Trial Date for AIPAC Defendants "Definitively" Fixed

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According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) for Dec. 6, 2007, the trial of former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) officials Steve Rosen, foreign policy director for the Israel lobby, and Keith Weissman, AIPAC’s former Iran specialist, has been definitively set for April 29, 2008. Describing the Aug. 4, 2005 indictment of Rosen and Weissman as “the classified information case,” JTA neglects to mention Israel as the recipient of Rosen’s and Weissman’s activities. In the nation’s capital, where the espionage took place, The Washington Post, a valued part of the Israel lobby, publishes almost nothing about the forthcoming AIPAC trial.

The new date for the trial of Rosen and Weissman marks the fifth time that federal Judge T.S. Ellis postponed the trial. Judge Ellis has allowed the defense to subpoena as witnesses Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. It is not known whether the two will actually testify or whether the prosecution will protest their appearance. Despite the JTA’s assurances, in case of a protest further delay in the “fixed” trial date can be expected.

Ellis anticipates that the trial will last four to six weeks. That means that the trial could overlap with AIPACs annual “policy conference,” scheduled to take place in Washington June 2-4.

According to the JTA, the prosecution will call as witnesses Maj. Gen. Paul Dettman, the Pentagon’s assistant chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; William McNair of the CIA; and Dale Watson, the FBI’s former assistant director for counterterrorism and counterintelligence, who headed the bureau’s investigation of Sept. 11, 2001. They can be expected to testify that Rosen and Weissman did in fact damage U.S. national interests.

In his Jan. 6 blog on Antiwar.com, Justin Raimondo expresses the frustration felt by many over the continued delay in the trial permitted by Judge Ellis as the defense lawyers (Abbe Lowell for Rosen and John Nassikas for Weissman) dream up new technical excuses for delay. Their strategy is to seek delay after delay in the hope that the public will forget about the case–”and, eventually, that it will not take place at all.

Following its policy of never presenting Israel in an unflattering light, The Washington Post carries virtually no information about the looming AIPAC trial–no dates, no discussion about how open or closed the trial will be, and no discussion of the legal dilemma over which high government officials can be called to testify. Thus, it is not certain that the April 29 trial date will stay fixed. In fact there is a chance that AIPAC may prevail and that a trial will never occur.

It nevertheless is very important that the trial take place. In their great book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (available from the AET Book Club ), Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt describe how AIPAC distorts policymaking. The exposure of two key AIPAC officials as spies for Israel could go a long way to demonstrate to the American people that U.S. and Israeli interests almost never coincide.

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