Iran deal a defeat for the Israel lobby

On the meaning of the Iran deal to the power of the Israel lobby:

On HuffPost Live, journalist Glenn Greenwald thinks this is a defeat for the Israel lobby: “I don’t think that they’re going to win this fight. And when they don’t, when they actually lose it I think that this kind of aura of invincibility that has surrounded the Israel lobby for so long will be severely compromised and weakened in a way that will be very positive”

With the slight danger of speaking too soon, I have to say I agree. Although the Israel lobby is obviously still rich, powerful and influential, this is a major defeat.

Read the whole thing over at MEMO.

The Likudnik Saudi royals

On the continuation of the Israeli-Saudi counter-revolutionary alliance:

The alliance is become so open, that other commentators have started to take notice.

Last year, in the midst of the brutal Israeli war against Gaza the editor of Middle East EyeDavid Hearst called it an “alliance forged in blood”. He pointed to reports that Israel had specified a “role for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the demilitarisation of Hamas” – that is that Saudi and Emirati funds would be “used to rebuild Gaza after Hamas had been defanged”.

Taking the Saudi lead, other Gulf tyrants too have forged ahead with commercial, intelligence and diplomatic links with Israel. Investigative reporter Rori Donaghy in December revealed regular semi-covert flights on private jets between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. And in February he detailed how an Israeli company had been contracted to install a huge spy system in the Gulf emirate.

In April, Robert Parry, the reporter who broke much of the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s, claimed that, drawing on an anonymous US source, the Saudis have given the Israelis $16 billion over the last two and a half years in order to cement this anti-Iranian alliance.

Read the rest over at MEMO.

Flame: the Israeli propaganda war spreads to cyberspace

My new special feature on the Flame cyber-weapon was published by The Electronic Intifada last night. I take an in-depth look at who may have been behind the computer worm that snooped on thousands of computers from the West Bank to Iran. I bring to light evidence that Israel’s teasing intimations it created Flame may be more about propaganda and regaining its lost “deterrence” capabilities against Arabs. Here’s a brief extract:

World-renowned security and cryptography expert Bruce Schneier told The Electronic Intifada that Flame was “much more sophisticated than the typical worm.” Over email, he commented that while it “seems definitely the work of a large, well-funded, well-coordinated team” there was also “some hype” about it on the technical level.

Flame is able to take screenshots, switch on the microphone and record audio conversations, snooping on Skype calls, for example. Screenshots are triggered when sensitive information is likely to be revealed: such as when instant messaging software is running. It can intercept keystrokes, search for passwords and steal files.

Flame zeroes in on certain files: images, photos with geographic data, presentations, project files and PDFs. Later, more detailed analysis by Kapersky revealed that Flame’s controllers seem especially interested in stealing digital blueprints: “the attackers seem to have a high interest in AutoCAD drawings,” the report said (“The Roof Is on Fire: Tackling Flame’s C&C Servers,” 4 June 2012).

I will be following-up on this story, looking at the possibility that Flame could be used for more aggressive purposes than spying, so watch my EI blog for that later in the week.

UPDATE: the follow-up story on my blog is here.