Lawsuit Aims To Block U.S. Aid To Israel

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ON AUG. 8 THIS writer filed a lawsuit in DC federal court challenging U.S. foreign aid to Israel. The U.S. is finalizing a new 10-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will reportedly boost that aid to between $4 billion and $5 billion per year, up from its current $3.1 billion annually. However, U.S. aid to Israel violates longstanding bans on funds to non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) with nuclear weapons programs. Many have wondered why these bans are never enforced, but none have had standing to mount a challenge—until now.

In the mid-1970s, during investigations into the illegal diversion of weapons-grade uranium from U.S. contractor NUMEC to Israel (see May 2015 Washington Report, p. 11), Sens. Stuart Symington (D-MO) and John Glenn (D-OH) amended the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act to ban any aid to clandestine nuclear powers that were not NPT signatories. Although Symington was a strong advocate for national defense, he opposed Department of Defense waste, U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and CIA covert operations in Laos. Symington was close to President John F. Kennedy and CIA Deputy Director of Covert Operations Theodore Shackley. Like Glenn, who questioned Shackley about Israel’s diversion of weapons grade uranium from the United States, Symington likely knew of JFK’s secret opposition to Israel’s Dimona nuclear weapons plant.

In committee reports Symington clarified the legislative intent of his 1976 amendment: “…if you wish to take the dangerous and costly steps necessary to achieve a nuclear weapons option, you cannot expect the United States to help underwrite that effort indirectly or directly.”

Although key elements of Symington and Glenn have periodically been watered down, their core provisions—that the U.S. cannot deliver aid to non-signatories to the NPT that engage in transfer of nuclear weapons technologies—remain the law of the land. Since the bans went into effect, U.S. foreign aid to Israel is estimated to be an inflation-adjusted $234 billion, including secret intelligence aid.

The lawsuit alleges that the president and key federal agencies are violating both the Administrative Procedures Act and the “Take Care” clause of the U.S. Constitution by failing to uphold Symington and Glenn. It lists many historic cases where the president was required to act, and more recent cases such as post-2010 illegal diversions from the United States of oscilloscopes and pressure transducers for centrifuge cascades by Israeli front companies.

The original doctrine of the U.S. ignoring and Israel never mentioning its nuclear weapons program was hatched in 1969, during a meeting between visiting Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon. Recently declassified files reveal that Nixon feared a “Zionist campaign to undermine” his administration if he withheld U.S. foreign aid over the program. Since then, presidents and national security officials have run away from media requests for comment on the program.

The Obama administration has gone further than any previous one in enforcing this “nuclear ambiguity” policy. In 2012 the U.S. Department of Energy, under guidance from Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Department of State, promulgated what amounts to an illegal gag law. Titled “Guidance on Release of Information Relating to the Potential for an Israeli Nuclear Capability,” the gag law severely punishes any federal official or contractor who frankly discusses Israel’s nuclear program. This has overturned government sunshine laws as federal agencies block Freedom of Information Act requests, string out the release of official records, attempt to charge exorbitant fees to dissuade public interest watchdogs, fail to pay damage awards in lost court battles, and simply claim that records known to exist “cannot be located.”

As perhaps the lead research organization expending tens of thousands of dollars to obtain the release of such records through sunshine laws and related legal challenges, IRmep can quantify and demonstrate how it has been injured by “nuclear ambiguity,” thereby providing the standing necessary to proceed. However, the lawsuit does not seek any repayment of these documented expenditures and injuries, arguing that these injuries pale in comparison to the harm done to unsuspecting American taxpayers.

The relief sought from the court is that it enjoin the federal government from any further actions to uphold “nuclear ambiguity,” including gag order enforcement, violations of sunshine laws and other systemic abuses. More importantly, such a ruling would also put a halt to future aid deliveries to Israel, unless the president publicly issues a special waiver.

Symington and Glenn allows a president to issue such a waiver justifying why it is in the U.S. national interest to deliver aid to a non-NPT country developing a nuclear weapons program. During the Clinton administration, such waivers were issued for Pakistan and India. However, the U.S. president would be hard pressed to prove that Israel has any major strategic significance to the United States justifying a waiver.

In fact, the opposite is true. Instances cited in the lawsuit include CIA predictions in the 1960s that a nuclear-armed Israel would be resistant to any negotiated peace with Palestinians or Arab neighbors. Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians was a motivation behind the 9/11 attacks, according to the official report. Foreign aid to Israel in reality generates blowback rather than defending any national interest.

More ambitiously, the suit demands the “disgorgement” of the value of aid already delivered since Symington and Glenn went into force, “for use in legal and legitimate purposes that serve the common good rather than unlawfully subsidizing through offset a foreign nuclear weapons program.”

As discussed in an Aug. 11 audio briefing, the real reason the United States delivers more foreign aid to Israel than to any other country can be found in the activities of Israel lobbying organizations: channeling campaign contributions, launching propaganda campaigns, saturating the news media and placing political appointees in key policymaking positions.

Subversion of Symington and Glenn for four decades is only one indicator of their harmful, undue influence. Advocates for American taxpayers have appeared nowhere in this vicious circle, but a judge may soon finally act in their interest.

  • Aer O’Head

    There’s another unrelated lawsuit that also seeks to block aid to Israel, but on different grounds with different arguments.


    Thirty American citizens filed suit today in the U.S. District Court of Washington D.C. against the Department of Defense, the State Department, and the Department of Treasury. The Plaintiffs want the Court to order the agencies to stop all aid to Israel based on Congressional mandates. Based upon the Leahy law and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, U.S. aid can be terminated if the recipient country engages in human rights violations or uses U.S. military equipment in offensive military operations.

    For the last thirty years, the Israeli army has terrorized the Palestinian population and denied the Palestinians their basic human rights, including religious and political freedom. The Israeli army has used U.S. military equipment in four different invasions – one in Lebanon, and three in Gaza. The Israeli army has murdered and maimed 10,000 Palestinians and destroyed hospitals, schools, power plants, an airport, mosques, churches, and even UN facilities. The Israeli government has engaged in massive ethnic cleansing of all non-Jews in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (“OPT”). At least 400,000 Palestinians have been forced out of the OPT so that 800,000 Jewish settlers could permanently colonize the OPT and take over homes and villages.

    The agencies have funded ethnic cleansing, genocide, and other war crimes including the de-nationalization of the Palestinian population courtesy of the $200 billion given to Israel in the last thirty years. The agencies do not adhere to their own regulations and have adopted an “Israel first” double standard. Courts deem that activity to be ‘arbitrary and capricious’ and, as such, is reviewable by Federal Court. By continuing to fund the Israeli army and belligerent settlers, these agencies are financing multiple war crimes. This behavior not only violates the agencies’ mission statements, it is repugnant to fundamental U.S. values, including protecting universal

    human rights and religious freedom. Since the agencies fund Jewish-only settlements, hotels, highways, schools, housing projects, hospitals, and malls, they violate numerous Treasury rules and regulations pertaining to tax-exempt entities which prohibit funding discriminatory practices and policies. In fact, these pro-Israel tax-exempt entities sent $2 billion to promote settlement expansion and indiscriminate violence perpetrated by the Israeli army against the Palestinian population.

    This is a historical lawsuit and anyone interested in joining can contact Martin F. McMahon and Associates at 202-862-4343.

    October 21, 2016

    Attorney for Plaintiffs

    Martin F. McMahon

    Managing Partner

    Transnational Business Attorneys Group

    1150 Connecticut Ave NW,

    Washington, DC 20036

  • kevinzeese

    Good luck. How are you going to get around the very limited rules of standing to sue? What is your argument that you have standing?

  • Aer O’Head

    I’m a U.S. citizen and taxpayer. If you need any more info than that, I will refer you to the complaint itself.

    https://www.dropbox (dot) com/s/hqg2qcgbc5p56xd/Complete%20Lawsuit_10.24.2016.pdf?dl=0

  • kevinzeese

    Your lawsuit is making valid claims. I agree with all you are trying to do. So, I was not writing as a critic. I’m a lawyer and I know the courts use lack of standing as a way to avoid hearing a case, especially a controversial one. If a court ruled with you they would have hell to pay — even though you are legally right in my opinion. So, they are likely to find a way to avoid it. Sadly, being a taxpayer and citizen are not enough to meet the test of standing. (I tried to open the drop box but could not get it to open.)

  • Aer O’Head

    Hmmmmm …. you DID remove the “(dot)” from the address, didn’t you?

  • Aer O’Head

    Hmmmmm …. you DID remove the “(dot)” from the address, didn’t you?

    Here’s an alternate address, this one with TWO “(dot)’s” that need to be removed:

    https://drive (dot) google (dot) com/open?id=0B_LBQEjV60cqUVM1aG9rZU1mbUFBellMZHVTbFhQWExwT0Fz

  • Aer O’Head

    I believe that’s addressed in paragraph 19 et seq.

  • kevinzeese

    Thanks. I was able to get to the suit. As I said above, it does not deal with standing and this will be the issue that undermines the case. You might want to ask the lawyers how they will deal with lack of standing. Being a taxpayer and citizen is certainly not enough.

  • Aer O’Head

    Well, I trust lead counsel to know his stuff. He’s been practicing in DC for quite a few years now. We also have a separate lawsuit against Treasury regarding non-profits funding settlements and settlers. Without going back through my emails, I seem to recall that standing was an issue in that one too. If I’m not mistaken, that one is still in discovery. There should be a link to that on their website.

  • Aer O’Head

    P.S. Here’s a link to that one, along with pertinent documents. And yeah, they did challenge standing on that one.

    http://www.martinmcmahonlaw (dot) com/abdel-aziz-v-treasury

  • Aer O’Head

    P.P.S. I just Googled you and I’m VERY impressed! I’d encourage you to give Martin McMahon a call and discuss the case with him. I’m sure he’d appreciate your input! As am I. Thanks for your comments.

  • DHFabian

    America has undoubtedly been a shabby ally to Israel, and years of anti-Israel propaganda (combined with general US ignorance about international matters) has done much to turn public opinion against Israel. Trying to discuss this issue with people who know virtually nothing about the history and politics of the Mideast is, to say the least, a daunting challenge.

    Put things into perspective as a starting point for learning more. Israel is a tiny country, roughly the size of New Jersey. It is both the historic and the modern homeland of the Jews, surrounded by vast, oil-rich Arab nations, which seek a 100% pure Moslem Mideast. Each of these Arab nations are armed to the teeth by Russia, China, and the US. It takes everything Israel has got, just to survive. Americans view Israel as a behemoth military power seeking to dominate the world — or at the least, the Mideast — and/or a tool of the US. Israel is no threat to the US. Arab oil nations are.

    What keeps the US engaged in conflicts/war is America’s addiction to oil — not any imagined loyalty to Israel. High prices and long lines at the gas pumps can gravely damage the careers of US politicians. This fact gives US oil corporations extraordinary power over the government and the nation.

  • DHFabian

    “For the last thirty years, the Israeli army has terrorized the
    Palestinian population and denied the Palestinians their basic human
    rights.” Compare this to America’s response to 9/11, both here and in the Mideast. It’s also a false notion, as what Israel targets is those who incite and cause violence (bombing Israeli schools, etc.).

    What we call “Palestinians” are specifically the Israeli Arabs who have been recruited to wage a campaign of terrorism against Israel in the effort to wipe out the Jewish nation, to build a 100% pure Moslem Mideast. Every Arab in Israel lives within easy traveling distance of an adjoining Arab nation. They can either live and work in peace in Israel, or move. America’s suffer myopia when it comes to the Mideast. They brush aside Palestinian attacks on innocent Israeli citizens (bombing schools, crowded market places, etc.), yet are outraged when Israel retaliates. Well damn, the longest war in US history has been in retaliation for the Arab attack on the US on 9/11. The US has slaughtered more Arabs and brought far more destruction to the Arab nations than Israel could ever have imagined — not for the sake of Israel, but in retaliation for 9/11 and in the interests of our oil addiction.

  • Aer O’Head

    You’re quite mad. Or crazed. Or drunk on that Kool Aid called Zionism. Just for starters, nobody is trying “to build a 100% pure Moslem [sic] Mideast.” The Mideast never was 100% Muslim nor will it ever be. And guess what. It was never 100% Jewish either. As the Zionists are trying so hard to make it.