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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Wall Street Journal Alibis for Nazi-style Crimes in Iraq

In an editorial titled “As bad as the Nazis,” the Wall Street Journal Monday launched a smear campaign against the International Committee of the Red Cross, while attempting to cover up the crimes carried out by the US military in the illegal war in Iraq.

The newspaper’s editorial board, whose right-wing writings closely reflect prevailing opinion within the Bush administration, feigned outrage at an alleged incident in which an exasperated Red Cross official compared the US personnel at Camp Bucca, a detention camp in Iraq, to Nazi concentration camp guards.

The real source of the Journal’s ire, however, was the ICRC’s May 19 statement revealing that it had repeatedly complained to US authorities over the abuses against the Koran at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp that were referred to in a brief report published by Newsweek magazine earlier this month.

The ICRC’s account cut across a campaign orchestrated by the Bush administration to exploit a technical error in the story in order to portray the well-documented charges over the Koran as a media fabrication. Newsweek and the rest of the mass media cravenly acquiesced to this campaign, helping to assure its success and allowing the administration to imply that the long list of revelations of US crimes, from Abu Ghraib on, were all merely the slanderous inventions of a “biased” press.

The ICRC statement, the Journal complains, “came just as the US was scrambling to undo the damage in the Muslim world from the discredited Newsweek story.”

This is patent nonsense. The “damage in the Muslim world” came not from a two-paragraph item in Newsweek, but from the wars of aggression, mass detentions, torture and murder carried out by the Bush administration from Iraq to Guantánamo over the course of nearly four years. The magazine’s story at most provided an incidental spark that ignited the explosive outrage against US policies and practices that exists throughout the region.

The Journal editorial attributes the ICRC statement to an “ideological” inclination by the ICRC to “embarrass the United States, however unfairly.” As to the source of this alleged bias, the editorial provides not a clue.

The ICRC itself, however, made it fairly clear why it chose to break its usual silence on what it finds in its inspections and speak out on the Koran issue.

“Since these reports have become public in other channels, and because of their impact in Afghanistan and around the world, we decided we could report that we had brought this to authorities’ attention and that our work had value,” the organization’s spokesman Simon Schorno said last week.

In other words, the ICRC was attempting to defend its own credibility in the region, making clear that it had spoken out and was not complicit in the brutal abuse of detainees. It begins not from Washington’s propaganda spin, but from the reality that the charges against the US are correctly believed by millions throughout the Muslim world.

As for why the ICRC would have a conflictive relationship with Washington, the explanation is not to be found in some hidden ideological agenda, as the Journal suggests, but in the employment by US authorities of extra-legal measures that repudiate the treaties under which the organization operates, including the Geneva Conventions.

In Iraq and elsewhere, this has meant denying Red Cross inspectors access to US-run detention facilities and hiding so-called “ghost” detainees within them.

Echoing the logic used by those who have erected Washington’s worldwide network of detention camps and torture centers, the Journal dismisses as “absurd” an earlier International Red Cross report that denounced the indefinite imprisonment without charges of the Guantánamo detainees as “tantamount to torture.”

The Journal’s editors note that the ICRC had also complained that Washington had refused to grant the Guantánamo detainees prisoner of war status, adding, “POWs are explicitly allowed by the Geneva Conventions to be held indefinitely—that is, for the duration of a conflict.”

This cynical piece of sophistry essentially boils down to an assertion that the US is bound by no law and can do whatever it wants with anyone it chooses to brand as a “terrorist.” The “conflict” that it refers to—the Bush administration’s “global war on terrorism”—is a pretext for never-ending US wars of aggression abroad. Bush and others have declared that this so-called war will last for decades, meaning that the American administration arrogates to itself the right to detain anyone for as long as they live, without having to produce a shred of evidence against them.

What about the Journal’s self-righteous umbrage over the alleged Nazi reference? The editorialists themselves acknowledge that news of their planned editorial had leaked before its publication Monday. Warnings appeared on the Internet, they wrote, “that we were out to smear the ICRC.”

This is no doubt the case—however much the editorialists deny it. But can an accusation—whether true or false—that someone has compared what is happening inside US detention camps to the practices of the Nazis really be considered a smear?

If the remark was indeed made, it undoubtedly slipped out in a moment of anger and frustration on the part of an ICRC official who was being stonewalled, if not threatened, by the US military. These officials are trained in the art of diplomacy and tend to avoid such plain speech so as not to prejudice their access to places where Nazi-style torture and abuse take place.

Clearly, Camp Bucca is not the equivalent of Auschwitz or Treblinka, where the Nazis systematically exterminated millions in the gas chambers. But there is an undeniable connection between the methods that produced those historic crimes and the methods that have given rise to the US-organized atrocities against the Iraqi people.

Denying any desire to “smear” the ICRC, the Journal states, “We are trying to understand how a representative of an organization pledged to neutrality and the honest investigation of detainee practices could compare American soldiers to the Nazi SS.”

Well, they might begin by re-reading the report issued by Major General Antonio Taguba on the undeniable abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and Camp Bucca. Following the release of photographs of torture and sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib, the Pentagon had no choice but to investigate and issue this report as a form of damage control. Given its source, the document is a telling indication of the depravity that dominates the US enterprise in Iraq.

Among the “intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel” listed by Tabuga were the following:

* punching, slapping and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;

* videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees.

* forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;

* forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;

* forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear;

* forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;

* arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;

* positioning a naked detainee on a box [of meals ready to eat], with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes and penis to simulate electric torture;

* writing “I am a Rapest” (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year-old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;

* placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture;

* a male MP [military police] guard having sex with a female detainee;

* using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;

* taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.

In addition to these acts—which could not be denied because of photographic or videotape evidence—the general said he found “credible” descriptions by detainees of other acts, including:

* breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

* threatening detainees with a charged 9-millimeter pistol;

* pouring cold water on naked detainees;

* beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

* threatening male detainees with rape;

* allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;

* sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broomstick.

Or, the Journal might arrive at a better understanding of the analogy between the Nazis and Camp Bucca by reviewing the testimony of Hossam Shaltout, an Egyptian-born Canadian citizen and permanent US resident detained by the US military in Iraq in 2003.

“He described Camp Bucca as a ‘torture camp,’ where soldiers beat and humiliated prisoners—including having them lie naked atop each other or pose in sexual positions,” the Knight Ridder news agency reported. “Shaltout said he saw soldiers tie groups of naked prisoners together. He said they hogtied his hands and legs and placed scorpions on his body. ‘American soldiers love scorpions,’ Shaltout said.”

“They did unspeakable things to Iraqis,” Shaltout told CBC last year. “They wanted confessions,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t have anything to confess.”

Last February a group of Muslim clerics in Baghdad cited letters from detainees recounting horrific forms of abuse, including US guards breaking prisoners’ legs, smashing their fingers and forcing them to sit for hours inside large freezers.

Then there was a December Washington Post report citing the experience of Ahnad Naje Dulaimi, a 23-year-old Baghdad waiter picked up for interrogation and sent to Camp Bucca. He was confronted with a American male and female and a Kuwaiti interpreter. “The male soldier strode into the room, Dulaimi said, and immediately urinated on his head,” the Post reported.

The military has itself been forced to confirm some of the abuse at Bucca. Four soldiers from the 320th Military Police Battalion were charged with systematically beating prisoners. Two soldiers would hold the detainees’ legs apart while a third kicked them in the groin.

Is this not precisely the style of the Nazi bullyboys? And, isn’t the twisted ideology underlying it similar to that propagated by the Third Reich among its troops sent to conquer Poland and Russia? Those they confronted were subhumans or Untermenschen and therefore no restrictions applied to the cruelty that could be inflicted upon them.

And the purpose of this cruelty is also much the same today as it was in occupied Europe 60 years ago. Human rights organizations have credibly estimated that 90 percent of those who are arrested and detained by US forces have nothing to do with the armed struggle against the occupation. No matter how much they are tortured, they indeed have nothing to confess. But their brutalization is aimed at terrorizing the population, physically intimidating it into withdrawing support for the resistance.

Even more importantly, the source of the crimes in Iraq and of those committed by Hitler’s SS is in essence the same: the launching of a criminal war of aggression.

This was the finding of the Nuremberg Trials, which found that all of the crimes of Nazism flowed from Hitler’s regime having planned and executed an aggressive war.

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 were enacted in response to the Nazi crimes in occupied Europe. Having embarked on an unprovoked war of aggression and embraced a policy of “preventive war,” it is hardly an accident that the Bush administration has repudiated these very conventions, finding them, in the words of former White House counsel and current US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, “quaint.”

The conclusion of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial is that it is time to do away with the 140-year-old International Committee of the Red Cross as well. “The world needs a truly neutral humanitarian body of the sort the ICRC is supposed to be,” it states. “But the Camp Bucca incident ... is evidence it isn’t currently up to the task.”

The journalistic warmongers at the Journal, reflecting the views of their patrons in the Bush White House, cannot tolerate any challenge to US policy or to Washington’s falsification and cover-up of its criminal activity in Iraq. Those who cannot be cowed, as Newsweek has been, must be eliminated.

Bill Van Auken
25 May 2005
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AIPAC's Big, Bigger, Biggest Moment

How Much Clout Does AIPAC Have?

Well, consider that during the pro-Israel lobby's annual conference yesterday, a fleet of police cars, sirens wailing, blocked intersections and formed a motorcade to escort buses carrying its conventioneers -- to lunch

The annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has long produced a massive show of bipartisan pandering, as lawmakers praise the well-financed and well-connected group. But this has been a rough year for AIPAC -- it has dismissed its policy director and another employee while the FBI examines whether they passed classified U.S. information to Israel -- and the organization is eager to show how big it is.

Reporters arriving at the convention center yesterday were given a list of "Food Facts" for the three-day AIPAC meeting: 26,000 kosher meals, 32,640 hors d'oeuvres, 2,500 pounds of salmon, 1,200 pounds of turkey, 900 pounds of chicken, 700 pounds of beef and 125 gallons of hummus.

Another fact sheet announced that this is the "largest ever" conference, with its 5,000 participants attending "the largest annual seated dinner in Washington" joined by "more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address." The group added that its membership "has nearly doubled" over four years to 100,000 and that the National Journal calls it "one of the top four most effective lobbying organizations."

"More," "most," "largest," "top": The superlatives continued, and deliberately. In his speech Sunday, the group's executive director, Howard Kohr, said the "record attendance" at the conference would dispel questions about AIPAC raised by the FBI investigation.

"This is a test, a test of our collective resolve," Kohr said of the "unique challenge" presented by the FBI probe, "and your presence here today sends a message to every adversary of Israel, AIPAC and the Jewish community that we are here, and here to stay." (The official text has two exclamation points after that sentence.) Kohr, without mentioning the fired staffers, told participants that "neither AIPAC nor any of its current employees is or ever has been the target."

As yesterday's session showed, the scandal isn't keeping the powerful from lining up to woo AIPAC. The morning brought Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the evening brought congressional leaders, and at a luncheon "debate" in between, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and informal administration foreign policy adviser Richard N. Perle tried to one-up each other in pro-Israel views.

Perle drew cheers for denouncing Palestinian anti-Semitism and the French. Harman mentioned that an aide once worked for AIPAC, called her audience "very sophisticated" and celebrated Yasser Arafat's death as "a blessing." Debating a hard-liner in front of a pro-administration crowd, Harman heaped praise on President Bush, calling the Iraqi elections "sensationally impressive" and moving to "applaud" or "commend" Perle and the administration a dozen times. "Richard is right, and so is President Bush," she said at one point.

But after half an hour of this, Harman could not keep up. Perle provoked cheers from the crowd when he favored a military raid on Iran, saying that "if Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon, I think we will have no choice but to take decisive action." When Harman said the "best short-term option" is the U.N. Security Council, the crowd reacted with boos.

AIPAC is a demanding crowd, and even Rice, introduced as a "very special friend," did not satisfy universally. The participants applauded heartily her reminder that Bush did not meet with Arafat, but when she said Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, "is committed to both freedom and security," and when she mentioned more U.S. funds for Palestinians, the room was quiet.

Likewise, Rice's call for Arab states to "establish normal relations with Israel" earned an extended ovation; her reminder that Israel must not "jeopardize the true viability of the Palestinian state" did not.

There were subtle signs of dissent within AIPAC (a sticker critical of Israel's "disengagement" from Gaza, a policy supported by AIPAC) and not-so-subtle dissent from without: a group of anti-Zionist orthodox Jews with signs proclaiming, "Torah Forbids any Jewish State." But the attendees overall showed an impressive ideological discipline -- right down to AIPAC's multimedia show, "Iran's Path to the Bomb," in the convention center's basement.

The exhibit, worthy of a theme park, begins with a narrator condemning the International Atomic Energy Agency for being "unwilling to conclude that Iran is developing nuclear weapons" (it had similar reservations about Iraq) and the Security Council because it "has yet to take up the issue." In a succession of rooms, visitors see flashing lights and hear rumbling sounds as Dr. Seuss-like contraptions make yellowcake uranium, reprocess plutonium, and pop out nuclear warheads like so many gallons of hummus for an AIPAC conference.

Dana Milbank
05/25/05 "Washington Post"
© Copyright 1996-2005 The Washington Post Company

Amnesty Takes Aim at 'Gulag' in Guantanamo

Amnesty International castigated the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay as a failure Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time" in the human rights group's harshest rebuke yet of American detention policies.

Amnesty urged Washington to shut down the prison at the U.S. Navy's base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where some 540 men are held on suspicion of links to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or the al-Qaida terror network. Some have been jailed for more than three years without charge.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Amnesty's complaints were "ridiculous and unsupported by the facts." He said allegations of prisoner mistreatment are investigated.

"We hold people accountable when there's abuse. We take steps to prevent it from happening again. And we do so in a very public way for the world to see that we lead by example and that we do have values that we hold very dearly and believe in," McClellan told reporters.

In its annual report, Amnesty accused governments around the world of abandoning human rights protections. It said Sudan failed to protect its people from one of the world's worst humanitarian crises and charged Haiti promoted human rights abusers.

But one of the biggest disappointments in the human rights arena was with the United States, Amnesty said, "after evidence came to light that the U.S. administration had sanctioned interrogation techniques that violated the U.N. Convention against Torture."

"Guantanamo has become the gulag of our time," Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan said as the London-based group issued a 308-page annual report that accused the United States of shirking its responsibility to set the bar for human rights protections.

The use of the term gulag refers to the extensive system of prison camps in the former Soviet Union, many in remote regions of Siberia and specifically designed to hold political prisoners. The Soviets took over the system from the czarist government and expanded it after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Untold thousands of prisoners of the so-called gulags died from hunger, cold, harsh treatment and overwork.

The prison camp at Guantanamo has been in the spotlight over the past year since the FBI cited cases of aggressive interrogation techniques and detainee mistreatment. The U.S. government has also been criticized for not charging or trying prisoners who are classified as enemy combatants, a vague distinction with fewer legal protections than prisoners of war get under the Geneva Conventions.

Some prisoners have challenged their detentions in U.S. courts but their cases are stalled by appeals filed by the U.S. government and subsequent arguments.

"Not a single case from some 500 men has reached the courts," Khan said.

In a statement, the Defense Department said that "the detention of enemy combatants is not criminal in nature, but to prevent them from continuing to fight against the United States in the War on Terrorism."

It also said that it continued to evaluate whether detainees should be sent home and that review tribunals "provided an appropriate venue for detainees to meaningfully challenge their enemy combatant designation."

"This is an unprecedented level of process being provided to our enemies in a time of war," the statement said.

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, which has also been critical of practices at Guantanamo, is the only independent group to have access to the detainees. Amnesty has been refused access to the prison, although it was allowed to watch pretrial hearings for 15 detainees who have been charged.

Amnesty has frequently criticized U.S. detention policies instituted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, but its latest report takes a harsher tone. It accuses Washington of trying to "sanitize" abuse of detainees and failing to give prisoners legal recourse to challenge their detentions.

The report also takes aim at recent abuse allegations that have surfaced in FBI documents as well as prisoner testimonies, echoing concerns from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross said last week it had told U.S. authorities of detainee allegations that Qurans had been desecrated. It also offered a rare public rebuke in late 2003, calling the prisoners' prolonged detentions "worrying."

Declassified FBI records released Wednesday showed that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay told U.S. interrogators as early as April 2002, just four months after the first detainees arrived from Afghanistan, that U.S. military guards abused them and desecrated the Quran.

Another detainee stated he had been beaten unconscious at Guantanamo Bay early in 2002, a period in which U.S. interrogators were pressing hard for information on al-Qaida.

Amnesty singled out Sudan as one of the worst violators of human rights last year for the devastation caused by conflict in its Darfur region. At least 180,000 people have died — many from hunger and disease — and about 2 million have fled their homes to escape fighting among rebels, militias and government troops.

Sudan's government not only turned its back on its people, but the United Nations and African Union took too long to try to help those suffering in Darfur, Amnesty said.

Amnesty also criticized the African Union and the international community for not taking action on Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe's party has been accused of rigging elections, repressing opponents and driving agriculture to the brink of collapse.

In Haiti, human rights violators who led the rebellion that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide last year were able to retake key positions, while the government struggled to maintain control from armed groups, Amnesty said.

The group accused Israeli soldiers of operating outside international law by using torture, destroying property and obstructing medical assistance in the West Bank and Gaza. It also condemned the deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians by Palestinian militants.

In Asia, people were jailed indefinitely without trial in Malaysia and Singapore, religious minorities were persecuted in China and Vietnam and security forces committed extra-judicial killings in Nepal, Thailand and Indonesia, Amnesty said.

PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press WriterWed May 25, 7:15 PM ET

On the Net:

Amnesty International: www.amnesty.org

Defense Department: www.defenselink.mil/news/detainees.html

AIPAC Holds National Meeting Amid Spy Scandal Investigation

A Pentagon analyst accused of leaking top-secret information to a pro-Israel group faces a new charge of illegally taking classified government documents out of the Washington area to his West Virginia residence. Larry Franklin was arrested on May 4th for passing top secret information to employees of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. [includes rush transcript]
A Pentagon analyst accused of leaking top-secret information to a pro-Israel group faces a new charge of illegally taking classified government documents out of the Washington area to his West Virginia residence.
Larry Franklin - one of the Pentagon's top analysts working on Iran - was arrested on May 4th for passing top secret information to employees of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The highly classified information was then passed on to Israeli officials.

Yesterday, AIPAC closed its three day policy conference in Washington D.C. AIPAC is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington D.C. It is consistently ranked among the top five most influential interest groups in Fortune magazine's poll of annual poll of Washington insiders. APIAC has a $40 million annual budget, offices across the country and a staff of lobbyists and researchers in the capital that work on persuading the U.S government to continue sending billions of dollars in aid to Israel every year.

This conference was AIPAC's largest with 5,000 participants. Speakers included Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. An AIPAC fact sheet about the conference stated that there were "more members of Congress" in attendance "than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address."

AIPAC is not named in the criminal complaint but government officials had previously said Franklin met with two officials from the organization at a restaurant in June 2003. Those two men - AIPAC's policy director Steve Rosen and Iran specialist Keith Weissman -- have since been fired. Franklin has been accused of providing AIPAC with a draft presidential directive that proposed a tougher policy on Iran, which included consideration of covert action towards regime change.

Yesterday's charge of unlawfully possessing classified federal defense documents focuses on top secret CIA files found in Franklin's home. He was released yesterday on $50,000 bond and faces a June 9 hearing.

If convicted on yesterday's charge Franklin faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The earlier charge carries a similar prison term.

We are joined on the phone right now by Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com.

Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com. He has an article on Larry Franklin in the forthcoming issue of The American Conservative. His latest piece on this story on AntiWar.com is called "Larry Franklin and the Axis of Espionage."


AMY GOODMAN: We're joined on the phone now by Justin Raimondo. He’s editorial director of AntiWar.com, has been writing extensively about this, recently wrote, “The Franklin Affair: A Spreading Treason.” “There's more to the AIPAC spy scandal than mishandling classified information,” Justin Raimondo writes. Tell us about this scandal.

JUSTIN RAIMONDO: Well, you have to understand that it didn't really start on June 26, 2003, when the FBI was eavesdropping on a conversation between Franklin, Weissman and Rosen. It started right after 9/11. That's when the investigation, you know, started. And the FBI was already watching Weissman and Rosen. And so, Franklin walked in, you know, on this meeting, and the FBI was stunned. They thought, “What's this guy doing here?” So, they started watching Franklin. And that's what led to the charges today, and the other charges, which were issued last week. So, you know, it didn't start with Larry Franklin, and it's not going to end with Larry Franklin, either.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to talk about the power of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which just closed this massive conference, considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, one of the top five most influential interest groups in Fortune magazine's annual poll of Washington insiders, has a $40 million annual budget. The conference, about 5,000 people turned out, among the speakers, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. An AIPAC fact sheet about the conference said there were more members of Congress in attendance than almost any other event except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union Address.

JUSTIN RAIMONDO: Well, you know, as you said, you know, it has legendary power. And it doesn't have to register as a foreign agent, even though its top officials are passing classified information on to Israel. And still, there's been no outcry to have them register. You know, you left out the Democratic Party, you know, leaders who were there. Nancy Pelosi gave a speech. All of these people gave speeches and they didn't mention a single word about this espionage investigation. Now, Mr. Rosen was Mr. AIPAC. That's what he was known as in Washington. He had been with them for over 20 years, and for him to be arrested, which is going to happen shortly, is just, you know, phenomenal. I mean, it’s like, you know, well, you know, there's no comparison, really. You know, like for him to be arrested like this, you know, and named in this investigation is very incriminating, and I am appalled that, you know, Condi Rice and all of these, you know, like, leaders of both parties would actually show up at this conference.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, at the same time, the First Lady, Laura Bush, has been in the Middle East, and one of the most serious protests she faced, where the protesters came closer to her than in any other situation, was those as she was going to the Wailing Wall, calling for Jonathan Pollard to be released. There wasn't a lot of attention to this in the media, or they didn't identify exactly who the protesters were. I was wondering if many thought they were Palestinian protesters, but is there a parallel here with what Jonathan Pollard did?

JUSTIN RAIMONDO: Absolutely. You know, Pollard stole the crown jewels of the U.S. intelligence community, which was how we encrypt and how we spy on other countries, and so what he did was that he handed over this stuff to Israel, and Israel handed it over to the Soviet Union, and the Soviets executed dozens of U.S. agents inside the Soviet Union. But, you know, it's interesting that the Pollardites would confront Laura in the Holy Land, but here, you know, like, nobody is confronting the Pollardites. You know, they openly have this conference, and --

AMY GOODMAN: Does AIPAC lobby for Jonathan Pollard to be released?

JUSTIN RAIMONDO: Oh, yes. I mean, you know, that's an ongoing campaign. Reportedly, Ariel Sharon has been asking for his release. They're still pressing for that. You know, you do remember that Clinton almost let him go, and George Tenet threatened to resign along with a lot of other top government officials if Clinton did it, so Clinton backed down. I suspect that Bush would get the same reaction from the intelligence community today, though, you know, perhaps Mr. Sharon is now negotiating for Larry Franklin’s release and whoever else is going to be arrested.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about exactly what they found, the latest charges, the files in Larry Franklin’s home?

JUSTIN RAIMONDO: Well, it's very interesting. According to an affidavit by an FBI agent who investigated the case, some of the documents were listed as a Terrorism Situation Report from a Terrorism Threat Integration Center. And these were classified as top secret. Another document was from the CIA, and it talked about al-Qaeda. Another one talked about Osama bin Laden, and where he is. And then there was the famous policy memorandum on Iraq, but that seems less important. So, I mean, what was this guy doing? He had 83 documents in his house, top secret. Half of them were top secret. And so, he had a library of highly classified information. And the question was, where did he get all of this stuff, and what was he planning to do with it? And who was checking stuff out of this library, and for what purpose? So, I mean, Larry Franklin is the dorsal fin of a whale. And we're just seeing that dorsal fin hit the surface, but there's a lot under the water that still hasn't surfaced. Some of it will surface in this trial. But I expect other charges. You know, we have yet to see Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman either charged or indicted, but that's expected soon. I have an article, by the way, coming out in the American Conservative, which talks about this.

AMY GOODMAN: And what is the response of the conservative community?

JUSTIN RAIMONDO: Well, you know, it's very interesting because you have got neoconservatives who, you know, are almost like old-line communists who would always defend the Soviet Union no matter what, and you know. I mean, to this day, they say, oh, like, the Rosenbergs were innocent, when in fact they were guilty. So, you know, you have got this kind of party line "Israel can do no wrong," but then you have got real conservatives who are saying, “What's going on here? Why is Israel spying on us, and why are these people apologizing for it?”

AMY GOODMAN: On that note, Justin Raimondo, I want to thank you for being with us. Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of the website, AntiWar.com.