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December 2, 2012

Site 911: Secret US Construction in Israel

By Stephen Lendman on 12/02/2012

Washington and Israel partner in jointly planned imperial wars and related activities.

Walter Pincus reports on national security issues for the Washington Post. He’s been at it many years. In late December he’ll turn 80.

On November 28, he headlined “US overseeing mysterious construction project in Israel,” saying:

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex…”

It’s called “Site 911.” It’ll be built at an Israeli air force base near Tel Aviv. Construction will take two years or longer. Time frames are often extended. Cost is expected to be about $100 million. Before completion, double that amount or more wouldn’t surprise.

Washington’s Baghdad embassy was originally projected to cost $592 million. When completed, cost overruns spiraled the total over $2 billion some believe.

The Israeli facility will “have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from non-ionizing radiation, and very tight security.”

“Clearances will be required for all construction workers. Guards will be at the fence, and barriers will separate it from the rest of the base.”

Construction bids are due by December 3. Only US firms are involved.

Under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, Washington supplies weapons, munitions, and other defense related services to other nations and international organizations.

Sometimes they’re sold. Other times they’re given. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) administers FMS.

Washington was involved in many previous construction projects for Israel’s IDF. They’re undertaken under FMS.

About half a billion dollars in US military construction for Israel followed its 1998 Wye River Memorandum with Palestine. Another half billion went for Israeli security measures. Palestine got smaller amounts.

Both sides agreed to terms. At issue was finalizing the September 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Oslo II).

Israel reneged like it always does. Palestine was blamed. Netanyahu was prime minister at the time.

Pincus omitted those inconvenient facts. Israeli construction was done in the Negev. IDF forces got three new bases. Supposedly it was to facilitate redeploying forces from West Bank locations.

Israel’s Nevatim air base was built at the time. It’s one of Israel’s largest. The Corps of Engineers constructed extensive facilities. Other ones were built earlier.

They included “underground hangers for Israeli fighter-bombers, facilities for handling nuclear weapons…command centers, training bases, intelligence facilities and simulators.”

Washington provides Israel more aid than all other nations combined. It’s very generous with US tax dollars for its imperial ally.

The Corps maintains three facilities in Israel. In the past two years, it built Nevatim hangers. They cost $30 million.

It also “supervised a $20 million project to build maintenance shops, hangers, and headquarters to support Israel’s large Eitan” UAV program.

Site 911 will be built elsewhere. It appears to be one of the Corps’ largest projects. Three underground floors will be roughly 41,000 feet each.

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Two others below them will be smaller. They’ll store equipment. Security is high. So is secrecy. Non-Israeli workers will only come from America, “Canada, Western Europe countries, Poland, Moldavia, Thailand, Philippines, Venezuela, Romania and China.”

Palestinians are excluded. According to security considerations, the site “shall have one gate only for both entering and exiting the site.”

“No exit or entrance to the site shall be allowed during work hours except for supply trucks.”

Guards will only be Israeli citizens with air force experience. “The collection of information of any type whatsoever related to base activities is prohibited.”

Israeli architectural firm Ada Karmi-Melamede is involved. Eventual site employees will be provided amenities.

Mezuzahs are parchments with inscribed Hebrew verses. Usually they’re contained in decorative cases.

The facility will have special ones. They’ll be “written in inerasable ink on….uncoated leather parchment.” They’ll be handwritten by a ‘scribe’ “holding a written authorization according to Jewish law.”

They’ll “be proof-read by a computer at an authorized institution for Mezuzah inspection, as well as manually…for the form of the letters by a proof-reader authorized by the Chief Rabbinate.”

Mystery surrounds the site. Pentagon and Israeli Defense Ministry spokesmen said little. Pincus said bids for another secret Israeli project costing about $100 million for starters is scheduled to be awarded next summer.

It will involve “a complex facility with site development challenges.” Services required will include “electrical, communication, mechanical/HVAC, and plumbing.”

The US contractor chosen must have secret US/Israeli clearance. Two years of construction are likely. Pincus guesses it’s for a “secure command center.” What’s planned for Site 911 “is far less clear.”

What’s ongoing nearer-term matters most. Iran’s in focus. Washington and Israel want regime change.

Previous articles explained lawless sanctions, sabotage, subversion, cyber attacks, assassinations, saber rattling, falsified IAEA hype, Netanyahu bluster, US warmongering, spurious accusations, manipulated to fail P5+1 talks, and inflammatory headlines.

Will Obama attack in 2013? Will Israel ride shotgun? Netanyahu will likely be reelected in January. Expect him to head a new coalition government.

It may be more hardline than the current one. Prospects for peace aren’t good. Washington and Israel deplore it.

Heading into the new year, look for propaganda to intensify. An Iranian threat will again make headlines. Perhaps a major false flag is planned. Put nothing behind extremists in charge in both countries.

Direct US-led NATO intervention in Syria perhaps looms. Washington won’t quit until the entire country is destroyed. Libya 2.0 may be planned.

Death squad mercenaries need air power. Installing US-controlled Patriot missiles in Turkey on Syria’s border ups the ante. At issue is providing no-fly zone protection. Doing so is an act of war.

Reports suggest Obama plans “deeper intervention.” “Responsibility to protect (R2P)” slaughter and mass destruction may follow.

Post-election, Obama is unrestrained. Hawks want him to act. He needs little pushing. Full-scale intervention could come anytime. It won’t stop until Syria is entirely ravaged.

Perhaps Pillar of Cloud was act one. Terror-bombing Syria may follow. Hezbollah may be next. Then Iran if plans to isolate the Islamic Republic succeed.

Post-holiday tidings are worrisome. The entire region may be ravaged. At stake are more monstrous crimes. No end of them loom.

Article by Stephen Lendman | © Sabbah Report:

Transcript: TIME’s Interview with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi


[Note: TIME had spelled the president’s surname as “Morsy” based on his Ph.D. dissertation for the University of Southern California; his advisers in Cairo say the preferred spelling is now Morsi. Protocol required President Morsi to answer questions from TIME editors and reporters in his native Arabic, the official language of Egypt.  Instead, as a courtesy to his guests, he spoke for most of the hour in English, which he last spoke regularly three decades ago.]

TIME: You’re on the world stage now.

President Mohamed Morsi: (In English) The world stage is very difficult. It’s not easy to be on the world stage. The world is now much more difficult than it was during your revolution. It’s even more difficult. The world. More complicated, complex, difficult. It’s a spaghetti-like structure. It’s mixed up. So we need to somehow take things, easily, so we can go together, the whole world — peacefully, peacefully, hopefully, all kinds of peace. I think you know that in general people like to say that we should keep peace by all means. I’m not talking about peace by its traditional meaning. Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of living together, socially, culturally, not only militarily.

(MORE: Should Mohamed Morsi be TIME’s Person of the Year?)

Obama’s Middle East Cynicism

MJ Rosenberg

The U.S. vote against raising the status of Palestine at the United Nations was a deeply cynical move. It was cynical because there is not a chance that President Obama believes that he did the right thing. It is also cynical because, in the name of friendship for Israel, Obama led Israel closer to the cliff.

The last thing a true friend of Israel would have done would be to stand by as Israel demonstrated its almost complete international isolation. Just eight countries backed the Israeli position – the US, Panama, Palau, Canada, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Czech Republic and Micronesia – while 138 voted with the Palestinians. Was this display helpful to Israel?

But Obama was not trying to be helpful. The administration enabled this “disaster” (from Israel’s point of view) because Obama seems to truly not care about Israelis or Palestinians.

Take the two most recent examples. The first was his absolute refusal to express a word of sympathy for the Palestinians killed in the Gaza war. Under previous administrations, certainly under every Democratic administration, sympathy was expressed for the dead and injured on both sides along with a call for an end to the fighting. But Obama would not do that. Even when asked directly his spokesperson at the State Department would only speak of Israel’s pain. (To her credit, Secretary of State Clinton did say that she felt for both sides.)

But not Obama. He is determined not only to demonstrate that there is “no daylight” separating the two countries but that no amount of darkness separates us either.

The argument that he has to behave this way because of the power of the lobby doesn’t hold up. I would be the last person in the world to deny that the lobby is a powerful force in the making of U.S. Middle East policy. But, unless there is some mysterious element to the lobby’s power that I am missing, its ability to intimidate ends when a president is re-elected.

Believing that Obama is worried about Congressional Democrats being punished in 2014 is just as inaccurate. One: that is two years away. Two: Obama has rarely demonstrated (like almost all presidents before him) much concern for the Congressional wing of his party. And, three: the November 6th election demonstrated yet again that Jewish voters do not cast their ballots (or make campaign contributions) based on Israel. Nor do Israel’s fundamentalist Christian backers. Jews are overwhelmingly liberal Democrats and Christian Zionists are conservative Republicans. Those facts seem never to change.

Besides, does Obama really believe that he would lose votes or campaign contributions from Jews and other pro-Israel Americans if he expressed sympathy for dead Palestinian children? Or called on both sides to stop the violence. I hold no brief for the lobby but Obama could have said what he no doubt felt without losing anyone’s support. Even the lobby does not demand that politicians withhold human sympathy.

As for the United Nations vote, Obama could have prevented the huge embarrassment inflicted on both Israel and the United States by telling Israel to “chill.” I am glad he didn’t because I think the vote will be seen by history as a significant step toward Palestinian statehood. But it also delegitimized Israel in the eyes of the world which is a terrible defeat for those of us who care about Israel ultimately achieving peace and security alongside the Palestinians.

And it could easily have been averted if Obama had told Israel that the United States would vote for the resolution and that Israel should, too. In that case, the vote for Palestine’s elevated status would have been unanimous which would have rendered the Palestinian victory meaningless. Unanimous backing for any measure almost always demonstrates the measure’s insignificance. Instead, Israel’s hysteria and America’s arm-twisting against the resolution gave the Palestinians a big victory, a victory that the United States and Israel both elevated to historic proportions.

So why did Obama behave the way he did? I am afraid it is because he does not think Israelis or Palestinians are worth the hassle. If he can avoid dealing with Netanyahu and his vocal backers here, he will. He has more important fish to fry – like the domestic economy and preserving the social safety net.

I understand that but nonetheless ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian issue – by simply parroting the Israeli line – has done terrible damage to America’s standing in the world. Look at the UN vote which was neatly summed up by the front-page New York Times headline: “UN Assembly, In Blow To U.S., Elevates Status of Palestine.” Perhaps it is of no concern of Obama’s that Israel appears utterly isolated, but so does the United States. To put it in crude terms: we look like Israel’s tool.

I will not conclude by expressing the hope that Obama will now do the right thing for Israel, Palestine and, most importantly, the United States by convening negotiations and acting as an “honest broker.” I doubt he can do that anymore both because he has entirely lost the trust of the Arab world and because events have demonstrated, in large part due to this administration, that history can move on without us. But primarily because I do not think President Obama cares enough to invest any time or energy in Middle East peacemaking. He seems not to care that resolving conflict in a vital region of the world is not just some favor we do for people 6000 miles away; it is something we do to defend America’s interests. It’s sad. But above all, it is just cynical.

Postscript: Prime Minister Netanyahu reciprocated President Obama’s misplaced kindness today when he announced that he will build 3000 new settler housing units in the E-1 corridor of the West Bank. This housing, designed to permanently separate the southern West Bank from the northern part and to separate both from Jerusalem would destroy any chance of achieving the two-state solution. It also breaks a specific promise Netanyahu made to Obama.

Additionally, AIPAC is rushing to get Congress to “punish” Palestinians for going to the UN by blocking aid. Netanyahu and his lobby now believe (probably correctly) that Obama will permit them to do whatever they want. This is what the United States gets for its “no daylight” policy and what we taxpayers get for $3.5 billion a year in aid.


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