By Jeff Gates
When sociology Professor Bill Robinson stared down the Anti-Defamation League, it looked like a victory for academic freedom. Yet was it? Robinson was portrayed as an anti-Semite because he sent an email to students featuring a photo essay critical of Israel that had circulated online for weeks. While University of California administrators dallied, the ADL and its international network turned up the heat-signaling academics worldwide they could be next.
It looked like progress when the faculty at UC Santa Barbara urged "changes in procedures to avoid improprieties and abuses in the future...." But was it? By then the ADL campaign had created the intended chilling effect. This silencing campaign was featured news for five time-critical months while a newly elected U.S. president was reassessing U.S.-Israeli relations. How can anyone calculate the full extent of the damage-not only to Robinson's reputation and to the stature of the University of California but also to national security?
So where's the victory? Clearly Robinson deserves acclaim for resisting pressure as the ADL deployed its most seasoned operatives, including Marvin Heir, a rabbi at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Only an investigation can identify who mobilized the donor community that threatened UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang with the withdrawal of funds.
What was the motivation for this high profile intimidation campaign? Was the ADL driven simply by the discomfort that two students voiced on their receipt of his email criticizing Israeli policy? Or did the ADL network have its sights on a broader strategic goal?
Facts have since proven it was largely pro-Israelis who fixed the intelligence that manipulated the U.S. to invade Iraq. That same network has now mobilized to expand that war to Iran. A key barrier: the global condemnation of Israel's brutal assault on Gaza. How does Tel Aviv limit the public relations fallout? On what leverage points should Israel focus to contain the censure while continuing to obscure Israel and pro-Israelis as the common source of this manipulation?
Aiding An Enemy Within?
The Founders faced a similar challenge during the Revolutionary War. How could they distinguish patriots from those loyal to a foreign nation? Knowing the vast risks that accompany betrayal, they lowered the evidentiary standard for treason. Guilt still required proof beyond a reasonable doubt but a conviction only required evidence of "adhering" to an enemy or giving them "aid and comfort." To remove all doubt about the gravity of this capital offense, they even included those relaxed standards in Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
Fast-forward two centuries to the Information Age and consider the challenge of distinguishing friend from foe. With a new president sworn into office on a platform promising change, how should Tel Aviv continue to conceal the fact that it was pro-Israelis who deceived the U.S. to wage war in Iraq for the expansionist goals of Greater Israel?
During the Democratic presidential primaries, Senator Barack Obama promised no change in U.S.-Israeli relations. But that pledge was made while he and Hillary Clinton were vying for the pro-Israeli vote. What about now-particularly now that he knows Israel scheduled its assault on Gaza between Christmas and the Obama inaugural-knowing that interval would ensure Tel Aviv could operate largely free of official criticism?
Campaigning for president is one thing. Serving as commander in chief is another. What became of the prospects for change after this professor of constitutional law took a constitutional oath that obliged him to defend the U.S. from all enemies-both foreign and domestic?
Based on the success of pro-Israelis in inducing the U.S. to invade Iraq, how does this international network best expand this war to Iran? To succeed again, how can Tel Aviv best control the risk that facts unhelpful to its agenda find their way into the marketplace of ideas?
How about this for a psyops strategy: launch an intimidation campaign on a high-profile campus and portray a critic as an anti-Semite for sharing photos that had been circulating for weeks on the Internet. Then threaten his job, smear his reputation, put him in fear of his physical safety and threaten to withhold critical funding. Then see if on-campus critics still dare to speak out.
While the Faculty Senate should be commended for its stance, one must ask: what took so long? And what will be done to ensure that never again is a professor on any University of California campus subjected to such abuse with the complicity of university administrators? What steps will be taken to ensure this conduct does not recur on campuses nationwide?
Where was UC President Mark Yudof as this intimidation campaign progressed with such well-timed success? What role was played by the pro-Israeli bias of his wife, Judith, the immediate past president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism representing 760 synagogues?
Where was the Board of Regents while this silencing campaign advanced between the invasion of Gaza and President Obama's White House meeting with Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Did Board of Regents chairman Richard Blum harbor an undisclosed bias that precluded him shutting down this ADL operation? How about his wife, pro-Israeli U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee? What role did bias play in a community-wide smear campaign led by Arthur Gross-Schaefer, a Santa Barbara rabbi?
Was this only an offense against a courageous professor who fought on while university administrators retreated? Or was this assault more strategic? The Faculty Senate cannot on its own correct these wrongs because key offenders remain beyond their reach. What they can-and must-do is dismiss any faculty member complicit in this operation, condemn any university administrator who failed to act promptly and rebuke complicit operatives in the community.
The reputation of Prof. Robinson was only grist for the same mill that churned out the phony intelligence required to induce the U.S. to war in Iraq. That same network of deceit now seeks to catalyze war with Iran. Robinson was not the target. His reputation was collateral damage. The target was the mindset of academics that-because of this assault-hesitated to criticize Israel.
Until steps are taken to deter future offenses, these psychological operations (psyops) will continue and the reputation of the U.S. will continue to be collateral damage. Most ominous of all, those who wage war "by way of deception" (the motto of the Israeli Mossad) will continue to displace the facts on which self-governance depends. Progress must be measured by how many educators grasp that what was done to one could be done to all.
Education - The Ultimate Battlefield
In unconventional warfare, the battlefield is the shared field of consciousness. Where does a "consensus" reside? That's where battles are now waged for public opinion. Those who targeted University of California, Santa Barbara Professor Bill Robinson know that victory flows to those most adept at influencing the consensus mindset. Few know that better than the Anti-Defamation League.
For seasoned combatants, the psyops challenge lies in how best to displace facts with beliefs. The only modern component of this ancient craft is the means for taking such manipulation to global scale. The duplicity is the same regardless whether the operation creates a shared belief in Iraqi WMD, a shared consensus in the infallibility of unfettered financial markets or a shared opinion that Israel is a democracy and an ally. All false yet all widely believed to be true.
Robinson was smeared as an anti-Semite for sharing a photo essay with his students that was critical of Israeli policy. That essay first appeared in Adbusters, a magazine subtitled The Journal of the Mental Environment. That essay has since been posted on a website maintained by UCSB students in defense of academic freedom.
Kalle Lasn, founding editor of Adbusters, is a graphic artist who eventually awoke to the harm he was doing as an advertising executive. An Estonian, he saw firsthand how the Soviets exerted virtual control by manipulating the mental environment. In March 2004, Lasn published an article in Adbusters pointing out that, whereas less than two percent of Americans are Jewish, 26 of the top 50 neoconservatives advocating war in Iraq are Jewish (52%).
He titled the article: "Why Won't Anyone Say They're Jewish?" By ADL standards, that meant he was an "anti-Semite"-just for asking the question. What's since been confirmed is that the bulk of those who fixed the intelligence around that predetermined goal were either Jewish or assets developed by operatives who were Jewish.
Displacement is how warfare is waged in the Information Age: displacing facts with beliefs. Why would anyone expect otherwise? Jewish critics of Israeli policy are "self-hating." Non-Jewish critics are anti-Semites, Jew haters and/or Holocaust deniers. Although those charges are fast losing their potency from overuse, their toxicity still retains enough force to silence critics-as shown by the global traction gained by this thought control operation on a University of California campus.
Sir Gerald Kaufman, British founder of Independent Jewish Voices, uses his position as a Member of Parliament to criticize Israeli policy. Members of his family perished at the hands of the Nazis and in the Holocaust. As one of the U.K.'s harshest critics of Israeli policies, he routinely compares the Jewish state's treatment of Palestinians to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews-the same analogy for which Robinson (also Jewish) was smeared as an anti-Semite.
Kaufman's heartfelt speech on Israel's incursion into Gaza, given on the floor of the House of Commons, is a must-see for those concerned that criticism of Israeli policy remains absent on the floor of the U.S. Congress. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMGuYjt6CP8 [Readers can draw their own conclusions as to who would be motivated to corrupt this YouTube version of his remarks.]
The psyops specialists who coordinated this on-campus silencing campaign know where modern wars are waged: in the shared mindset. The war fought to invade Iraq was waged in the mental environment long before U.S. troops invaded Iraq. Now the U.S. appears guilty by its association with an extremist enclave infamous worldwide for its prowess at waging war by way of deception-and for its aptitude at deceiving the U.S. to fight those wars.
The U.S. invaded Iraq only after facts were displaced by manipulated beliefs. The litany of manufactured beliefs is long and varied: Iraqi WMD, Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda, Iraqi meetings with Al Qaeda in Prague, Iraqi acquisition of yellowcake uranium from Niger and the list goes on. None were factual; all were deployed to deceive. And to advance an Israeli agenda.
Remember the campaign to discredit Joe Wilson overseen by (Jewish) White House operative Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff? A former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Wilson was targeted by Libby for exposing the phony intelligence on uranium from Niger. Campaigns to deceive and discredit have long been key weapons in the Israeli arsenal of deceit.
Remember how Colin Powell was dispatched by pro-Israeli war-planners to the U.N. Security Council just weeks before the March 2003 invasion? Why Powell? To associate his hard-earned credibility with what we now know was false intelligence about Iraq's mobile biological weapons laboratories. At every turn we find the displacement of facts with beliefs to manipulate decision-makers. That operation successfully discredited not only Powell and the U.S. but also the U.N., an organization that Tel Aviv fears may yet hold Israel accountable for its conduct under international law.
Intelligence on which the U.S. relied was fixed by pro-Israelis in pursuit of a predetermined agenda: the expansionist goals for Greater Israel. Phony intelligence persuaded Washington decision-makers to dispatch the U.S. military to wage a preemptive war not for American interests but for Tel Aviv. When waging unconventional warfare, by the time you see troops on the ground, those complicit are often pre-staging the next venue-as now with the Israeli push to attack Iran.
The ADL-coordinated intimidation campaign launched on the UCSB campus reflects the face of fascism in the Information Age. To respond effectively, the Senate Faculty must provide the tools that enable those targeted to grasp how facts are displaced with induced beliefs-in plain sight and, to date, with legal impunity. No one likes to be deceived. Once "the mark" grasps how they were manipulated, they will see for themselves who is complicit and why. That's when long overdue accountability can begin.
To focus only on the means (such as the attack on Robinson) leaves the end obscure. And leaves the mark-including UC students-without the tools required to defend against such duplicity. For educators, that shortcoming would transform this potential triumph into an academic tragedy.
About the author: Jeff Gates, a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide, Jeff Gates' latest book is Guilt By Association-How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War (2008). His previous books include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street From Wall Street and The Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. For two decades, an adviser to policy-makers worldwide. Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (1980-87)-working with Senator Russell Long of Louisiana.
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