David Packouz (L) and Efraim Diveroli
By Richard Edmondson
From Ukraine to North Africa to the Middle East, and most recently in the Caucasus with the outbreak of hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, death and destruction are on the prowl in multiple wars, while at the same time international laws governing armed conflict are rapidly being cast onto the rubbish heap.
Many of these wars have been instigated by powers outside the countries in which they are being fought, and the tide of violence threatening to engulf the world now is unprecedented in history. You would think that at such a time, Hollywood would have better taste than to make a movie glorifying the arms trade.
But of course, you would be wrong.
Scheduled for release in August, “War Dogs” is based on the real life story of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, two twenty-something Jews who got involved in the arms trade and ended up bidding on Pentagon contracts, in the process scoring deals to supply weapons, ammo, and other military equipment to forces the US was arming in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their story was told in a 2011 Rolling Stone article which detailed their passion for money-making, recreational drug use, and their predilection for shady business dealings. “Packouz and Diveroli met at Beth Israel Congregation, the largest Orthodox synagogue in Miami Beach,” the story informs us, and then goes on to describe how they landed some lucrative contracts, including one worth $300 million, all while operating a small company known as AEY, a shell company Diveroli’s father had set up. All of this was in the years 2005-2007.
For decades, weapons had been stockpiled in warehouses throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe for the threat of war against the West, but now arms dealers were selling them off to the highest bidder. The Pentagon needed access to this new aftermarket to arm the militias it was creating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The trouble was, it couldn’t go into such a murky underworld on its own. It needed proxies to do its dirty work — companies like AEY. The result was a new era of lawlessness…
One evening, Diveroli picked Packouz up in his Mercedes, and the two headed to a party at a local rabbi’s house, lured by the promise of free booze and pretty girls. Diveroli was excited about a deal he had just completed, a $15 million contract to sell old Russian-manufactured rifles to the Pentagon to supply the Iraqi army. He regaled Packouz with the tale of how he had won the contract, how much money he was making and how much more there was to be made….
Diveroli, by the way, is the nephew of celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a staunch supporter of Israel and author of several books, including one entitled “Kosher Sex”–a book in which he “breaks down sexual taboos” while pioneering “a revolutionary approach to sex, marriage, and personal relationships, drawing on traditional Jewish wisdom.” Boteach has also run inflammatory ads in the New York Times defending Israel, and in 2012 was bankrolled by Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson in an unsuccessful campaign for Congress.
So in other words, while Boteach was doing the TV talk show circuit advising Americans how to improve their sex lives, his nephew Diveroli was finding his niche in the “murkey underworld” of arms trafficking.
Above all, Diveroli cared about the bottom line. “Efraim was a Republican because they started more wars,” Packouz says. “When the United States invaded Iraq, he was thrilled. He said to me, ‘Do I think George Bush did the right thing for the country by invading Iraq? No. But am I happy about it? Absofuckinglutely.’ He hoped we would invade more countries because it was good for business.”
The big $300 million deal they landed found them purchasing stocks of Chinese-made ammunition in the Balkans and transporting them to Afghanistan, but a US embargo against Chinese weapons meant the whole thing had to be carried out clandestinely. The ammo was repackaged in cardboard boxes with no Chinese lettering. But some of the ammo was quite old, a number of the crates were infested with termites, and the two ended up being indicted for fraud and pleading guilty. And now we have a forthcoming Hollywood movie about their endogamic escapades.
It’s tempting to dismiss “War Dogs” as just another piece of Hollywood trash, but of course it comes as millions are coping with the destruction of homes and lives in the bogus war on terror and as whole nations are being torn apart. In Syria, the US has aligned itself with so-called “moderate” rebels, equipping them with vast stocks of weapons, many of which have ended up in the hands of ISIS, while in Yemen, we have assisted Saudi Arabia in an air campaign which, as of January 2016, had resulted in 2,795 killed and 5,324 wounded. At least 62 civilians were killed by coalition airstrikes in December alone, reports the UN, which was more than twice the number killed in the previous month. Many others have been left homeless.
A girl drinks from a broken street pipe in Yemen, where millions are without regular access to drinking water
But this hasn’t stopped the US from continuing to fuel the fire, so to speak. According to Defense News, the State Department has facilitated $33 billion worth of weapons sales to its Arab Gulf allies since May of 2015. The weapons–including anti-armor missiles, attack helicopters, and ballistic missile defense capabilities–have been sold to the six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC. These would of course be some of the same countries that have been supplying arms to ISIS while also carrying out war crimes in Yemen.
“In addition, the U.S. government and industry also delivered 4,500 precision-guided munitions to the GCC countries in 2015, including 1,500 taken directly from U.S. military stocks — a significant action given our military’s own needs,” said David McKeeby, a spokesman with the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.
How much of this ordnance may have ended up in the hands of not-so-moderate terrorists is unclear, but in December of 2015, Amnesty International published a report entitled “Taking Stock: The Arming of the Islamic State,” which found that the terrorist army “now deploys a substantial arsenal of arms and ammunition, designed or manufactured in more than 25 countries.”
A lot of this was looted or captured from poorly secured Iraqi military stocks, says the report, but illicit weapons transactions also seem to have played a considerable role in building up the ISIS arsenal–and some of the “chain of custody” evidence cited in the report, including a cache of weapons transferred from Croatia to the Free Syrian Army, sounds almost eerily similar to the sort of shady weapons trafficking operation run by Packouz and Diveroli.
Of course there is the old adage about art imitating life, and, on some level the fact that Hollywood would make a film about two Jews and then go on to entitle it “War Dogs” is perhaps not surprising. This, keep in mind, coming at a time when evidence of Israel’s support for terrorists in Syria is as clear as the hand in front of your face. And of course who could forget the lovable Victoria Nuland and her famous “f**k-the-EU” comment, mouthed off at a time when her State Department was busy engineering a coup in Ukraine?
In fact, efforts by Zionist Jews to create instability and instigate wars are getting to be about as common as fireflies on a summer night. They’re not always easy to spot, but you know they’re out there because they occasionally involuntarily light up, as when someone like Nuland gets caught in a taped phone conversation.
And now it looks like certain fireflies have moved into the Caucasus where they seem to be taking advantage of a long-simmering dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On April 2, intense fighting broke out followed by a series of charges, countercharges, claims and counterclaims, made by both sides. According to the Armenians, it started with an offensive launched by Azerbaijani troops using tanks and artillery. Azerbaijan, on the other hand, insists it was responding to large-caliber weapons fire from inside the ethnic Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh area. So who is telling the truth? Or are both sides lying?
Hard to say for sure, but a couple of knowns are worth mentioning: A) Armenia is closely allied with Russia, and, B) Azerbaijan, too, has ties, including trade ties, with Russia, but it also is closely aligned with Turkey and maintains extensivetrade relations with Israel. And the trade with Israel has been especially heavy in the area of military procurement.
Israeli drones, anti-aircraft and missile defense systems have been supplied to Azerbaijan in the wake of a $1.6 billion agreement struck between the two countries in 2012. Israeli companies are also active in the Azerbaijani telecommunications, agriculture, water supply medical technology, and energy sectors. That makes for a lot of sayanim on the ground inside inside a relatively small country.
Perhaps no surprise, then, that Armenian forces shot down an Israeli drone on April 2–the very day hostilities broke out.
The ThunderB drone is known for its light weight, 62 pounds, and its long flying time–25.5 hours–on a single tank of fuel. It is made by an Israeli company known as BlueBird, which reportedly may be about to be purchased by Elbit Systems.
And then on Tuesday came news of yet another Israeli drone spotted over Nagorno-Karabakh–this one believed to be a Harop drone, made by Israeli Aerospace Industries. The Harop is also known as a “suicide drone” in that rather than firing a missile at a target it simply becomes the missile itself, ramming the target and destroying it.
According to Gordon Duff, senior editor at Veterans Today, the key tounderstanding the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is to recognize “that Azerbaijan is a client state of Israel and the CIA.” He adds that Azerbaijan has as well become “the regional operating center for Google Idea Groups,” which he refers to as the “shadow CIA.”
Google Ideas was formed in 2010. At that time Google CEO Eric Schmidt tapped the State Department’s Jared Cohen to direct the new venture, dubbed as a “think/do tank.” In late 2015, Google was reorganized under a parent company called Alphabet, Inc., and in February of this year Google Ideas was rebranded as “Jigsaw”–although it is still run by Cohen and still affiliated with Google.
Cohen, by the way, is also an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and during his years with the State Department (2006-2010) he worked closely with Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, and became a strategic advisor in US policy toward Iran. Jigsaw’s mission is to “use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks,” says Schmidt.
Sounds nice, but a purview of Jigsaw’s website–fittingly kind of creepy and dark-looking–suggests that virtually all of the “activists” it has provided support to seem to be from countries with governments the US seeks to overthrow. And indeed, in 2012 Wikileaks released a cache of emails concerning Cohen’s activities in the Middle East, including one, apparently written by Cohen himself, in which he discusses efforts to stir up trouble in Iran:
I wanted to follow-up and get a sense of your latest thinking on the proposed March trip to UAE, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The purpose of this trip is to exclusively engage the Iranian community to better understand the challenges faced by Iranians as part of one of our Google Ideas groups on repressive societies. Here is what we are thinking: Drive to Azerbaijan/Iranian border and engage the Iranian communities closer to the border (this is important because we need the Azeri Iranian perspective).
So here, it seems, we have Cohen basically setting up shop on the Iran-Azerbaijan border. It should be noted that both Azerbaijan and Armenia border Iran, while Azerbaijan also shares a border with Russia. A conflict breaking out in this region could easily spill over into Russia or Iran–both of which have called for the two warring parties to adhere to a 1994 ceasefire agreement.
But of course, such a spillover would advance certain geopolitical interests. For one thing, it would pose a dilemma for Russia at a time when it is engaged in Syria. Sergei Zheleznyak, vice speaker of the Russian state Duma, has voiced the view that a “third force” is behind developments in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the Russian News Agency Tass:
“It is clear that the force that continues to fan the flames of war in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus dissatisfied with the peacekeeping and counter-terror success of Russia and our allies in Syria is interested in the speedy exacerbation of the protracted conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region,” the parliamentarian wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday.
According to Zheleznyak, “neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia essentially need this exacerbation now.” He noted that “there is every likelihood that this provocation has been organized by a third force,” adding that “information on its presence is beginning to leak out.” In view of this, he drew attention to the fact that “at night in the mountains it is enough to have a few trained armed persons who know the opposing sides’ balance of forces to provoke them to open reciprocal ‘reprisal’ fire.”
Most people probably assumed Zheleznyak, in talking about a “third force,” was referring to Turkey–and certainly Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet in Syria factors into the equation. But another element that perhaps figures even more prominently is the “clash of civilizations” that hardcore Zionists have long salivated over the thought of.
We might theorize that ISIS was created with a two-fold objective: one was to break apart Syria and bring about the overthrow of Bashar Assad, while the other was to jockey into existence a clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims. In both of these objectives it has failed. Assad is still standing, and while the rise of ISIS certainly inflamed anti-Muslim sentiments in the West, it has not resulted in the all-out war between Christianity and Islam that would have played so well into the hands of the Jewish state.
But where the ISIS plan failed, the conflict in the Caucasus could well succeed. Armenia is predominantly a Christian state, while Azerbaijan is mostly Muslim. A war between these two could galvanize public opinion in the region along religious lines. Regional political alignments and the history of the Armenian genocide are also to be considered. Turkey, though sharing a border with Armenia, has openly sided with Azerbaijan. Russia, on the other hand, has remained officially neutral. However, an RT report filed April 5 shows journalist Murad Gazdiev reporting from inside Armenian Karabakh trenches.
So where is Israel in all of this? Officially it doesn’t seem to be saying much about it, but in May of 2015, the Jewish Daily Forward published an article entitled, “Why Israel’s Alliance with Azerbaijan is so Shortsighted.” The writer, Christopher Atamian, takes the Jewish state to task over its refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide as well as for its lucrative arms contract with Azerbaijan, a country he refers to as an “authoritarian regime that is fueling regional conflict.”
“This is the same country that attempted to wipe out the entire Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh in 1991 before losing a bloody war against the Armenians,” he adds.
What he leaves unspoken, of course, is that Israel’s refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide is tantamount to holocaust denial. More than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred from the years 1915 to 1922, and the Jewish state’s silence on the matter became a particularly hot-button issue last year on the genocide’s 100th anniversary.
Zheleznyak, the Duma vice speaker, seems for his own part to be offering sage advice to both parties in the current conflict, noting that Russia’s president as well as its government agencies “urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to cease fire and not to allow to draw them into someone else’s insidious game, as long as it is still possible.”
“As long as it’s still possible” is of course the key question. The more people die, the further recede the possibilities of the regional players not getting trapped or caught up in the “insidious game”–and the greater grow the chances of the conflict’s becoming the parabolic curve that ignites World War III.
Should that come to pass, maybe Diveroli and Packouz will vie for ringside seats–although it doesn’t appear they’ll especially want to sit next to each other. According to the article in Rolling Stone, the two had a major falling out.
“Listen, dude, if you f**k me, I’m going to f**k you,” one of them warned during an argument over money.
“Whatever,” replied the other.
One wonders why they didn’t name the movie “War Pigs” rather than “War Dogs.” Perhaps it wouldn’t have been kosher enough.
In the past year in Israel we’ve seen an arson attack on a Palestinian home which left a mother, father and their 18-month-old baby dead; we have seen a video of Jewish settlers dancing and celebrating the attack by stabbing a photo of the baby; we have observed continued expropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank, including one of the biggest land grabs in recent years–579 acres near the Dead Sea; and more recently we have seen a second video showing an Israeli soldier executing a wounded Palestinian with a gunshot to the head.
The execution video showed Israeli soldier Elior Azaria pump a bullet into the head of 21-year-old Abdul Fattah Sharif, as he lay on the ground wounded and barely moving. The murder took place on Purim, the Jewish holiday which celebrates the massacre of thousands of Gentiles, as told of in the Book of Esther. The next holiday on the Jewish calendar is Passover, coming up on April 22-23. The significance of Passover is laid out in twelfth chapter of Exodus:
On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn–both men and animals–and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord–a lasting ordinance…And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’
It seems that both Purim and Passover are in essence celebrations of the deaths of non-Jews. Suppose Gentiles observed holidays each year in which we celebratedJewish deaths? What do you suppose would be said of it?
Whatever one’s views of Judaism may be (there are some admirable sentiments expressed in the Old Testament as well as some repellent ones), Zionism has morphed from the simple idea of a homeland for a specific group of people into a supremacist ideology that has had appalling consequences–not only for its victims but also even for its adherents, dehumanizing them to a degree never thought imaginable.
Zionism is the great Passover feast that has become a celebration of war.
Filed under: Azerbaijan, Christians, GCC, Iran, Judaism, Middle East Issues, Richard Edmondson, Russia, Syria, Yemen | Tagged: Armenia, Hollywood | Comments Off on Nagorno-Karabakh and the Passover Feast: Hollywood’s Glorification of the Arms Trade