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So I was reading James Wolcott's blog, when I came across this post about the latest efforts to whip up war fever.  Apparently, Hezbollah is the new target.  As James explains:

And lo, I switched on the set today and by chance see the words "Beware Hezbollah" on the screen beneath Wolf Blitzer's bearded mug. His guests were the authors of a new book called "Lightning out of Lebanon," about the threat posed by Hezbollah to the US mainland. The only hazy evidence of Hezbollah activity were threats against Anthony Lake which were never carried out but were "taken seriously." Well, hell, practically everything in this country is taken seriously as a precautionary measure. A ten-year-old can phone in a bomb scare and they'll evacuate the building. Means nothing.

Yet the authors made dark hints about Hezbollah cells in American cities, which presumably could be activated from Lebanon or elsewhere. The same talk we've been getting since 9/11 about the phantom Al Qaeda "sleeper cells" awakening their Manchurian Candidate coded "go" signals.

Wolcott continues:

One of the authors, Barbara Newman, mentioned (or maybe it was Wolf) being a senior fellow at the FDD, and I thought, "OK, that explains everything."

The FDD is the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Its Board of Directors are Jack Kemp, Jeane Kilpatrick, and Steve Forbes.

Its Distinguished Directors are Newt Gingrich and James Woolsey (which is really stretching the definition of "distinguished").

Its Board of Advisors include many of the usual suspects. Krauthammer. Perle. Frank Gaffney. Bill Kristol. And, to lend this organization a figleaf of bipartisanship, Donna Brazile and Sen Chuck Shumer.

So what we have here is another well-financed neocon operation, gearing up post-Iraq to frighten Americans about Hezbollah and to push for US premptive intervention. Hezbollah--"Iran-backed shock troops," as they're dubbed in the book's promo--will be equated with the Taliban, and just as Afghanistan had to be attacked for harboring the Taliban, countries that harbor, finance, and otherwise support Hezbollah must Face the Consequences.

Here's your homework assignment, boys and girls. Study cable news in the coming months, if you can stand the stomach upset, and see how many segments are devoted to the emerging threat posed by Hezbollah, and what America must do to protect itself. Particularly what-if scenarios about Hezbollah obtaining WMDs, and what they could do to American cities. I suspect we'll see quite an uptick.

Oh, before I forget, someone wrote the nicest blurb for this book. Can you guess who?

"Lightning out of Lebanon is an eye opener.  The book reads like a novel but documents in detail how operatives of what many call the 'A-Team of Terrorism' have taken advantage of our freedoms, legal loopholes, and defense weaknesses to set up support cells in communities all over America."

I'll give you a hint. He's a Senator from Connecticut.

Huh? Donna Brazille?  So I took a look at the FDD website, here.  Sure enough, the group is a regular rogues gallery:  Steve Forbes, Jack Kemp, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Newt Gingrich, James Woolsey, Gary Bauer, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle, Zell Miller, Frank Gaffney, J.D. Hayworth, Bill Kristol, Mark Foley, Clifford May ... and Donna Brazille, Frank Lautenberg, and Charles Schumer.  Um, what is going on here?  I thought these were solid Democrats?  

Apparently, FDD acts as a propaganda outfit to justify the Iraq war:

Telling the "Untold Story" of Iraq

Creative strategies are often needed to reach around the national media to audiences in their communities. When the major U.S. news outlets did not adequately cover the progress in Iraq following liberation, FDD established a grassroots organization, the Iraq-America Freedom Alliance (IAFA), to tell the untold story of Iraq's fight to build a peaceful democracy. The alliance established a web site, to highlight the good news coming from Iraq. It also invited Iraqis to tour America and tell their stories of oppression under Saddam Hussein's regime, of gratitude for their liberation and of hope for a future as part of the Free World. These courageous Iraqis spoke to audiences and local media in cities across the country, and appeared in print and broadcast media more than 400 times.

FDD also claims credit for revising the Committee on the Present Danger:

Resurrecting a Distinguished Cold War Organization
FDD provided the inspiration and support for the resurrection of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD). Twice in the past (1950 and 1976), CPD assembled bipartisan leaders to make a case for the robust prosecution of the Cold War. CPD has been resurrected to oppose the new present danger: the danger posed by Jihadists--radical Islamists and Islamo-fascists--assisted by rogue regimes. While its principles and messages will be similar to those of FDD, CPD will be a 501(c)(4) organization, which allows it to give expression to specific policy and legislative initiatives.

CPD is led by Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) as honorary Co-chairmen and R. James Woolsey and George Schultz as Co-chairmen. Jim Woolsey has long been FDD's Distinguished Advisor. CPD International is headed by Vaclav Havel (former President of the Czech Republic) and Jose Maria Aznar (former Prime Minister of Spain). Other committee members include Norman Podhoretz, Midge Dector, Jeane Kirkpatrick (an FDD Board Member) and 70 other distinguished policy veterans. Clifford May is the Acting Executive Director of CPD.

Also, if you read through the commentary presented on the website, its pretty clear that FDD is preparing the ground for war against Iran and/or Syria.  For instance, take a look here and here. Here's the press release for Newman's book:

Hezbollah, Iran, Syria  

In New Book, FDD Senior Fellow Barbara Newman Exposes Hezbollah Terror Cells on U.S. Soil

Iranian-backed Shock-troops Poised to Strike?  
February 24, 2005  

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 24, 2005) - Barbara Newman, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, is the co-author of the powerful new book Lightning Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil, which exposes the presence of Hezbollah terror cells in more than a dozen major U.S. cities.

These are no mere "sleeper cells," as Newman shows in recounting the investigation and prosecution of Hezbollah terrorists in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Instead, the Charlotte cell ran a sophisticated smuggling ring to fund Hezbollah's global operations and was actively recruiting and preparing for attacks.

Hezbollah, which until the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks had killed more Americans than any other terror group, was founded in Lebanon with Iranian support and continues to be a pawn of the Iranian regime - a grave concern as tensions over Iran's nuclear weapons programs continue to rise.  Senior U.S. officials have rated Hezbollah as more dangerous than al-Qaeda.

Senator Joe Lieberman says, "Lightning out of Lebanon is an eye opener.  The book reads like a novel but documents in detail how operatives of what many call the `A-Team of Terrorism' have taken advantage of our freedoms, legal loopholes, and defense weaknesses to set up support cells in communities all over America."

Lightning Out of Lebanon was written with co-author Tom Diaz and published by Random House's Presidio Press.  It will be available in stores and online March 1, 2005.

Barbara Newman is the author of Covenant: Love and Death and Beirut and is an experienced investigative journalist, formerly with ABC News' 20/20 and NPR's All Things Considered.  She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focused on defeating terrorism and promoting democracy.

Barbara Newman is available for interviews to discuss the book, including:

How and why U.S. citizens are being targeted by Hezbollah;

The 14 American cities where Hezbollah is known to have active cells;

How Hezbollah has exploited U.S. immigration laws to place terrorists among us;

Why Iran views Hezbollah terror cells as a weapon against U.S. civilians;

How a few visionary heroes in the FBI, local law enforcement, and the U.S. Attorney's office broke the Charlotte cell; and

What needs to be done to remove Hezbollah's threat from U.S. soil.

So I guess I am very confused.  What the heck are Brazille, Lautenberg, and Schumer hanging around with these folks?  I understand about Lieberman and Miller, but I thought the others were solid Democrats.  

Originally posted to johnny rotten on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:46 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Israel (none)
    Word up.

    The Media is the scandal.

    by bink on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:34:40 PM PST

    •  In Other Words (4.00)
      The pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. is very well-organized and highly-funded and they leverage their influence on both Democrats and Republicans.  You cannot survive long in Washington without paying obeisance to this lobby, because Israel supporters are very highly motivated and very willing to go after you if you step out of line.  Hey, it's a Democracy and everyone has an equal ability to organize and fund according to their interests.

      But American "friends of Israel" are just way ahead of the game in comparison to, say, Arab Americans.

      I'm fine with this, unless elected U.S. officials start making decisions that assist Israel to the detriment of our country.  Then, all bets are off.

      I'm not the only one who is made uncomfortable by the overly-enthusiastic efforts of the Israel lobby in Washington.  A lot of left-leaning Israelis feel the same way, as evidenced in a recent Haaretz article in which Israeli politicians wished they would tone it down ... or risk a backlash by the American public.

      The Media is the scandal.

      by bink on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:40:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brazile is useless (none)
    Simply useless. Like all those other Dem consultants, she needs to have lost her job a long time ago.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:50:10 PM PST

  •  They are not Democrats . . . (none)
    They are Democratic Leadership Council hacks, which mean neo-repugnicans.

    Remember, just because someone is gay doesn't mean they are a leftist or progressive or even from the center. cf.: Ken Mehlman, Scott McClellan, James Guckert, etc.

    OOOOOMMMMM . . . . .

    by MarkosNYC on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:50:27 PM PST

  •  Donna Brazile confounds me (none)
    Donna confounds me, she really does.  One day, she's on fire, being a solid and eloquent Democrat.  The next day, she's wavering, drifting to the right.  I'd like to see more of the solid Dem side of her, with a killer instinct, because she can really stand up to people on talk shows.

    In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

    by Paul in Berkeley on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 07:51:59 PM PST

  •  I just wish DB would stop pretending that she (none)
    has the right to speak for anybody.  Unless she actualy ran for an office and won, I'm not aware of her having received any votes to represent any persons in any public office or for any private organization.  
  •  Why single out Brazile (none)
    and not Sens. Lautenberg and Shumer? After all, Lautenberg an Shumer are elected officials, and therefore should be subject to scrutiny by the public that elected them. Why is there more of a sore point about Brazile?

    "One nation under a groove, getting down just for the funk of it" - Funkadelic

    by AaronInSanDiego on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:16:55 PM PST

  •  I read "Cooking With Grease" (none)
    Her autobiography. Worth reading if you're a political junkie. The part that really bothered me was how enthusiastic she was about putting Joe Lieberman on the ticket. I wonder if she has buyer's remorse over that these days.

    One more thing: While she's a decent person who has a great life story to tell, she simply shouldn't be out there representing her party on the teevee. She just doesn't have the required verbal jousting skills.

    In politics, sometimes the jackasses are on your side.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:42:22 PM PST

  •  Schumer?! (none)
    Y'know Brazile I can see.  I remember Election 2000 and, well... nuff said.

    But I thought Schumer was one of the good guys?

    It's not over till you're underground.

    by ChicagoDem on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 08:44:48 PM PST

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