Former CIA Officer Philip Giraldi — Is Israel a U.S. ally?

In short: no. Still, read for a better understanding on why.

I transcribed this 2014 speech Philip Giraldi gave to the National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship,” in Washington, DC.

Former CIA Officer Philip Giraldi

Thank you very much, Ray [McGovern]. I don’t think I can compete with that, that was theatrical.

Instead, I would like to go a bit beyond the comments that both of my colleagues have made and suggest not only Israel is no ally but also that it is not actually a friend because it does actual damage to the United States through using its considerable access to Congress and the media to promote policies that are good neither for the United States nor for Israel. I am sure you’ve all heard the expression that “a friend does not let a friend drive drunk,” well, the United States has been driving drunk for quite sometime and that dangerous behavior has to some extent been encouraged by Israel and its many supporters in Washington.

Israel might or might not have been an actual enabler of the disastrous American invasion of Iraq [2003], but it is undeniably true that American [neocon] officials extremely close to the Israeli government were behind the rush to war and the forgery of phony intelligence that fed the process. If the United States goes to war with Iran in the near future it will not be because Tehran actually threatens America it will be because Israel and its powerful lobby in the U.S. have succeeded at an essentially false casus belli to mandate such action. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who once commented that 9/11 was good for Israel, has repeatedly sought to commit our government to draw “red lines” that would narrow options for the White House and defacto require it to take action with the [U.S.] military against Iran. Congress is meanwhile advancing legislation to commit the United States to intervene militarily in support of a unilateral Israeli attack, meaning that Israel could easily be empowered to make the decision on whether or not the U.S. goes to war.

Nothing relating to Israel is quite like the U.S. interaction with other countries. Delinda [Hanley] and Janet [McMahon] have outlined the dollar cost and special financing arrangements that go to support Israel, measures that are not in place for any other nation. Congress also approved on Wednesday, as part of the United States–Israel Strategic Partnership Act, by a vote of 410-1, an Israeli exemption from the reciprocity mandated by the so-called Visa Waiver Program: Israelis will be able to travel freely to the United States, while their [Israeli] government will be allowed to refuse entry to American citizens. This is a privilege that is granted to no other country. One Congressman has recently even introduced a bill to cut off federal funding for any academic organization that engages in boycotting Israel. Boycotting other [non-Israel] countries is “okay.”

Israel interferes in American elections, most recently on behalf of Mitt Romney. It has corrupted our Congress. Its head of government [Netanyahu] publicly rebukes our own head of state [Obama]. [Israeli] government ministers insult and ridicule [Secretary of State] John Kerry. And its [Mossad] intelligence officers actually provide alarmist and inaccurate private briefings for American senators on Capitol Hill.

I also would not doubt that Israel, accustomed to behaving with impunity towards its alleged friend and patron in Washington, might manufacture a pretext to draw the U.S. into a new conflict. Something reminiscent of the ‘Lavon Affair’ in Alexandria, Egypt in 1954. Or the false flag attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. Israel currently strongly supports using [American] force to intervene in Syria, a proposition that is opposed overwhelmingly by the American public.

In short, Israel has no reluctance to use its enormous political and media clout in the U.S. to pressure successive administrations to conform to its [Israel’s] own foreign and security policy views.

One other very good reason that Israel should not receive billions of dollars in military assistance annually is its persistent espionage against the United States. Grant Smith (IRMEP) has described how friends of Israel stole enriched uranium from a Pennsylvania refinery to create a nuclear arsenal. More recent we have learned how Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer born in Israel, arranged for the illegal purchase of 800 nuclear [Krytron] triggers (Netanyahu, per FBI files obtained by Grant Smith, was involved in this nuclear smuggling conspiracy). Milchan picked up an Oscar® last Sunday without any interference from the FBI.

The existence of a large-scale Israeli spying effort at the time of 9/11 has been widely reported, incorporating Israeli companies in New Jersey and Florida as well as hundreds of “art students” nationwide. Five Israelis (really three) from one of the companies were observed celebrating against the backdrop of the Twin Towers going down (they did far more than that).

While it is often observed that “everyone spies on everyone else,” particularly true if one is referring to our own NSA, espionage is a high-risk business that most countries are extremely careful when they are spying on friends because of the fear of “blowback.” Israel, which relies on Washington for billions of dollars [annually] in aid and also for political cover in international fora like the UN, does not spy discretely, largely because it knows that few in Washington will seek to hold it to account. There were, for example, no consequences for the Israelis when Israeli Mossad intelligence officers using [U.S.] passports and pretending to be Americans, recruited terrorists to carry out attacks inside Iran, as noted by Mark Perry this morning. Israelis using U.S. passports in that fashion put every American traveler at risk.

Israel, where government and business work hand-in-hand, has obtained significant advantage by systematically stealing American technology with both civilian and military applications. The U.S.-developed technology is then reverse-engineered and used by the Israelis to support their own exports. Sometimes when the technology is military in nature and winds up in the hands of an [U.S.] 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 U.S. technology obtained in its Lavi fighter development program — which was funded by U.S. taxpayers—to help the Chinese develop their own J-10 [fighter].

The reality of Israeli spying is indisputable. I might cite the names of Jonathan Pollard, Ben-Ami Kadish, Stewart Nozette and Larry Franklin as spies for Israel who have been caught. But they are only the tip of the iceberg.

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 sizeable armaments industry.” It adds that: “Israel recruits spies [in the U.S.], uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information.” 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.” It says: “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 U.S. had stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes, obtain classified plans for reconaissance systems, and pass sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users.” The GAO concluded that: “Israel conducts,” and this is a quote, “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally.” In June 2006, a Pentagon administrative judge overruled an appeal by an Israeli who had been denied a security clearance — if you can imagine that, an Israeli with a security clearance at the Pentagon. But anyway, they overruled him when he appealed it, they said: “The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the U.S., who has access to proprietary information, is likely to be a target of such espionage.” More recently, FBI counterintelligence officer John Cole has reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the [in]Justice Department. He provides a conservative estimate of 125 viable investigations into Israeli espionage — involving both American citizens and Israelis — that were stopped due to political pressure.

So the answer to the question “Is Israel an ally of the United States?” is most definitely no. Is it even a friend? Well, I suppose there are “all kinds” of friends in the world. But if you judge Israel by its record — on how it interacts with the American government and people, I think the answer would also have to be no.

Thank you.

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