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ISCAP declassification clears way for litigation against Israel/AIPAC - IRmep





Grant F. Smith

 IRmep wins Interagency Security Classification Panel appeal 

On July 22, 2011 the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy won a major victory toward public release of a classified document illegally obtained by the Israeli government and passed to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.  According to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) announcement, "The document came before the ISCAP classified in its entirety.  The ISCAP voted unanimously to declassify some portions and affirm the classification of other portions of the document..."  The US Trade Representative, which blocked release under the Freedom of Information Act, now has 60 days to appeal the ISCAP decision to the President.  IRmep argued to ISCAP that the document was originally classified to protect American industry secrets, and that the main parties it was meant to be kept from illicitly obtained it almost immediately.  (For the whole story, see "Spy Trade: How Israel's Lobby Undermines America's Economy.") In a separate initiative, IRmep is seeking $6.4 billion in damages for victimized US industry and workers groups.

According to IRmep director Grant F. Smith, "Even partial release should clear away a major hurdle to direct industry litigation against both AIPAC and the Israeli government for billions of dollars in damages tied directly to their possession of this stolen document." 

IRmep 2010 appeal to the ISCAP:
ISCAP release decision:

USTR refuses to investigate billions in losses from Israeli commercial data theft

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE 7/22/2011)--In May the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) received a petition seeking $6.4 billion in damages from Israel over theft of classified trade data. American industry groups provided the data in confidence to the International Trade Commission in 1984.

The 62 page Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) petition claims the inside information enabled undue Israeli trade preferences during negotiations of America's first bilateral trade agreement. IRmep argues Israeli exporter access to proprietary data materially harmed US industry. USTR will not initiate a formal investigation under sections 301 through 309 of the Trade Act of 1974 on two separate grounds.

The USTR denied IRmep had standing to represent victimized US industry organizations. The USTR also denied that the industry data theft constituted an "act, policy or practice of the Government of Israel that might be actionable." The USTR's published announcement in the Federal Register may be read at

In talks with IRmep USTR's Section 301 Committee Chair did not dispute the veracity of FBI information submitted as evidence. The FBI files reveal Israel's minister of economics admitted to obtaining the classified information and even passing it to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for lobbying and public relations in the US. The minister claimed diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution. In 2009 the Justice Department received a separate complaint claiming the FBI files reveal AIPAC is the foreign agent of the Israeli government.

The IRmep USTR filing claims the US-Israel FTA is the worst performing bilateral deal ever signed by the US. Since entering into effect it reversed a balanced trading relationship into an $80.9 billion cumulative deficit. In denying IRmep's petition, the USTR stated "the petition does not allege that any current acts, policies or practices of the Government of Israel are unjustifiable or unreasonable and burden or restrict U.S. commerce." However, under demand of US exporters, Israel has again been placed on the USTR's "watch list" of major global intellectual property violators. Israel's Ministry of Health forces US pharmaceutical makers to file clinical dossiers of patented drugs that are passed to Israeli generic and copycat manufacturers. This costs the US billions in revenues and thousands of jobs.


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