Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dr. Strangelove, Made in Israel

"The 9/11 Commission was an expensively perpetrated farce, and its Report a not-so-well prepared bundle of utter lies." led by a two-faced traitorous rabbi....

One would expect the Air Force’s top civilian adviser to be someone who has spent some time in the US military or who has a very particular educational or skills set that brings something special to what is, after all, a very senior and sensitive position. Not so. Dr. Lani Kass, who is the senior Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General Norton A. Schwartz, was born, raised, and educated in Israel and then served in that country’s military where she reached the rank of major. She has a PhD in Russian studies but advises Air Force Generals on Cyberwarfare, terrorism, and the Middle East. And Kass appears to have close and continuing ties to her country of birth, frequently spicing her public statements with comments about life in Israel while parroting simplistic views of the nature of the Islamic threat that might have been scripted in Tel Aviv’s Foreign Ministry....

Kass’ official Air Force bio, which has been expunged from the Pentagon website possibly due to less than flattering commentary regarding her appointment, indicates that since January 2006 she has been "the principal adviser on policy and strategy and formulates, develops, implements, and communicates the policies, programs and goals of the Air Force." Another official bio adds that she "…conducts numerous complex, high priority special assignments involving research and fact-finding to develop analyses, position and issue papers, and generate new initiatives based on a variety of strategic subjects of critical importance to the Joint Staff and/or the Joint Force." There have also been suggestions that Kass has recently become an informal adviser to Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Middle Eastern policy.

Dr. Lani Kass is married to Norman Kass, a former Pentagon Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, and resides in McLean, Virginia. She has been naturalized as a US citizen and is presumably a dual national who now holds both American and Israeli passports. Her three children were all born in Israel. While it is perhaps not unusual for American citizens to volunteer with the Israel Defense Forces as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel did in 1991, it would have to be considered unprecedented for a senior Israeli military officer to obtain a high level position at the Pentagon. In fact, it is hard to imagine that anyone carrying out a security background investigation would approve such a transition under any circumstances, suggesting the possibility that Kass’s ascent to high office might have been aided or even godfathered by friends in key positions who were able to override or circumvent normal procedures.

Dr. Kass’s full first name is Ilana and her maiden name is Dimant. She has a 1971 BA in political-science and Russian area studies, summa cum laude, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a 1976 joint PhD from the Kaplan School of the Hebrew University and Columbia University in international affairs. She apparently met her husband Norman at Columbia. Both she and her husband are fluent in Russian and Hebrew. After completing her PhD, she served in the Israeli Air Force, achieving the rank of major. For those who are unfamiliar with the military, the rank of major is a senior rank that normally would be awarded to a career officer.

Between 1979 and 1981, Kass worked at the Russian research Center of Booz Allen and Hamilton. Between 1985 and 2005 she held the position of Professor of Military Strategy and Operations of the National War College. In 1992 Dr. Kass obtained a senior position at the Pentagon as Special Assistant to the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5). Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense at the time. She returned to the Pentagon under Secretary William Cohen and stayed on during 2000 – 2001 as Senior Policy Adviser and Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives to the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5) under Donald Rumsfeld.

In early November 2006, US Air Force officials formed the Air Force Cyberspace Command that had the "authority to launch wars in cyberspace." The command was reported to be "largely the brainchild of Dr. Lani Kass, director of the Air Force Cyberspace Task Force."

Dr. Kass’ position and access inevitably raise a number of questions. Her appointment is somewhat unseemly, which even the Air Force appeared to recognize when it removed her bio from the website. Surely there must be qualified Americans who would be both delighted and proud to serve their country in the position she holds. Surely someone in Washington must see the security implications of a former foreign military officer holding a high level post in the Pentagon with full access to classified information. To challenge Dr. Kass’s position is not to question her academic credentials and intelligence or even her ability or integrity, but it is not unreasonable to ask why the Pentagon would appoint to a sensitive position someone who was born, raised, and served at a senior level with the armed forces in a foreign country.

And it is also not unreasonable to stop and consider whether Kass might well be an agent working for the Israeli government, which aggressively spies against the United States. She left Israel and began her journey through the US defense department in 1981, when Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was still active. Israeli intelligence certainly was then and is now capable of what is referred to in intelligence jargon as a seeding operation in which "a mole" is placed in an innocuous position and expected to rise higher, eventually obtaining access to top secret information and even sometimes winding up in a position in which it is possible to direct policy as a so-called agent of influence. Kass started her ascent by working on Russia for beltway bandit Booz Allen Hamilton, quite likely for completely innocent reasons but also possibly because it was a non-threatening way to ease her entry into the world of government contractors.

In seeking to discover how she wound up where she is now it is fair to ask how exactly she obtained the positions that she has held with the Pentagon and who sponsored her through the bureaucracy. How did she manage to obtain a clearance in spite of the obvious red flags in her background? In light of legitimate security concerns, has she been polygraphed, what questions about her relationship with her former country were asked, and what were her answers? Was any deception indicated? Has she been re-polygraphed recently? This is not intended as harassment or as any accusation against Kass but rather to determine if she has been subject to normal and appropriate security measures. CIA officers are, for example, required to undergo polygraph exams every five years and the questions concentrate on possible unreported relationships with foreign governments.

Critics note that while Kass is genuinely an expert on Russia, she has little background to qualify her as an authority on the currently fashionable Cyberwarfare, where she has somehow turned herself into a major spokesman through mastery of the necessary buzzwords and talking points. Nor does she have any genuine expertise on the Middle East or on terrorism to share with Mullen and others, apart from her own Israeli perspective. Her access to the highest levels of the Air Force also raises the questions of just what is she advising and what does she know? Does she support an air war against Iran, for example, and is she actively promoting that option? Does she know how the Obama Administration will react if Tel Aviv tries to stage a unilateral attack on Iran? Such information would be pure gold for the Israeli government.

There are indications that Dr. Kass is a major player in shaping US security policy. She has been described as a "key participant" in the development of the national strategy for combating terrorism, as well as the national military strategic plan for the Global War on Terrorism. In September 2007, The Times of London reported that she was a leading participant in "Project CHECKMATE, a "highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with ‘fighting the next war’ as tensions rise with Iran" that was "quietly established" by the US Air Force in June 2007 as a "successor to the group that planned the 1991 Gulf War’s air campaign."

Also per The Times, CHECKMATE "consists of 20-30 top air force officers and defense and cyberspace experts with ready access to the White House, the CIA and other intelligence agencies." Its director Brigadier-General Lawrence A. Stutzriem and Kass reported directly to General Michael Moseley, at the time chief of staff of the Air Force. The Times cited Defense sources saying, "detailed contingency planning for a possible attack on Iran has been carried out for more than two years." Regarding Iran operations, Kass was quoted as saying "We can defeat Iran, but are Americans willing to pay the price?"

Dr. Kass is not directly linked to any neoconservative groups but appears to be a kindred spirit, possessing a Manichean world view. Her comment cited above about defeating Iran has a dismissive tone to it, as if she is not identifying as an American herself. And she is also reported to have said "Remember what Israelis tell their children when they cry: ‘Don’t cry — you want to be a paratrooper don’t you?’" Some other public utterances are also revealing, suggesting that if General Schwartz and Admiral Mullen are actually listening to her it is no surprise that some US defense and security policies are largely based on simplistic bumper sticker analysis. In a speech at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho on July 9, 2007, she said radical Muslims hate the western world because Europe took their dominant political position away and they want it back. To support her claim she produced a map taken from an obscure Jihadi website showing the entire world depicted as the "United States of Islam," in which everyone will have to follow Sharia Muslim law. Kass likes to use the map as a prop in many of her public appearances. In her speech she explained that Muslims hate western culture and want to dominate the world, adding that because radical Islam has a "culture of death" all those who do not submit to Islam must die, an assertion so absurd that one suspects her political analysis derives from the Free Republic website. She also compared all Americans to sheep and sheepdogs. The former keep their heads down hoping that someone else will be eaten by wolves a.k.a. terrorists while the latter fight back. Kass sees herself as a sheepdog. For her Air Force audience she concluded that the long war against the Islamists will end "when they learn to love their children more than they hate us," a comment originally attributed to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

Kass’s powerpoint demonstration "A Warfighting Domain," dated September 26, 2006, is equally scary, and more than a little Strangelovean in its language and appeal. It includes the map of the United States of Islam and defines the "mission" as "to fly and fight in the Air, Space, and Cyberspace." She boasts "as Airmen we are the nation’s premier multi-dimensional maneuver force, with the agility, reach, speed, stealth, payload, precision, and persistence to deliver global effects at the speed of sound and the speed of light." Her objective? To "foster a force of 21st century warriors, capable of delivering the full spectrum of kinetic and non-kinetic, lethal and non-lethal effects in the Air, Space, and Cyber domains."

Dr. Kass the Kremlinologist might have been a dab hand at interpreting the Nomenklatura standing on top of Lenin’s tomb but her embrace of Cyberwar and her comments relating both to terrorism and the state of the Middle East make one wonder how she has ascended to her lofty perch…and equally why she should remain there. Legitimate security concerns about her possible conflicted loyalty and her intentions should have blunted her trajectory long ago. But on the other hand, the global war on terror is so much of a joke that it perhaps needs someone like Dr. Kass to symbolize its absurdity and to launch the US Air Force on a vital new mission replete with lethal warrior-airmen delivering "global effects" at the speed of light. At an estimated cost of $100 billion, one might add. Captain Kirk? Are you ready to beam me up? Things are getting kind of strange down here....

Let's go to the videotape with Jim Jones...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mossad's links to Italian fascists revealed

Tales of Harari in Italy ...

Mossad's links to Italian fascists revealed. Ex-Mossad agent Mike Harari sits for interview.
Mike Harari is one of the most admired and mysterious figures in Israel's intelligence community. But over the last quarter century, his numerous clashes with journalists and photographers have supplied ample evidence of his attitude toward the media: He is not a big fan. Except for one interview with Channel 1 television in 1989, given in order to clear his name, he always adamantly refused to be interviewed.

Harari headed the Mossad's Caesarea operations department during the dramatic years of the fight against Palestinian terrorism in the 1970s. His otherwise successful career in the agency was tarnished in July 1973, when a team from the Mossad's Kidon unit killed Ahmed Bouchiki, an innocent Moroccan waiter, in Lillehammer, Norway after mistaking him for the real target: Hassan Ali Salameh, a senior member of the Black September organization, who was involved in planning the kidnap and murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Several Mossad agents were caught and served time in jail, but Harari and then Mossad chief Zvi Zamir, who supervised the operation on the ground, managed to get out of Norway.

Harari continued in the Mossad for another two years and then went into business. He served as Panama's honorary consul in Israel and as an adviser to Panama's former president, Manuel Noriega.

In 1989, U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered his country's army to invade Panama and depose Noriega, who was arrested and sentenced to jail (where he still remains) for drug trafficking, money laundering and extortion. For a time, there were rumors that Harari had been either killed or arrested during the invasion. Harari gave the Channel 1 interview to dispel these rumors.

Given his animosity toward the press, it is surprising that he recently agreed to another interview with a journalist - not an Israeli one, heaven forbid, but an American-Italian one. Eric Salerno held lengthy conversations with Harari in the latter's Tel Aviv home. The talk focused not on Harari's work in the Mossad, but on his distant past, when he was a radio operator in Italy's Lombardi district for the Mossad L'Aliya Bet, which brought illegal immigrants to prestate Israel. Harari related, for instance, that his code name in radio messages was FNM, an Italian abbreviation for the rail line to northern Milan, and showed the interviewer a pistol he retained from operations in 1948.

The conversation forms a chapter in a book Salerno recently published in Italian, Mossad base Italia. The book relates the story of the generous aid the Italians provided to Mossad L'Aliya Bet and other prestate undergrounds, such as the Haganah, as well as the close cooperation, ever since Israel's establishment, between Italy's intelligence service, SISMI, and the Mossad and the Israel Defense Forces' intelligence branch.

The Israeli organizations never examined the backgrounds of the Italians who assisted them. In 1938, members of the Betar movement participated in a naval training course in Benito Mussolini's fascist Italy. Mossad L'Aliya Bet and the prestate military organizations Palmach and Palyam - which worked to bring Jews to Israel, purchase arms and blow up ships and planes carrying weapons to Arab countries - were assisted by former fascists.

A key Italian figure was Pino Romualdi, leader of the neofascist Movimento Sociale Italiano, with which the current speaker of the Italian parliament, Gianfranco Fini, was also affiliated. Romualdi supplied the Irgun, another prestate underground, with explosives from old cartridges used by the fascists in World War II. Another fascist who was very close to Mussolini, Fiorenzo Capriatti, came to Israel and helped create Shayetet 13, the navy commando unit.

According to Salerno, the Mossad persuaded Italy's current prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and his aides to order Italy's intelligence services to give it the names of their own operations officers, so that Mossad could obtain their help in its clandestine operations. Adm. Flavio Martini, a former head of SISMI, said that when he was SISMI's chief of operations in the 1970s, he traveled to Syria, and upon his return, provided Israeli intelligence with Damascus' plans for war.

Based on the evidence and documents gathered by the author, all Italian governments since World War II helped the Mossad and Military Intelligence. Israeli espionage agents confirm that Italy's intelligence services are among the friendliest in the world toward their Israeli counterparts.

Israeli intelligence in Malaysia

Israeli intelligence is now at the heart of a political scandal in Malaysia. The story began about a week ago, when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed in parliament that two Israeli espionage agents had infiltrated the computers of the national police headquarters. According to Ibrahim, they posed as computer communications experts employed by a computer company called Asiasoft-Malaysia, which was hired as a subcontractor in a project to upgrade the police's information systems. Asiasoft, he claimed, is registered in Tel Aviv.

Ibrahim, 62, a former deputy prime minister, is a controversial figure. Next month he will face trial on charges of raping one of his aides, whom he allegedly seduced into coming to his apartment. Ibrahim denies the accusations, claiming they are a plot by his political rivals to smear him and thereby end his political career. This is not the first time he has been accused of such crimes; in 1998, he was convicted of sodomy. But six years later, that conviction was overturned on appeal.

The opposition leader's claim that Israeli intelligence agents had infiltrated the country sparked an outcry. The police commissioner, Moussa Hassan, rushed to deny the charge, but also ordered an investigation to determine its truth - as well as the opposition leader's sources of information.

The story took a new twist this week, with reports that Asiasoft is actually registered in Singapore. That in turn sparked claims that Israel has close ties with Singapore, and that the little city-state on the edge of the Malaysian peninsula often serves as a front for Israeli military and intelligence activity.

And if all that were not enough, the Malaysian interior minister, Mudin Hussein, admitted that two years ago, problems did indeed arise with the company and its contract was terminated. He declined to elaborate on these problems.

Muslim Malaysia has no diplomatic ties with Israel, though in the past, there have been reports of small-scale trade relations between the countries.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Details on the Georgia-Hosted Jihadi Conference Emerge

by Julia Gorin

An analysis published last Monday by Defense & Foreign Affairs offers some corroboration for the Georgia-hosted, U.S.-approved jihadi confab in December,the mention of which seemed to upset some readers.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the 16-page analysis, which is subscription-only and therefore not linkable:

Meanwhile, Georgia is actively seeking to exploit the spread ofjamaats [jihadist mini-societies] in the North Caucasus in order to go after the Russian pipelines in hope of ensnaring the US into actively supporting a new confrontation with Russia. In early December 2009, Tbilisi organized a high-level meeting of jihadists groups from the Middle East and Western Europe in order “to coordinate activities on Russia’s southern flank.” The Georgian Embassy in Kuwait, for example, arranged for travel documents for jihadists from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. (There is a large and very active Chechen/Circassian community in Jordan since the 19th Century that is heavily represented in the intelligence services and the military.) In Tbilisi, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Lordkipanadze was the host and coordinator. The meeting was attended by several Georgian senior officials who stressed that Saakashvili himself knew and approved of the undertaking. The meeting addressed the launch of both “military operations” in southern Russia and ideological warfare. One of the first results of the meeting was the launch, soon afterwards of the Russian-language TV station First Caucasian.

The jihadists of the North Caucasus — including the Arab commanders in their midst — came out of the early December 2009 meeting convinced that Tbilisi is most interested in the spread of terrorism. The meeting was attended by, among others, Mohmad Muhammad Shabaan, an Egyptian senior commander who is also known as Seif al-Islam and who has been involved in Caucasus affairs since 1992. He took copious notes. According to Shabaan’s notes, the Georgian government wants the jihadists to conduct “acts of sabotage to blow up railway tracks, electricity lines and energy pipelines” in southern Russia in order to divert construction back to Georgian territory.

Georgian intelligence promised to facilitate the arrival in the Caucasus of numerous senior jihadists by providing Georgian passports, and to provide logistical support including the reopening of bases in northern Georgia. Russian intelligence was not oblivious of the meeting. Seif al-Islam and two senior aides were assassinated on February 4, 2010. The Russians retrieved a lot of documents in the process. Moscow signaled its displeasure shortly afterwards when the presidents of Russia and Abkhazia signed a 50-year agreement on a Russian military base in order to “protect Abkhazia’s sovereignty and security, including against international terrorist groups”.

A major issue still to be resolved is the extent of the US culpability.

The same analysis recalls when this misguided approach was used in the Balkans, and outlines how, in order to not alienate Muslims while we tried to contain terror from the Middle East, we fortified terror in the Balkans and jump-started the global jihad:

Initially, the US-led Western intervention in the former Yugoslavia was aimed first and foremost to salvage NATO (and with it US dominance over post-Cold War Western Europe) from irrelevance and collapse. As well, the support for the Muslims of Bosnia became the counter-balance of the US confrontation with jihadism in the Middle East. Anthony Lake, US President Bill Clinton’s National Security Adviser, formulated the logic for the US-led intervention on behalf of the Muslims. The US national interest “requires our working to contain Muslim extremism, and we have to find a way of being firm in our opposition to Muslim extremism while making it clear we’re not opposed to Islam. If we are seen as anti-Muslim, it’s harder for us to contain Muslim extremism. And if we stand by while Muslims are killed and raped in Bosnia, it makes it harder to continue our policy,” Lakeargued. That in the process the US would end up partnering with, supporting and arming, the very same jihadist forces Clinton was seeking to contain meant nothing to Washington. The only thing Washington cared about was the image of a US rallying to the rescue of a Muslim cause.

Note that in the 90s the U.S., like Britain, permitted and facilitated terrorist networks to operate in Bosnia and Kosovo for the purpose of Serb-killing, and along with Germany we trained Albanian and Middle Eastern terrorists in Albania. Sure enough, the same decade saw U.S. officials participating in a December 1999 meeting in Azerbaijan very similar to the December 2009 meeting in Tbilisi, where “programs for the training and equipping of mujahedin from the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon.” The mention of this meeting comes in as the analysis gives background on how we decided to support terrorism against Russia:

By 1999, the US had given up on reconciling Azerbaijan and Armenia in order to construct pipelines to Turkey, and instead Washington started focusing on building pipelines via Georgia.

For such a project to be economically viable, the Russian pipelines would have to be shut down. Hence, in early October 1999, senior officials of US oil companies and US officials offered representatives of Russian “oligarchs” in Europe huge dividends from the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline if the “oligarchs” convinced Moscow to withdraw from the Caucasus, permit the establishment of an Islamic state, and close down the Baku-Novorossiysk oil pipeline. Consequently, there would be no competition to the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The “oligarchs” were convinced that the highest levels of the Clinton White House endorsed this initiative. The meeting failed because the Russians would hear nothing of the US proposal.

Consequently, the US determined to deprive Russia of an alternate pipeline route by supporting a spiraling violence and terrorism in Chechnya….The Clinton White House sought to actively involve the US in yet another anti-Russian jihad as if reliving the “good ol’ days” of Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, seeking to support and empower the most virulent anti-Western Islamist forces in yet another strategic region.

In mid-December 1999, US officials participated in a formal meeting in Azerbaijan in which specific programs for the training and equipping of mujahedin from the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon. This meeting led to Washington’s tacit encouragement of both Muslim allies (mainly the intelligence services of Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia) and US “private security companies” (of the type that did Washington’s dirty job in the Balkans while skirting and violating the international embargo the US formally supported) to assist the Chechens and their Islamist allies to surge in spring 2000. Citing security concerns vis-à-vis Armenia and Russia, Azerbaijan adamantly refused to permit training camps on its soil.

Now, just to keep our — including my — heads straight, let’s remind ourselves that this exercise was not a defense of Russia; it was not meant to start an argument about how bad or how not-that-bad Russia is. The point is that foreign relations in a mad world require finding enough common ground with not-so-great states so that we can work together where we can work together. It’s to minimize the messiness of things. Why, when we had Russia in its historically most maleable form, did we insist on provoking and provoking and provoking? Why did we make a bad situation like Russia worse when we had an opportunity to make it better? As with all problematic countries that we nonetheless find areas of cooperation with, we narrowed even those areas by dealing with the Russians in the bad faith that had been their trademark. Simultaneously, we moved away from picking the lesser evil in a given conflict, and started siding with the greater.

It’s a surreal situation indeed when the actions of my savior country put me in the position of having to “defend” Russia, whose people my parents thank their lucky stars to not have to live among anymore. I myself am a self-proclaimed Russophobe; I just had no idea how much more pathological America’s Russophobia is. So for someone who is loath to visit even Brighton Beach, I find myself in a surprising position here, pointing out where we went wrong and shoved Russia back into old behaviors.

Infuriatingly predictably, some comment posters suggested that the line I’m taking here is one that’s paid for by Russia. The same “tip” was offered to Robert by a fellow blogger — in that tone of providing “some friendly, professional, and cautionary advice.” The likes of which I’m all too familiar with by now. (One Wall St. Journal fixture advised me, “Your views on this [the Balkans] are deeply misjudged…You’re not doing your career any favors.” Thanks. Good thing I don’t have a career, then.) It certainly would be nice if anyone paid me for anything I do, but it wasn’t to be in this lifetime.

Regardless, it shouldn’t seem strange for someone to be pointing out that our foreign policy is being guided by people with a stronger anti-Russian agenda than anti-jihad agenda. And notice where this kind of thinking has gotten us. Take the past two decades of Western policy and media coverage in the Balkans, which were based on information that made its way into reporters’ notebooks directly from the Ministry of Information of the Bosnian Government run by the fundamentalist Muslim wartime president Alija Izetbegovic. The template was used again when politicians, reporters, NGOs and human rights organizations dutifully repeated what was coming out of the KLA-run newspapers and other propaganda organs of the Kosovo separatists. And so in service to consistency, having gotten into this hole, we’ve kept digging. With our Yugoslavia intervention, as the Defense & Foreign Affairs analysis points out, we’ve ended up “demonizing the Serbs and the world of Eastern Christianity as a whole.” Such that we’ve arrived at a place where the word “Byzantine” is now used to mean primitive or uncivilized. While the Muslim world and Islamic heritage represent the height of culture, tradition, heritage and civilization.

One interesting thing about the reactions to calling the U.S. on its aggressive alienation of Russia via, for example, the use of jihadists is the sense of outrage and shock at the suggestion that America would support these violent groups, followed immediately by a defense or justification of such tactics (e.g. “we *should* help the Chechens against the Russians”). Meanwhile, these oh-so-incendiary allegations happen to coincide with overtly stated intentions and policies. (See the late Senator Tom Lantos and his ilk applauding the creation of a U.S.-made Muslim state in Europe, which the jihadists should “take note of,” Lantos hoped.)