Once again the "New York Times" [05 Sep 2011] strips the wraps on the Obama administration's war on leaks. An Israeli born FBI contract translator Schmai Leibowitz split the beans to blogger Richard Silverstein on monitored conversations within the precincts of the Israeli embassy in Washington involving an unnamed Congressman from Texas, a strategy of placing Israeli propaganda that influential supporters of Israel in government, the media, business, and the arts would put their names to, and coordination of Israeli designs to influence American opinion favourably through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Leibowitz pleaded guilty, but here's the rub, the judge sentenced him to 20 months in the slammer without knowing anything about his case on government say so...translation, it is on a need to know basis, and you do not need to know, but trust us!
Isn't this the type of justice, the US roils and moils against when it denounces its enemies? Isn't it an example of a 'Black Star Chamber' whereby the power of the executive is not bound by common law?
Silverstein, according to the 'Times', 'offers a glimpse of American spying on an ally'. This kind of skullduggery is the meat and potatoes of spying. Even the Israelis admit that they are aware of it and just as probably, do it even in the US. Does anyone recall Adlai Stevenson at a UN Security Council meeting denouncing Soviet wiretapping of the US embassy by displaying the American Eagle which housed a listening device in the early 1960s?
Consider: Leibowitz has been under lock and key for over a year, so why, we ask, is the story making front page headlines as an exclusive on today's 'Times'?
According to Silverstein [see his blog 'Tikun Olam', Leibowitz a trained lawyer in Israel before emigrating to the US fear Israeli designs to bomb Iran. Silverstein feeling the heat of the US government centring on him burnt the transcripts he received from the contract translator, to avoid prosecution as 'receiving "classified" documents'.
To answer our question: a new book on US spying is scheduled to appear at year's end, and that may explain why the story appeared now. However, the 'Times' 'scoop' may arise more from the Obama administration's frustration with Netenyahu's pigheadedness. It very well may have to do with Israel's refusal to apologise for and unwillingness to pay compensation to the families of the nine Turks killed on the illegal assault of Israel special forces on the Turkish ship 'Mavi Mamara' in June 2010.
The Netenyahu Likud led government's perverse obstinacy has greatly affected its relations with its once staunch ally Turkey; it has led to a downgrading in military, economic, and diplomatic relations.
Netenyahu has put the US in an embarassing situation: two firm allies of the US engaged in a cold war with each other. Turkey is a member of NATO, to boot. Israel's intransigence further muddies the waters of the Obama's approach to the Arab and Muslim world. So, in other words, the stakes are high. And that may explain the 'scoop' as an expression of Washington's displeasure with Israel.
Is Leibowitz an American patriot by his actions? Silverstein thinks so. He is in a way like Bradley Manning who is under lockdown without being charged. What will become of Manning now that all 250.000 US diplomatic cables are in the public domain? That remains unknown.
In spite of US discomfort over Leibowitz's whistle blowing, which it successfully kept a tight lid on for more than 15 months, it will cast a veto against recognition of Palestine in the forthcoming UN General Assembly. Nonetheless, the Obama administration is telling Netenyahu to clean up his act.