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FTR #567 The Socialism of Fools

He Who Tells the Truth Gets Chased out of Nine Villages, Part IV

Listen: MP3  One, 30-minute segment

Recorded September 9, 2006
NB: This stream contains both FTR #s 567 and 568 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broadcast.

Introduction: A European social critic termed anti-Semitism “the socialism of fools.” In the wake of the Lebanon war, anti-Semitism has been more evident than ever, particularly in Europe and in the so-called progressive sector in the United States. In the wake of the US invasion of Iraq, blame for that tragic misadventure has been ascribed by many to the “Israel Lobby” and the neo-cons (some of whom are Jewish). Much of this broadcast sets forth journalist Greg Palast’s analysis of the contention that the Iraq war was a Jewish conspiracy. Not surprisingly, Palast concludes that the driving force behind the invasion was not “Jews,” but the petroleum industry, utilizing its profound influence in the administration of George Bush, who (like Vice President Cheney) is a former petroleum industry CEO. Earlier in 2006, an article generated at Harvard University cited the “Israel Lobby” as a counterproductive force in American society—one that undermines America’s position in the world. The publication of that article followed on the heels of a multi-million dollar endowment by Saudi Prince Alwaleed to Harvard, an occurrence that may not be unconnected to the publication of the paper on the Israel Lobby. Alwaleed’s gift and the paper that followed on its heels were foreshadowed by Islamist and neo-Nazi Achmed Huber, a director of apparent Al Qaeda funding source Bank Al Taqwa.

Program Highlights Include: A virulently anti-Semitic article published in a Berkeley [California] community newspaper; Grover Norquist’s authorship of the plan for privatization of the Iraqi economy; the influence of the James A. Baker Institute on the genesis of the Iraqi invasion plans.

1. Exemplifying “the socialism of fools”, a Berkeley community paper published an article that epitomized the sort of rabid anti-Semitism that has become almost routine in parts of the so-called progressive political sector. “The fallout from an opinion piece published in Berkeley’s twice-weekly community newspaper has mushroomed well beyond the confines of the nation’s first designated Nuclear-Free Zone. And while it is not unusual for The Berkeley Daily Planet’s executive editor and owner Becky O’Malley to publish controversial, far-flung opinion pieces and wacko reader responses, the decision to run a commentary headlined ‘Zionist Crimes in Lebanon’ is being questioned by scores of critics. The article, which appeared as commentary on the opinion pages of the newspaper’s Aug. 8 edition was more an attack on Jewish people than a logical argument against Israel’s massive military response to the continuing rocket attacks from Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. . . .”
(“Why Did Berkeley Paper Run anti-Jewish Column?” by Chip Johnson; San Francisco Chronicle; 9/1/2006; p. B1.)

2. “ . . . ‘Let us go back to 539 B.C., when Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, went to Babylonia and liberated Jews. One can ask why Jews were enslaved by Babylonians. Also, one can ask why Jews had problems with Egyptians, with Jesus, with Europeans, and in modern times with Germans?’ wrote Arianpour, a former Berkeley resident who is a student in India. The newspaper’s critics, and here are plenty of them, aren’t too interested in Arianpour’s historical view. What more than two dozen rabbis and Jewish community groups and scores of Bay Area residents really want to know is why in the heck would the paper print such an inflammatory, hateful piece in a newspaper that makes its mark with stories about Berkeley land-use and City Hall politics? It’s a reasonable question.” (Idid.; pp. B1-B7.)

3. “The Anti-Defamation League’s Northern California chapter sent O’Malley a letter demanding a public apology for the article. It carries the signatures of more than a half-dozen elected officials from the East Bay, including the mayors of Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville. The letter described the author’s words as ‘a racist attack on all people of Jewish descent when he asserted that Jews have been the cause of every tragedy that has befallen them—from slavery in Egypt to the Holocaust. We are not surprised when hate-mongers make such statements or when neo-Nazi publications print them. Vulgar and hate-filled statements are written all the time—editors choose whether or not to publish them. We were, however, surprised, to find them in a Berkeley ‘community’ newspaper since racism of any kind violates all that our city and region stands for,’ it read. . . .” (Ibid.; p. B7.)

4. Much of the program consists of an article by journalist Greg Palast, in which he examines the charge that Jews engineered the U.S. invasion of Iraq in order to neutralize an enemy of Israel. This view has achieved considerable circulation in the so-called progressive sector, and has even been parroted by Joseph Wilson, the former diplomat who is married to outed CIA officer Valerie Plame. Palast examines the charge and finds it bogus. Not surprisingly, he concludes that the invasion was backed by elements within the GOP right and the closely-related petroleum lobby. Question: are the President and Vice-President of the United States rabbis, or are they former petroleum industry CEO’s from the state of Texas?! “The US Congress will open hearings this week on the War in Iraq — a wee bit late one might think. But one question at the forefront of the minds of many on both the Left and the Right is sure not to be asked: Did the Jews do it? I mean, after killing Jesus, did the Elders of Zion manipulate the government of the United States into invading Babylon as part of a scheme to abet the expansion of Greater Israel? The question was first posed to me in 2004 when I was speaking at a meeting of Mobilization for Peace in San Jose. A member of the audience asked, ‘ Put it together— Who’s behind this war? Paul Wolfowitz and Elliott Abrams and the Project for a ‘ Jew’ American Century and, and, why don’t you talk about that, huh? And ….’”
(“Was the Invasion of Iraq A Jewish Conspiracy?”; By Greg Palast, Tikkun Magazine; July/August 2006.)

5. “But the questioner never had the full opportunity to complete his query because, flushed and red, he began to charge the stage. The peace activists attempted to detain the gentleman—whose confederates then grabbed some chairs to swing. As the Peace Center was taking on a somewhat warlike character, I chose to call in the authorities and slip out the back. Still, his question intrigued me. As an investigative reporter, ‘ Who’s behind this war?’ seemed like a reasonable challenge—and if it were a plot of Christ-killers and Illuminati, so be it. I just report the facts, ma’am. And frankly, at first, it seemed like the gent had a point, twisted though his spin might be. There was Paul Wolfowitz, before Congress in March 2003, offering Americans the bargain of the century: a free Iraq—not ‘ free’ as in ‘ freedom and democracy’ but free in the sense of this won’t cost us a penny. Wolfowitz testified: ‘ There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money.’” (Idem.)

6. “And where would these billions come from? Wolfowitz told us: ‘ It starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…. The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the next two or three years.’ This was no small matter. The vulpine Deputy Defense Secretary knew that the number one question on the minds of Americans was not, ‘ Does Saddam really have the bomb?’ but ‘ What’s this little war going to cost us?’ However, Wolfowitz left something out of his testimony: the truth. I hunted for weeks for the source of the Pentagon’s oil revenue projections—and found them. They were wildly different from the Wolfowitz testimony. But this was not perjury. Ever since the conviction of Elliott Abrams for perjury before Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings, neither Wolfowitz nor the other Bush factotums swear an oath before testifying. If you don’t raise your hand and promise to tell the truth, ‘ so help me, God,’ you’re off the hook with federal prosecutors. How the Lord will judge that little ploy, we cannot say.” (Ibid.; pp. 47-48.)

7. “But Wolfowitz’s little numbers game can hardly count as a Great Zionist conspiracy. That seemed to come, at first glance, in the form of a confidential 101-page document slipped to our team at BBC’s “Newsnight.” It detailed the economic ‘ recovery’ of Iraq’s post-conquest economy. This blueprint for occupation, we learned, was first devised in secret in late 2001. Notably, this program for Iraq’s recovery wasn’t written by Iraqis; rather, it was promoted by the neo-conservatives of the Defense Department, home of Abrams, Wolfowitz, Harold Rhode and other desktop Napoleons unafraid of moving toy tanks around the Pentagon war room. The neo-cons’ 101-page confidential document, which came to me in a brown envelope in February 2001, just before the tanks rolled, goes boldly where no U.S. invasion plan had gone before: the complete rewrite of the conquered state’s ‘ policies, law and regulations.’ A cap on the income taxes of Iraq’s wealthiest was included as a matter of course. And this was undoubtedly history’s first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright laws. Once the 82nd Airborne liberated Iraq, never again would the Ba’athist dictatorship threaten America with bootleg dubs of Britney Spears’s ‘ …Baby One More Time.’” (Ibid.; p. 48.)

8. Palast notes Grover Norquist’s influence in the creation of the privatization plan for Iraq. As discussed in—among other programs– FTR#’s 435, 454, 515— Norquist has been a point man for the Muslim Brotherhood/Islamist element within the GOP. “It was more like a corporate takeover, except with Abrams tanks instead of junk bonds. It didn’t strike me as the work of a Kosher Cabal for an Imperial Israel. In fact, it smelled of pork—Pig Heaven for corporate America looking for a slice of Iraq, and I suspected its porcine source. I gave it a big sniff and, sure enough, I smelled Grover Norquist. Norquist is the capo di capi of right-wing, big-money influence peddlers in Washington. Those jealous of his inside track to the White House call him ‘ Gopher Nose-Twist.’ A devout Christian, Norquist channeled a million dollars to the Christian Coalition to fight the devil’s tool, legalized gambling. He didn’t tell the Coalition that the loot came from an Indian tribe represented by Norquist’s associate, Jack Abramoff. (The tribe didn’t want competition for its own casino operations.) I took a chance and dropped in on Norquist’s L Street office, and under a poster of his idol [‘ NIXON— NOW MORE THAN EVER’ ], Norquist took a look at the ‘ recovery’ plan for Iraq and practically jumped over my desk to sign it, filled with pride at seeing his baby. Yes, he promoted the privatizations, the tax limit for the rich, and the change in copyright law, all concerns close to the hearts and wallets of his clients.” (Idem.)

9. The neo-cons hoped that an uptick in Iraqi oil production would break OPEC and Saudi Arabia. “The very un-Jewish Norquist may have framed much of the U.S. occupation grabfest, but there was, without doubt, one notable item in the 101-page plan for Iraq which clearly had the mark of Zion on it. On page seventy-three the plan called for the ‘ privatization….[of] the oil and supporting industries,’ the sell-off of every ounce of Iraq’s oil fields and reserves. Its mastermind, I learned, was Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation. For the neo-cons, this was The Big One. Behind it, no less a goal than to bring down the lynchpin of Arab power, Saudi Arabia. It would work like this: the Saudi’s power rests on control of OPEC, the oil cartel which, as any good monopoly, withholds oil from the market, kicking up prices. Sell-off Iraq’s oil fields and private companies will pump oil in their little Iraqi patches to the max. Iraq, the neo-cons hoped, would crank out six million barrels of oil a day, bust its OPEC quota, flood the world market, demolish OPEC and, as the price of oil fell off a cliff, Saudi Arabia would fall to its knees.” (Ibid.; pp. 48-49.)

10. “‘ It’s a no-brainer,’ Cohen told me, at his office at Heritage. It was a dim little cubby, in which, in our hour or two together, the phone rang only once. For a guy who was supposed to be The Godfather of a globe-spanning Zionist scheme to destroy the Arab oil monopoly, he seemed kind of, well…pathetic. And he failed. While the Norquist-promoted sell-offs, flat taxes and copyright laws were dictated into Iraqi law by occupation chief Paul Bremer, the Cohen neo-con oil privatization died an unhappy death. What happened, Ari? ‘ Arab economists,’ he hissed, ‘ hired by the State Department … the witches brew of the Saudi Royal family and Soviet Ostblock.’ Well, the Soviet Ostblock does not exist, but the Arab economists do. I spoke with them in Riyadh, in London, in California, in wry accents mixing desert and Oxford drawls. They speak with confidence, knowing Saudi Arabia’s political authority is protected by the royal families — of Houston petroleum.” (Ibid.; p. 49.)

11. Palast attributes responsibility for the invasion to think tanks associated with the petroleum industry, the James A. Baker III Institute in particular. Baker was secretary of state under Reagan and is very close to the elder George Bush, as well as to Saudi oil interests. Baker’s law firm represented many of the Saudis sued by relatives of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. “After two mad years of hunting, I discovered the real plan for Iraq’s oil, the one that keeps our troops in Fallujah. Some 323 pages long and deeply confidential, it was drafted at the James A. Baker III Institute in Houston, Texas, under the strict guidance of Big Oil’s minions. It was the culmination of a series of planning groups that began in December 2000 with key players from the Baker Institute and Council on Foreign Relations (including one Ken Lay of Enron). This was followed by a State Department invasion-planning session in Walnut Creek, California, in February 2001, only weeks after Bush and Cheney took office. Its concepts received official blessing after a March 2001 gathering of oil chiefs (and Lay) with Dick Cheney where the group reviewed with the Vice-President the map of Iraq’s oil fields. Once I discovered the Big Oil plan, several of the players agreed to speak with me (not, to the chagrin of some, realizing that I rarely hold such conversions without secretly recording them). Most forthright was Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, who was flown into Baghdad on a C-17 to make sure there would be no neo-con monkey business in America’s newest oil fields.” (Idem.)

12. In FTR#564, John Loftus maintained that Mobil/Exxon and other transnational oil companies favored the insurgency in Iraq, because it keeps Iraqi oil off the market and keeps prices high. Palast’s observations fit nicely with Loftus’ analysis. “It had been a very good war for Big Oil, with tripled oil prices meaning tripled profits. In Houston, I asked Carroll, a commanding, steel-straight chief executive, about Ari Cohen’s oil privatization plan, the anti-Saudi ‘ no-brainer.’ ‘ I would agree with that statement’ Caroll told me, ‘ privatization is a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain.’ Bush world is divided in two: neo-cons on one side, and the Establishment (which includes the oil companies and the Saudis) on the other. The plan the Establishment created, crafted by Houston oil men, called for locking up Iraq’s oil with agreements between a new state oil company under ‘ profit-sharing agreements’ with ‘ IOCs’ (International Oil Companies). The combine could ‘ enhance the [Iraq’s] government’s relationship with OPEC,’ it read, by holding the line on quotas and thereby upholding high prices.” (Idem.)

13. “So there you have it. Wolfowitz and his neo-con clique— bookish, foolish, vainglorious—had their asses kicked utterly, finally, and convincingly by the powers of petroleum, the Houston-Riyadh Big Oil axis. Between the neo-cons and Big Oil, it wasn’t much of a contest. The end-game was crushing, final. The Israelites had lost again in the land of Babylon. And to make certain the arriviste neo-cons got the point, public punishment was exacted, from exile to demotion to banishment. In January 2005, neo-con pointman Douglas Feith resigned from the Defense Department; his assistant Larry Franklin later was busted for passing documents to pro-Israel lobbyists. The State Department’s knuckle-dragging enforcer of neo-con orthodoxies, John Bolton, was booted from Washington to New York to the powerless post of U.N. Ambassador. Finally, on March 16, 2005, second anniversary of the invasion, neo-con leader of the pack Wolfowitz was cast out of the Pentagon war room and tossed into the World Bank, moving from the testosterone-powered, war-making decision center to the lending office for Bangladeshi chicken farmers. ‘ The realists,’ crowed the triumphant editor of the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, ‘ have defeated the fantasists!’ So much for the Big Zionist Conspiracy that supposedly directed this war. A half- dozen confused Jews, wandering in the policy desert a long distance from mainstream Jewish views, armed only with Leo Strauss’ silly aphorisms, were no match for Texas oil majors and OPEC potentates with a combined throw weight of half a trillion barrels of oil.” (Ibid.; pp. 49-61.)

14. Next, the program examines the heated debate about the influence of the Israel Lobby in American society. Two professors, John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt from Harvard recently published a paper compiled under the auspices of Harvard University. Intriguingly, the publication of this paper followed shortly on the heels of a multi-million dollar donation to Harvard by Saudi prince Alwaleed. Are the two events connected? “University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer was in town yesterday to elaborate on his view that American Jewish groups are responsible for the war in Iraq, the destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure and many other bad things. As evidence, he cited the influence pro-Israel groups have on ‘John Boner, the House majority leader.’ Actually, Professor, it’s ‘BAY-ner.’ But Mearsheimer quickly dispensed with Boehner (R-Ohio) and moved on to Jewish groups’ nefarious sway over Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who Mearsheimer called’ von Hollen.’”
(“Pronouncing Blame on the Israel Lobby” by Dana Millbank; Washington Post; 8/29/2006; p. A02.)

15. “Such gaffes would be trivial—if Mearsheimer weren’t claiming to be an authority on Washington and how power is wielded here. But Mearsheimer, with co-author Stephen Walt of Harvard’s Kennedy School, set off a furious debate this spring when they argued that ‘the Israel lobby’ is exerting undue influence in Washington; opponents called them anti-Semitic. Yesterday, at the invitation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), they held a forum at the National Press Club to expand on their allegations about the Israel lobby. Blurring the line between academics and activism, they accepted a button proclaiming ‘Fight the Israel Lobby’ and won cheers from the Muslim group for their denunciation of Israel and its friends in the United States. Whatever motivated the performance, the result wasn’t exactly scholarly. . . .: (Idem.)

16. “. . . . This line of argument could be considered a precarious one for two blue-eyed men with Germanic surnames. And, indeed, Walt seemed defensive about the charges of anti-Semitism. He cautioned that the Israel lobby ‘is not a cabal,’ that it is ‘not synonymous with American Jews’ and that ‘there is nothing improper or illegitimate about its activities.’ . . .” (Idem.)

17. The broadcast highlights Prince Alwaleed’s gift to Harvard, a couple of months before the publication of the Walt/Mearsheimer paper. “Harvard University today (Dec. 12) announced the creation of a University-wide program on Islamic studies, made possible by a $20 million gift from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud. . . .”
(“Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Donates $20 Million to Support University’s Islamic Studies Program”; Harvard University Gazette; 12/12/2005; p. 1.)

18. Concluding with an interesting and perhaps significant quote from Islamist/neo-Nazi and Bank al Taqwa director Ahmed Huber. Huber predicts that “we” will defeat the Israel Lobby and change public opinion in America. Was his prediction made with foreknowledge of the financial offensive in American academia and media by the likes of Alwaleed? (For more about Huber, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 343, 354, 456. For more about Alwaleed, see FTR#’s 560, 561.) “ . . . The U.S. is the ally of 15 million Jews against 1.3 billion Muslims; it is allied with 5 million Israelis against 200 million Arabs,’ he [Ahmed Huber] said. ‘We will bring down the Israel lobby and change foreign policy. We’ll do it in America. When it happens, you’ll understand.’ . . .”
(“Swiss Probe Anti-U.S. neo-Nazi Suspected Financial Ties to al Aqaeda” by Jay Bushinsky; San Francisco Chronicle; 3/12/2002)

19. This description presents material from the San Francisco Chronicle quoted in the preceding paragraph. Although it was not in the original broadcast itself, this text excerpt is archived in this description in order to present more depth on the relationship between Huber and key Nazi operative Francois Genoud. Note that Genoud and Huber were very close to and admiring of Ayatollah Khomeini, who headed the Islamist government of Iran. Genoud financed Khomeini’s exile in France, before he returned to Iran. (For more about Genoud, see—among other programs—FTR#453. For more about Huber and Genoud, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 354, 371.) “ . . . [Le Monde correspondent Jean-Claude] Buhrer also assailed Huber for denying the scope of the Nazi Holocaust and for being a faithful disciple of Francois Genoud, a Swiss lawyer who funded Hitler and served as a German agent during World War II. After the war, Genoud underwrote the clandestine Odessa organization, which, according to famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, enabled such notorious Nazi fugitives as Adolf Eichmann, Alois Brunnerand Klaus Barbie to escape to South America and the Middle East. Authorities believe Genoud founded al Taqwa Bank and allocated its resources to support international terrorists such as Vladimir Ilich Ramirez, alias Carlos the Jackal, and bin Laden. [Emphasis added.] Genoud committed suicide in 1996, shortly after Jewish leaders and Swiss banking officials announced an unprecedented agreement to set up a commission to examine secret bank and government files to search for funds deposited in Switzerland by Holocaust victims, according to Buhrer. Over the years, Genoud paid French attorney Jacques Verges to defend Ramirez and Barbie and also covered the legal expenses of Eichmann before an Israeli court in 1961. He also subsidized Khmeini’s prolonged exile in France when Iran was governed by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Genoud’s admiration for Khomeini is shared by Huber. ‘He was a fantastic man’ Huber said. [Italics are Mr. Emory’.]” (Idem.)


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