THE EXPOSE OF THE IRAN-CONTRA SPYMASTER
by Barry Chamish
To all those astute readers and defenders of me; Once Again You Have Been Vindicated.
First, the headline:
Jonathan Pollard not bearing grudge against Peres By GIL HOFFMAN
Jailed former Israeli spy reacts to his handler's admission that Pollard was incriminated under orders from Shimon Peres. Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard chose to express hope rather than anger in response to an interview with his former handler Rafi Eitan, who revealed for the first time that he incriminated Pollard under orders from then-prime minister and current president Shimon Peres.
Eitan told Yediot Aharonot in an interview published Friday that he gave the Americans information he knew would be used against Pollard. He said he had no choice other than to abide by government decisions.
"When I testified, I felt a myriad of emotions," Eitan said. "I had a deep feeling that I should not talk to the Americans about the episode, because they certainly did not want what was best for Pollard. But on the other hand, I am a disciplined soldier. I have never acted against the government's orders, even when I thought we should be acting differently."
The Campaign for Pollard's Freedom responded by expressing shock that Israel became what they said was the first country in the world to actively incriminate its own agent. But the campaign refused to criticize Peres.
"Neither we, nor Jonathan, wants to dwell on the past," the campaign said. "What matters is that the president is currently in the best possible position to end this unfortunate tragedy."
Pollard will begin serving the 28th year of his life sentence November 21. Peres and Pollard have issued formal clemency requests to US president Barack Obama, but he has never responded.
US presidents usually grant pardons and commute sentences during the American holiday season that begins with Thanksgiving on Thursday.
Need I remind you of who Rafi Eitan is? Look who got it right 15 years ago:
* Rafi Eitan was Jonathan Pollard's handler. He took Pollard's data and transferred it personally to PM Shimon Peres all through 1985. And if anymore thinks he accidentally rose to lead a Pensioner's Party, knows nothing about the corruption of the Knesset. He was never poor enough to even need the party, let alone lead it.
Just 20 years ago, Pollard was a powerful Israeli national issue. Today, it is run entirely by the Israeli Far Right. Those scary kids and the suspicious wife are responsible for Jonathan Pollard's survival, which means the rest of his life will be in prison. That's how the establishment deflates any issue: just hand it over to the Far Right. As soon as Eitan was in, the wife had her say, on the Yoav Yitzhak site, that Eitan should resign. The message was, naturally, ignored by Israel.
And all this time later, let's present my prescient article of many years ago. Pretend I wrote it today:
SHIMON PERES IS KEEPING JONATHAN POLLARD IN PRISON
(The Real Reason Why Pollard Sits) by Barry Chamish
In early May, '03, I was hired by a group of Israelis now organizing rallies on behalf of Jonathan Pollard's freedom to find out why, defying all reason, he is still sitting in prison. The people who approached me were highly dissatisfied with the official Pollard organization run by Esther Pollard and in fact, suspected her of sabotaging all alternative efforts to liberate her spouse. Since I took on the project, I have noted Esther Pollard's interference with demonstrations, speakers and even one webmaster (www.jonathanpollard.com) working on behalf of justice for Jonathan Jay Pollard.
I don't know what her motivations are, perhaps they are just a personal need for attention, perhaps they are more sinister, but with Esther Pollard at the helm, no new evidence has emerged that could possibly result in Pollard's release. Recent excitement over the revelations that Pollard was sitting for the crimes of master spy Aldrich Ames, as written by John Loftus, are not revelations at all. I discovered the exact claims in a prominent Maariv article from 1985, since repeated often in the Hebrew press.
To sort out the puzzle, I referred to a wide variety of sources and was fortunate in having a personal expert nearby. He is Joel Bainerman, author of the 1992 classic book on Iran Contra-related felonies, Crimes Of A President. He thoughtfully provided me with relevant text, as well as his rough notes and contacts.
One of his contacts was William Northrup, who lives in a kibbutz near Beersheva and was held in a New York lockup for 10 months on suspicion of illegally selling military hardware to Iran. He insists that the Americans came down hard on Pollard because he exposed the Bechtel Corporation's production of chemical weapons in Iraq.
In the same lockup for the same crime was Ari Ben-Menashe, who wrote a tell-all book called The Profits Of War. He became a primary source for Seymour Hersch and Joel Bainerman, though far from their only one. All have been besmirched by the official Pollard organization but that doesn't mean their facts are all wrong. I use what I have judged to be likely truths.
By the same token, I have utilized many more conventional sources and their basic facts are far from consistently reliable. It was a task just sorting out the dates of the known history. Pollard, himself, insists that he started his spying in July, 1984. Loftus and Aarons have him identifying an arms shipment in April of 1984. That would make the Hersch/Ben Menashe claim that Pollard began his clandestine work in 1981, more plausible.
But once one excuses the inconsistencies, a very consistent story emerges. Pollard thought he was helping Israel protect itself and that his material would fall into honest, trusted hands. Sadly for him, it fell into the grimy paws of Shimon Peres and he used it to create a crime empire, broadly called Iran Contra. It is the fear of exposing Peres and his cronies that is the real reason why the Israeli government has made no sincere effort to free Jonathan Jay Pollard.
It's a fairly complicated story and I will lead you through it by way of other people's research. When I comment you will see three stars *** at the beginning and end of the commentary. For instance:
*** In 1987, a government commission of inquiry headed by Abba Eban issued its report on the Pollard Affair. It concluded that the man most responsible for the fiasco was Shimon Peres, who became Prime Minister in late May, 1984. He was not only apprised of Pollard's intelligence, he read it daily. Receiving smaller portions of blame were Defence Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
This long buried report is, naturally, long forgotten because Peres spent a good week denying every word in it and arranging the end of Eban's political carrer. But let us not forget, the official investigation conducted by the Israeli government concluded that Peres was the chief culprit.***
LEADING THE COVERUP
Amir Oren, Haaretz, 1998: "Shimon Peres was almost as concerned about domestic policies as he was about the American reaction. He was proud of the fact that he, Rabin and Shamir refrained from mutual recriminations and how that prevented the media from turning it into an Israeli Watergate. Peres worked hard to prevent public discussion..."
Zeev Segal, Haaretz 24/10/95: "One body that studied the subject was a committee headed by then MK, Abba Eban. In a report published in May, 1987, the committee...totally rejected the claim of the government of Israel, which stated that the Pollard affair was a 'rogue' operation."
Washington Report On Middle East, Jan/Feb 2003: "Eban disappeared from political life after 1987 (for) a report criticizing Labor Party leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin for using American Joanthan Jay Pollard to spy on the United States. Both rebuked him and the next year his name was left off the candidates for parliament."
Seymour Hersch, The Samson Option, Random House, 1991: "The Israeli Officials most tarnished by the scandal were Rafi Eitan and Aviem Sella, but Eitan did not suffer financially. He was subsequently named to a high administrative position with Israel Chemicals, the largest state-owned enterprise in Israel. His surprising appointment was authorized by none other than Ariel Sharon, who had been named Minister of Trade and Industry in 1984."
***And Sharon is not the only high present official involved in the coverup. Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein was the legal attache to the Washington Embassy Pollard was ejected from, and later tried out a coverup tactic that Washington attorney Leonard Garment found odious. Such details must be presented in a wider-ranging future report. For now let us get to the heart of the matter at hand...Iran Contra.***
Federal Government Watch Discussion List: "The back channel came alive under Vice-President Bush from 1984-91. The channel was used to direct the laundering of American money to the PLO. Although Pollard didn't know it, when he warned the Israelis that a PLO arms shipment was going through Greece in 1984, he inadvertantly blew the whistle of the White House's first transaction of arms to Iran...In the summer of 1984, Pollard noticed a pattern of vessels going back and forth from Greece to Yemen, where the PLO had a major base. Pollard passed the tip to the Israelis. In the summer of 1984, the Israelis tipped off the Greek authorities who seized an entire shipload of arms believed destined for the PLO. Neither Pollard nor the government of Israel was aware that they had smashed George Bush's first shipment of arms to Iran. Pollard never realized that he had busted the most secret White House operation of modern times. The summer of 1984 Greek shipment was a dagger over George Bush's head."
Loftus, Aarons, The Secret War Against The Jews: "Pollard notified the Israelis, who passed word to the Greeks, who raided the arms ship. None of the players knew that this shipment was directly connected to an event two months previous, in which US hostages had been kidnapped in Lebanon. The ship had not been commissioned by Arafat but by US Vice-President Bush and was ultimately destined for the patron the of Lebanese kidnappers, Iran. The shipment marks he true beginning of the infamous Iran Contra scandal.
Winston Mideast Analysis And Commentary 8/13/99: "Pollard inadvertantly exposed the first shipment of arms-for-hostages in what became the Iran Contra scandal. As he was in the Naval Intelligence Anti-Terrorism Unit, he saw this shipment, one year earlier than is generally known, and believing it to be arms for the PLO or Iraq, revealed it to the Israelis. This alone would make it imperative for the Iran/Contra planners to keep him locked up forever."
***Enter Peres. Pollard provided the data that exposed Bush's arms for hostages operation. Of course, a moral Prime Minister would have demanded that Bush put an end to this arming of Israel's worst enemies. But Peres is not remotely moral, so he saw the bigger potential of this nascent crime. He wanted in and the crime expanded into what we know as Irangate.
How do we know this? Because when Pollard discovered the arms ship, Israel had no role in paying America's enemies off with arms for releasing hostages in Lebanon. But by September, Peres had sent a team to Washington consisting of Yaacov Nimrodi, the former Ambassador to Iran, Al Schwimmer, former head of Israel Aircraft Industries, and David Kimche, chairman of the Israeli branch of the Council On Foreign Relations.
After that, Israel was right in the middle of the operation. This is basic indisputable logic. Israel joined the operation only after Pollard's intelligence exposed the existence of it. That means Peres wanted a piece of the pie and must have used Pollard's data to get his cut of the action.
The easiest way in would have been threatening to expose the arms for hostages operation and bring down Bush and his team. We call such a threat, blackmail. And that's how Pollard's good intentions were used. And not for the last time.
Shortly after Pollard's capture on Non.22/85, the Peres team of Kimche, Schwimmer and Nimrodi all quit the operation. In laymen's terms, they hauled ass out of there. But Peres didn't want to give up all the goodies that came with Iran Contra. So in January 1986, he replaced the team with his anti-terrorism advisor Amiram Nir. He was murdered in 1989 in Mexico shortly before he was to testify to the Senate Committee investigating Irangate.
Lest one think Iran Contra wasn't worth the trouble, look how much just one member of Peres' team brought in for his effort and then consider what Nir knew. Finally, note who else quit his post in the wake of Pollard; the American National Security Advisor, Bud McFarlane, who resigned in Dec. 85.***
Joel Bainerman, Crimes Of A President, SPI Books, NY, 1992, raw notes and final text: "In June l991 an Israel police investigation was opened to determine if Nimrodi withheld profits from the sales from the Defence Ministry.
A month later Nimrodi made a public declaration in a Tel Aviv court
stating that he had acted on his own behalf in his arms dealings with
the Iranians and thus all the profits from the deals were his. He
claimed he earned $37 million from the Iranians, but after paying for
the missiles and other expenses, he says he took a loss on the deal of nearly $750,000. (Inside Israel, August, l993)
Those same bank records in Switzerland could have become a nightmare
for some Israeli government officials, namely Prime Minister Peres,
even shedding light on why the Israeli government never allowed Nir
(or Schwimmer and Nimrodi) to testify before Congressional
investigations. Was Peres perhaps worried that Nir would disclose that
it was his role in the diversion of money from the Iranian arms sales
to the Contras or that he personally authorized the establishment of
the fund to initiate covert anti-terrorist operations?
Indeed Nir knew a great deal about U.S. and Israeli arms sales to Iran
because he was the roundabout via everyone's activities passed
through. He must have known who set up the Swiss accounts, who
controlled them, and how much went to the Contras and how much to
middlemen like Ghorbanifar and Secord's pockets? He sat in on crucial
meetings in Teheran, Frankfurt, Washington, Tel Aviv and London. He
knew of all covert operations and where the money originated from to
In an interview with YEDIOT ACHRONOT after leaving office in March
l987 Nir said that Shamir went out of his way to protect his name and
reputation, in Israel and in the U.S., while Peres simply "left him to
the dogs" adding that "the moment you need support from him (Peres),
DID POLLARD HAVE HELP?
Angelo Codevilla, MENL 24/7/00: "He gave them that part of the flow of US intelligence which they used to receive regularly, but which the US cut off in 1981...This consisted of intelligence 'products.' It was satellite pictures, reports of all kinds, electronic directories and so forth."
John Loftus, Moment, 6/03: "Jonathan Pollard didn't have the 'blue stripe' clearance according to intelligence sources I spoke with. That was the bombshell that would clear him of any possible connection to the deaths of our Russian agents."
Codevilla, ibid: "Jonathan Pollard could not have provided codes, because he did not have any access to codes."
Ari Ben-Menashe, Profits Of War, Sheridan Square Press, 1992: "McFarlane, in fact, had been providing computer access codes of intelligence reports to Rafi Eitan, according to Eitan. Sitting in Tel Aviv, Eitan would request computer access codes for certain items he was interested in. A representative in Washington, a woman named Iris, would pass the request to McFarlane. He would then give her back the specified access codes. She would give the codes to Pollard."
Consortiumnews.com 8/6/03: :The issue was brought to the high court by former national security advisor Robert McFarlane who claims he was libeled by a 1991 Esquire magazine story linking him to the Jonathan Pollard spy case...Both courts ruled that McFarlane failed to show that Esquire displayed a reckless disregard for the truth."
***Now we move into stage two of the exploitation of Jonathan Pollard. Pollard was assigned to receive and analyse satellite photos of ship positions and look for aberrant routes. That would have made the discovery of Bush's arms ship natural. But for the next piece of Peres blackmail, he would most likely have needed help.
Pollard uncovered a crime the equal of Iran Contra: the American corporation Bechtel was making chemical weaponry for Saddam Hussein. And Peres instinctively knew he could milk this discovery for all it was worth because Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger was a VP of Bechtel before choosing public service and Secretary of State George Shultz was a former Bechtel CEO.
I have no doubt that Pollard passed the Bechtel gas data to Israel but how he got it is still in dispute. Perhaps he received satellite photos which exposed the factories, but it seems more likely that he was given intelligence much higher than he was entitled to receive. For that he would have needed help from one of the few entitled to receive top secret access codes and Robert McFarlane as National Security Advisor was one those few.***
BECHTEL AND CASPAR WEINBERGER
Codevilla, MENL 24/7/00: "This memo contained the lie that Pollard caused the deaths of countless US agents. It also reportedly said the Israelis sold part of that information to the Soviet Union. All of these things are not only untrue, they were known by Weinberger not to be true...The policy was building up Iraq, a policy to which Weinberger and much of the rest of the US government sacrificed true American interests in the 1980s. We supplied Saddam Hussein with not only arms but with intelligence and forbearance...The main thing is we permitted, licensed and financed large American corporations to build plants there. The infrastructure that is being bombed in Iraq right now is mostly American-built. Now we get to the deeply embarassing part. One of the companies involved was Bechtel, with whom Caspar Weinberger and George Schultz, Secretaries of Defense and State, had close personal relations."
Federal Government Watch Discussion List, Yahoo, message 631: ""As Jonathan Pollard discovered to his horror, the German nerve gas factories constructed in Libya and Iraq are using the identical formulas used on Jews at Auschwitz... President Bush Sr. was good friends with Saddam's Deputy Foreign Minister and made personal phone calls to one of his former Yale classmates to obtain American funding for Bechtel's oil pipeline in Iraq...The Bechtel corporation was even building Saddam Hussein a chemical factory he could use for poison gas production."
Counterpunch.org, 9/4/03: "Schultz worked at Bechtel, so did Caspar Weinberger.Bechtel was listed by Iraq in its report to the UN weapons inspectors as one of the companies that helped supply Saddam with equipment and knowledge for making chemical weapons. Bechtel in the 1980s was prime contractor on PC1 and 2, two petrochemical plants constructed in Iraq which had dual use capacity. So I guess the bottom line is that the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfield squad are now holding Saddam Hussein accountable for chemical weapons of mass destruction - the same weapons which these same officials ignored in pursuit of the Aqaba pipeline project.
Barry Chamish, The Fall Of Israel, Canongate, Edinburgh, 1992:"By 1985 Syria had closed down Iraq's pipeline to the Mediterranean and Iran was blockading the Persian Gulf.Iraq wanted to build an alternative pipeline to Aqaba, Jordan's Red Sea port, and the American corporation Bechtel agreed to construct this multi-billion dollar project, but only if it received assurances that Israel would never blow it up, not even in wartime. American Attorney-General Edwin Meeese approached Peres who agreed in return for $70 million a year to be transferred to the Israeli Labor Party. When word of the bribe leaked, Meese was forced out of office, but, as usual, scandal escaped Peres."
Joel Bainerman, Crimes Of A President, Notes And Final Text:
McFarlane was also the major White House backer of the Iraqi pipeline deal. To bebuilt by the Bechtel company it would feed 300,000 barrels of oil each day from Iraqi oilfields to a terminal at the Jordanian port of Aquaba. As part of the arrangement, then Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres's Labor party would receive up to $1 billion over a ten year period in return for a pledge not to bomb the pipeline in the event of a war.
Originally, it may have been intended to have this money come from the Pentagon's budget. When John Poindexter took over from McFarlane as National Security Adviser in December l985 he killed a plan his predecessor had come up with to have secret payments made to Israel out of a heavily disguised National Security Counsel-controlled appropriation in the Pentagon's budget. (Washington Post, March 5th, l988) "The idea was for it to come out of the defence budget on an installment basis," one source was quoted as saying. "It was, to be a payment to the Israelis to be good." (Washington Post,February 25th, l988) .
It may be nothing but a mere coincidence, but Israel's spy in Washington, Jonathan Pollard, was operating throughout McFarlane's period as National Security Advisor. A month after Pollard was arrested, McFarlane resigned. Yet six months later he is leading a delegation on a secret mission to Teheran. Why didn't National Security Adviser Poindexter go?
McFarlane's ties to Rafi Eitan, then the Prime Minister's Anti-Terrorism Advisor and who would later be named as the Israeli intelligence agent behind the masterminding of the Pollard affair, also need to be investigated.
Counterpunch.org, 9/4/03: "Bechtel and the State Department were having trouble getting the right degree from the Israeli Labor Party that the pipeline would be off limits to attack. Bechtel and Reagan administration officials were trying to get complete assurance from the Labor Party that the pipeline would absolutely not be attacked."
***So here's what the Peres government did with Pollard's intelligence: they put the squeeze on Bechtel and that meant on Caspar Weinberger. The threat was simple enough: if you guys at Bechtel don''t find a way to funnel me a lot of money, $700 million will do, we'll expose the Iraqi gas plants and sabotage your pipeline deal. Hence, the insurance policy excuse was formulated under great duress.
When a very peeved Weinberger discovered that it was Pollard who was passing Peres his blackmail weapons, he showed no mercy. He intervened with Pollard's judge and made sure he got life for a five year crime knowing the Israeli government could put no stop to him or risk its own massive exposure.
Weinberger is home free. In 1992, President Bush pardoned him for all Iran Contra-related crimes. Shimon Peres was just chosen as head of the Israeli Labor Party. And unless this little piece of the whole truth is thoroughly investigated, Jonathan Pollard will sit for good in his cold, cold cell.***
No need to thank me.
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