Legendary Concert Promoter
Author of the New Bombshell Book
“What Really Happened to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop”
Legendary concert promoter Leonard Rowe’s career had an inspiring beginning. He amusingly tells the story of how he became fascinated with concert promotion after standing in a line two blocks long to see the Spinners. Tickets for the concert were $7 apiece. Thinking to himself, but talking aloud, he wondered who was getting all of the money. Someone from the crowd yelled out, “the concert promoter.” On that day, Rowe decided he would become a concert promoter and he never looked back.
Today, Rowe is an entertainment veteran who started his career in 1975. Over the years he has promoted some of the largest most successful national tours in music history including big name artists, Kool and The Gang, Barry White, Parliament Funkadelics, OJays, Michael Jackson and the Jacksons, Prince, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Patti LaBelle, Earth, Wind and Fire, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and many, many more. Rowe has sold out arenas across America.
Near and dear to his heart is the history he made with Michael Jackson and the Jacksons. He was the only African American concert promoter to ever tour the Jacksons, having produced and promoted the highly successful tour that launched Michael’s solo career, “Off The Wall” in 1979-80. He continued his relationship with the family for more than 30 years.
But the road has not always been easy. From the very beginning of his career, Rowe – as he likes to be called – encountered institutionalized racism in the music industry. He learned early that an African American concert promoter was not allowed to work with caucasian artists. He said that when he would ask for them, the talent agencies would laugh.
Not willing to settle for this obvious discrimination, eventually Rowe took action and sued all of the agencies and top promoters. Although he describes the suit as somewhat successful, he knows that justice has not been done; racism in the music industry continues today. He believes that his stance against racism and inequality in the concert promotion industry is the reason why he has been ridiculed and his character continuously assassinated.
But Rowe is determined and he doesn’t give up easy. In 1996, he co-founded the Black Concert Promoters Association and served as its president for 10 years. Today, he mentors other minority promoters advising them on how to compete nationally and internationally in the cut-throat world of entertainment.
A close friend of Michael Jackson, Rowe has become a crusader for justice for Michael – who he believes fell victim to the evils of the entertainment industry. He has written a tell-all book, “What Really Happened to Michael Jackson The King of Pop” The book is a must-read bombshell with shocking evidence about the greed, corruption and underhanded dealings surrounding the needless and untimely death of the Popstar.
“Michael was a dear friend of mine,” said Rowe. “Now finally on the anniversary of his death, the truth about what really happened to Michael Jackson will be told.”
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Leonard Rowe asks: Why Aren’t Black People Winning Discrimination Lawsuits Anymore?
by Leonard Rowe
Most Black Americans are not aware that there is an on going conspiracy currently being waged against them in this country. This conspiracy is designed to keep Black People powerless and financially drained. The way this is being accomplished is by keeping Black America totally divided and eliminating as many possibilities for prosperity as possible, without it being detected. Having money gives us power. Most of us remain ignorant to the tactics that are being used to keep us subservient. When Black People come together on any given issue we are a powerful race of people. Why? Unlike other races of people in America, we have no fear of anyone or anything when we feel that we are being mistreated or discriminated against as a group. This is why all efforts are made to keep Black People separated in this nation, and to eliminate our access to the media.
When Black People were fighting for civil rights in the 60′s, there were other groups that secretly stayed out of sight, that were with us, morally and financially, but did not want it to be known that they were supporting us, because of their fear of whites in this country. While knowing all along that the passing of a civil rights bill would also benefit them as well as it would us, they privately gave us their support. Today, the same group of people that stood with us secretly are mainly the ones that are mistreating Black People and violating our civil rights. We, as African Americans, have been mistreated by this country more than any other race of people on earth, but have never received compensation for the abuse. Practically all other groups and nations that have been mistreated by America have received some form of compensation for past wrong doings committed by our country. I have often wondered how we as Black Americans can support and approve of our tax dollars going to countries like Israel to help the Israeli People, but never demand that our homeland, which is Africa, receive the same financial and military support as we give to other nations. We must always remember, the wealth of this country was mainly created from the forced free labor, provided by our enslaved ancestors who were kidnapped from our native continent of Africa.
Black People, we must wake up, we are still asleep and being bamboozled and tricked. Do you ever hear of minorities, especially African Americans wining discrimination lawsuits in our courts anymore? I don’t. It’s not because whites have stop discriminating; they will never stop giving the advantage to their own people.
Rather in most cases, Judges have been put in place in our federal court system to ignore the law as well as the evidence and dismiss the discrimination cases, not allowing them to ever be heard and decided by a jury. I had often wondered what white Republican politicians like New York former mayor Giuliani meant when they would say that they are not for redistributing the wealth. I learned later that what they really meant was that no matter how they obtained the wealth, whether by fraudulent or discriminatory means, they are not giving it back. To ensure this, they have quietly taken control of our courts, and we as Black People are not aware of it.
Our federal court system has become biased when it comes to the rights of African Americans. I hope this next statement does not sound racial because I am not a racist. Black people must stop allowing an all white jury to decide their fate in our courts. We must also make wise decisions when choosing our attorney or attorneys.
The United States Constitution entitles you to a jury of your peers. When you allow an all white jury to decide your fate, in most cases you are being tricked, no matter what your attorney may tell you, don’t do it. An all white jury will not be able to relate with your struggles in life and very seldom will they have compassion or sensitivity for you or your family. No matter what, don’t do it, stand firm on this issue.
Black People do not own much of anything any longer in this country. Why? Because the white power structure makes it their business to buy it, and take it away from us, once they see that we have something that has the potential to become a profitable or a successful business venture. Money is power, and they know it. Basically all groups and races have their own business industries except African Americans. Let’s take a close look at our Black hair care products industry. We don’t even own that any longer, It has been taken over by the Koreans. Black People should stop buying their own hair care products from the Korean people and demand that they give us back our business. If we would stop patronizing them, they would have no choice but to relinquish it and turn our business back over to us. We are the only race of people that would allow this type of financial rape of their own people and community.
Let’s take a look at the Black record companies that were once thriving, but are now gone and out of business. Such as LaFace Records that was located in Atlanta, Philly International Records that was in Philadelphia and Solar Records that was run by my good friend the late d**k Griffey in Los Angeles, and there were many others. The closing of these companies was not coincidental, like they would have you to believe. It was all part of a plan by those that control the music industry and Hollywood. The same thing has happened to all Black Concert Promoters, who have all been run out of business solely because of their race. We don’t even own Jet or Ebony Magazines any longer. They bought them from us as well. These moves are done to take away our voice, financial power and means of communication. BET is gone now also, they bought that from us as well. It became too powerful of a communication tool for a Black person to own and control. By controlling the media and all communication outlets they control the way we think as well as the conscience of America.
I would like for you to also take a close look at what happened to my close and dear friend, Michael Jackson. He owned a billion dollar music catalog, which was, to my knowledge, the largest and most valuable music catalog owned by any individual in the world. He personally told me that he would never sell or relinquish it. He wanted to keep it and pass it on to his children. That, also, was too much power for a Black Man to have and control in the entertainment industry, so they killed him and took it back. We don’t even control our civil rights organizations any longer. Such as The NAACP, The Urban League, the MLK Center For Social Change, Operation Push, Al Sharpton’s Action Network, and even The SCLC. Have you ever though about it, you never see or hear of these organizations fighting for the protection of Black People’s civil rights any longer. When was the last time you saw one of these organizations picketing or marching against discrimination? You haven’t, why? It’s not because discrimination has stopped. Let me tell you why, it’s very simple. We have allowed these organizations to be infiltrated by others with the use of their finances. They all are doing something that the late Malcolm X. said we must not do, and that is to accept their money. This is how these civil rights organizations have been neutralized and they don’t even know it. They are afraid of loosing that annual contribution that they are receiving each year, which is tax deductible to the contributor. These donations are often given to those organizations to ensure that they will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the discriminatory policies and practices designed to prevent African America People from advancing. These donations mostly come from the very same people that discriminate against African Americans on a daily bases, such as Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry. These donations keep our Black leaders silent, and allow these racist companies to continue discriminating against Black people with continuity.
When Black People charge Hollywood companies with discrimination, such as I did, with documented proof in hand, showing that behind closed doors Hollywood executives have been referring to Black People as “n*****s,” “coons”, and “spooks” hundreds of times; our federal courts turn a blind eye to this racist behavior.
Our civil rights leaders become hard to reach once they see who the perpetrators of this racism are. You can no longer reach them by phone because they have all been bought. It is so awful what we have allowed these people to do to us in this country. We are loosing ground rapidly, and we must wake up people. All of this is being planned and accomplished by destroying and neutralizing our leadership. They never want to see another creation of an Obama or Martin Luther King JR. in this country. They are targeting our future Black leaders at an early stage and destroying them. They have tarnished the legacy of our future leaders like Congressman Jessie Jackson Jr. and Kwami Kilpatrick the former mayor of Detroit. I am not saying that these individuals are innocent, but what I do want to say is that white politicians and federal judges are committing more heinous and despicable crimes than these two individuals have been accused of and are not being pursued as vigorously by our government or FBI as these individuals were, and most of us don’t even have a clue that all of this is being done intentionally.
When whites victimize Black people, our law enforcement agencies do not move as expeditiously or as vigorously as they do when White citizens are victimized by Blacks. In most cases they pretend not to see the crime. Our sons, daughters, fathers and mothers go abroad, when asked by our government, and put their lives on the line for this country, but are denied equal protection under the law upon their return, solely because of their race, think about it. This is all being accomplished and done with their control of the media and the courts. We as Black people have very little in the way of communication. The media is often used by those that control it to destroy the character of African Americans that are viewed as a threat to their corrupt way of life. It is not used in the same manner to destroy the character of White American citizens, because they will not allow it, and if it was attempted, it would be taken away from those that maintain control of it. And they know it. It’s mainly used (the media) to destroy African Americans and other nations and leaders that are disliked by those in control of it.
We as Black People must first come together and confront our civil rights leaders, organizations, politicians and demand that they stop being controlled by those that are hurting and destroying prosperity for our race of people. We must also come to the aid of other Black Americans when they are being denied justice by our judicial system; we did that when the brutal beating of Rodney King took place in California. We also stood up when Trayvon Martin’s life was unjustly taken in Florida. We must also stand with Black Americans like Mr. Marcus Washington who is presently fighting for his constitutional rights in a discrimination law suit in New York District Court against the financially powerful giant, The William Morris Agency. Because what affects him in his fight directly, will affect all African Americans indirectly. His fight, as well as my own against this entertainment giant is similar to the fight of David and Goliath, but we must always remember that David came out ok.
We can’t make people change how they feel about us but we have laws firmly put in place to make sure people change their wrong behavior towards us. We can never change things if we continue tolerating them. I write this article with the belief that it is sinful for one not to share the wisdom and knowledge that God has given them.
I pray that Dr. Boyce Watkins will continue to have the courage to bring us your Black World News, which I view as being truthful and reliable. We as Black People must support him in every way possible. We need this publication now more than ever to ensure that the voice and conscious of Black America will continue to be heard.
Cynthia McKinney has become an internationally renowned human rights activist because of her readiness to step into the line of fire in order to achieve her goals. Cynthia has been stranded in international waters and rescued by the Lebanese Navy as she attempted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the besieged people of Gaza during Israel’s 22-day military attack on Gaza, Palestine–Operation Cast Lead. Also as a result of her activism around Israel/Palestine issues she served 7 days in an Israeli prison for attempting to deliver school supplies to Gaza’s children in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead.
Cynthia had traveled to Libya just days before U.S./NATO operations against that country. After the outbreak of actual bombing of that country, Cynthia assembled a team of journalists and took them to Libya to report the truth as opposed to the war propaganda that the world’s people–especially inside the United States–were being fed. Cynthia reported on many war crimes from the U.S./NATO operation against Libya and noted that she could taste the grit of the bunker busters as they pounded that African country’s soil. Cynthia’s book, “Illegal War On Libya” is a report on Libya before, during, and after the bombing from people who were familiar with or traveled to that country with Cynthia.
Cynthia recently completed a fact-finding mission to Syria to understand the complexities of the push for U.S. war against that country. Her report on Syria will be forthcoming.
Cynthia was recently invited to speak at a Conference sponsored by IBON International, a human rights organization headquartered in the Philippines. Many heroes of the Philippine Independence Movement were there as well as international leaders of the Kurdish and Tamil human rights movements.
Cynthia McKinney served twelve years as a Member of the United States Congress House of Representatives. She was elected six times by the people of the State of Georgia.
Cynthia exposed corruption in Washington, D.C. and did not hesitate to hold responsible position holders accountable. Her questioning of Donald Rumsfeld on fiscal responsibility and the tragic events of September 11th has become legendary. Video of Cynthia can be found here. As a Member of Congress, Cynthia challenged then-Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to tell the truth about his failures as an important leader in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She challenged the Africa Policies of both George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Colin Powell as well as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Cynthia thinks the public has a right to know what its government does in its name using its tax dollars. Therefore, she has consistently sought to release records pertaining to the surveillance and murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as Tupac Shakur. Cynthia has studied the U.S. government’s organized efforts to quash dissent during the 1960s and 1970s in its CounterIntelligence Program (known as COINTELPRO) and in the findings of assassination attempts against foreign leaders (among other things) contained in the Church Committee Reports. Cynthia continues to contribute to the scholarship on these important issues in her work researching COINTELPRO against the American Indian Movement, the Black Panther Party, and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. Cynthia believes that while COINTELPRO might have ended, U.S. government surveillance on its own people did not. Her thoughts have been vindicated by recent revelations by Eric Snowden of National Security Agency wiretapping practices.
As a Member of Congress, Cynthia tackled tough domestic and international issues. At home, Cynthia became the tireless defender of her constituents in Georgia as well as the poor, the middle class, farmers, students, and veterans. And she produced results.
While regularly feeding the homeless families on Atlanta’s streets, Cynthia discovered the sad fact that a sizable proportion of U.S. homeless are veterans. This caused her to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that her veteran constituents were receiving their fair share of benefits. Cynthia is also responsible for the 25-year extension of Agent Orange benefits to Vietnam War era veterans.
Cynthia authored the legislation that authorized the disparity study that found that Black farmers in the United States had suffered intentional and willful discrimination for generations. Cynthia continues to work with the farmers as they seek delayed justice.
She brought back to her constituents over $300 million for senior citizen housing, transportation, MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), GRTA (the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority) HOV lane construction through DeKalb and Rockdale Counties, sound barrier construction along I-20 interstate highway, community recreation and arts facilities, and a national heritage designation for Arabia Mountain.
Cynthia tackled unethical mining operations in her State and was able to recover increased revenues for landowners affected by the international corporations that operated kaolin mines in Georgia. She worked until her constituents in Augusta, Georgia received much-needed medical attention when she learned that they were dying from exposure to arsenic and other toxins. She successfully got transplants for people about to die. She worked with the Clinton Administration to get entire neighborhoods in Savannah, Georgia moved away from toxic exposure and continual flooding. And, in a district with active Ku Klux Klan membership, Cynthia worked unceasingly to bring people together. One small-town mayor whispered in Cynthia’s ear in surprise that she had even “brought the Klan in” to her UNITY Receptions that Cynthia regularly held throughout her District.
Cynthia served four years in the Georgia General Assembly as a Member of the Georgia House of Representatives. While there, she became known nationally as a forceful opponent of war and injustice and a persuasive proponent of peace, human and earth dignity, and civil rights.
Cynthia has the distinction of having served as a juror on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine and of working with: Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s Perdana Global Peace Foundation, the Brussels Tribunal on Iraq, and a successful effort in Spain to indict and hold accountable soldiers of the Rwandan Patriotic Army who committed genocide against Congolese citizens inside Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cynthia has won many awards and continues her human rights activism around the world.
Cynthia is a bicycle enthusiast who wants to find more riding opportunities while looking forward to another cross-country ride with Bike4Peace.
Cynthia is currently working on her dissertation in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change.
Breaking News: Freed ITCCS activist Steve Finney and his family discuss his unlawful arrest and imprisonment, the campaign that freed him, and their plans to fight child trafficking with common law courts, in Kitchener, Ontario:
An International, multi-lingual ITCCS site can be found at: http://
“I gave Kevin Annett his Indian name, Eagle Strong Voice, in 2004 when I adopted him into our Anishinabe Nation. He carries that name proudly because he is doing the job he was sent to do, to tell his people of their wrongs. He speaks strongly and with truth. He speaks for our stolen and murdered children. I ask everyone to listen to him and welcome him.”
Chief Louis Daniels – Whispers Wind
Elder, Crane Clan, Anishinabe Nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Coming to Terms With Iran
It only requires a little flexibility from both sides
President Barack Obama perhaps fortuitously did not shake hands with his Iranian counterpart at the United Nations General Assembly meeting last week, but his brief phone conversation with Rouhani should encourage just a ray of optimism that Washington’s most bloviated foreign policy issue of the past thirty years might somehow be resolved. The green light for Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss the Iranian nuclear program should also be seen in positive terms, even if Kerry is an unlikely Great White Hope given his ineptitude relating to the Middle East Peace talks and Syria, as hitherto Washington has eschewed any direct talks with Tehran. To his credit, Obama has made his move in the face of heavy opposition from the Israel Lobby and its friends in congress and the media, which have begun to do battle over the issue.
As many informed observers, including former senior government intelligence analystsPaul Pillar and Flynt and Hillary Leverett, have noted, closing a deal with Iran is actually quite simple and everyone in Washington and Tehran knows what must be done. The problem is that hardliners in Iran are resistant to any rapprochement with the west and, more importantly, the Israel Lobby conditions and even dictates the positions that the United States is able to take. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is entitled to develop nuclear technology, including enrichment, for peaceful purposes like the generation of electricity and creating isotopes for medical applications. The Iranian people strongly support that right and find it bizarre that they are being subjected to a barrage of Washington-inspired United Nations Security Council resolutions that condemn it for behaving like every other NPT signatory that has a nuclear energy program. The country’s nuclear facilities are inspected by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency and the inspectors have reported that there has been no significant diversion or loss of enriched uranium that might be used in a weapon. Indeed, Iran has recently de-weaponized much of its nuclear fuel by converting it into plates fit only for medical purposes .
If Washington truly wants to come to an understanding with Tehran it knows it has to accept that Iran has a right to a civilian nuclear program. Indeed, both the Bush and Obama Administrations have on occasion conceded that to be the case though sometimes also suggesting that a secret, more insidious nuclear program might simultaneously exist. If Tehran wants a deal with Washington it too knows what is required: a transparent and inspected program that will satisfy the White House that no weapons are being planned or developed. This might well include no capability to enrich nuclear fuel at all requiring it instead to buy the fuel from others. Tehran has already indicated it might be willing to go down that road when it discussed such a possibility both with the Turks and Brazilians and also with the Russians before Washington characteristically changed its mind and rejected such an arrangement.
Tehran and Washington then have to agree to opening up the Iranian nuclear program to outside inspectors while also simultaneously easing the current international sanctions on Iran. That way there would be something that Rouhani can present to his people as a net gain in helping is devastated economy to recover while Obama can claim that a rigorous inspection regime will prevent Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon. Everyone wins, except Israel and its powerful lobby in the United States, which have constantly moved their red line but now oppose any Iranian nuclear program of any kind.
As Paul Pillar notes, “Benjamin Netanyahu will not support any agreement between the United States and Iran. Or to be more precise, he will not support any agreement that is at all reasonable…and thus has any chance of being negotiated…He is doing what he can to destroy the prospects for an agreement.” The Lobby’s attempt to derail the negotiations started almost immediately. Rouhani’s unscripted response to a question about the Holocaust, in which he said he was a politician not a historian, was immediately cited by the punditry as Holocaust denial, which it clearly was not. Not that the issue is relevant anyway, but Foreign Minister Zarif chose to address it more directly on the weekend, confirming that the Holocaust had taken place and that it was a “heinous crime” and a “genocide.” His explanation was predictably ignored by most of the mainstream media.
Typical of the level of invective unleashed against Iran was a September 27th op-ed by leading neocon Charles Krauthammer entitled “The real Rouhani” for the Washington Post which was full of false information intended to poison the waters if anyone should even attempt to negotiate with Tehran. Krauthammer claimed that there is no such thing as an Iranian moderate, that Iran has no right or need to develop nuclear energy, that it has nearly enough nuclear material on hand already to construct a bomb, and that the entire Rouhani appeal is a trick to have sanctions lifted with no concessions by Tehran in return. Oh yes, and their favorite refrain is “Death to America” while they are denying the Holocaust and plotting to “eradicate” Israel. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) could not have said it better and might well have provided Krauthammer with this “talking points.”
Brian Williams on NBC’s Friday prime time news also did his bit to make the American viewer understand the Iran is a perfidious place given to lying about its secret weapons of mass destruction, asserting on national television that Iran’s leaders are “suddenly claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons,” adding that “Skepticism is high and there’s a good reason for it.” Williams does not write his own scripts but clearly someone with an agenda did have a hand in telling him what to say. The fact is that no Iranian leader has ever called for nuclear weapons and the only skepticism comes from people like Williams who know what they are expected to report to hew to the conventional wisdom on Iran.
On the following day the Washington Post featured the headline article on its front page “Obama, Iranian president speak by phone,” asserting in the third paragraph that Washington was seeking “…a deal over Iran’s uranium-enrichment program, which the United States, Israel and other nations believe is cover to develop nuclear weapons.” What the Israeli government actually believes can certainly be questioned and its moral high ground for condemning anyone, considering that it is a secret nuclear power, is a bit shaky, but the US intelligence community has concluded that Iran halted its weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it. In the judgment of both the Agency and even Mossad, Tehran has not made the essentially political and economic decisions to develop a weapon, so asserting a general view among the “informed” that Iran is developing nuclear weapons is more than a bit of a stretch. According to President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, their country has no intention of doing so, and they note that the Iranian religious leadership has issued a fatwa condemning such a development.
A former intelligence officer friend of mine, reacting to the Obama-Rouhani phone call, predicted that there would be Washington Post op-eds by Senators McCain, Menendez, and Graham attacking Iran in response. A Menendez-Graham piece“Unseduced by Iran’s charm offensive” did indeed appear on Sunday, stating that the U.S. should “take whatever action necessary” to prevent Iran from acquiring a “nuclear weapons capability” that would be “threatening the very existence of our ally Israel.” It might be noted that Israel is no ally, that many in Israel admit that Iran is no existential threat, and that Iran already has a nuclear “capability.” So that leaves “take whatever action necessary” as the core message, doesn’t it? Nor is there any mention of how Iran might actually threaten the United States, possibly because Iran does not threaten the United States.
The Menendez-Graham op-ed was followed up on Monday by a blog by neocon Jennifer Rubin “On Iran, a bad call,” which describes the phone call between the two heads of state as “deeply worrisome” because the event was greeted with enthusiasm by the “chattering classes.” Rubin as usual doth protest too much as she is a poster child for everything that is wrong with the chattering classes that she denigrates. Her own newspaper the Post has repeatedly featured op-ed, editorials, and news pieces slamming Iran and opposing any attempts at rapprochement, so it is not as if there is a widespread wave of “chattering” enthusiasm greeting the news of talks between Iran and the US at least if one judges from the mainstream media.
And then there is, of course, this week’s visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the UN and to Washington. It was preceded by the phony news of the arrest in Israel of an Iranian “spy” who was allegedly carrying photos of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, a crude attempt to influence American opinion by suggesting that Iran was planning to attack a US diplomatic facility. On Monday Netanyahu met with Obama and warned him that already harsh sanctions should be further tightened in light of Iran’s nuclear program, noting that a “credible military threat” must back up any negotiations. He demanded that Iran’s nuclear program be dismantled. At the United Nations on the following day he asserted that “Rouhani doesn’t sound like Ahmadinejad. But when it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the eyes — the wool over the eyes of the international community.” He describes Rouhani as smiling “…a lot because smiling never hurts; pay lip-service to peace, democracy and tolerance; offer meaningless concessions in exchange for lifting sanctions; ensure Iran retains sufficient nuclear material and infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time that it chooses.” And a big lie unsupported by even a shred of evidence never hurts: “… in the last three years alone, Iran has ordered, planned or perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 countries on five continents.” For Netanyahu, nothing ever changes.
For Netanyahu, Krauthammer, Rubin, Menendez, and Graham apart from complete surrender on all issues and total disarmament there is absolutely nothing that Iran could possibly do to confirm that it is actually seeking some kind of accommodation. And even then they would object that it is all a trick and that Tehran has a secret program to attack Israel. Graham and Menendez, who are senators ostensibly elected to represent the American people, should wake up because change is coming. Israel and the United States are not two parts of the same organism. The US, which is struggling economically, desperately needs peace instead of another round of Asian wars. Most Americans are beginning to understand that. If Israel is threatened by anyone it certainly has itself at least partly to blame and Tel Aviv is, at the end of the day, responsible for its own security, which it is well equipped to do thanks to the generosity of the American taxpayer.
In its own interests, Washington should be racing to talk to Iran to find an exit from the longest running unnecessarily sustained neither-war-nor-peace conflict since the cold war. American politicians and media talking heads who say otherwise are being led by the nose by the likes of Netanyahu, a charlatan who has contempt for a congress and White House that he believes he can control. Along the way one might note that the past twelve years of war have not exactly delivered anything positive for the American people, quite the contrary. An unnecessary armed conflict with Iran, which might easily be avoided, could well be the final blow that will sink the American ship of state.
Defeating AIPAC Starts with Syria
In the second century B.C., Cato the Elder, a Roman Senator, would end every speech he made with the admonition “Delenda Est Carthago,” meaning that the city of Carthage, Rome’s perennial rival, must be destroyed. Among other claims, the Romans accused the Carthaginians of engaging in human sacrifice to their god Ba’al Hammon, something that one might describe as the “red line” of that era as Greco-Roman culture abhorred the practice and condemned those who engaged in it. Even though Rome dominated the Mediterranean and Carthage was in decline, Cato believed that one day the ancient resentments would again rise to the surface and a resurgent Carthage would discover a new Hannibal and take revenge. In other words, the survival of Carthage was seen as a threat to the continued existence of the Roman Republic. Cato’s argument was convincing enough to many Romans that it resulted in the Third Punic War in which Carthage was indeed destroyed.
I mention Rome and Carthage to illustrate the fact that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to making compelling arguments about what today might be termed national security. There is in today’s world no Carthage to serve as a counterpoint to America’s new Rome, but in a nation where corruption enabled by the art of lobbying has become so refined that interest groups are able to dominate the political discourse the real enemy is internal. It is plausible to argue that the nation’s legislature is only marginally answerable to the citizens that have elected it. This has nowhere been more evident than in the still ongoing debate over America going to war against Syria, which the White House intends to initiate to establish its “credibility” in spite of the clear evidence that Damascus poses no actual threat to the United States or its interests. Even if one considers a government killing its own citizens as humanitarian grounds for outside military intervention, which I do not, the White House has failed to produce any compelling evidence that the Syrian government actually used chemical weapons against its own people. Ordinary American citizens have responded to the mess of pottage they have been served by writing and calling their congressmen and, overwhelmingly, saying “no.” Even normally bellicose evangelical Christians are surprisingly nearly two to one opposed. But still congress dithers.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has weighed into the debate big time, unleashing hundreds of its activists on Capitol Hill, buttonholing congressmen and staffers alike. This is how it works according to a congressional staffer: “First come the phone calls from constituents who are AIPAC members. They know the Congressman and are nice and friendly and just tell him, or whichever staffer the constituent knows, just how important this vote is to him and his friends back in the district. Then the donors call. The folks who have hosted fundraisers. They are usually not only from the district but from New York or LA or Chicago. They repeat the message: this vote is very important. Contrary to what you might expect, they do not mention campaign money. They don’t have to. Because these callers are people who only know the Congressman through their checks, the threat not to write any more of them is implicit. Like the constituents, the donors are using AIPAC talking points which are simple and forceful. You can argue with them but they keep going back to the script… Then there are the AIPAC lobbyists, the professional staffers. They come in, with or without appointments. If the Congressman is in, they expect to see him immediately. If not, they will see a staffer. If they don’t like what they hear, they will keep coming back. They are very aggressive, no other lobby comes close. They expect to see the Member, not mere staff. Then there are the emails driven by the AIPAC website…and then the ‘Dear Colleague’ letters from Jewish House members saying how important the vote is for Israel and America. They also will buttonhole the Members on the House floor… And, truth be told, all the senior Jewish Members of the House are tight with AIPAC. Also, the two biggest AIPAC enforcers, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and his Democratic counterpart, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, are fierce AIPAC partisans, and they make sure to seek out Members on the floor to tell them how they must vote. On anything related to Israel, they speak in one voice: AIPAC’s. Obviously, there is no counterpart to this on the antiwar side. No anti-AIPAC to speak of. AIPAC owns this issue. It gets what it wants.”
AIPAC carefully avoided naming Israel in its statement of support for Obama even though it prides itself on being America’s pro-Israel lobby, presumably because it wishes to avoid Syria being labeled as Israel’s war if the bombing turns out badly. Which it will. AIPAC cares nothing for the fate of Syrian civilians but it does fear that failing to attack Damascus could possibly strengthen noninterventionist sentiment when it comes time to confront Iran, which it regards as Israel’s principal enemy. Its statement asserts ”America’s allies and adversaries are closely watching the outcome of this momentous vote. This critical decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capability. Failure to approve this resolution would weaken our country’s credibility to prevent the use and proliferation of unconventional weapons and thereby greatly endanger our country’s security and interests and those of our regional allies.” The White House, for its part, is increasingly playing the Israel card to gain support, with the Israeli media even reporting that Obama has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene directly in lobbying American Jews to support an attack.
So AIPAC and the other components of the Israel Lobby, which are marching in lock step on this issue, are basically advocating a series of wars in which the United States will do the fighting and dying to make the world safe for Israel. They have chosen to go on the offensive over the issue of Syria to head off any developing peace agenda. Alan Dershowitz, noted Israel-firster from the world of academia, makes the argumentin his usual obtuse fashion: “Congress should first authorize the president to keep his commitment with regard to Syria. Then it should authorize the president to keep his far more important commitment with regard to the red line against Iran. This dual congressional action will strengthen America’s position in the world…” Dennis Ross, who until quite recently exploited a series of top level U.S. government posts to shamelessly promote Israeli interests, spoke recently before a gathering of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), observing several times that approval of an attack on Syria would legitimize taking similar action against Iran in the future. Ross’s open advocacy for the Jewish state while in government earned him thesobriquet of “Israel’s lawyer” and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once testily interrupted him at a meeting, telling him that when the Likud position was needed they would call on him. Unfortunately, Ross was not and is not unique in US government circles when it comes to dealing with the Middle East.
If congress eventually approves the Obama program, now temporarily on hold, it will be because it fears AIPAC more than it does the voters in this country. That is not to say that there are not other constituencies that want to attack Syria for other reasons, but the critical component that will ultimately tip the scales towards war is the influence wielded by AIPAC. Which means that if Syria is actually attacked by the United States it will and should rightly be regarded as AIPAC’s war, a conflict which could also be fairly described as a victory of a foreign interest group over the American people.
AIPAC operates with a budget exceeding $50 million and has several hundred full time staff. Let there be no mistake about what the organization is and what it stands for: it wants the United States to start what almost certainly would quickly escalate into a major war on behalf of another country as a prelude to yet another war against yet another Middle Eastern country. AIPAC is a tax exempt foundation which claims to be educational, though anyone on Capitol Hill would be able to testify that it is anything but. President John F. Kennedy, recognizing the danger it posed, tried to get it listed by the Treasury Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act but was killed before he could complete the process. AIPAC does indeed have the right to organize and express any view that it sees fit but it should not be able to do so on the taxpayer’s dime as an exempt organization and it should be clearly understood that it is an organization that exists to support its own perception of Israeli interests first and foremost. Congressmen should be able to tell AIPAC lobbyists to go away without fear of reprisals.
If the United States is ever again to be free of the danger posed by well-funded special interests like AIPAC it must first recognize that it has a problem and then take steps to find a remedy. To be sure powerful interests will strike back hard, but a good first step to demonstrate seriousness would be for congress to vote against President Obama’s plan to attack Syria should it be brought to the floor in the next several weeks. It would be a major defeat for AIPAC and it could substantially shift perceptions in the United States, opening the door to a freer discussion of the interventionist foreign policy that has produced so many ills over the past twelve years. Putting the AIPAC genie back in the bottle would do just that, removing at a stroke the Israeli stranglehold on US policy in the Middle East and holding the White House accountable every time it seeks to initiate a war of choice.
Read more by Philip Giraldi
- Coming to Terms With Iran – October 2nd, 2013
- A Government Answerable to No One – September 25th, 2013
- ‘I’ Is for ‘Impeachment’ – September 18th, 2013
- Have You Heard the One About the Middle East Peace Talks? – September 4th, 2013
- Obama Flips and Flops – August 28th, 2013