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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ben Ami Kadish: Why now?

In Wednesday's Haaretz, Amir Oren assures us of what should be obvious based on his being released on personal recognizance (albeit with his passport having been taken and his travel restricted to New Jersey and lower Manhattan): Ben Ami Kadish is definitely not another Jonathan Pollard.
If the suspicions against Kadish are proven, he will be far from being Jonathan Pollard, even though his activities are believed to have preceded Pollard's. The arrest warrant issued against Kadish Tuesday does not name any payment, so unlike Pollard, it seems he was a volunteer. Compared with the wholesale transfer of documents by Pollard to his handlers during less than a year and a half of espionage, Kadish was small time, believed to have taken dozens of documents from the library at Picattiny Arsenal over the past six years.

Yossi Yagur - not his real name - the scientific attache at the consulate in New York who was one of Pollard's handlers, is suspected of involvement with Kadish as well. Yagur did not run a ring of spies, and it is reasonable to think that each spy operated on his own.

The Pollard affair, like the current one, was part of the work of the Bureau of Scientific Relations [called Lakam in Hebrew. CiJ], which was dismantled and absorbed into the defense establishment's bureau in charge of security.

The BSR grew out of Israel's nuclear activities, the secret construction of the Dimona reactor, and until 1981 was headed by Benjamin Bloomberg. Defense Minister Ariel Sharon replaced Bloomberg with Rafi Eitan, a former Mossad officer and an adviser to prime minister Menachem Begin on counterterrrorism. Eitan resigned after it emerged that BSR was involved in the Pollard affair.
But one thing the current story does have in common with the Pollard affair is that it is likely to be a cloud on US-Israel relations - and at a very critical time. This is Yossi Melman in Haaretz
One can draw a number of conclusions from this affair: To begin with, the memory of American law and justice is very long and will not leave alone a violation even if a quarter of a century has passed.

This is known to Colonel (res.) Aviam Sela, who was involved in the recruitment of Jonathan Pollard (a U.S. citizen jailed for spying for Israel), and Yaakov Nimrodi who was involved in the "Irangate" affair (the sale of weapons to Iran). Both of these men fear arrest in the United States should they travel there.
That's a pretty poor comparison. It's one thing to say that the US would arrest Sela and Nimrodi if they ever showed up there - and understandably and rightfully so. The US never had a shot at them. But Kadish has been living in the US most of his life, and has lived there constantly since 1985. If the US wanted to charge him, they have had more than ample opportunity to do so. Melman's next argument is a better one:
Another conclusion is that Israel's argument, that the handling of Jonathan Pollard was an exceptional and one-time event, has once again been proven incorrect.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that after the Pollard affair Israel ceased spying on the U.S. and pursuing technological espionage either - one of the identifying marks of Israel's illegal activities on U.S. soil in the 1970s and 1980s.

During those years, a number of Israelis and non-Israelis were arrested and investigated on suspicion of attempting to smuggle technology, equipment and information from the U.S. to Israel.
I'm pleased to hear that it's stopped, assuming Melman is right. So who is dredging up Kadish now and why? This is Yaakov Katz in the JPost.
"The content is not the only interesting thing here," said Zalman Shoval, Israel's ambassador to Washington between 1998 and 2000. "There is also the timing. If this is such an old story, why is it coming out now?"

...

The concern in the defense establishment is that this affair could have far-reaching negative consequences, such as a dampening of relations with the Pentagon, which have only recently been normalized after going through a crisis in 2003 over Israeli defense ties with China.

This is of particular worry, since several important joint deals are currently on the table, including Israel's involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter program, and the integration of Israeli systems in the advanced stealth-enabled fighter jet. A new crisis with the Pentagon could cast a dark cloud over such deals and make Israel again persona non grata in the Pentagon.

Another possibility raised is that there are elements in Washington who do not approve of Israeli efforts to obtain the release of Pollard before President George W. Bush finishes his term in office. The exposure of another Israeli spy could put an end to that.
Pollard is one of my theories as well. Someone in the Pentagon wants to make sure that when Bush hands out pardons at the end of his Presidential term in a few months, Pollard isn't on the list. Now that Caspar Weinberger is no longer among the living, this is an easy way to perpetuate his legacy. In another JPost article, Esther Pollard - Jonathan's wife - claims that this story "plays into the hands" of those in Israel who don't want Jonathan Pollard released. I find that a bit hard to swallow.

Another possibility that occurred to me as to why Kadish was arrested now is that the alleged presence of an Israeli spy in the US Army hierarchy will be used to deny Israel the types of strategic cooperation that would be expected to be a quid pro quo for entering into risky 'peace' deals with the 'Palestinians' or with Syria - or for that matter against Iran. Having this type of case pending is likely to lower the level of Israeli demands from the US.

The JPost reports that Kadish admitted to the charges in court, saying that he 'wanted to help Israel.' According to the indictment, Kadish provided Yagur with between 50 and 100 documents between July 1980 and November 1985, but was in contact with Yagur as recently as Sunday. Kadish apparently met Yagur through Kadish's brother who works with Yagur at Israel Aircraft Industries (which - ironically - means that Kadish's brother also has Israeli security clearance).

In any event, the timing of this arrest is awfully suspicious, and Kadish is not being treated like one would expect him to be treated if anyone believed that he was really a spy who has ongoing contacts with his 'handlers.' I'd like to believe this will all blow over in a few months, but I fear it's only the beginning.

9 Comments:

At 12:16 PM, Blogger DemoCaster said...

I think you're closer to truth in hypothesis the case was dredged-up "to deny Israel the types of strategic cooperation that would be expected to be a quid pro quo for entering into risky 'peace' deals with the 'Palestinians' or with Syria - or for that matter against Iran. Having this type of case pending is likely to lower the level of Israeli demands from the US."

Condi injects a trumped-up charge card a week before her arrival to elicit Israeli sacrifices, reduce their demands, and damage their credibility in anticipation of Bush's final visit in a few weeks.

BTW, chaver Carl, will you finally reciprocally list Democracy Broadcasting in your BlogRoll? ;-) Keep up the superb work! Pesach kasher v'sameach!

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Nannette said...

Condi's still as involved with Saudi oil as she was when she worked with Chevron and the Carlyle Group. She's a mouthpiece for the antisemite James Baker III.

The want to greatly diminish Israel's capability of self-defence - and arresting Kadish is one way of ensuring that the US can renege on supplying Israel with the upgraded weapons promised last year.

It will also ensure the weak Israeli government will be pliable in giving up Jerusalem and other cities --- BUT in the end, Israel will be seen as an enemy state and the Palestinians will be seen as heroes AND US allies... fighting the aggression of a common enemy.

Israel should retaliate and arrest ALL the US spies on Israeli soil. A tit for tat would show the world that even a little country like Israel can defy the trumped up demands of the American bullies.

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger yitz said...

There are many motives for this. As they say "it is all in the timing"
The most outstanding reason is to block Bush from pardoning Pollard near the end of his term as President. This also serves the needs of Olmert, Rafi Eitan, Barak and Peres, whose worst nightmare is a freed live Pollard. This also throws a monkey wrench into Micah Lindenstrauss's investigation of the mishandling of Pollard.
They take an 84 year old man out of a retirement facility on charges that he did something over 25 years ago, link him to Pollard whom he never met, it smells worse that last weeks fish

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger kranky said...

Given the other data on this, it is fairly obvious that the US government knew about this for a while ... years if not decades. The reason why they did not bring it to light beforehand must have to do with some sort of advantage in position. Possibly on negotiations. You do not always play the cards you have in your hand when you get them, you play them when it is most advantageous to you to do so. Or at least a smart player will do that.

Which suggests watching what Condi and crew do when they visit. See what they demand. See what they bring up.

Have counters ready, such as US support for the apartheid and murderous regimes in saudi arabia, and elsewhere in the "arab world". These are regimes that overtly fund terror against Israel and jews globally.

While Dr. Rice is a member of the executive branch which supposedly represents my interests, she and her friends at foggy bottom have not been acting in my or my families best interests by coddling and excusing terrorist enablers. I look forward to the day she and her team are out looking for new employment. Just remember that Mr. Bush and Dr. Rice represent a lame duck government. There is very little they can do effectively over the next 9 months. Smile, nod, shake hands, and make no committments.

The US's next government will be anywhere from slightly disinterested [McCain] to overtly anti-Israel [Obama]. See which political winds blow first.

This arrest is likely an attempt to play one of the few remaining cards in their hand. As a US citizen, I am not safer because my government arrested someone who did something 20 years ago, which aided an ally. I am much less safe as this same government doubled the number of student visas it grants to terrorist enabling nations.

All things in context, and in proportion.

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Nothing behind Ben Ami Kadish's arrest is a coincidence. There's more involved than we know now and its not as simple as it appears. We'll find that out in due time.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Orde said...

I read on an Islamic website that Kadish had contact with Israel as recently as last month (March).

 
At 11:54 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Democaster,

Will add you (please email link).

Yitz,

It's still not clear to me why all these people lose if Pollard is released. I know that Peres turned Pollard in (I ran that when he was up for election), but he's President for the next seven years by which time he'll be in his 90's and finally retire. So why does he care?

Barak used Pollard's information, but had no contact with him.

Olmert has refused to help Pollard as Prime Minister, but that's because he has other interests.

As far as I can tell, the only one who might lose by Pollard being released is Rafi Eitan, and he's such a joke I can't believe he can hold anything over anyone else.

Orde,

There was a phone conversation on March 20 that was eavesdropped by the Feds, and there was an email on Sunday April 20. I reported on both of them.

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger DemoCaster said...

DemocracyBroadcasting.com
No tolerance for intolerance, anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism.

 
At 1:26 AM, Blogger Mike said...

kADISH COMMITTED TREASON AND HE SHOULD BE PROSECUTED. I WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THIS HAPPENED IN ISRAEL?

 

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