Oh, those Russian, or is it “Russian,” spies. I am channeling my inner John Le Carre. And so may have certain operatives in certain sections of the FBI and the CIA. However, none of us are the master spy thriller writer, so the possible plot becomes something not out of Le Carre, but out of, the FBI? The CIA? The we-ain’t-dead-yet neocons of “the Cold War ain’t over” and “boy do we need Permanent War” genre?
When I first saw the story, it somehow didn’t make sense. Russia plants not moles, because they are found within agencies of the opposing government, preferably in security or foreign policy. Rather they are “sleepers,” plants planted some time ago, to awaken when the time is ripe, at the command of their “control.” But something seemed rather odd from the beginning about these “sleepers.” First of all, they slept in beds that made them seem like ordinary folks, you know with kids, and schools, and Little Leagues, and barbeques and such. Second of all, they weren’t arrested for and charged with actually spying. No, it was “conspiracy ” and “illegal entry” (boy, just think what might happen to them in Arizona, except, I forgot, with one or two exceptions they weren’t Latinos), and “taking on false identities.”
And their tasks? Why, to “make contact with” former national security officials and former nuclear weapons researchers to gain information. And to “connect with various Americans of influence or knowledge, including a ‘prominent New York-based financier’ [Bernie Madoff, maybe?] described as a political fund-raiser with personal ties to a cabinet official, a former high-ranking national security official, and a “nuclear weapons expert.” In other words, in this latter role they were to act sort of like corporate lobbyists.
Well, the anger and fear Right went to work immediately. “See, it’s the Cold War all over again.” “See, you can’t trust the Russians” (and now they really are from Russia, not the Soviet Union). “See, we really do need all those missiles in Eastern Europe, which we claim are aimed at Iran but are really aimed at Russia.” “See, and there goes the lily-livered Obama, negotiating a nuclear arms reduction pact with the Russkies.” And that got me to thinking.
Just the previous week Presidents Obama and Medvedev had held the “Hamburger Summit” presumably to celebrate the new era of better understanding between the two nations, especially in the realm of nuclear arms reduction and dealing with the so-called “nuclear threat” posed by Iran. So, let’s throw some ice water on that one, and let’s do it real quick. Exquisite timing, no? Which got me to thinking, what about that timing?
And then came a series of articles by Robert Parry that appeared on Consortiumnews.com, on June 24, June 30, and July 1, about the Tehran Hostage Crisis of 1979-80 and the subsequent Iran-Contra Scandal. For years there have been suspicions about a Republican-Khomeini Regime conspiracy to delay the release of the hostages until after the 1980 elections, thereby ensuring a Reagan victory. Gary Sick wrote about some of them in a book entitled The October Surprise. Sick claimed, with some good evidence, that the super-spook Bill Casey had engineered the plot with the Iranian mullahs during the summer and fall of 1980. There were also suspicions at the time that Carter’s ill-fated hostage rescue effort that came for nought in the desert somewhere in the Middle East was actually sabotaged by right-wingers in the Air Force. There actually was a Congressional investigation of Iran-Contra with possible links back to the no-release-for-the-hostages affair, from which critical information was withheld by a combination of secret neocon staffers and Lee Hamilton, “Democrat” from Indiana who was a fixer-par-excellence for the GOP. Now Parry presents evidence, a good deal of it as it happens, that the plot went beyond Reagan and Casey to a whole team, and another nation (guess which one).
From the June 24 article: “As the Official Story of the 1980 October Surprise case crumbles – with new revelations that key evidence was hidden from investigators of a congressional task force and that internal doubts were suppressed – history must finally confront the troubling impression that remains: that disgruntled elements of the CIA and Israel’s Likud hardliners teamed up to remove a U.S. president from office.”
So what does that all have to do with the present “spy case?” Well, I’m not sure. And in making the speculative case that I make below I am surely channeling my inner Le Carre. But anyway, here goes. Which foreign government, among our supposed allies at least, is most unhappy with the US right now? Which former government in this country is presumed to have moles all over the place in the present government, from the Minerals Management Service to the FBI and the CIA, who would like nothing better than to throw as many monkey wrenches as they can into Obama’s foreign policy, especially on Russia and Israel? If there were rogue elements in the CIA back then, as Parry claims there were (and a couple of brave members of it told him), how about now? And which foreign intelligence agency could best help to pull this off? Why none other than Mossad, methinks.
And so, when I first saw this one, my first thought was “false flag spy case.” The “spies” would have had to be very, very well paid, of course. But there is plenty of private right-wing money, both here and Israel, to take care of that. Then they would face the prospect of jail time — but not too much. For the government’s case was, on the surface, even in the newspapers, pretty weak. So weak in fact that none of the accused were actually charged with espionage. They would cool their heels for a while in jail. The publicity would die down. The Right would have achieved their principal goals: a very strong shot across the Obama bows, on relations with the Russians, and pressure on Israel for meaningful negotiations for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine problem, and an alert that he had better watch out for “certain elements” in the FBI and the CIA. And then the “spies” would have been quietly let go on some pretext or other, to go abroad and enjoy the fruits of their endeavors.
But then something even funnier happened. All of a sudden it comes to light that Russia is holding some American spies, real spies as it happens. Yes, indeed, while the supposed Russian spies were “gaining influence” here to “former officials,” the US spies were gaining real access, or at least attempting to, to real secrets and current officials and scientists. Ooops! There go two things. First, even if the Russian “spies” were really Russian spies, we do it too. It ain’t just those nasty Russians who are reaching back to the Cold War. And then second, lickety-split, the Obama Administration is arranging a Cold War-like spy trade. Check-point Charlie, anyone? Richard Burton, are you ready to come back from the grave and come in from the cold again?
If I’m right, boy is there a battle-royal going on within both the CIA and the FBI between the Bush/Cheney Moles and those agents who understand what their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States really means when a new Administration takes office. And Obama has managed to take a shot across their bows. Of course, he did cave in to Netanyahu on “negotiations” which, in the Likud sense simply means maintaining the status quo until another “terrorist attack” can be arranged, or alternatively, dragged out forever, the tactic that was the favorite of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who said so, openly. But Obama hasn’t given up on that one yet, I don’t think.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 30 years to find out if the current spy case is, as I speculate, really a “spy” case cooked up by rogue elements within the FBI and the CIA in cooperation with the Israeli government through Mossad, or simply some rogue elements within Mossad as well. On the other hand, I don’t think that this kind of speculation will make it into the mainstream media any time soon. And if it does, Lee Hamilton still the Democrats’ fixer-for-Republicans, the man who made sure that the Iran-Contra Hearings did not lead to impeachment proceedings against Reagan which they should have, who made sure that the official 9/11 Report did not get anywhere near the bottom of the plot, and who, as Robert Parry tells us, also made sure that evidence that was coming out about the true 1980 October Surprise at the end of the Bush I Presidency also never made the light of day, is still around.
And as for the “spies”? Well, they are on their way to Russia, if they are not already there. This is hardly something they ever bargained for. What will the Russians do with them? Probably hold them for a bit and then quietly get rid of them. Maybe they will end up in a West Bank settlement. But in Le Carre fashion, they will be the odd people out. And the Cold War, that is the one between the GOP/Tea-Party/NRA/Religious-Fundamentalist-Right and the DLC-Obama Administration will continue. Until it, of course, turns hot with the outbreak of the Second Civil War. But that’s another story.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. In addition to being a Columnist for BuzzFlash, Dr. Jonas is also a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine; a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad; a Senior Columnist for The Greanville POST; a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter; a Contributor to The Planetary Movement; and a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC.
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