IN OTHER WORDS...

By Oren Rawls

Published May 23, 2003, issue of May 23, 2003.

‘Blue Book’: “There is a good reason why neither Congress nor the American Jewish leadership supports the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison,” John Loftus writes in the June issue of Moment magazine. “They all were told a lie — a humongous Washington whopper of a lie.”

The truth, says Loftus, a former prosecutor and head of the Nazi-hunting arm at the Justice Department, is that American intelligence had lost its footing in the Soviet Union. Somehow the list of the 40-odd American agents operating in the Soviet Union had found its way to KGB headquarters, and within months America’s entire spook squad behind the Iron Curtain had been captured or killed.

Pollard, Loftus writes, was framed by Moscow and scapegoated by Washington. He has languished in prison for 18 years, even as senior CIA official Aldrich Ames and FBI special agent Robert Hanssen have since confessed to betraying the American agents.

Pollard is indeed guilty of passing on a list of intelligence agents, Loftus argues — just not the one for which he is incarcerated.

“Pollard in fact did steal something that the U.S. government never wishes to talk about,” Loftus writes. “Several friends inside military intelligence have told me that Pollard gave the Israelis a roster that listed the identities of all the Saudi and other Arab intelligence agents we knew about as of 1984. (This has been corroborated by Israeli sources, as well.) At that time, this list, known in intelligence circles as the ‘blue book,’ would have been relatively unimportant to the United States — but not to Israel.

“Since 9/11, however, Pollard’s ‘blue book’ is of profound interest to everyone, including the U.S. These particular agents are now a major embarrassment to the Saudis and to the handful of American spy chiefs who had employed these Saudi intelligence agents on the sly. Some of the names on this list — such as Osama bin Laden — turned out to be leaders of terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and what we now call Al Qaeda.”

The failings of the CIA and the White House during the Cold War put Pollard in jail, Loftus argues; similar shortcomings in the war against terrorism are keeping him there.

“Congress has been told repeatedly that American intelligence never knew the identities of the Arabs who threw the Soviets out of Afghanistan,” Loftus writes. “Inadvertently, Pollard stole the ultimate smoking gun that shows exactly what the leaders of our intelligence community knew and when they knew it. The ‘blue book’ Pollard stole flatly establishes that all the dots were connected many years before 9/11, and the only thing the intelligence chiefs did competently was cover up the fact that we had long known about the Saudi-terrorist link.”

* * *

‘Inverted Totalitarianism’: “We may have invaded Iraq to bring in democracy and bring down a totalitarian regime, but in the process our own system may be moving closer to the latter and further weakening the former,” Sheldon Wolin writes in the May 19 issue of The Nation.

What we are moving toward, suggests Wolin, an emeritus professor of politics at Princeton University, is “inverted totalitarianism.” Not sure what “inverted totalitarianism” is? Leave it to Wolin to venture an explanation, by way of comparison.

“By inverted,” he writes, “I mean that while the current system and its operatives share with Nazism the aspiration toward unlimited power and aggressive expansionism, their methods and actions seem upside down.”

Of course, Wolin admits, his comparison of the Bush administration to the Third Reich is bound to be challenged by some.

“In rebuttal it will be said that there is no domestic equivalent to the Nazi regime of torture, concentration camps or other instruments of terror,” he writes. “But we should remember that for the most part, Nazi terror was not applied to the population generally; rather, the aim was to promote a certain type of shadowy fear — rumors of torture — that would aid in managing and manipulating the populace. Stated positively, the Nazis wanted a mobilized society eager to support endless warfare, expansion and sacrifice for the nation.”



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