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December 27, 2001
4:12 PM   Subscribe

This might be really untimely investigative reporting or a very slick piece of disinformation to rework a very crude and obvious earlier attempt to spread more of the same. Whatever the reason, FoxNews published the story on their website (in 4 parts), and then they mysteriously took it down. Without any explanation.
Meanwhile, none of the other news outlets are going near the story. Except for www.cryptome.org. So, info or disinfo, you make the call...
posted by BentPenguin (17 comments total)

 
Okay, so the Israelis are spying on us. Is that really a surprise? But to allege that they are behind the attacks is pretty damn insane, unless you think that Bush himself was behind it (in which case you're already pretty far gone).
posted by insomnyuk at 4:35 PM on December 27, 2001


BentPenguin, I fail to see how the two sets of allegations relate, besides both being (possible/probable) disinfo. How is a story of Israelis spying on us, with covert U.S. assistance, a "reworking" of a story of Israelis having foreknowledge of/complicity in the attacks?

It is interesting, as cryptome points out, that none of Fox's competitors have commented on the story being pulled. You would expect them to be jumping with glee any time Fox gets egg on its face.

The fact that they haven't lends some weight to the possibility of the story having some substance and our government covering it up for NS reasons. But that wouldn't be, as insomnyk points out, all that terribly surprising.
posted by cps at 4:44 PM on December 27, 2001


Let me add, I don't think the second story -- the Israelis were aware of/behind the attacks -- is disinfo so much as just plain old paranoia-bred urban legend. Even if it was created by some Arab intelligence agencies or governments, I'd sooner call it 'propaganda' than 'disinfo'. Disinformation usually refers to false/misleading information planted for the benefit of the opposition's intelligence agencies.
posted by cps at 4:48 PM on December 27, 2001


OK, on reading a whole bunch of the Fox story, I can see that they're trying to spin "Israeli spies in the U.S." to link it to 9-11. But to me, that just sounds like typical excitable Fox hype. Anonymous sources who say that because they were spying on "some arabs", they "should have known" about the attacks? Bwahaha. This is why Fox rocks.

In any case, I suppose I wouldn't be surprised if Murdoch turned out to be an anti-semite of some sort, and this reflected his personal prejudices or something. Not that I have any reason to think he is or isn't, just that I wouldn't be surprised. But it doesn't read like disinfo, it reads like Fox hype.
posted by cps at 5:40 PM on December 27, 2001


This story is such a load of bullcrap that I wouldn't be surprised if it got removed due to legal concerns. Two particularly hilarious points are the attempted linkage of some stupid kids selling toys in violation of their visa with Israeli billing companys having access to telephone call logs information. I wonder what Fox would have made of this story:

"...looking to introduce usage-based billing using XACCT's solution.., Harvard University, which wants to charge its departments varying amounts according to Internet usage; and the US Navy, which intends to do the same with its US bases..."

XACCT is an Israeli-American IP billing vendor.
posted by Orik at 6:07 PM on December 27, 2001


I love Fox News. But one story they've never addressed (and one lady who called in to 'Fox & Friends' and asked about it was abrubtly hung up on) is Shepard Smith's running his car into a woman (a fellow reporter for another network) who was trying to reserve a parking spot, last year sometime. I think it's pretty funny, because I disliked Shep from the get-go. But it just goes to show, even the best of the best (Fox News) knows when to keep its mouth shut.
posted by fahfooh at 6:31 PM on December 27, 2001


I too had wondered about the Fox report. I saw it. First, I wondered why it was not picked up by other news channels since this would be a big story. Then I also noted that of the Israelis being held, some were held for visa problems, having ovrstayed. Next I noted that Fox also said that perhaps the Israelis were in the Mafia. But what really bothered me: The charge that they were being held (said Fox) because they had knowledge of the planned terror attack and did not report it.
Ok. They had knowledge. Where did they get it from? American sources they "spied on." Thus the Israelis didn't report and that was bad but the Americans also did not report and that does not get mentioned.
One of the problems with the Ashcroft sweep is that any and all can be gathered up and we will not know for what reason or for how long etc. And that is very frightening.
My guess is that either Fox and others told for whatever reason to drop the story (and our media play ball with Ashcroft) or they dropped it because Fox does not know why they are being held--why should Fox know since Ashcroft seemingly does not allow anyone to know.
I suspect, though, that there are on-going discussions between Israeli govt and the American govt since if they (the Israelis) are still being held--are they?--Israel will want to know why.
posted by Postroad at 6:41 PM on December 27, 2001


Of course, this series addresses that long-held understated fear of Americans: there are Jews in our malls. Really, as far as covers go, that HAS to be a joke. The location isn't sensitive, the manpower requirements are ridiculous ... your ideal deep-cover agent isn't sitting on his behind near the abstract sculpture fountain fending off kitsch-slathering housewives.

And of course it is no surprise that Israel spies on the US. I'm sure we spy on them, for slightly different reasons. Even friends like to have some advance word on whether you're contemplating switching to not-friend, for starters.

Then there's the way this addresses the undercurrent of Republican isolationism and links it to Republican vague lack of trust for Israel and Jews (sort of the Asperger's syndrome version of anti-Semitism). The American Jewish lobby, of course, is pretty much blue-state liberal. GOPers in elective office are, of course, stalwart allies, but except for a slice who are fervent Fukuyama we-support-Israel-because-it's-a-democracy, it's not a favorite Republican position. The situation of Israel, after all, is secure because of American public opinion. They can get away with stuff like this that wouldn't be tolerated by anyone else precisely because they're publicly one of our strongest allies. As far as what people in government actually think of them, it's irrelevant, because of the public relationship. And some of that with-friends-like-this attitude boils over as sources for articles like this, no matter how frothed up.

The CALEA stuff is perfect for thsi purpose. Is it any surprise that "non-authorized" personnel can get into these databases? We know how this sort fo thing works. To say that an Israeli company has access to this information is not that big a deal when there are American domestic abuses all the time, neither of which acts as proof of a widespread government Echelon suck-job.
posted by dhartung at 8:16 PM on December 27, 2001


My guess is that either Fox and others told for whatever reason to drop the story (and our media play ball with Ashcroft) or they dropped it because Fox does not know why they are being held--why should Fox know since Ashcroft seemingly does not allow anyone to know.

NO, they're just a bunch of idiots trying to create a sensation off a fairly routine illegal employment bust.

I suspect, though, that there are on-going discussions between Israeli govt and the American govt since if they (the Israelis) are still being held--are they?--Israel will want to know why.

Last I read, all but one were deported with no charges except overstaying their visas. I don't know where the idiot was in this story - whether it was the Fox reporter, someone in the FBI, or elsewhere, but the mere concept that Israel would spy on the US at such low levels is just ridiculous (and of course, thinking they would violate immigration law to do that is similarly silly).

Maybe someone will call Fox and ask them?
posted by Orik at 9:03 PM on December 27, 2001


Orik, my rough guess would be the idiot was at Fox. I'm pretty biased as far as that goes -- I don't put much faith in any major media, but feel Fox could take all comers in the clueless hype wars.

Reading the story, Fox stays pretty vague. They insinuate and imply, but never come out and say "the kikes did it!" -- reading this story, it seems they'd like to.

Anybody have an interesting take on Fox or Murdoch being anti-semite? Murdoch's a screwball as is, I wouldn't even be surprised at one of his properties reprinting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But I haven't looked into the matter that closely. Ehmm, they haven't, have they?
posted by cps at 10:46 PM on December 27, 2001


There are a few "groups" which link murdoch to anti-jew propaganda, just as there are a few groups which promote the concept that Fox, like other media are controlled by "Jews out to destroy Christian America".

None of them are really credible.

On the other hand, members of the Jewish Defense League were arrested last week in LA for planning to blow up a local mosque...and the story was buried on page 12 of the paper....had an Arab American been caught with that many explosives, and plans for blowing up a temple, you can bet it would have been front page news.

In areas that the Israeli's consider Israel, and the Palestinians consider Palestine, Israel has used American fighter planes, jets and helicopters to destroy veritable concentration camps. When the occupied people react in what they consider the only way to get the world's attention, this is only used as further justification for "targeted killings" by an overwhelming nuclear power against indiginous people. (Note that I'm not condoning bombings of civilians, ever, by any side...period.)

But, when the news is reported here, it is under the shadow of the Holocaust. Because of the horrors inflicted upon the Jews, and horrors they were; the Israeli's have taken on the mantle of the persecuted German Jews. Despite the fact that the majority of the population is now East European.

So, is the Massoud operating in the US? Absolutely. That's a given. Just as the Russians, Chinese, and everyone else has an intelligence operation here. We're a super-power. It's understood that any country we have operatives operating also has agents here. Duh.

The difference is, Israel is the primary nuclear ally we have in the Middle East, and we give them 5.7 billion dollars a year out of the defense and FA budgets to keep them that way. The odds are pretty high against you ever hearing anything even close to truth about Mossad operations here. Anymore than you'll hear about Dutch or Brit intel operations.
posted by dejah420 at 12:45 AM on December 28, 2001


the best of the best (Fox News)

Very funny stuff there. True only if you consider the best somewhere between Drudge, NewsMax and Rush. I'm still laughing...stop it!

Call the National Enquirer or Weakly World News! We've got a news flash! Fox News climbs to pinnacle of dung heap!
posted by nofundy at 9:31 AM on December 28, 2001


On the other hand, members of the Jewish Defense League were arrested last week in LA for planning to blow up a local mosque...and the story was buried on page 12 of the paper

What are you talking about? This was on CNNMSNBCFox and in all the paper's front pages.
posted by owillis at 9:40 AM on December 28, 2001


Concur with owillis -- I saw the JDF/LA story on CNN and CNN Headline News several times on 12/13.
posted by Mid at 10:29 AM on December 28, 2001


[T]he Israeli's have taken on the mantle of the persecuted German Jews. Despite the fact that the majority of the population is now East European.


Your wrongheaded logic aside, about three million Polish Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Does this give those "East European" Israelis enought Holocaust cred?
posted by Mid at 10:39 AM on December 28, 2001


It's well known in intelligence services that Israel operates the most aggresive spying network into America. The reason for this is not that they want to withold information from America, but rather the other way around-- as a nation that occupies a very small land-area for a people with a history of persecution from all corners of the globe, they see intelligence (including that gathered by US agencies that are not inclined to share them) as one of the most important factors of their survival.

These kind of cases show the divide between those who see the US's interests as inherently caught up in the interests of other nations, and those who see them as quite distinct. Many in the intelligence community are in the latter camp, many politicians, media outlets, and other institutions in the former.

In general, spy cases are not at all well-publicized unless there is no other choice. When it's an ally there is even less reason for what are essentially inter-agency feuds to become public. It doesn't serve the CIA or the Mossad's interest.
posted by cell divide at 11:10 AM on December 28, 2001


It's well known in intelligence services that Israel operates the most aggresive spying network into America.

It is well known that when making statements that cannot be corroborated, you should always start them with "It is well known"
posted by Orik at 2:32 PM on December 28, 2001


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