Sheldon Adelson flew with Pres. Bush this week on his trip to Israel. I wondered what promises or threatens were given to Bush, motivating him to follow the Likud/Labor/Kadima lines that, Iran is next on the agenda.
Even before the Lebanon war, Peres was out pushing Iran’s buttons, and he continued this week just in time for Bush’s mission:
Peres likens Iran’s nuclear threat to Hitler’s Germany
In sweeping comments yesterday before Israel’s 60th anniversary, Israeli President Shimon Peres compared the Iranian nuclear threat to Hitler’s Germany and said engaging Gaza’s Hamas rulers would be like talking to a wall.
Adelson is closely aligned with Netenyahu and all the other neo-cons that got us into Iraq in the first place. He does carry a lot of weight:
An article about Sheldon Adelson, “a huge–and mostly behind-the-scenes–financial angel for Republican, pro-business, and pro-Israel causes”, was published in the National Journal:
Ever the hawk:
Well known for his staunchly anti-union views and his close links to the Israeli Right, including Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Adelson is, by many accounts, a hard-charging dynamo. He likes to immerse himself in the details of the many causes he champions while assiduously avoiding the limelight.
Freedom’s Watch sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson in its May 10 edition, which you can access here. Particularly interesting is the opening about last October’s private gathering of the “‘best and the brightest’ conservative voices talking about the terrorism threats posed by radical Islam and Iran,” including David Horowitz, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, Clifford May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum, all of whose groups, the Journal notes, have all benefited from Adelson’s largesse. The story brings in the Adelson’s Netanyahu-Likud and AIPAC connections, although it doesn’t break any new ground on those fronts.
This is the man, Bush is taking advise from.
In Bush’s speech to the Knesset, he takes a direct shot at anyone that might be interested in a negotiated peace:
Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
I hope the republican politicians get their money’s worth from Adelson. Freedom’s Watch Adelson’s 527 baby posted $15 million dollar budget in 2007. They’ll need it.
Established in August 2007, Freedom’s Watch (FW) is a well-funded pro-Iraq War advocacy group that was set up by prominent conservatives to, in their words, “protect America’s interests at home and abroad, foster economic prosperity, and strengthen families.” Supported by a number of major Republican Party figures, including supermarket magnate Melvin Sembler, Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, and former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, Freedom’s Watch is also closely linked to an assortment of hardline, pro-Israel groups, including the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC). snip
Among the group’s core agenda items are supporting the surge in Iraq and advocating for U.S. intervention in Iran. Pointing to the strong ties between the RJC and Freedom’s Watch, reporter Jim Lobe wrote that “the chief motivation behind the participation of the RJC’s bigwigs … in FW is all about their notions of how best to secure Israel against any and all possible threats” (LobeLog.com, September 30, 2007).
They were behind pushing the meme that it was Iraq that was responsible for 9/11:
On August 22, 2007 Freedoms Watch announced a $15 million advertising and grass-roots campaign in 20 U.S. states to maintain Republican support for President Bush’s policies
Freedoms Watch was first mentioned at the winter 2007 meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition (JTA), a pro-Israel lobby group networking Jewish-American neoconservatives, leaders of the Christian Right and conservatives in Israel. Four out of five members of Freedoms Watch board and up to half of its donors are Jewish, though the group says this is a coincidence. It denies that it is primarily devoted to Israel’s security and promoting a United States war on Iran to defend Israel.
As The New York Times wrote, “Several of the group’s spots suggested that Iraq, rather than Al Qaeda, was behind the Sept. 11 attacks, even though the independent Sept. 11 commission investigation and other inquiries found no evidence of Iraq’s involvement.” ABC News, among others, concurred: “The ads also link the war with Sept. 11, despite no reliable evidence Iraq played any role in those attacks.” In one advertisement, a war widow claims, “I lost two family members to Al Qaeda — my uncle, a firefighter, on 9/11, and my husband, Travis, in Iraq. Congress did the right thing, voting to defeat terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan,” adding that, “Switching their votes now, for political reasons, it will mean more attacks in America.” In another ad, an Iraq war veteran states, “They attacked us, and they will again. They won’t stop in Iraq.”
More about Adelson:
Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and one of the wealthiest men in the world, is an important financial backer of a number of individuals and organizations who promote hardline security policies for the United States and Israel. He is a member of the Board of Directors the conservative Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and a financial supporter of Freedom’s Watch, a neoconservative-aligned advocacy outfit created in 2007 to push public support for an aggressive U.S. posture on Iran and continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq. Through his charitable foundation he funds Israeli causes and groups. He has reportedly also tried to influence Israeli policy away from negotiating a peace with the Palestinians.
Adelson COMPLETELY opposed to peace talks:
Although a supporter of the interventionist policies of the George W. Bush administration, Adelson opposed administration efforts to jump-start peace talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the Condoleezza Rice-pushed Annapolis talks that took place in late 2007. After the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a statement supporting the talks, which were aimed at a creating a framework for a two-state solution to the conflict, Adelson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he would withdraw his support for AIPAC. He said: “I don’t continue to support organizations that help friends committing suicide just because they say they want to jump” (Inter Press Service, November 21, 2007). In December 2007, he was reported to have urged the heads of two right-wing Israeli political parties to leave the coalition government headed by Ehud Olmert, who favored negotiating with the Palestinians at Annapolis. The same report said that “Adelson also met with Olmert and warned him against the consequences of the Annapolis process, and Olmert responded that not having any diplomatic plan would be more dangerous for Israel” (Jerusalem Post, December 31, 2007).
And who attends his conferences. “Mr. Likud” himself: Senator Lieberman:
In mid-2007, Adelson attended the Democracy and Security conference in Prague. The conference-cosponsored by the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, the Czech Foreign Ministry, the Prague Security Studies Institute, and Spain’s Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis (FAES), which is headed by former conservative prime minister Jose Maria Aznar-counted among its participants Sharanksy, former Czech president Vaclav Havel, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the “independent Democrat” from Connecticut who is closely associated with the neoconservative faction in the United States. Also in attendance were a number leading U.S. hawks, including Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ president Clifford May; the American Enterprise Institute’s Richard Perle, Michael Rubin, Michael Novak, Joshua Muravchik, and Reuel Marc Gerecht; Herb London, John O’Sullivan, and Anne Bayefsky of the Hudson Institute; Bruce Jackson, a former director of the Project for the New American Century; and Tod Lindberg of the Hoover Institution (see Democracy and Security Conference website). Jim Lobe assessed that “the conference constituted a kind of ‘Neo-Conservative International’ designed to rally support for ‘dissidents,’ primarily from the Islamic world, and give them hope that ‘regime change’ in their countries is possible much as it was in the former Soviet bloc almost 20 years ago” (LobeLog.com, June 9, 2007).
Not including all the fundraising events:
Adelson is a major political donor, having donated more than $1 million to candidates between 1984 and 2007, according to data gathered by campaign donor search engine NewsMeat.com. The vast majority of Adelson’s donations have gone to Republicans, including George W. Bush, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Rep. Tom Delay, and most recently the presidential run of Rudy Giuliani, whose team of campaign foreign policy advisors was weighted heavily toward neoconservatives and included Norman Podhoretz, Ruth Wedgwood, Daniel Pipes, Michael Rubin, and David Frum. Another Giuliani advisor, Martin Kramer, is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies.
snip He has also supported political campaigns through a $1 million donation to the Newt Gingrich-run “527” organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future, a so-called soft-money political action committee (PAC) that is not subject to the Federal Election Commission’s PAC regulations (New York Times, January 17, 2008).
Meanwhile, we should fear a false flag incident with Iran, and rightly so:
While the saber-rattling, particularly from Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Mullen, who until recently had consistently downplayed prospects for war with Iran, was indeed disturbing, less-noticed was a follow-up statement by the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, Geoff Morrell, on Wednesday. “I just want to be abundantly clear that there are no new directives, there are no new plans in the works, there is no new effort to prepare for a possible war with Iran,” he said. While that naturally has to be taken with a grain of salt, it’s also worth noting that ret. Adm. Bob Inman, a former deputy CIA director who is close to Gates, told reporters in a teleconference sponsored by Public Agenda this week that he was quite confident that Bush administration would maintain its second-term emphasis on diplomacy to its end, and that conflict with any country before then was very unlikely.
He did add this one caveat, however: “My only worry would be an [Iranian Revolutionary Guard attack] on a ship in the Gulf, and I think that could turn things upside down pretty quickly.” I believe that observation reflects Gates’ concerns as well and is another reminder of how he and ret. Adm. Fallon had pushed the White House unsuccessfully for authorization to pursue an “incidents-at-sea” agreement with Tehran precisely to prevent an incident from getting out of hand. In that connection, Christopher Dickey’s recent article in Newsweek about the dangers of such a conflict is particularly timely.
If that is the most likely scenario at this point for an eventual U.S.-Iranian conflict, you can imagine how easy it would be for a third party with an interest in such a war actually taking place precipitating an incident that could set off the desired escalation