In February 2013, Grant Smith of the Middle East Policy Institute and Anti-War.Com published a story attacking Walter Pincus of the Washington Post for accusing the Army Corps of Engineers of supporting Israel’s nuclear program.
Smith’s proof of the innocence of Israel and the Army Corps of Engineers and his indictment of Pincus for an anti-Israel story is cited here:
“Pincus did not respond to an immediate email request for citations of USACE publications detailing “facilities for handling nuclear weapons,” but a January 4, 2013 Freedom of Information Act request to USACE Humphreys Engineer Support Center in Alexandria requesting documents summarizing “its role in building nuclear weapons handling facilities in Israel” was swiftly answered.
USACE’s response was unusually comprehensive. “This office is responsible for administering requests involving USACE Headquarters. The USACE Europe District is the office responsible for projects involving Israel. I have coordinated with the Europe District and have been informed that none of the facilities that USACE has been involved with were nuclear weapons handling facilities; therefore I will not be requesting that a document search be conducted.”
Grant Smith’s career as a journalist has been based on debunking government denials. In fact, it is harder to catch the Department of Defense actually telling the truth. Everything we now know as fact, the kidnappings and renditions, the torture, NSA spying, and, most recently, claims of Assad’s use of Sarin in Syria was “official truth” at one time.
Suddenly, a standard government denial outweighs a classified source Walter Pincus of the Washington Post had to push past “fact checkers,” a legal department and a dozen editors to get published at one of the most conservative media outlets in the world.
Did we just learn, not just that the DOD is funding Israel’s nuclear program but that independent investigative journalists may well have a role in protecting these dangerous and illegal programs?
Who Is What?
Smith’s article is curious. It is nearly impossible to see it as other than “cheerleading” for Israel and a poorly researched cover up. The theme of the article is hardly “anti-war,” quite the opposite and provides extensive cover for Israel’s childish denials of the nuclear capabilities it continually threatens the world with.
Veterans Today had received its own information about these facilities, multiple underground bunkers, nuclear-hardened, intended to provide command and control and needed support for Israel’s strategic command, their “nuclear command.”
Our own investigation showed the facilities to provide direct command and control for nuclear forces and, in one case, include hardened facilities for unspecified “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that included materials handling equipment exclusively used to deploy nuclear weapons.
Veterans Today had initially broken the story based on Pentagon sources. However, Walter Pincus, of the Washington Post, in November 2012 wrote the following:
“Over the years, the Corps has built underground hangers for Israeli fighter-bombers, facilities for handling nuclear weapons (though Israel does not admit having such weapons), command centers, training bases, intelligence facilities and simulators, according to Corps publications.”
For those who are unaware of such things, any information the US has regarding Israel’s nuclear arsenal is highly classified. The US effort to follow Israel’s weapons developments is handled through our embassy in Tel Aviv. It is the primary job of our attaché at the embassy to monitor this.
Colonel James B. Hanke, US Army Special Forces (ret) had been our attaché under Ambassador Pinkerton. Hanke oversaw us intelligence gathering inside Israel and was tasked with monitoring their nuclear capabilities.
Policies during the Clinton era that put “America first” ended with the Bush (43) presidency.
Thus, when the Army Corps of Engineers began building huge underground facilities, 5 in total, in Israel, those intelligence officers remaining from the “America first” era were shocked.
You see, there were no provision made for inspection of these facilities once they were turned over. Moreover, as Israel is a major nuclear power, it would be inconceivable that a “strategic command center” would not control “strategic weapons.”
However, the leaked classified information that Pincus would have used and never could have provided sources for out of journalistic ethics, had “shopped” this very real scandal to other publications. Only Veterans Today and the Washington Post printed it.
Smith Gets It Right Also
To make this all even more theatrical and confusion, Grant Smith very rightly cites a 2006 Walter Pincus story defending Steve Rosen and Keith Weismann of AIPAC, the Israel lobby organization, against spying charges.
These charges were later dropped on the basis of “national security.”
Pincus defends Rosen and Weisman’s acquisition and transfer to Israel of nuclear secrets as “freedom of the press,” quoting several supporting sources, all of which are AIPAC controlled.
Veterans Today editor, Gwyneth Todd, while a member of the National Security Council under Bush (43), met with FBI agents and cooperated in FBI surveillance under the orders of Condoleezza Rice, her direct superior.
A much larger espionage ring including top Bush White House insiders was discovered and volumes of evidence were accumulated including hour after hour of tape recorded confessions.
Smith, historically a strong critic of AIPAC, burns Pincus, rightly so, for a pitiful 2006 story using biased sources to defend Israeli spying on the US.
Here, in 2013, however, we find Grant Smith doing almost exactly what he has exposed Pincus for and, ironically, does so in the very same story. Are we not supposed to notice?
Smith’s position for analysis is that Israel uses press assets like Pincus who publish stories on US aid to Israel’s nuclear programs to cover up even worse Israeli abuses.
“Hinting that the U.S. government has an ongoing official -though deeply secret- role in helping Israel develop and deploy nuclear weapons is a line periodically pushed by Israel lobby partisans when uncomfortable facts about questionable funding flows from the U.S. or illicit material and technology diversions arise.”
Our own analysis is different than Smith’s. US complicity in taxpayer funding for Israel’s “ambiguous” nuclear program is, as we see it, a “red line.”
This is something that can end funding to Israel and evidence of these underground facilities exists, though highly classified.
Moreover, America’s willingness to build “Cheyenne mountain” type facilities, not just defensive but a nuclear hardened “war room,” a command and control facility in response to an Iranian ‘nuclear threat’ even Smith himself has always admitted was imaginary, is a fraud of the highest order.
What is telling is Smith’s use of materials, an unclassified document received through Freedom of Information, which would and could never adequately address something at this security level.
Simply put, when the US spends billions to build underground facilities and makes no provision as to how they are used and simply gives them to a government that has waged aggressive war against its neighbors, a nuclear power that issues threats constantly, far more than North Korea, it should be assumed all of these facilities are nuclear facilities.
Then again, there are the classified sources that confirmed weapons storage bays, nuclear operations centers and more.
What Smith never mentioned is what, exactly, these facilities are being built for if not to store and deploy nuclear weapons?
If the US believes, as they stated in the document Smith relies on, that Israel would never use them for “nuclear purposes,” then how is the US government assuring that?
America continually demands to examine every facility in Syria and Iran but not Israel.
Do we simply believe Israel? Nobody else does.
Were Smith to be right to the extent his curiosity has allowed, he would still be wrong. It is obvious the US is building massive strategic capabilities in Israel without consulting Congress or the American people.
These are, minimally, a threat to the region and the world.
Even if reports requested were “believable,” they aren’t comprehensively so. Even if these facilities weren’t directly tied to nuclear missile silos, as high level Department of Defense sources have leaked, they could be and certainly would be.
Israel never promised they wouldn’t. We never asked to check.
Nobody asked anything, we were simply too busy shoveling dirt over the problem.