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That was Jane Harman of Newsweek trying to quash Medea Benjamin’s stellar soliloquy against drones

on 15 Comments

Last week Medea Benjamin wrote about confronting John Brennan on drones at the Wilson Center. I only watched the video today, and was awed by Benjamin’s bravery. Watch her being frogmarched from the hall and with perfect timing proclaiming exit lines that would make Shakespeare proud:

I love the rule of law. I love my country. You are making us less safe by killing so many innocent people around the world. Shame on you. [Door slams]

No one pointed out that the person on the dais at the Wilson Center next to Obama drone boss John Brennan is the head of the Wilson Center, Jane Harman. You can see Harman in red flitting angrily to the microphone to try and shut Benjamin up. She fails.

Harman is a great partisan of the war on terror. As she said in introducing Brennan:

This afternoon’s conversation is, as I see it, a great tribute to the kind of work we do here.  We care intensely about having our most important policymakers here, and in getting objective accounts of what the United States government and other governments around the world are doing. … [Brennan has] a broad portfolio to manage counterterrorism strategy in far-flung places like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.  Activities in this space, as I mentioned, at the Wilson Center are ongoing, as are terror threats against our country.

The former congresswoman from California is a fierce supporter of Israel right or wrong and is also on the board of Newsweek/the Daily Beast— which runs Peter Beinart’s liberal Zionist website:

After 92-year-old Newsweek/DailyBeast co-owner Sidney Harman died [in spring 2011], the future of the money-losing media company seemed potentially up in the air. Harman’s co-owner Barry Diller assumed Harman’s position as chairman of the board, but a spot was still reserved on the panel for a representative of the Harman family. Sidney’s son Daniel was considered a possibility, as the 29-year-old was the only member of the family who’d actually been to visit the Newsbeast offices. But the company announced today that, in fact, Sidney’s widow, Jane Harman, would take the board seat. Until February, Harman was a Democratic U.S. representative for California.

It’s sad to see the liberal media establishment so aligned with the militant powers that be. But that reminds me of a big reason I started blogging. In 2004 I was at the Republican convention in New York when Jodie Evans, who along with Benjamin is a leader of Code Pink, stood up during George W. Bush’s speech and ripped off her coat to expose a pink slip with the words You have blood on your hands. She started speaking and was dragged from the hall. I will never forget the sight of Evans being brutally dragged up the concrete steps of Madison Square Garden right past me, her shoes flying off. She came out of jail a day later barefoot.

And the reason I’ll never forget is that I was sitting in a giant pecking order of establishment media, and they were indifferent. They were too busy noting who was getting close to the big stars in the media, they were bent over their notebooks recording George Bush the warmonger’s words. Because almost all of them were in on that war themselves.

These women have put their bodies on the line, and been great leaders. Salute them.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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15 Responses

  1. dahoit on May 7, 2012, 11:08 am

    I agree,and yes salute their courage.
    I must have missed that Harman resignation thing.Their has to be a reason she would give up the power of her office for Israel,or is that the reason,her constituents saw it too?
    Another harpy of hate,death and war,in a nation filled with their brainwashed sheeple.
    Check out the comments on the WAPO story about the new assassination of an alleged Cole conspirator.What a bunch of devil worshipping martial scum draft dodging warriors there,except for a very few who were castigated for their humanity.
    I see some more blowback in our future.

  2. Les on May 7, 2012, 11:21 am

    A reminder that Israeli born Shamai Lewbowitz is serving a 20 month term in Federal Prison for going public that Harman was sharing classified information with Israel. Leibowitz was working as a translator for the FBI which refused to follow up on his information when he reported it. Harman is free, but she is what passes for a liberal Democrat these days , traitor that she is.

  3. pabelmont on May 7, 2012, 11:59 am

    As a one-time Wilson-scholarship awardee, my sense is heightened that Harmon (if not others, earlier) have rather tarnished the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s reputation as promoters of teaching and learning. Now it seems to fancy itself as part of the anti-terrorism branch of fortress-Amerika.

  4. DICKERSON3870 on May 7, 2012, 12:05 pm

    RE: “These women have put their bodies on the line, and been great leaders. Salute them.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: They never cease to amaze me. I wish I had as much as 1/10 of their commitment.

  5. jiacovelli on May 7, 2012, 12:34 pm

    I like the use of the word soliloquy, but only up to a point. Up to this point the dialog has been just each side talking to itself. On the administration’s side you have Koh’s and Brennan’s empty speeches. On the peace activists’ side, you have the recent Washington D.C. drone summit. Benjamin was actually trying to take her side of the dialog over to the other side. But like the ACLU case, the other side’s not talking. There will be a dialog — the next generation of autonomous drones will be perceived by the public as almost Frankensteinian, because they will kill without human intervention. That alone will be able to force a public discussion.

  6. AllenBee on May 7, 2012, 12:38 pm

    Harman was guest on C Span Washington Journal May 4 2012

    an opportunity to either do damage control, implying that Medea had an impact, or reinforce Brennan’s message — “We do drones; Iran is evil,” — or both.

    Harman introduced the panel of an earlier Wilson Center conference, moderated by Aaron David Miller, w/ panelists Ghaith Omari, Ephraim Sneh, and Trita Parsi. Parsi was outnumbered but held his own.

    Sneh’s closing comment should concern all fair-minded people: “Nukes are not the problem in Iran; the regime is the problem. When they are overthrown and Iran is secular and democratic, they can have anything they want.”
    Unique conception of ‘democracy’ — we will starve you, threaten you, destroy your economy, maybe even drop bombs on you until you do what I want you to do.”

    In the course of the conversation, Harman and Miller made their curtsies to sponsors of the event, Joe and (his wife & Wilson center board member) Elma Guildenhorn.

    Woodrow Wilson is who/when the US started to go seriously off its own rails, and the president whose betrayal of the states of the former Ottoman empire in favor of the Balfour declaration, set in place the turmoil that afflicts the entire region to this day.

    Harman at helm of Wilson Center seems to me a signal of zionism’s determination to retain that control over the US policy morass created by Wilson.

    • Ellen on May 9, 2012, 5:29 pm

      Allen, so true.

      For those inclined, go to to Wilson Center and dig out the thesis done by John Montgomery right after WW II while he was also at State. He had worked as a liaison in thenPalistinian territories while it was still under Ottoman administration (in the last dying days of the Empire.)

      Montgomery made the case of the long term disastrous consequences to the region and US interests if support a Zionist enterprise. He understood the region,history, people…and the interests of the US.

      After returning to State, he was on the path of a career diplomat, not a politicalm appointee.

      He died with a bullet to his head on Christmas Eve, 1958, at an Army facility in Kansas while waiting for for the arrival of his wife and four very young children.

      The Army deemed it a depression related suicide.

      • AllenBee on May 13, 2012, 2:57 pm

        thanks Ellen.
        google for John Montgomery turned up John Flournoy Montgomery, FDR’s ambassador to Hungary 1933-1941.
        Not sure that’s the person you’re talking about — he was born in 1878 & died 1954 — would not have had young children at time of death.

        I did wonder if John Flournoy Montgomery was related to Michelle Flournoy who, with Dennis Ross, helped produce the Iran doctrine (aka diplomacy by gotcha) that was compiled pre-Obama’s election, and under which Obama has been operating ever since it was handed to him.

    • piotr on May 9, 2012, 7:28 pm

      Unique conception of ‘democracy’ — we will starve you, threaten you, destroy your economy, maybe even drop bombs on you until you do what I want you to do.”

      To the contrary, this is the most traditional concept. Read about Mossadegh. The coup followed a period of economic boycott and sabotage. About 2 years later, in 1954, freely elected Guatemalan president, Arbenz, was overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état. The list is pretty long, and some of these incidents were very bloody, in particular Indonesia 1965.

  7. Nevada Ned on May 7, 2012, 12:52 pm

    As a Congressperson, Jane Harman was particularly close to the US spook agencies and to the Israelis. She was caught by the FBI speaking on the phone with “an Israeli agent”. During the conversation, she proclaimed, “This conversation does not exist”. She’s just lucky she wasn’t arrested.

    • Ellen on May 9, 2012, 5:33 pm

      People are sitting in jail for less. She heads a major and influential foreign policy think tank.

      And our Congress just approved a nine billion “security” package to Israel today.

  8. American on May 7, 2012, 3:59 pm

    Doesn’t this DC nest of criminals and traitors make you want to puke?

    April 22, 2009, 2:54 pm
    Pelosi Now Remembers Harman Wiretap


    Matthew Cavanaugh/European Pressphoto Agency Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today that she had been briefed about the wiretaps.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged today that she had indeed been briefed about a wiretap that recorded conversations involving Representative Jane Harman, contradicting a statement she made on Tuesday when she said she didn’t remember being advised of such surveillance.

    But Ms. Pelosi said today that although she was briefed, the Justice Department had not provided her with details and that Ms. Harman was not the subject/target of the surveillance.

    The Democratic leader made the remarks in the wake of reports that Ms. Harman was recorded on a wiretapped call offering to intercede with the Justice Department on behalf of operatives for Aipac, the pro-Israel group, who were under investigation for espionage, in exchange for help in pressuring Ms. Pelosi to award her the chairmanship of the House intelligence committee.

    Jim Wilson/The New York Times Representative Jane Harman participated in a congressional hearing today.

    Ms. Harman has forcefully denied those charges and demanded the release of a full transcript of the wire-tapped call. She has also said that she has been fielding calls from irate lawmakers concerned that they, too, were the subject of secret surveillance.

    Ms. Pelosi said today that she wasn’t in a position at the time of the briefing to let Ms. Harman know that she had been overheard in conversations during eavesdropping by the federal authorities.

    “That’s one of the issues that is important to note here is that when you are briefed on something, it isn’t your information to share with anybody else, whether they are briefing you on legal opinions or whether they are briefing you on actions they are taking, you have no ability to share that information with anyone else, so even if I wanted to share it with her I would not have had the liberty to share it,” Ms. Pelosi said.

    As for the chairmanship, Ms. Pelosi rebuffed suggestions that the wiretap somehow influenced her decision not to give the chairmanship to Ms. Harman. “The only reason Jane is not the chairman is because she already served the two terms,” Ms. Pelosi said in a roundtable discussion with reporters at the Capitol. “It had nothing to do with her position on Iraq. It had nothing to do with donors, nothing to do with eaves-dropping, wiretapping,” she said. “It had nothing to do with anything. It had only to do with the fact that this extraordinarily talented member of Congress had served her two terms.”

    During an event yesterday, Ms. Pelosi had been asked about the wiretap controversy and whether she had known about it. She said:

    As you know, this is a breaking story, so I don’t know the particulars but I do think that I don’t know that Congressman Harman was wiretapped, I mean somebody was wiretapped and there may have been a conversation. I really do not know enough about it to be an authority on the subject. I do know that Congresswoman Harman is a very valued, informed member of the Congress and her service on the Intelligence Committee and on the Homeland Security Committee on which she serves now is very valuable to the safety of the American people.

    At today’s luncheon, the speaker also offered a strong defense of her one-time friend. “I have great confidence in Jane Harman,” Ms. Pelosi said. “She is a patriotic American,” She would never do anything to hurt her country.”

  9. thetumta on May 7, 2012, 10:33 pm

    Were Tel-Avi Jane and friends blackmailed by A.G. Alberto Gonzales for leverage on the original Patriot Act? Remember how Pelosi and friends totally rolled over on the Patriot Act while Harman was twisting in the wind? Legitimate wiretap on a slam dunk espionage/Racketeering case that Obummer quietly dismissed after the Bush administration completely milked it. After all, they did have a confession and conviction on Larry Franklin. A star witness. Is this why Democraps signed off on the Patriot Act and Iraq so meekly?
    I did notice how uncomfortable Jane’s toady appeared to be. So the video was worth watching. This women did make it through security and was within range. I wonder what toady was thinking about? I think I’ll watch it again.

  10. LanceThruster on May 10, 2012, 1:04 pm

    I disliked “Haganah” Jane so much I scraped together the few bucks I didn’t have to donate to her progressive Democratic opponent, Marcy Winograd (not even my district). Jane drinks deep from the fetid trough.

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