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FTR #449 The July Surprise

Recorded March 7, 2004
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MP3 One segment [1]
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NB: This stream contains both FTRs #448 and #449 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broadcast.

Hypothetical in nature, this program examines the possibility that the GOP and the Bush campaign sabotaged attempts by the Clinton administration to broker a Middle East peace agreement. Had the Camp David negotiations that dissolved in July of 2000 been successful and resulted in an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, the boost the Democratic camp would have received as a result would have greatly increased the electoral fortunes of Al Gore. Gore might well have won the election. Was there a July Surprise, that subverted the peace process? Beginning with an account of apparent collusion between the Reagan-Bush campaign of 1980 and the PLO, the broadcast examines the possibility that this liaison grew into a more profound accommodation in the late ’80’s. Eventually, many of the “moderate” P.L.O. figures were brought to the US under the stewardship of then Secretary of State James Baker to be tutored in the latest PR techniques by the CIA. Dubbed “Baker’s Dozen” by the agency, these individuals comprised the Palestinian negotiating team that walked out of Camp David. In 2000, the Republicans were also in contact with the Israeli right wing and the Likud Party (which came to power as a result of Labor Prime Minister Barak’s failure to secure a peace agreement). This latter contact was realized by former US ambassador to Italy Maxwell Rabb, who brought together the Likud Party and the Italian far right grouped around former P-2 member Silvio Berlusconi. Throughout the late 1990’s, the Republicans had courted the Israeli right in open opposition to Clinton’s Middle East policy. It is altogether possible that, through their twin contacts with the Palestinians and the Israeli Right, the Bush forces sabotaged the peace process.

Program Highlights Include: The Saudi sponsorship of the PLO and the probable role of this relationship in subverting the peace talks; the fact that petroleum CEO Dick Cheney was named as Bush’s running mate on the same day that Arafat & company walked out of the peace talks; the possible PLO role in the October Surprise; Clinton’s veto of the Dole amendment that would have moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a move opposed by Yitzhak Rabin.

1. The program begins with an account of apparent contact between the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign and representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Reagan/Bush forces were working to enlist the P.L.O. in an effort to prevail on the Khomeini forces in Iran to withhold the American hostages taken from the U.S. embassy in 1979, until Jimmy Carter’s humiliation and consequent election defeat was assured. (For more about what has come to be called “the October Surprise”, see RFA#’s 31, 38—available from Spitfire—as well as FTR#445.) As indicated here, the Reagan-Bush forces proposed that such a bargain would result in political and diplomatic gains for the P.L.O. Among the subjects discussed below is “Baker’s Dozen”—P.L.O. “moderates” recruited by Reagan Secretary of State James Baker and the CIA. “Baker’s Dozen” comprised the bulk of the P.L.O. negotiating team that abandoned the 2000 peace process on the same day that Bush named Cheney as his running mate. ” . . . P.L.O. representative Bassam Abu Sharif, Yasir Arafat’s chief spokesman, told journalist Morgan Strong that a Reagan backer had approached P.L.O. headquarters. ‘During the first campaign, the Reagan people contacted me,’ claims Abu Sharif. ‘One of Reagan’s closes friends and a major financial contributor to the campaign. . . . He kept referring to him as Ronnie. . . . He said he wanted the P.L.O. to use its influence to delay the release of the American hostages from the embassy in Tehran until after the election. . . . They asked that I contact the chairman [Arafat] and make the request. . . . We were told that if the hostages were held, the P.L.O. would be given recognition as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian peoples and the White House door would be open for us.'” (“October Surprise News Coverage [House of Representatives—February, 1992]”; p. 29 [of 64]; accessed at http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1992_cr/h920205-october-clips.htm.)

2. “The P.L.O. was a reasonable choice to serve as hostage broker. Two weeks after the embassy take-over, Arafat negotiated the release of 13 Americans. If Arafat could persuade Khomeini to release some hostages, he might just as easily persuade him to hold the rest a little longer. The P.L.O. has so far refused to document those charges. ‘We have the proof if it is denied,’ says Abu Sharif. ‘And they said they would deny it if it ever become public. I hope it does, because I would like to drop the bombshell on them.’ Still, we have no corroborating details to confirm the account.” (Idem.)

2. One of the questions posed in the broadcast concerns the possibility that the contacts between the Reagan-Bush camp discussed above subsequently led to a realization of the diplomatic cooperation proposed during the 1980 approach. Key members of the PLO negotiating team at Camp David were proteges of the anti-Semitic James Baker, the elder George Bush’s Secretary of State. Baker brought key Palestinian “moderates” to the United States, where they were coached in the latest PR techniques by the CIA. Termed “Baker’s Dozen” by the Agency, they have become the darlings of the so-called “progressive sector.” In conjunction with the failure of the 2000 peace talks, one should bear in mind the fact that the PLO is bankrolled primarily by Saudi Arabia and the Saudis are deeply involved with the Bush/Republican milieu. “According to our sources, the CIA secretly brought several moderate Palestinians to the United States for intensive briefing. This group, code named ‘Baker’s Dozen,’ included most of the ‘official’ Palestinian negotiating team with Israel: ‘Hanan Ashrawi, Hanna Seniora, Saeb Erakat, Sari Nusseibeh and other lower ranking Palestinians were summoned to Langley for a three day conference on integrating their politics with the U.S. . . . Ashrawi was singled out as a good Palestinian image spokeswoman dubbed by the Company—the Palestinian Golda Meir.'” (The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People; John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 [SC]; St. Martin’s Press; ISBN 0-312-15648-0; p. 476.)

3. Next, the broadcast highlights the GOP’s active subversion of the Clinton administration’s attempts to broker a Middle East peace agreement. The Republicans actively courted the Israeli right wing and undermined the Clinton policy at every turn. In 1998, after Hillary Clinton had endorsed the concept of a Palestinian state, Newt Gingrich traveled to Israel and, in an address to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), he repudiated what Mrs. Clinton had proposed. The Republicans tried to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Clinton viewed this as inimical to the peace process, and the legislation passed by the Republican-dominated Congress was vetoed. “Indeed, constitutionally, the President can suspend the application of a law approved by Congress if he judges it contrary to the higher interests of the country, as was the case for the Dole law that proposed to transfer the embassy of the United States to Jerusalem.” (Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 167.)

4. The broadcast then reprises an excerpt from FTR#252. This excerpt sets forth networking between the Vatican-linked milieu of Silvio Berlusconi, elements of Israel’s far-right Likud Party and Maxwell Rabb, former US Ambassador to Italy—a long-time liaison figure between the U.S. right-wing and their Italian counterparts. The meeting described here took place in early 2000. One can only wonder if this networking was connected to the US Republican Party’s undermining of the Clinton/Gore administration’s attempts at brokering a Mideast Peace. What is clear is that the Republicans were in touch with both the Israeli right-wing and its Likud Party and the P.L.O. “moderates” who comprise the bulk of the negotiating team at Camp David. (For more about this, see FTR#344, 346, 430.) (“International Fascist Axis” by Gerry Gable; The Searchlight; October of 20000–#304; p. 9.) Berlusconi is a former member of Licio Gelli’s P-2 lodge. (For more on Berlusconi, see also: Miscellaneous Archive Show M-60, FTRs 217, 229. His associate Fini is the head of the National Alliance, the direct successor to Mussolini’s fascist party in Italy. For more on Fini, see M-60, FTRs 94, 113. For more on the Italian far-right and the P-2 Lodge, see also: RFAs 17-19, 20, 21, 25, 34, Miscellaneous Archive Shows M-60, M-61, as well as FTRs 43, 59, 70, 71, 80, 81, 98, 185, 213, 217, 221, 229, 237. For more on fascist elements in the Zionist movement, see also: Miscellaneous Archive Shows M-30, M-48, FTRs 94, 113. This should not be misunderstood as characterizing all, or even most of the Zionist movement as fascist.)

5. In the context of the Baker affiliation to the Palestinian negotiators, it is interesting to note that the day that petroleum industry professional Dick Cheney (another Bush, Sr. cabinet officer) was named as George W’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Yasser Arafat walked out of the Camp David peace talks that were being brokered by President Clinton. (“Clinton Ends Deadlocked Peace Talks” by Jane Perlez; New York Times; 7/26/2000; p. A1; “Bush Names Cheney, Citing ‘Integrity’ and ‘Experience'” by Frank Bruni; New York Times; 7/26/2000; p. A1.) The possibility that the Republican/petroleum industry/Saudi connection may have played a back channel role in interdicting the peace talks is not a possibility to be too readily discounted. (It should be noted that, as discussed in FTR#284, the elder George Bush was in touch with the Saudi Royal family during the 2000 campaign through the Carlyle group. As noted in FTR#214, the Bush/Saudi connection appears to have helped to destroy Jimmy Carter’s election prospects in 1980. Had President Clinton successfully brokered the Israeli/Palestinian peace process, it might have very well given the 2000 election to Al Gore. Did the Republicans, acting through “Baker’s Dozen”, the Saudi bankrollers of the PLO and the Israeli right-wing sabotage the peace talks? Was there a “July Surprise”? Note in this context that Ehud Barak’s failure to secure a peace treaty led to his election defeat and the elevation of the Likud right-wing that had been in touch with Maxwell Rabb and the Italian fascists. Rabb was killed in a fall on the way to work in June of 2002.