Protocols of the Elders of Las Vegas

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 26 Comments

This post originally appeared in LobeLog.

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Sheldon Adelson

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is probably the most notorious work of anti-Semitic propaganda ever written. First surfacing publicly in 1905 after several years in private circulation, the work was a fabricated transcript of a secret meeting of rabbis plotting to control the world, as Gary Saul Morson explains. Its initial purpose appears to have been to blame the Jews of Russia for the radical activity that was beginning to shake the foundations of the Tsarist Russian Empire. Translated into English, French, German, Polish, Spanish and Arabic, its unfounded claim that a global Jewish conspiracy seeks to rule the world has shaped and seeped into anti-Semitic propaganda for over a century.

The Protocols of the Elder of Las Vegas, on the other hand, is a 21st century work in progress, and it is no hoax. It’s about a casino magnate with an estimated net worth of just under $25 billion (the seventh richest man in the United States) who decides to devote a small portion of his vast wealth to a neoconservative agenda determined to thwart negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinians; prevent the reelection of an incumbent U.S. president; engineer the destruction of political liberalism; and reshape the political environments of the U.S. and Israel by funding the election of politicians who serve his own corporate and ideological interests. Following is a rough draft of the plot line so far.

Chapter One: The Neoconservative

In April 2007, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson’s newly-established Adelson Family Foundation gives a $4.5 million three year grant to the Shalem Center in Jerusalem to establish the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies to “explore topics ranging from democracy and security, to nationalism, terror and identity.” Heading the Adelson Institute is former Soviet dissident Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky, who, after arriving in Israel, became a nationalist hardliner. Named as Adelson Institute fellows are former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon(currently Israel’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs); Yossi Klein Halevi (a contributing editor of The New Republic since 2008); Martin Kramer, an Middle East Studies professor and Washington Institute (WINEP) Fellow; and historian Michael Oren who became Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. in 2008.

The Adelson Institute’s first project is a June 2007 conference on “Democracy & Security” in Prague. Its agenda is a melange of neoconservative talking points: support for the U.S. war in Iraq; demanding human rights for freedom fighters (as long as they are not Palestinian); celebrating Eastern European resistance to Soviet domination and Communism, which had culminated in the integration of most former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO and the EU; and defending Israel’s right to absolute sovereignty. As Jim Lobe astutely noted at the time, the conference constitutes “a kind of ‘Neo-Conservative International’ designed to rally support for ‘dissidents,’ primarily from the Islamic world, and give them hope that ‘regime change’ in their countries is possible much as it was in the former Soviet bloc almost 20 years ago.

Within this “Middle East as Eastern Europe” neoconservative paradigm, Iran is accorded the role of “evil empire” once reserved for the Soviet Union. Two months later, in August, Sheldon Adelson is among the major donors who establish Freedom’s Watch, an advocacy group whose supporters overlapped with or were closely tied to the Republican Jewish Coalition. Freedom’s Watch immediately launches a 5 week, $15 million media blitz supporting President George W. Bush’s “surge” strategy in Iraq. In October, Freedom’s Watch sponsors a private forum of 20 “experts” on radical Islam and Iran.

Chapter 2: Ready for Prime (Minister) Time Player

In August 2007, after a failed attempt to purchase the Israeli evening newspaper Maariv, Adelson launches an Israeli newspaper of his own,  Israel Hayom (Israel Today) with a reported $180 million investment. Israel Hayom soon achieves wide circulation. Not only is it free, it also offers home delivery at no charge. For Adelson,Israel Hayom would be a tool with which to remove Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from office, and replace him with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Olmert resigns as Prime Minister on July 29, 2008 after being accused of corruption during his previous posts as cabinet minister and Jerusalem’s mayor. The charges included taking $150,000 in bribes from a U.S. businessman and defrauding Israeli charities by double-billing them for overseas fundraising trips. Israel Today regales its readers with sensationalist headlines and accounts of Olmert pocketing cash-stuffed envelopes and enjoying a lavish lifestyle in luxury hotels. Olmert insists he is innocent and will ultimately be vindicated.

In a CNN interview this past May, Olmert explains to Christiane Amanpour that he had been the victim of a right-wing conspiracy involving American millionaires determined to thwart his peacemaking efforts and destroy his political career:

“[Trying to make peace] was a killer for me,” he said. “I had to fight against superior powers, including millions and millions of dollars that were transferred from this country by figures in the extreme right-wing who tried to topple me. There is no question about it. I know the names of people who spent millions of dollars who tried to stop me. They wanted to prevent a government led by me from achieving peace.”

In July 2012, Olmert is acquitted of major corruption charges, but found guilty of a lesser charge of breaching the public trust. Olmert calls for an investigation of “right wing American Jews” who had used their money and influence to topple him from power. Former government Minister Haim Ramon tells Israel Radio:

American right-wing Jews who filed countless complaints against Olmert have to be investigated. They saw Olmert as the man who could deliver an agreement with the Palestinians. Consider what Olmert could have done had he remained prime minister for two more years instead of Netanyahu.

Adelson’s intransigence on the Palestinian issue also brings him into conflict with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Adelson has been underwriting the cost of trips to Israel for members of Congress — although only for Republicans sponsored by an AIPAC-affiliate — and contributed toward a luxurious new office building for AIPAC in Washington DC, according to  Connie Bruck in the New Yorker. Adelson is infuriated when he discovers that AIPAC is supporting a letter signed by 130 members of the House of Representatives that asks the Bush  administration to increase economic aid to the Palestinians, a measure also supported by the Israeli government.

Chapter 3: All the President’s Money?

In 2011, Adelson forges an alliance with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Adelson and his wifecontribute $10 million to Gingrich’s Winning Our Future political action committee. Adelson’s cash enables Gingrich’s campaign to run ads vilifying rival Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital. When Gingrich drops out of the GOP primary race, Adelson begins negotiations with Romney. In June, “a well-placed source in the Adelson camp with direct knowledge of the casino billionaire’s thinking” hints to Forbes‘  Steve Bertoni that Adelson might even be willing to make “limitless” donations to Romney’s campaign in order to prevent Barack Obama’s re-election.

“What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years,”Adelson tells Bertoni in an interview. The man who amassed more wealth than anyone in the U.S. during the three and a half years Obama has been in office — $21.6 billion, which is about 90% of his current fortune — declares, “I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration’s quest to socialize this country.”

Adelson has other items on his agenda besides putting the lid on creeping “socialism” in the U.S. During Romney’s Israel visit, Netanyahu gave Romney a letter signed by the heads of all non-Arab political parties in Israel requesting clemency for Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel while employed by U.S. naval intelligence. Pollard was  sentenced to life in prison 27 years ago. All U.S. presidents including Obama have declined to free Pollard, who supporters say has served more time in prison than any other spy in U.S. history. An associate of Adelson’s, identified as a major Republican donor, tells the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake and Dan Ephron that Adelson is putting pressure on Romney to commit to freeing Pollard if he is elected. Romney’s response has been that he’ll have to wait until he is president and has access to top level national security files to make a decision about Pollard. That’s not the sort of answer Adelson likes to hear, so it’s being touted as evidence that Romney is a principled and independent thinker, not Adelson’s yes-man, despite the lure of massive cash infusions. According to Jonathan S. Tobin: ”The Romney campaign isn’t shy about making it clear that even the most beneficent contributor to the candidate’s coffers can expect nothing more than a civil hearing.”

“When Adelson was merely rich, he wrote checks for causes that he favored and for politicians whom he supported,”writes Connie Bruck. “Occasionally, he demanded to be heard. But he did not expect to play a significant role in U.S. foreign policy, or in Israel’s strategic decisions, or in the fate of a sitting Israeli Prime Minister. That was before he acquired many billions of dollars.”

Chapter 4: The Tycoon

Sheldon Adelson’s empire of shifting Sands was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2008. Now he is the 14th richest man in the world. ProPublica and Frontline have been co-publishing some in-depth reporting about Adelson’s business methods that may be under investigation, including “Inside the Investigation of Leading Republican Money Man Sheldon Adelson” and “New Questions about Sheldon Adelson’s Casino Operations in Macao.” Thomas B. Edsall also provides a detailed discussion of the business aspects behind Adelson’s success and questionable practices by which he may have attained it in the New York Times.

But could his obsession with politics be setting up Adelson for another downfall? Howard Stutz suggests in the Casino City Times that Adelson’s investors have reason to be concerned about the declining profitability and downgraded value of  shares in Adelson’s casino empire, while he lavishes his largesse on philanthropy and politicians:

A few days after Las Vegas Sands Corp. disappointed investors with quarterly earnings declines that sent the company’s share price tumbling and had analysts breaking out in a cold sweat, Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson jetted to Israel to watch presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney deliver a speech in Jerusalem. “It was a great speech. Loved it,” Adelson told Bloomberg News.

In Israel, he was treated like a rock star. Adelson, 78, was swarmed by Israeli citizens, Romney donors, and the press as he slowly made his way to his wheelchair after the speech. Back in the U.S., Argus Research downgraded its view of Las Vegas Sands stock. The firm placed a Hold recommendation on the shares, a change from its previous Buy rating. The weaker outlook reflected Argus’ concerns that revenues and profits from Las Vegas Sands’ four Macau casino developments were in trouble. During the quarter, net income from Macau declined 40 percent. Argus said the Chinese economy seems to be slowing.

Analysts openly wonder if Adelson, Las Vegas Sands’ controlling stockholder with 57 percent of the outstanding shares, is being distracted from the casino operations by his bi-continental political endeavors. “With shares falling will Sheldon open his wallet for [Las Vegas Sands] or the GOP?” Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steve Wieczynski asked at the top of a critical July 26 research report discussing the company’s quarterly results.

Chapter 5:  The Outcome

New York Times editorial views Adelson as “the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation’s needs.”

The Protocols of this Elder of Las Vegas is no conspiratorial fabrication. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the last chapter has yet to be written. Will money ultimately decide the 2012 U.S. election? And if it does, will it be Sheldon Adelson’s?

About Marsha B. Cohen

Dr. Marsha B. Cohen is a foreign policy analyst specializing in Israel and Iran.

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26 Responses

  1. American
    August 10, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Let’s be honest……people like Adelson wouldn’t exist, couldn’t operate as they do if every single sector of US democracy and government wasn’t thoroughly corrupted.
    Those of us who have watched this creeping, drip,drip,drip of corruption over the decades now have outrage fatigue, and I think are mostly resigned to the fact it’s so endemic the chances of it being be reformed thru political leadership elections is virtually nil.
    That picture of Adelson on his casino throne is to me the perfect poster for the US government today.
    I increasingly get the feeling we are reaching some kind of ‘crescendo’ of corruption, including corrupt ideologies, that will cause the kind of eventual failure that will shake this country to it’s roots.
    What happens after that, what the starting over will look like is anyone’s guess.

    • Keith
      August 10, 2012, 7:17 pm

      AMERICAN- “Let’s be honest……people like Adelson wouldn’t exist, couldn’t operate as they do if every single sector of US democracy and government wasn’t thoroughly corrupted.”

      True enough, but it’s not just the government. We have entered the era of casino capitalism where exotic financial instruments represent systemic gambling on a massive scale. The notional value of outstanding derivative contracts is on the order of $1.4 quadrillion ($1,400 trillion). The whole system is corrupt to the core. Our current level of wildly excessive concentrated wealth (money power) injurious to liberty and to the economy as well.

      “I increasingly get the feeling we are reaching some kind of ‘crescendo’ of corruption, including corrupt ideologies, that will cause the kind of eventual failure that will shake this country to it’s roots.”

      And not just this country. The problem is global and we are facing the likely prospect of a global financial collapse in the near future, the full consequences unpredictable but terrifying.

      • Krauss
        August 11, 2012, 1:59 am

        Keith, that kind of response tires me to no end.

        Adelson’s primary involvement into politics isn’t about Capitalism.
        So much of the left is still stuck in what Marx mocked as the theory of the ‘economic Man’. Namely that our primary interests is money, and all the evidence shows otherwise.

        Adelson is involved because of ethnic and tribal concerns.

        And a lot of donors to the political system have the same motivations.
        That doesn’t mean that money/corruption of our institutions for the sake of profit does not interest them, but it’s often of a second-hand importance.

        People like, say, Fred Hiatt of WaPo is the Sheldon Adelson of journalism.
        You take a guy like Bill Kristol and his minions in government.
        Sure, they support Wall St guys, but that isn’t why they exist in the places and positions that they do.

        The reason is because their primary concern in life is Israel and Jewish tribalism in general(for which they see aggressive likudnik policies as a key part of it).

        For you to be blabbing about derivates in this discussion just underlines this fact. I am by no means a friend of the banks, and what they have done and continue to do is criminal, but the left ought to get this one straight. A large motivation for a large number of incredibly wealthy people, like Adelson, is often not primarily money/capitalism. That part is what enables them to do what they really want, and in the Jewish neocon crowd that is often ethnocentric.

        Even on Wall St, the center of what you talk about, you have tons of Zionist right-wing donors like Julian Singer, Dan Loeb, Michael Steinhardt even younger people like David Einhorn and Boaz Weinstein are getting there slowly but surely.

        People should keep these issues seperate. The foreign policy of the necons has nothing – nothing – to do with capitalism, it’s all ethnocentrism. And even on Wall St, ethnocentrism is a strong motivator for a lot of people on the hedge fund circuit.

        Ethnocentrism isn’t the singular motivation, but for a lot of issues, too many of the left get stuck in this moronical ‘Capitalism did it’ mantra which often, if you actually look at the facts, have very little grounding to reality on a lot of these foreign policy issues and sometimes even on domestic policy.

        The reason why the white working class is voting Republican isn’t because of economic issues and they’re smart enough to get that(contrary to what lots of white libs think).

        It’s because the Democratic party is the party of minorities, not only of, but for. The white working class knows that you’ll see amnesty, more affirmative action, school policies which will force them to go into poorer black neighbourhoods.

        All those things may seem normal to upper scale whites like myself, but I’m not a poor white working class guy getting ousted by companies who employ illegal labor for slave wages and then told not to protest lest I be branded a racist.

        Yet the left doesn’t seem to have a problem in seeing the racial aspects of the reason why the white working class votes Republican.

        So why is it the case for many when it comes to Jewish elites and their support for neoconservative policies? Many of whom, by the way, support the same policies as the Republican Jewish neocons, but from a Democratic standpoint(like Haim Saban or WaPo’s Richard Cohen etc).

      • traintosiberia
        August 11, 2012, 10:31 am

        This is called back calculation. This is done by having a goal .This is like reaching an already decided conclusion or destination i.e is it good for Israel?
        Ask the Troskytes who morphed into social democrats then put the robe of monster “Scoop Jackson”Democrtas and finally gave up on Democrat of Mc Govern/Carter to join Reagan insinuating themselves in the corridor of power,influences,contacts and opinion making business that helped them gain the trust and friendship of finances,wall street and military/pentagon.
        Since then they did not have to look back. Everybody supports them. Pro war,anti war,pro abortionist,anti abortinist,pro Hollywood,Hollywood hater,pro gay and anti gay, isolationist and interventionist ,main street and Wall street, Obama and his opponent or State Senator David Storobin (R-Brooklyn) and his opponent.

      • Keith
        August 11, 2012, 1:22 pm

        KRAUSS- “Keith, that kind of response tires me to no end.”

        Your comment, taken as a whole, suggests to me that you have misperceived my comment. Let me begin by noting that I am not a Marxist, not an economic determinist. I don’t believe for one minute that everything can be explained by appeal to profit maximization, a ludicrous notion. Now, lets move on from there.

        “People should keep these issues seperate. The foreign policy of the necons has nothing – nothing – to do with capitalism, it’s all ethnocentrism.”

        Trying to separate the economy from politics is a huge mistake. We should always think in terms of political economy. Capitalism is a system of social organization and control whose effectiveness derives in large part from its unique ability to monetize power. This is my formulation, somewhat unique, not the type of thing one gets from Econ 101. Nor is it compatible with Marxism whose emphasis on ownership of the means of production was an ideological appeal meant to organize factory workers in a bygone era.

        “It’s because the Democratic party is the party of minorities, not only of, but for.”

        Surely you jest. The Democrats long ago began screwing their base in order to attract corporate funding, without which they would have disappeared. Except for cultural issues, from Reagan through Obama the significant policy decisions have exhibited considerable continuity. Effectively, big business and Wall Street run this country in an increasingly blatant fashion, the Wall Street bailout a particularly egregious example.

        “For you to be blabbing about derivates in this discussion just underlines this fact.”

        Sheldon Adelson’s acquisition of immense wealth in a short time underscores the corruption of the system which American mentions, and with which I concur, the derivatives comment another indication of systemic corruption and legal fraud. If it wasn’t for this huge concentration of wealth (money power), Adelson wouldn’t have the power he does, hence, wouldn’t be the problem he is. This concentration of wealth and power is a core problem which must be resolved before we can solve the immense problems facing humanity.

        “Adelson’s primary involvement into politics isn’t about Capitalism.”

        Being neither a mind reader nor a fly on the wall, I refrain from imputing Adelson’s motivation except in very general terms. He made a lot of money in a short period of time. Perhaps he had help and is paying off a favor. Additionally, he continually refers to the US “socialist-style economy,” a ludicrous assertion which perhaps indicates his desire to move to completely unrestrained capitalism, not exactly an ‘ethnic’ bias. The point being that $100 million represents .004 of his $25 billion estimated wealth, a modest amount by his standards. Regardless of his motivation, modern, corrupt capitalism provided him with the wherewithal to indulge his megalomania. He embodies systemic corruption for all to see, sufficiently blatant as to be doubly worrisome, a warning sign perhaps that we are about to go over the cliff.

      • American
        August 11, 2012, 12:14 pm

        @ Keith & Kruass

        I think Keith is right on Adelson….for him it is both Israel and the kind of no rules, or money makes right ,wild west capitalism the US has.
        He is a gangster basically, most of WS operates like gangsters now.

        And the corruption problem is global…just look at what WS did to Iceland.
        And consider the never before heard of bankruptcy of US cities , 4 now in Calif alone that have declared bankruptcy because they got sucked into the WS whacko wheeling -dealing financing deals.

        Think back to when it was announced that the pentagon lost 2 billion, or trillion which ever it was, it couldn’t account for and no one made a serious effort to even find out where it went. Consider the 9 billion that disappeared in Iraq. Congress made mewing noises and then the whole investigation disappeared after they caught a few low level contractors. 9 billion does not disappear into space without the help of some government whose banks it landed in.
        The unaccountability of corruption is the kiss of death. We are a gangster world now.

  2. Fredblogs
    August 10, 2012, 2:07 pm

    I like how you try to distance yourself from one anti-Semitic conspiracy hoax before promulgating another. This is one guy using his money in perfectly legal ways to try to get someone he prefers to the other candidate elected. But God forbid, because he is Jewish he should get to use his money in a legal manner to promote a candidate he favors.

    This isn’t some grand conspiracy. It also isn’t guaranteed to have any effect. Like with Gingrich, Romney can have a metric ton of money dropped on him and it still doesn’t mean he will win the election.

    • Woody Tanaka
      August 10, 2012, 4:37 pm

      You’re slipping Fredo. There was an article attacking someone who is Jewish and was up for HOURS before you jumped in to defend him. You must be slipping.

      • Fredblogs
        August 10, 2012, 5:54 pm

        Since he isn’t doing anything illegal, he doesn’t need defending. I disagree with his choice of parties to support, but he has a right to support the party of his own choosing.

      • traintosiberia
        August 10, 2012, 11:25 pm

        Try to understand this man making money from foreign country at the back of underhand dealings promising Chinese government some American favors not otherwise available through open transparent channel ,bringing that money to US and then offering the money to a candidate contingent on his promises of ignoring international laws, contingent on ignoring the national interest.That does not sum up this ugly fatty slob.I have to add his chutzpah of asking that candidate to free a convicted spy who has American blood on his hand.
        Is it legal? may be.
        But when Rep Boxer was given money by some American muslim in CA, the hell broke loose brought on by the media , yes the same media which does not cite Adelson’s multi-layered multi pronged conspiracies of advancing his zionist causes on the back of American sheep. You know what law means and that law has a definition written by same Elder of Protocol of Las Vegas . You may also remember how America goes out of its way to plug the loopholes in laws including in international laws to strangle Iran at the behest of the authors of the same Elder of Las vegas.

      • ColinWright
        August 11, 2012, 2:15 am

        Fredblogs:

        It’s pretty comic to think about who your heroes presumably are.

        Sheldon Adelson? Jonathan Pollard? Captain R? Yitzhak Shamir? Ariel Sharon? Baruch Goldstein, per chance?

        Maybe that last is too rich even for your taste. Still, quite a rogues’ gallery you’ve got there. Maybe we could get you a full frontal nudity foldout of one of them. Would you prefer Adelson, Pollard, or Sharon?

      • Fredblogs
        August 13, 2012, 1:57 pm

        Wow, let’s see how many you guessed right on. Adelson, nope. Pollard, nope. Captain R, no idea who that is. Shamir, not particularly, he did some good things and some bad things. Sharon, he should have been more suspicious of the Christian Arab allies who he counted on to disarm the Sabra and Shatilla camps. Goldstein, not even close.

        Congrats, out of 6 guesses, you got one partly right.

    • marc b.
      August 11, 2012, 8:39 am

      oh bready, you have impossibly high standards. what adelson does is ‘legal’ so it’s beyond criticism. what cohen has done here is legal, allude to the anti-semitc caricature that sheldon adelson has made of himself, and yet you’ve hopped on her. ‘legal’ doesn’t equal moral or ethical or admirable.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2012, 10:10 am

      Some effects are pervasive ,ingrained,and lasting.Adelson has introduced the idea of Israeli worship in the American politics without any sign of outrage, disbelief and worries. He is in the process of making the wet dream of Israeli firster as a new item in election that need to be realized,satisfied,and addressed. His ( and by other Jewish donors like him ) visceral disregard of norms,legality,and American interest has made the unthinkable possible that are the total disregard of Palestinian rights,right of return,disregard of Palestinian interest in Jerusalem and creation of viable state and stopping of settlement along with increased chances of war with Iran. It is slow and it is killing the American future in many parts of the world and it is being normalized by the atmosphere created by Adelson , Saban and by Chicago donors who want to hide behind the blame of Obama not being pro business enough.

  3. American
    August 10, 2012, 2:56 pm

    To go along with my above comment…I don’t think the world will be too keen to fund a Mashall Plan for the US if and when it trips on it’s elites too big for it’s britches swaggering.

    You gotta love this:

    http://observer.com/2012/08/you-f-ing-americans-who-are-you-to-tell-us-the-rest-of-the-world-that-were-not-going-to-deal-with-iranians/

    ‘You F—ing Americans, Who are You to Tell Us, the Rest of the World, That We’re Not Going to Deal with Iranians’

    By Patrick Clark 8/06 2:47pm

    We’re not, like, paraphrasing. A bank executive actually (allegedly) said that.

    The short story: The New York State Department of Financial Services released documents today alleging that Standard Chartered Bank conducted about $250 billion of business with Iranian banks between 2001 and 2010 2007, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in fees. In service of those ends, the bank routed thousands of Iranian payments through its New York branch, stripping data from the transactions to conceal the origins of the wire transfers, and despite U.S. sanctions that sought to prevent Iran from using its banks to finance the nation’s nuclear program.

    Lest there be any doubt, SCB’s obvious contempt for U.S. banking regulations was succinctly and unambiguously communicated by SCB’s Group Executive Director in response. As quoted by an SCB New York branch officer, the Group Director caustically replied: “You f—ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians.”

    And for a fuller explainaiton..

    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/08/09/new-york-declares-war-on-iran/

    New York Declares War on Iran

    Why do you think they call it the ‘Empire State’?

    by Justin Raimondo, August 10, 2012

    While speaking truth to power is not the sort of thing one expects the executive of a leading bank to indulge in, we’ll take it where we can find it. Here‘s the Group Director of the Standard Chartered Bank responding to the charges, leveled by New York State bank regulator Ben Lawsky, that SCB was involved in financial dealings with Iran to the tune of $250 billion:

    “You f—king Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with the Iranians?”

    This, by the way, is cited in the complaint filed by the state of New York: Lawsky apparently thought it was incriminating enough to include. There is plenty of evidence this case has little to do with the sanctions, and more to do with bank protectionism: SCB is a British bank, and the city of New York is now engaged in a strenuous campaign to lure the high finance crowd away from London and back to the Big Rotten Apple. The Group Manager, who goes unnamed in the complaint, is asking the right question, which apparently Senor Lawsky isn’t prepared to answer – so I will.

    We think we’re the center of the world: that’s what “American exceptionalism” is all about. Let’s say the Russian government decided that no one was to trade with, say, Italy, and the Duma passed legislation mandating economic sanctions. No one would pay the least amount of attention, except to mock the pretensions of the wounded Russian bear. When we do it, however, everyone is supposed to sit up and take notice. And of course they do: after all, the US is the epicenter of world financial markets, and New York is …well, where Wall Street is located. So the New York Department of Financial Services can act as if it’s the agency of a sovereign government, which in a very real sense it is. Aside from having one of the highest tax rates in the country, and aspiring to regulate the caloric intake of some of its residents, New York officials have lately moved to extend their reach internationally: the NYPD has sounded the alarm over the alleged “terrorist threat” posed by Iranian diplomatic personnel in the US:

    “Mitchell Silber, the NYPD’s director of intelligence analysis, told Congress that Iranians may be using ‘diplomatic cover’ to conduct ‘hostile reconnaissance’ on America’s biggest city.

    “Silber cycled a string of incidents where law enforcement questioned Iranians, who turned out to be working with the Iranian mission to the United Nations or otherwise tied to the government.

    “He said the Iran-backed Hezbollah also has a presence in the New York area. ‘Iran and/or Hezbollah remain deeply committed to striking against Israeli and Western targets and they are willing to deploy a variety of methods in order to do so,’ he said, citing recent attacks ‘plausibly linked to Iran’ in Georgia, India and Thailand.

    “’Given the recent alleged Iranian directed plot against a foreign diplomat here in Washington, Iran’s increasingly bellicose rhetoric and its recent as well as long history of sponsoring terrorist attacks abroad, the NYPD must remain vigilant in attempting to detect and disrupt any attack by Iran or its proxies,’ Silber told the House Homeland Security Committee.

    “He said authorities have interviewed at least 13 people since 2005 with ties to Tehran who were seen taking pictures of city landmarks.”

    Almost no one from out of town takes pictures of New York City’s landmarks – like, say, the Statue of Liberty, or at some cultural event. Why, it’s unheard of! This is certainly suspicious behavior on the part of those Eye-ranians, and I’m glad the NYPD is taking time off from their important work of stopping and frisking non-white New Yorkers on the streets, and is on the job. What Officer Silber’s testimony lacks in geographical expertise – alleged Iranian activities in Georgia (no, not that Georgia!), India, and Thailand hardly make the case Tehran is “deeply committed” to blowing up the Empire State Building – is more than made up for in sheer gall.

    Here we have a glorified state trooper acting as if he’s Henry Kissinger, making Profound Pronouncements on matters usually reserved for the US Department of State. In reality, Hezbollah – a Lebanese organization – has never targeted the continental US. If Silber is so concerned about suspicious foreigners taking photos in the New York metropolitan area, then what did he and his “intelligence” division do about these guys?

    Lawsky exhibits the same sort of pretensions, describing SCB in the complaint as a “rogue institution” – you know, like Iran is a “rogue state” because it defies Washington’s imperial will.

    New York state and city government officials seem to hold a grudge against the Iranians, although I can’t imagine why that might be. So determined are they to start a war with Tehran that they’ve even launched their own independent foreign policy. How long before Governor Andrew Cuomo inaugurates his very own State Department?

    New York looms large on the national political scene, as Gen. Wesley Clark has pointed out, and New Yorkers are world-famous for their pushiness, and their brazen rudeness, not to mention the delusion that their own city is the center of the known universe. Isn’t it high time we non-New Yorkers pushed back? To paraphrase that SCB official:

    You f—king New Yorkers. Who are you to drag us, the rest of the country, into yet another unjustified destructive and costly war in the Middle East?

    If Cuomo, Lasky, and Silber want war with Iran, let them send the New York state National Guard over there and leave the rest of us out of it.’’

    • Fredblogs
      August 10, 2012, 5:51 pm

      Hezbollah have kidnapped U.S. citizens before, and murdered U.S. citizens. It would not be out of character for them to attack the U.S.

      I notice you are careful to say “Continental U.S.” rather than “U.S.”. Is that because you are aware of their bombing of our embassy in Beirut in 1983? Which means that they have targeted attacks on U.S. soil, as an embassy is legally the territory of the government whose embassy that is.

      • traintosiberia
        August 10, 2012, 11:37 pm

        Israel has killed and maimed Americans who were not fighting against Israel. Rachel Corriee,Anderson, 17 years old Turkish-American and a few more here and there through what is called “dirty business” by Haaretz that is also known as false flag resulting in killings of Americans by Israeli government but blamed on Egyptians.

      • Fredblogs
        August 13, 2012, 1:59 pm

        Corrie, accident. Anderson, accident. Furkan Dorgan (Turk with incidental American citizenship because he was born here, but hadn’t been here since he was 2), self-defense. “Dirty business”, no idea what conspiracy theory you are talking about.

    • traintosiberia
      August 11, 2012, 3:23 pm

      “This is a case of money laundering ,Iran,and national security” Mr Lawsky in NYTimes 11th Aug 2012. NY office is trying to criminalize that was legal under Federal law .
      Question is how is this guy getting away from this hubris and rantings? Again it is open season on Iran and if terrorism could be evoked for chronic constipation as a case, it would be done and blamed on Iran. There is no down side to this evil tactics. There is no moral hazard. Money laundering is quite rampant in Israel and a lot of them do business in US.Will lawsky try anything remotely there? May be he should start with money laundering from US to settler in West Bank. His New York law different from federal has come handy to apply the justice on a foreign entity.It will come very handy for him to look up to international laws regarding occupation and apply the law to the perennial fundraising for settlers ,money channeling to settlers ,and look at tax exemption status of those entities sending money to the terrorist also known as settlers . But he will never touch that topic with a mile long pole.

  4. biorabbi
    August 10, 2012, 3:30 pm

    I have no known homosexual tendencies, but for 25 billion bucks, I’d marry Sheldon. I think he’s wacky… a little bit nutty and slutty as they say. If he were shrewd, how could he back Newt? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize Gingrich will never be elected President. He makes the common mistake that if you are good at one thing, you’re good or a know-it-all on every other topic.

    I was thinking who he most reminds me of and it would be Donald Trump. That could be a great ticket at the wacky/tacky vote. The Donald for President, cementing the birther with Sheldon as VP, cementing the Florida sugar daddy vote. Personally, I would love to see that election. Romney and Obama both fight to be the blandest; why not Sheldon or The Donald. We could have Sheldon be in charge of the middle east and Vegas; Mr. Trump would be in charge of negotiating trade deals with the Chinese.
    Maybe Sarah Silverman could be his press secretary to complete the comedy.

    Pass the popcorn please.

  5. Nevada Ned
    August 10, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Adelson’s candidates usually lose. In 2008, Freedom’s Watch supported Republicans in Mississippi and Louisiana. The Democrats went on the offensive, charging that “my opponent is supported by a billionaire casino king from Las Vegas”, and won. Even in Louisiana! Even in Mississippi!

    Here’s the reporting in 2008 from the Las Vegas Sun:

    Republicans have already lost three traditionally safe Republican congressional seats this year; in two of those three races, ­ in Louisiana and Mississippi, ­ “the Democratic Party bought ads on Christian radio stations that linked Republican candidates to Freedom’s Watch, Mr. Adelson, his gaming interests and his business relations with China,” write reporters June Kronholz and Tamara Audi.
    Here’s the link…
    http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/early-line/2008/jul/15/nevada-daily-political-update-sheldon-adelson-and-/

    This time around, Adelson is a figure of national reputation. The Las Vegas broadcasters are commenting on the you-tube video in which Adelson recalls wearing a uniform, and regrets that it was a US uniform and not an Israeli uniform.
    Here’s the link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV93BMuhV18
    Of course this fact is well known to MW readers, but now it’s in the Las Vegas mainstream media.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    August 10, 2012, 7:34 pm

    RE: “The Protocols of this Elder of Las Vegas is no conspiratorial fabrication.” ~ Marsha Cohen

    MY COMMENT: I’ll say!

    SEE – “Haaretz: Adelson’s Billions in Service of U.S. War Against Iran”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 8/07/12

    A Haaretz reporter has just published a fascinating theory (and English) in which Bibi Netanyahu, with the connivance of Sheldon Adelson, is provoking not just war with Iran, but a U.S. war with Iran. Sefi Rachlevsky writes that Netanyahu believes that if he attacks Iran a few weeks before the election that Obama will have two choices: either he will join in the attack, in which case both Bibi and Adelson will have gained their supreme objective, the dismantling of the Iranian menace. If Obama refuses and leaves Israel in the lurch, so Rachlevsky’s theory goes, the incumbent president will lose the election to Mitt Romney, who will then be able to finish the job once he assumes the presidency.
    I don’t know if Bibi is stupid and callow enough to believe this. But what is most interesting is the Haaretz reporter’s claim that Adelson is willing to use his billions in service of this grand scheme. The language here is strong, provocative, disturbing, but worth considering seriously:

    We’re not talking about an independent Israeli attack. Precisely the opposite. All of Adelson’s billions are meant for this moment: dragging America into a war to save Israel. Netanyahu succeeded previously in restraining American pressure for peace. But dragging America to war using the methods of Pollard and the Protocols, that’s a different planet altogether.
    …These things must be said clearly. No leadership has the right to send the IDF [to war]–endangering thousands of soldiers and civilians–into a war it [Israel] doesn’t have the ability to win on its own. No one has the right to gamble with Israeli lives. Legetimitately involving the U.S. in war against Iran should only be done by a government following a policy of moderation. A government which failed in this effort would not gamble that it could drag the U.S. into war if it only sacrificed enough Israeli lives in the process.
    …IDF chief Benny Gantz and the army’s leadership are obligated NOT to carry out such an order [to attack Iran]. Giving such an order should be prohibited. It should be prohibited to execute it as well.

    Adelson will spend infinitely, both in order to make Mitt president and to ensure war with Iran. That part of the theory I find much more convincing. I have no doubt that Adelson may believe in this double-edged strategy. If he does and there is an Israeli attack before the election, I’d expect a massive campaign blitz in favor of “helping Israel finish the job.” To Adelson’s mind, he’s performing a double-mitzvah (at least): getting Mitt elected and obliterating Iran as a threat to Israel. Someone having the warped thinking of the casino magnate could easily think this way. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2012/08/07/haaretz-adelsons-billions-in-service-of-u-s-war-against-iran/

    P.S. Here is a nice set of photos of Sheldon “Dr. Strangelove” Adelson stroking his trademark black leather clad right hand. – http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4209553193740&set=a.1610534499897.86765.1132268443&type=1&theater

  7. Eva Smagacz
    August 10, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Adelson is crude and in your face. But there is nothing in the current legislation to stop discreet, Machiavellian billionaire from fielding his own candidate. But, on the second thought, for those huge majority of voters who do not dwell on Israel issue, and in absence of any media coverage of Adelson’s goals, he is a discreet, Machiavellian billionaire fielding his own candidate.

    • ColinWright
      August 11, 2012, 4:22 am

      “…But, on the second thought, for those huge majority of voters who do not dwell on Israel issue, and in absence of any media coverage of Adelson’s goals, he is a discreet, Machiavellian billionaire fielding his own candidate.”

      I don’t think so. Adelson thinks his money entitles him to attention — and he’s starting to get it.

      He would be a real problem if he were indeed a ‘discreet, Machiavellian billionaire.’ Fortunately, he’s not — he’s a fool and a repulsive braggart.

      Thank God.

  8. pogomutt
    September 25, 2012, 6:54 pm

    “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is probably the most notorious work of anti-Semitic propaganda ever written.”

    Hell, I’ve seen worse on left-wing Jewish web sites.

  9. piotr
    September 25, 2012, 9:31 pm

    Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
    Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!

    Season 1, (1995) episode “Brainania” November 12, 1995 (1995-11-12)
    Brain creates a fictional island nation in attempt to exploit the United States for billions of dollars in foreign aid. [other description]
    The Brain hatches a plan to take over the world by using static electricity to shock the world into submission. Unfortunately he needs several billion dollars to build a giant clothes dryer. Pinky and the Brain head to Island X where they set up a fake country and hope to get a giant foreign aid loan from the United States.

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