Espionage, Smuggling, Technology Transfer and Theft
A brief history of unprosecuted Israeli foreign agent, smuggling and espionage cases
by Grant F. Smith is the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) in Washington, DC. He is the author of two unofficial histories of AIPAC–America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: AIPAC from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal, as well as the books Divert, Spy Trade, Deadly Dogma, Visa Denied and editor of the book Neocon Middle East Policy. Before joining IRmep, Smith was senior analyst and later program manager at Yankee Group Research, Inc. in Boston. Smith has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in International Management from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post designated Smith “a Washington D.C. author who has made a career out of writing critical books on Israeli spying and lobbying.” Nathan Guttman of The Jewish Daily Forward recognizes Smith as leading a public effort to “call attention of the authorities to AIPAC’s activity and demands public scrutiny of the group’s legal status.” John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago claims “Grant Smith’s new book is a major step forward in correcting that problem. He provides a fascinating–and disturbing–account of how I. L. Kenen laid the groundwork for AIPAC, the most powerful organization in the lobby.”
I’m not going to tell you about the ten years of research that have gone into trying to answer one single, hard question which is “is Israel and its U.S. lobby above the law in the United States?” I’ve spent ten years trying to answer that question, I going to share with you a few case studies very quickly.
We got off on the wrong foot back in the 1940s. If you look closely enough, you can see ongoing damage from that poor launch in which the United States was visited by the government-in-waiting, the Jewish Agency, led by David Ben-Gurion, and rather than do anything else, they set up a vast, illegal smuggling network through an archipelago of non-profit organizations that were there specifically to steal WWII surplus and channel it to Jewish fighters in Palestine. Some of the materiel was bought for cents on the dollar; some of the materiel was stolen outright from the U.S. Marines in Hawaii, as was the case of Nathan Liff and .50 caliber machine guns. Materials and Manpower for Palestine stole the entire list from the U.S. Chaplain so they could recruit more effectively in sending veterans of WWII to fight in Palestine. The Sonneborn Institute, which was organized by a former Zionist Organization of America chair, was very effective by channeling through second and third countries all sorts of tank, ammunition, aircraft, explosives, and was able to get it for pennies on the dollar completely in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and all sorts of laws including the Neutrality Act. They cared little about American shipping materiel inside boilers and mismarked boxes dropping onto piers in New York. They didn’t care about that because they had a higher purpose. That purpose was to win a state, and they were successful.
If we look at some of the activities inside the Justice Department to cover up all of this, what you see is a very effective counter-force. Whenever the FBI was getting close, and there is a 7,000 page file in the National Archives with surveillance photographs of B-17s and materiel and guns moving through the U.S. logistics system, what you would find in the Justice Department’s own files lobbyists such as Abraham Feinberg—the uber-lobbyist, cash-bundling king—would assemble a “war-chest” and mobilize people to quash prosecutions. They had a hundred people they were going to arrest and prosecute on the West Coast alone—never happened. There were only a handful of people who ever suffered felony convictions, relatively low-level people, the big fish of the Jewish Agency—Nahum Bernstein, writing the checks from New York—never indicted. And this was because there was a vast amount of influence over the president. A vast amount of access to the Justice Department attorney general. And so the basic advice and consent rights of Americans were fundamentally undermined. They had no say; they had no choice about what was happening to this military equipment. That had been decided for them, and the necessary prosecutions didn’t happen. Hank Greenspun, he has a balcony on Pennsylvania Avenue named after him at the Newseum, became rich smuggling weapons to Palestine. He offered $25,000 to many people in Washington to quash those prosecutions, and only got a felony [no jail time].
Well, some of these people graduated. One of the biggest problems in Pennsylvania right now is this: There is one plant that lost more highly enriched uranium—weapons-grade uranium—than any other nuclear fuel plant in the United States. It just happened to be run by two Zionist Organization of America officials, Ivan Novick and Zalman Shapiro and a smuggler from the 1940s network of smuggling, David Lowenthal, who was very active with Israeli intelligence. So what happened to NUMEC? It was constantly inviting in the top spies from Israel to visit the plant. In particular Rafael Eitan, who would later run Jonathan Pollard, and a number of other extremely effective covert operations people. There were eyewitness accounts of Zalman Shapiro and other people sealing weapons-grade uranium for shipment to Palestine, excuse me, to Israel, on an accelerated basis. And the amount of material unaccounted for today is 339 kilograms. They lost 2 per cent of the entire throughput when Shapiro and the ZOA crew were in charge, it only went back down after they were forced out of ownership.
What happened in the LBJ, Nixon and subsequent administrations? The record shows they were fearful of the political consequences of going after these people. They tried to move them around. They tried to assuage their concerns. But there are others who are more forthright. The CIA Chief of the Tel Aviv Station John Hadden said NUMEC was an Israeli operation from the beginning—and that is exactly what the record shows.
Unfortunately for the people who have to live in the environs of a defunct weapons smuggling plant, they are facing a $500 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cleanup, and their water and township is completely polluted.
There were a few questions about the connections between Israel lobbying groups and foreign principals. Abraham Feinberg was also extremely effective at providing seed funding to AIPAC, writing various checks, he also was the head of the organization that was, according the Avner Cohen, the prime organization for putting together fundraising for Israel’s nuclear weapons research, the Weizmann Institute. He would also give money to AIPAC which would write helpful articles [saying things] such as “Israel could never become a nuclear power,” running a counter propaganda ring whenever the U.S. was looking too closely.
Now there was a good question this morning about the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act. Why are Israel lobbying organizations which are closely coordinating with foreign principals—and in some cases receiving money—able not to be as transparent as other organizations that are lobbying for a foreign principal? The simple fact of the matter is, when ordered to register, they don’t, they fight it. When forced to register, they undergo a transformation into something else, and continue their operations. And there’s no better case of that than the case that led to the creation of AIPAC.
But first, the Zionist Organization [of America] was ordered seven times to register because it was a subsidiary of the World Zionist Organization. But they, according to Justice Department documents, by underlings, “got to” the AG who said I’m not going to enforce the law, you don’t have to register, you don’t have to be transparent in your communications.
They also “got to” the biggest attempt to register Israel lobbying groups in America which was in the 1960s when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Justice Department—concerned about overseas provocations dragging America into war, they cited in their chartering investigating document the Lavon Affair twice, in other words Israel twice as being provoking activities that would drive America into unwise overseas interventions—and so they decided to raid the Jewish Agency, to raid the American Zionist Council, to seize documents, and saw that they were bringing in money from the Jewish Agency for public relations and for publicity. So what happened?
Well, they [the AZC] were ordered to register by the Justice Department as foreign agents in 1962. The [AZC] unincorporated lobbying division, however, split off six weeks later and is still with us today. That organization is called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and it continues the work of the original American Zionist Council that was ordered to shut down under this FARA order. So foreign agent registration orders have never really been applied rigorously, even in cases of documented violations of its transparency provisions. There’s a little copy of the Kennedy registration order [motioning to slide].
What’s happened because of that?
Here’s a snapshot of our worst free [bilateral] trade agreement ever signed, in which exports are half of what imports are. This is the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement. It was lobbied against by seventy organizations in the mid-1980s, including Monsanto, Sunkist, AFL-CIO—they didn’t want to lower U.S. trade barriers to Israel.
On the other side was AIPAC and a group of small organizations. They [AIPAC] stole the trade secrets of their opposition, which had been given to the International Trade Commission, and used it against them [those opposed] in public relations and lobbying and got a heck of a deal for being able to—once again—thwart American interests and get their own way. It’s resulted in a chronic $10 billion per year deficit, it’s resulted in a $100 billion cumulative deficit to the United States, and the question is, was it worth it?
Well yes! It created 120,000 jobs in a foreign country instead of here. It really transferred a lot of secrets to the Israelis about production costs, transfer pricing, and the Justice Department ultimately refused, even though they tracked it back to Dan Halpern of the [Israeli] Ministry of Economics, refused to continue the investigation when he claimed diplomatic immunity. So, it’s a bad deal, but it’s not the only prosecution that’s been thwarted.
In December  we had declassified documents of a counter espionage investigation of the ADL [Anti-Defamation League]. The ADL back in the 90s had been investigated for holding FBI and other classified documents in a campaign that they were launching against pro-Palestinian and anti-Apartheid activists—two of whom died under mysterious circumstances—but what the [internal] memos once again reveal if you read them online, is that there was an intervention at high levels.
The record reveals that two high-ranking Israeli generals were dispatched to talk to Janet Reno, she dropped the case, the espionage investigation died.
2005 the same thing happened. Two AIPAC lobbyists were indicted. They were using [stolen] secrets to try to gin up a war with Iran. They were passing it to [Washington Post reporter] Glenn Kessler, Steve Rosen [of AIPAC] said that he was trying to show that Iran was engaged in “total war” against the U.S. in Iraq. And, of course, the Obama administration and the judges involved, didn’t keep it in the system.
So, it’s gotten to the point of ridiculousness. We have other documents revealing a smuggling ring in the 80s that involved not only Arnon Milchan, Hollywood producer, and Richard Kelly Smyth, but also Benjamin Netanyahu himself working on the Israeli side. Where are these people now? Have they ever suffered any consequences for being involved in the documented theft of nuclear triggers called krytrons? No. Milchan was hiding out at the Academy Awards [this week] clearly there in the center picture, he doesn’t seem to be too afraid. And of course Netanyahu is with his favorite group here, AIPAC.
The problem is ongoing. It hasn’t gone away. Nuclear technology continues to flow from the United States, but we’re not prosecuting it. We’re disbanding them through regulations, or we’re sealing off warranted criminal investigations instead of pursuing them, such as the case of Stewart Nozette.
My conclusion is there is no U.S. law—that if it stands in the way of Israel and its U.S. lobby—that cannot be thwarted, overcome, subvented, and the Justice Department—in most cases—collapses well before any warranted prosecutions take place.
FBI surveillance video of Stewart Nozette – Released under FOIA 3/4/2013
Grant F. Smith: An Overview of the Israel Lobby Agenda.
“Ten ways the Israel lobby ‘moves’ America” Grant F. Smith
Very well done document in PDF form on the Israeli lobby agenda. This document demonstrates how Israel is favored. For example, an estimated $24 billion could be cut from different countries from the US if those countries criticize US-Israel policies:
Trump’s Washington and the Israel Lobby – Takes on the World
The aid continues to Israel under different names:
It’s time we had a serious talk on Talpiot:
Israeli Intelligence ~ Operation Talpiot HD
Talpiot Table Talk – 2 (2nd April 2018)
A completely different perspective on Israel and Talpiot:
L’Chayim: IDF’s Talpiot Unit
Related to the content of the clips above:
The flow of money into Israel never ends. It’s an open spigot of continuos “aid” most of it for “defense” against an implacable never to be defeated enemy of Iran, Islam and “terrorism”:
Henry Kissinger signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Israel in 1975 which allowed technology transfers to Israel which later became “law”: