to other members of the group of patent violators, including the National Security Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the intelligence service of Israel, the Mossad.
Demodulation discovered a link between the theft of its technology and the espionage case brought against U.S. Army employee Ben-Ami Kadish, an employee of Picatinny Army Arsenal in New Jersey and a spy for Israel.
Demodulation states: “Our investigation reveals that two 155 mm Howitzer shells and detonators were stolen from Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey in 2007. The theft of these munitions from a U.S. Government reservation was allegedly masterminded by a U.S. Army official in collusion with a U.S. Government contracted agent. Our inquiry shows probable cause to believe that the contracted agent involved in the theft may have been an unregistered agent of the State of Israel. The purpose of the theft appears to relate to the application of Demodulation technology for Israeli military purposes. The U.S. Army official who allegedly masterminded the theft is a cleared employee who still works at Picatinny Arsenal. Demodulation attorneys have presented the U.S. Government with a subpoena to compel the sworn testimony of the U.S. Army official but the U.S. Government is refusing the subpoena.”
Picatinny Arsenal: another hive of Israeli intelligence activity.
The Demodulation claims and the Kadish case together point to a major Israeli intelligence operation in northern New Jersey aimed at illegally acquiring U.S. dual civilian-military use technology.
On April 24, 2008, WMR reported on the Kadish affair: “The arrest of of former U.S. Army engineer Ben-Ami Kadish by the FBI on charges of providing classified information, including nuclear data, to Israeli spy Yosef Yagur is part of a wider Israeli espionage ring operating deep within the U.S. government for some four decades. The Israeli espionage and agent-of-influence ring has penetrated U.S. intelligence and the U.S. nuclear command-and-control chain of command.
“Kadish was a mechanical engineer who worked at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey. Kadish’s handler was Yosef Yagur, assigned as the Consul for Science Affairs at the Israeli Consulate General in Manhattan. In the criminal complaint filed by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York on April 22, 2008, Kadish is referred to as ‘CC-1′, a co-conspirator not named as a defendant. The complaint states that Kadish took home a classified document concerning nuclear weapons marked ‘Restricted’ and permitted Yagur to photograph the document in the basement of Kadish’s home. Yagur previously worked for Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) along with Kadish’s brother. Yagur and Israel’s science attache in the Washington embassy, Ilan Ravid, both handled convicted U.S. Naval intelligence spy Jonathan Pollard. Both Yagur and Ravid were hastily recalled in November 1985 after Pollard’s arrest.
“Yagur and Ravid both reported to Israeli master spy Rafi Eitan, the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Lakam—Lishka LeKishrei Mada (Liaison Bureau for Scientific Affairs), considered a rival to Mossad. Eitan, now 82, is the head of Israel’s ‘Gil’ pensioners’ party.
“The arrest of 84-year old Kadish and his reported willingness to cooperate with the FBI may eventually lead to the identification of a Jewish-American spy who was a senior member of the Reagan administration. The agent-of-influence is code-named ‘Mega,’ although some reports call him ‘Mr. X.’ Israel maintained at the time of Pollard’s conviction for espionage that he was a lone case and that Israel would never again spy on the United States. The Kadish arrest puts to rest the Israeli claim and the FBI is reportedly doggedly pursuing others in the Israeli spy ring, including the elusive ‘Mega.’
“There is reportedly a group of FBI agents who are graduates of Fordham University who have never been happy about Israeli intelligence operations in the United States. During the height of the power of the neocons in the George W. Bush administration, these agents were forced to take a back seat as Israeli intelligence influence grew within U.S. military and intelligence circles. However, with the decline in influence of the neocon cabal, the Fordham group is making its move against the Israeli spies.
“Kadish also provided Yagur with a Secret document on a modified version of the F-15 fighter the United States sold to another country, reportedly Saudi Arabia. Another Secret document handed over by Kadish to Yagur was on the Patriot missile defense system.
“On March 20, 2008, Kadish and Yagur had a phone conversation, during which Yagur told Kadish to lie to FBI agents. Yagur told Kadish: ‘Don’t say anything. Let them say whatever they want. You didn’t . . . do anything. . . . What happened 25 years ago? You didn’t remember anything.’ The conversation took place in Hebrew.
“The following day, Kadish denied to FBI agents that he had spoken to Yagur. However, WMR has learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted the phone call between Kadish in Monroe Township, New Jersey, and Yagur in Tel Aviv, Israel. There is also communications intelligence (COMINT) evidence of Yagur’s phone calls between at least 1980 through 1985 from his Riverdale, Bronx, New York, residence to Kadish’s residence in Clifton, New Jersey, arranging for visits to Kadish’s basement to photograph classified documents.
“Kadish’s emails to Yagur were also intercepted and in 2004 Kadish traveled to Israel to meet with Yagur. The criminal complaint against Kadish also specifies that there is a current Grand Jury investigation in New York City of Israeli espionage agents in the United States.
“Kadish received a Secret security clearance on October 22, 1963, from the Picatinny Arsenal. From August 23, 1979 to July 15, 1985, Kadish signed at least 24 Classified Document Accountability Record (CDARs) forms showing that he borrowed at least 35 classified documents from the library at the Picatinny Arsenal.
“Kadish admitted to FBI Special Agent Lance Ashworth that he did not have the required clearance or need-to-know for the nuclear weapons document he gave Yagur. Kadish admitted he provided 50 to 100 documents to Yagur, all of which were classified. Kadish maintained he gave Yagur the documents in the belief that they would ‘help Israel.’
“Another member of the Israeli ring that ran Pollard and Kadish was Israeli Air Force Colonel Avi Sella. Sella gave Pollard a laundry list of classified documents wanted by Israel from Pollard’s place of work at the Naval Investigative Service’s Anti-Terrorist Alert Center in Suitland, Maryland. WMR previously reported that the Pollard-Sella contacts occurred around the same time that current Air Force cyber-security ‘czarina’ and anti-Iran Operation Checkmate strategist Dr. Lani Kass arrived at Booz Allen with a top secret clearance after having just left the Israeli Air Force as a major. WMR has previously reported that Kass is a key member of a rival nuclear chain-of-command that was responsible for moving six nuclear armed cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. WMR has learned from knowledgeable sources that US law enforcement and intelligence are looking at connections in the Israeli Air Force and between Sella and Kass.
“WMR has also learned that contacts between former Pentagon Policy and Plans chief Douglas Feith and Israeli military intelligence officers is also getting a fresh look by investigators. Feith lost his National Security Council job in 1982 after it was discovered that he was passing classified material to Israeli embassy officials. Feith’s 1980s connections to Yagur, Ravid, and Sella are also getting a new look by federal investigators.”
After pleading guilty to ‘failing to register as a foreign agent of Israel,’ a sweetheart deal often extended by the U.S. Justice Department to Israeli agents, U.S. Judge William Pauley merely fined Kadish $50,000 and said it would do no good to put such an old man in prison. Kadish died on July 16, 2012. His various interlocutors continue to spy for Israel.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2015 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).
Ah the unending gifts of the special relationship! Jeff Stein reports at Newsweek that Israel spies on the U.S. more than any other ally. “Alarming” and “terrifying” are the words used by a congressional aide who has seen the evidence of Israeli theft of US secrets. “Key components for Israel’s nuclear bombs were clandestinely obtained here,” Paul Pillar tells Stein, echoing Grant Smith.
Notice how this story has emerged in the context of the visa exemption that Israel seeks from the U.S. for its citizens. If they’re coming over here without needing a visa, what’s going to stop them from even more spying, asks that congressional aide.
According to classified briefings on legislation that would lower visa restrictions on Israeli citizens, Jerusalem’s efforts to steal U.S. secrets under the cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts have “crossed red lines.”
Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly, counterspies have told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony “very sobering…alarming…even terrifying.” Another staffer called it “damaging.”
The Jewish state’s primary target: America’s industrial and technical secrets.
“No other country close to the United States continues to cross the line on espionage like the Israelis do,” said a former congressional staffer who attended another classified briefing in late 2013, one of several in recent months given by officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department, the FBI and the National Counterintelligence Directorate…
As Paul Pillar, the CIA’s former national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, told Newsweek, old habits are hard to break: Zionists were dispatching spies to America before there even was an Israel, to gather money and materials for the cause and later the fledgling state. Key components for Israel’s nuclear bombs were clandestinely obtained here. “They’ve found creative and inventive ways,” Pillar said, to get what they want.
“If we give them free rein to send people over here, how are we going to stop that?” the [anonymous] former congressional aide asked. “They’re incredibly aggressive. They’re aggressive in all aspects of their relationship with the United States. Why would their intelligence relationship with us be any different?”
„Administration officials have confirmed a detailed report by The Wall Street Journal, which said this week that the State Department’s inspector general, Sherman Funk, had determined in a draft report that Israel has re-exported certain advanced American arms technologies to third countries without American permission. Israel has denied doing anything illegal.”
-Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, March 15, 1992
The latest serious charges that Israel has turned the selling of America’s military high technology to Third World dictatorships and human rights violaters into a major foreign-exchange-earning industry have directed U.S. media attention into three areas.
Critics of Israel seek to focus on the substance of the charges, prompted by numerous intelligence reports and subsequently investigated by a CIA-chaired inter-agency committee, the State Department’s inspector general, the RAND Corporation under contract to the Pentagon and, most recently, a joint Defense, State and Commerce Department tem sent to Israel.
Israeli officials deny the newest charges, which echo persistent allegations over the past 20 years, and maintain that all Israeli technology transfers and arms sales for at least the past 12 years have been carried out with U.S. knowledge and implied consent.
For their part, Israel’s U.S. media defenders focus on the motive of U.S. government officials for „leaking” allegations that are certain to put yet another rip in the fraying fabric of U.S.-Israeli relations.
In fact, the U.S. charges, Israeli allegations of past U.S. government acquiescence, and the state of the 44-year-old U.S.-Israeli relationship itself all bear re-examination.
The Patriot Missile Charge: Heart of the Matter or Just a Symbol?
„A recent RAND Corp. report prepared for the Pentagon called Israel a ‚back door’ by which China obtained Western military technology. The report said Israel became China’s preeminent foreign supplier of defense equipment when the United States suspended military sales after the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square. . . The report follows evidence that Israel last year illegally diverted missile technology from the joint U.S.-Israeli Arrow antimissile program to Israel’s Jericho II offensive ballistic missile project, then shared the technology with South Africa.”
-John M. Broder, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 1992
The latest round of charges that Israel steals and sells U.S. technology to countries in such bad repute that they cannot buy U.S. arms directly was touched off by a report in the March 12 Washington Times that the United States „is investigating intelligence reports that Israel secretly supplied a U.S. Patriot missile or its technology to China in a major illegal diversion of the world’s only battle-tested anti-missile system.”
The story sent shock waves through Israel’s American lobby which, at the time it appeared, was quietly coordinating unpublicized face-to-face meetings by 3,000 „volunteer lobbyists” from all over the United States with their own representatives in Congress and with members of key committees. It was a last-ditch effort on behalf of Israel’s request for $10 billion over five years in unconditional loan guarantees over and above Israel’s normal $3 billion to $5 billion in annual U.S. military and economic aid.
The Patriot missile accusation touched off a flurry of denials by Israeli government spokesmen and by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens when he arrived in Washington for a previously scheduled visit. Arens is the Israeli government official most closely tied to the reports of secret Israeli-Chinese weapons technology collaboration.
New York Times columnist Leslie Gelb fingered „anti-Israeli Pentagon leakers” as the source of the unconfirmed report. Washington Times editor Wesley Pruden absolved Secretary of State James Baker 3rd of responsibility for surfacing the charge by attributing it to „the perfidious WASPs of Foggy Bottom,” meaning career foreign service officers.
New York Times columnist A.M. Rosenthal charged fellow columnists Roland Evans and Robert Novak with misrepresenting as American the Israeli missile technology involved in other transfers to China. Evans and Novak responded with even more detailed charges that the Israelis were compromising highly classified U.S. technology added to weapons jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel.
When a Defense, State and Commerce Department team went to Israel during the last week in March to inspect the two batteries of Patriot missiles turned over to Israel during the Gulf war, Israel charged Saudi Arabia was responsible for Chinese acquisition of the technology. Defense Secretary Richard Cheney dismissed the accusation, saying that while Patriot batteries in Israel were manned by Israeli crews, the batteries in Saudi Arabia were American-manned.
A spate of revelations that surfaced following the Patriot theft charge brought the American public, for the first time, face-to-face with long-standing but muted American suspicions of wholesale violations by Israel of its agreements with the U.S.
State Department, RAND Corporation, and CIA Charges of Systematic Israeli Violations
„Information obtained from government officials during a six-week investigation by this newspaper suggests Israel uses several schemes to transfer, or re-export, U.S. items to other countries. In some cases, they say, the Israelis acquire U.S. components, install them in their own systems and sell the finished products to third countries. In others, Israel employs reverse engineering-disassembling a weapon to acquire its design secrets-and then copies it with changes before selling the item to another country.”
-Edward T. Pound, The Wall Street Journal, March 13, 1992
Only a day after The Washington Times published its Patriot missile allegation, the March 13 Wall Street Journal published revelations from a draft report by State Department Inspector General Sherman Funk summarizing intelligence reports of a series of apparent violations by Israel of its agreements with the United States.
Funk, who is Jewish, undertook in 1990 an examination of how effective the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has been in dealing with allegations of unauthorized diversions of U.S. arms and technology by companies in Brazil, South Korea, Singapore and other countries as well as Israel. The State Department report „eventually focused on Israel because, in the words of one senior American official, ‚bucketsful of intelligence data’ tied companies owned by the Israeli government to illicit sales,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Funk briefed Secretary of State James Baker 3rd and Deputy Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger last June on his findings and criticized Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Richard Clarke.
In an Aug. 24 memo Eagleburger authorized further investigations. Subsequently he briefed congressional leaders and the State Department began holding up some export licenses for Israel. It also issued a warning to Israel against further weapons or technology transfers without U.S. approval.
„The only public hint of this tug-of-war came last October, when Mr. Bush slapped Israel on the wrist after the U.S. discovered that an Israeli-owned company had exported ballistic missile components to a South African government firm,” The Wall Street Journal reported. „Mr. Bush imposed trading sanctions on the South African firm, but waived them for the Israeli company.”
The Israeli company was Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), which is Israel’s largest exporter of military hardware and the prime contractor on Israel’s U.S.-financed Arrow ground-to-air defense missile. It was only one of the Israeli companies named in the draft State Department report, and in a report commissioned by the Pentagon from the RAND Corporation.
Other Israeli companies named were Rafael, managed by Israel’s Ministry of Defense, and another Israeli government-owned company, Israeli Military Industries (IMI). Rafael was said to have sold its Python 3 air-to-air missile to China and Thailand and is suspected of having sold the missile to South Africa, according to The Wall Street Journal. It said the Python 3 was adapted from the U.S. AIM-9L Sidewinder, using a „high degree” of U.S. technology.
China, Israel’s largest arms customer, is itself a major world arms exporter and has sold its own version of the Python 3, called the PL-8, to Iraq. Thus U.S. missile technology may have found its way via Israel and China to Iraqi forces for use against American aircraft during the Gulf war.
Other charges are contained in the reports, and in a classified September 1990 report entitled „Israel: Marketing U.S. Strategic Technology” prepared by the Technology Transfer Intelligence Committee, headed by the CIA and including representatives of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Security Council and the FBI. That report charged that Israel sold weaponry containing U.S. technology to South Africa, China, Venezuela, Chile, Ethiopia and Thailand.
IMI, according to The Wall Street Journal’s compilation of these various reports, sold its Mapats anti-tank missile to South Africa and Venezuela and is suspected of having sold it to China. The Mapats is said to be a close copy of Hughes Aircraft’s TOW-2 missile. The reports also alleged IMI violations of agreements with the U.S. in sales of cluster bombs to Chile, South Africa and Ethiopia, and other sales of aircraft, airborne electronic countermeasures systems, and sophisticated electronics equipment.
Re-exports of military technology acquired by foreign countries from U.S. sources are forbidden by the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, unless specifically approved by the U.S. The law requires the State Department to report to Congress any reliable information on violations.
The State Department bureau headed by Clarke had maintained in response to criticism in a 1989 State Department inspection that the reporting requirements applied only to re-export of equipment furnished directly by the U.S. government, and not on commercial transactions.
A State Department Reprimand
Using CIA information and a 1991 request by the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency to review all requests approved by the State Department in an effort to crack down on Israel, State Department auditors last spring reviewed the performance of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
They found that checks to be sure that foreign users listed in license applications actually receive the items authorized for shipment had improved markedly, except in the case of authorizations secured by Israeli users. Nothing the lack of follow-up on sales to Israel in contrast to careful monitoring of sales to other countries, Funk recommended disciplinary action against Clarke, a civil service officer, who subsequently has been transferred from his position.
Israeli officials have long deflected criticism of such discrepancies by saying that they had received tacit approval from the Reagan administration to re-export U.S. equipment without seeking specific U.S. approvals. This, The Wall Street Journal reported, has been denied by Reagan administration Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and his assistant secretary for international security affairs, Richard Armitage, now a State Department official.
Airing of charges in the media, and the public refutation of Israeli explanations, mark a new turn in the 44-year history of publicly harmonious and often privately acrimonious U.S.-Israeli relations.
The American-Israeli Relationship: Moral, Strategic, Political or Just U.S. Domestic Politics?
„When it gets down to just the American Jewish community as the only ones ready to go out and fight Israel’s battles, that is very dangerous for Israel and for the role of American Jews in American society.”
-Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Samuel Lewis, March 21, 1992
There is no question as divisive in international diplomacy as well as in U.S. domestic politics as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. To its partisans, Israel has become the subject of an unfair worldwide conspiracy against the Jewish state, just because it’s Jewish. Israel, they complain, is held to a „different standard” than other Middle Eastern states, in many of which human rights violations are routine.
Critics respond that it is Israel that has created the double standard. It regularly cites murderous persecution of Jews in past eras and other parts of the world as justification for its current brutalization of Palestinians under Israeli occupation and for its continuing refusal to return land seized by force from its Arab neighbors. Similar aggressive acts by an Arab state such as Iraq are not tolerated by the international community.
It is no surprise, therefore, that historians differ on the nature of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. It is certain, however, that the U.N. Security Council would not have voted in 1947 to partition Palestine, giving 53 percent to its 650,000 Jewish inhabitants and 47 percent to its 1,300,000 Arab inhabitants, without heavy U.S. pressure. This amounted to economic blackmail of America’s World War II allies and of poor and emerging nations-all heavily dependent upon the promise of U.S. economic and political assistance.
Without U.S. pressure, few of those countries would have voted for the partition of Palestine, which only promised more turmoil and warfare in a world sick of both. None would have voted for such a patently unfair division of the land among its inhabitants. Even U.S. diplomats advised President Harry Truman against partition, correctly predicting a bloodbath.
It is U.S. motives, therefore, that are disputed. Most historians say Truman’s decision to support creation of a Jewish state was motivated by advice from domestic political advisers like Clark Clifford that it would ensure that the „Jewish vote” would go to Democratic congressional candidates, and to Truman, in the 1948 elections.
Truman’s writings at the time, and much of what Clifford has written since, support that view. Proponents of the other view, that Truman supported Israel for altruistic reasons, find substantiation in his subsequent statements to Israeli and American Jewish organizations.
Regardless of U.S. motivation, a „moral obligation” incurred when the U.S. played midwife to the birth of Israel into a hostile world was generally cited as the basis for U.S. support during Israel’s first 20 years of existence. It was likened to the obligation incurred by parents for the nurturing and educating of a child they have brought into the world.
In 1967, however, Israel „came of age” with its June 5 attack on Egypt and Syria. Within six days it had defeated and occupied lands belonging to both, along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem, seized from Jordan after it entered the war in support of its Egyptian and Syrian allies.
Israel’s victory altered the relationship. It had disregarded U.S. advice by reacting to Arab threats with a surprise attack instead of awaiting international mediation. It then refused to enter into a land-for-peace settlement with its Arab neighbors in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. That resolution, supported by the U.S., the Western powers, the former U.S.S.R. and, eventually, Arab League member states as well, calls upon the Arabs to acknowledge Israel’s „right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries” in return for „withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent  conflict.” Such a withdrawal would leave Israel in possession of 78 percent of Palestine-far more that it was awarded in 1947.
As it became increasingly clear that Israel had no intention of entering into such a peace, Israel’s American supporters subtly shifted the public rationale for the close U.S.-Israeli relationship from „moral obligation” to depiction of Israel as „the only working democracy in the Middle East.”
It took several years for Americans to begin to understand that Israel was a democracy that „worked” only for Jews. Israeli „nationality” was available only to its Jewish citizens. Those who did not possess it were barred from owning or working in 93 percent of the land within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The Middle East’s „only working democracy” did not work like any Western democracies.
By the beginning of the Reagan administration, this no longer mattered. It was then, for the first time, that government officials publicly accepted the concept of Israel as a „strategic asset.” It made no sense, however, to anyone familiar with the area.
Israel was too small and too remote from the Soviet Union to play a role in the U.S.-U.S.S.R. confrontation. Nor did the U.S. have serious problems with any Arab country, or even any hostile Islamic country like Iran, that did not stem, directly or indirectly, from uncritical U.S. support of Israel.
No one sought to explain how Israel could be a „strategic asset” when its refusal to withdraw from lands occupied in 1967 was alienating inhabitants of an unbroken Arab arc extending from Morocco on the Atlantic to Saudi Arabia on the Persian Gulf, and continuing through the Islamic world to Malaysia and Indonesia on the Pacific.
Instead, partisans of Israel would refer to Israeli „sharing of intelligence” and „testing of U.S. weaponry” on Israel’s enemies, a concept sickening to all but the most fanatic Cold Warriors. Those who advanced these lame arguments became the „neo-cons,” partisans of Israel who refused to admit that it was possible for Israeli and U.S. interests to diverge.
However, the improvised „strategic” underpinning for the U.S.-Israeli relationship collapsed irrevocably along with the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact, and the former Soviet Union. As a result, Israel’s partisans have been reduced to a portion of the U.S. Jewish community and to fringe Christian fundamentalists typified by Pat Robertson, Jack Kemp, and Oliver North.
These die-hards have resuscitated the „working democracy” rationale for a close U.S.-Israeli relationship. Public opinion polls show, however, that the concept isn’t working.
In the aftermath of the destabilizing Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Iran-Contra revelations of Israeli weapons sales to Khomeini’s Iran, the brutal suppression of the Palestinian intifada, the Pollard espionage, and settlement building by Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon to foreclose a Middle East peace settlement, the damage seems irreversible. The surfacing of allegations of Israeli sales of stolen U.S. technology add nothing but public certainty that a „normalization” of the over-politicized U.S.-Israeli relationship can only be of benefit to all concerned.
The Charges, the Loan Guarantees, and the Future Relationship
„If Shamir wins and insists on this policy of de facto annexation of the occupied territories, then I foresee nothing but trouble. But if there is a change of regime or a coaltion with Rabin in a strong position to influence Israel’s settlement policy, relations with Bush could be restored very quickly.”
-Former National Security Council Middle East Adviser Geoffrey Kemp, March 24, 1992
„We have definitely reached a turning point. Even if the Democrats win the next elections, our relations with the Americans are never going to be the way they used to be.”
-Specialist in U.S.-Israeli Relations Gabriel Sheffer, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, March 20, 1992
Close U.S.-Israeli relations cannot be restored by a change in Israeli leadership, but only by serious Israeli participation in a land-for-peace settlement to end the Palestinian-Israeli dispute after more than half a century of bloodshed. Nor will a change in U.S. leadership give Israel an automatic license to resume its present self-destructive course. Despite campaign rhetoric, both Republican and Democratic administrations tend to pick up the Middle East peace process where their predecessors leave it, and continue in the same direction.
Virtually every American political leader understands that the Israeli-Palestinian problem has to be solved equitably, or the U.S. will bear sole responsibility for continuing instability in oil-producing areas upon which the entire industrialized world depends.
Therefore, when such groups as the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations alternately threaten and plead with Congress and the Bush administration to „unlink” U.S. aid to Israel and Israeli freezing of all settlement activity, they succeed only in alienating their fellow citizens.
When moderate U.S. Jews re-examine administration policies, not all are unhappy with what they see. Author Leonard Fein speaks for what may be a „silent majority” within the American Jewish community. Writing in the liberal New York Jewish weekly Forward of March 6, before the technology theft charges were aired, he said of the loan guarantees:
„Most American Jews heard Secretary Baker say ‚no.’ They weren’t listening carefully. In fact, he said ‚yes’ to the full shot-$2 billion a year for five years. True, he added a condition-no more settlement activity-and true, Israel’s government is not disposed to meet that condition. But as the secretary testified the other day, the choice is Israel’s. And why not? Neither logic nor morality places the choice in America’s lap. American aid has always been an instrument of American policy, and that policy with regard to the settlements has been clear all along.”
Richard Curtiss, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, is the executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
Who Can Control Israel’s Arms Dealers?, By Philip Giraldi • August 1, 2013
Turkey too resells American weapons and military secrets for a profit—and that’s a loss to our security.
Ten years ago, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds revealed that the defense ministries of several major recipients of United States military hardware were being scrutinized because they had been falsifying end-user certificates, claiming that the equipment was intended for their own use while at the same time arranging to sell it to other militaries that were blocked from receiving the sensitive technology. In May 2006, I described in a Deep Background column for TAC how the two countries most heavily engaged in the practice—Israel and Turkey—also benefited from their connections with leading neoconservatives in Washington. Richard Perle and Doug Feith in particular benefited financially from their ties to defense industries in Israel while also serving as richly rewarded “consultants” for Turkish interests. Feith’s International Advisors Inc., a registered agent for Turkey in 1989-1994, was paid $600,000 a year by Turkish sources, while Richard Perle received $48,000 annually as a consultant. Feith has also long been associated with Northrop Grumman sales in the Middle East. While at the Pentagon in 1983, Perle was criticized for endorsing the U.S. Army’s purchase of an armaments system from an Israeli company that had paid him $50,000 in consulting fees one year before.
Turkey, like Pakistan and Egypt, has a powerful and somewhat autonomous military establishment. It does not have a law barring its active-duty military officers from having potentially conflicting outside business relationships. Indeed, much of its defense industry has traditionally been run by senior-level retirees, with active-duty officers sometimes having equity stakes in the various armaments companies. That basically means that the people making the key decisions on procurement are often able to deal with former colleagues, enabling both parties to benefit from the process. It differs from the revolving door at the Pentagon—where senior officers retire to the boards of defense contractors and then work to sell arms to former colleagues who themselves expect to climb on the gravy train someday—in that the Turkish decision-makers might actually have a direct and immediate beneficial interest in the result.
Israel operates similarly, though the arms trade is a much larger part of its total economic activity. The country’s main export is weapons, ranking it as the sixth largest arms seller in the world by volume but number one as a percentage of its overall economy. As in Turkey and the U.S., the business is largely run by retired senior officers. Unlike Turkey and the U.S., there have been a number of scandals connected to Israeli weapons development and sales, including the arrests of Israeli weapons dealers in Latin America and Africa. There has also been illegal activity relating to the sale of restricted technology. The Israelis sold the F-16-derived avionics of the Lavi jet fighter that it was developing with U.S. funding to China, which then produced its own version, while the electronics of the U.S. Sidewinder air-to-air missile also went to Beijing, enabling it to produce a clone called the PL-8. The PL-8 was later sold by China to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
India also benefited from U.S.-developed technology pirated and sold by Israel when it purchased the Israeli Phalcon version of the AWACS plane. In 2010 Tel Aviv sold electronic-warfare systems for the F-16 fighter to Pakistan, nominally an enemy country with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations. More recently, the Pentagon has balked at giving Israel full maintenance access to the avionics on the F-35 air supremacy fighter planes that Israel will be receiving as part of its annual aid package because of concern that the electronics will be stolen.
In Sibel Edmonds’s day, the Turks and Israelis were under investigation by the FBI because U.S.-made weapons incorporating restricted technologies were appearing in a number of countries not authorized to receive them, many of which were located in Central and South Asia as well as in Latin America. The weapons have also wound up in the hands of criminal cartels and narcotics traffickers, mingling arms sales with large-scale fraud, extortion, and drugs. In Turkey, these hidden relationships and the accompanying networking are frequently referred to as the “Deep State,” meaning those non-elected powerful figures who are able to provide cover for transnational illegal activity and are well-placed enough to prevent any serious inquiry into their dealings. The always in-demand weapons are frequently the specialty items that make the rest of the relationship work, and the keys to acquiring the arms are the end-user certificates. FBI investigators believed that both the Turks and Israelis were falsely declaring their intended use of the weapons to enable downstream sales elsewhere at inflated prices to meet demand from countries and groups that could not obtain them legally.
While Turkish interests are largely confined to the Near East and adjacent areas in Europe, the Israelis operate worldwide. Israeli arms dealers, security services, and consultants span the globe. They dominate the airport security industry and have also been linked to training, equipping, and intelligence-gathering for corrupt and dictatorial regimes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Security companies sometimes work as stringers for Israeli intelligence and may have ties to criminal groups including burgeoning Russian-Israeli organized crime in the United States.
The scale of Israeli legal and clandestine arms sales now appears to far exceed anything that might have been imagined at the time when Sibel Edmonds was translating documents. Israel’s state controller, to its credit, has reported that there are major deficiencies in the supervision of the country’s arms-exporting companies, suggesting further that there have been abuses as a result. In a familiar pattern, those who issue the licenses also regulate those whom they license. The Israeli defense ministry approves arms exporters and also has oversight authority regarding them through its Defense Export Controls Agency (DECA). According to the state controller, DECA has failed to “ensure proper enforcement” of international norms and regulations on weapons sales.
As in Turkey, this failure to act is largely due to the fact that the arms trafficking is highly profitable and widely perceived as an acceptable perk for active and retired military officers. The Israeli defense ministry has licensed 6,784 arms dealers, a figure that makes this quite possibly the country’s largest private business sector. The ministry also disclosed that 6,684 individuals were involved in “security exports” during 2012, organized in 1,006 companies and 312 independent businesses, with 1,900 marketing permits and 8,716 export licenses issued. Presumably some of the numbers overlap, and the distinction between companies and independent businesses is by no means clear, though it does suggest that regulation of a large and politically sensitive industry has been perfunctory.
An Israeli district court has ordered that the names of some of the licensees be made public amidst additional revelations from the Defense Ministry that some companies involved in weapons deals “do not appear” on the list of registered dealers, suggesting that there is an underground industry operating alongside, and possibly in collusion with, the legal one. The Ministry is resisting naming any of the licensees “to protect the security of the state and its foreign relations.”
How the ongoing attempt by the Israeli courts and state controller to bridle the arms-export industry develops will be interesting to follow, as it pits the civilian rule of law against the most powerful component in the Israeli state, the country’s military. Patrick Tyler in his recent book Fortress Israel likens Israel to a new Sparta, where a dominant state militarism and an increasingly martial culture are the driving forces behind expansionistic policies and reluctance to make peace. The army is the largest landowner in Israel and is increasingly engaged with the private sector and other institutions, including the universities, where there is a flourishing security-knowledge industry. For example, Prof. Yitzhak Ben Israel of the Social Sciences Department of Tel Aviv University works on mathematical models for the success rates of targeted killings. He uses a substitution formula to predict how many people have to be killed to result in the collapse of an organization or political party.
A key component of the militarized state is the drive to increase the production and export of weapons while also becoming a global security-services provider. This has led to a certain recklessness about who is being trained, where the arms wind up, and what sensitive technology might be exposed in the process. The Pentagon has long been nervous about the freewheeling Israeli consultants and arms dealers operating worldwide, particularly as those weapons and expertise command the highest prices in areas of armed conflict. The United States, as the primary source and funder for advanced weapons for Israel, most definitely has a horse in the race as the arms flow frequently produces political instability, and the technology that is sold or bartered can endanger U.S. security. But it would be a non-starter for the Defense Department to go head-to-head with an indifferent Congress in any attempt to restrict Israel’s access to U.S. weaponry. So Israel will continue to sell and barter technology and weapons, legally or illegally, and the question becomes to what extent the Israeli government itself will put a brake on the unsavory side of that activity.
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.