The Pentagon Wants to Help Israel Build Another Huge Bunker
U.S. Army says new complex would mirror secretive “Site 911”
by JOSEPH TREVITHICK
Over the course of his election campaign, president-elect Donald Trump went back and forth on the idea of making American allies — even Israel — give more in return for military aid. Until those policies actually take shape, the Pentagon looks set to continue business as usual.
In November 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to help Israel build a huge, secretive bunker, dubbed “Site 911.” Nearly three years later, the engineers are looking to hire someone to start work on another, similar facility.
This new “underground operational center” will include “offices, warehouses workshops and infrastructure,” the Corps’ Europe District explained in a Nov. 2, 2016 briefing. The site will be “similar to 911.”
The Europe District office handles construction projects in both Europe and the Middle East. The Army released the briefing and other presentations via FedBizOpps, the U.S. government’s main contracting website.
When Site 911 came into public view in November 2013, it caused quite a stir. Israeli authorities were distressed to learn specifics about the facility had leaked out into the open.
The Army’s publicly available contract documents included diagrams of the site and detailed descriptions of various features. The underground command center turned out to be part of Israel’s equally sensitive Arrow 3 ballistic missile defense system.
“If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide,” one anonymous Israeli military official told McClatchy more than six months later. “This is more than worrying, it is shocking.”
Still, some of the Army’s requirements seemed more curious than dangerous. The contract documents outlined things like decorative stones and recreational amenities.
Most notably, the engineers wrote out a lengthy set of specifications for mezuzas.
“A mezuza (also spelled mezuzah) is a parchment that has been inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah, placed in a case and attached to a door frame of a Jewish family’s house as a sign of faith,” the Washington Post explained.
“These mezuzas, notes the Corps, “shall be written in inerasable ink, on . . . uncoated leather parchment” and be handwritten by a scribe ‘holding a written authorization according to Jewish law,’” the article added, citing the official proposal. “All Mezuzahs for the facility shall be affixed by the Base’s Rabbi or his appointed representative and not by the contractor staff.”
Not surprisingly, the mezuzas, the secretive nature of the project and the term “911,” set off anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.
The reality, at least as far as the name was concerned, was far more banal. Each year, the U.S. Army works with the Israeli military major construction projects.
“U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District awards an average of 10 to 14 foreign military sales contracts for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, ranging from $3 million to $10 million annually,” Jennifer Aldridge, an spokesperson for the organization, told War Is Boring in an Email in 2015. “Planning of future projects is a function of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.”
To keep things simple, engineers identify many of the sites by arbitrary control numbers. In addition, the November 2016 briefing seems to confirm the first site was a secure command bunker rather than a meeting place for the Illuminati.
As of Nov. 2, 2016, the Army had more than 40 projects planned for the next two years, including the second underground command center. Engineers expected the bunker would cost between $100 and $250 million and require multiple contracts for various parts of the project.
Unlike with Site 911, the Army did not release any detailed descriptions along with the briefings. If it is truly similar to the first subterranean base, the future facility could have three floors, each with 40,000 square feet of space.
Site 911 reportedly had an additional two, smaller sub-basements set aside for power generators and other equipment. Blast doors and other security features would protect anyone working inside the underground base.
We do know that all of the construction projects have to meet a lengthy set of legal requirements. Israel pays for all this using the U.S. Foreign Military Financing process.
Under this arrangement, the Pentagon gives a foreign government a grant for certain military equipment or construction projects. In turn, that country agrees to let the U.S. government run the contract process and give a certain portion of the deal to U.S. businesses.
But there are complex rules and exceptions about what counts toward what percentages.
“An item does not become Israeli content simply because it is purchased in Israel,” another briefing on the construction program in May, 2016 noted. “For example a generator manufactured in the U.S. but purchased from an Israeli agent is not Israeli content.”
On top of that, the Army engineers made it clear this process means contractors could not sue Israeli authorities if something goes wrong. However, if a war breaks out, Israeli officials can cut a separate deal with the builders to fix any damage.
If all goes as scheduled, the Army expects to issue contract for this second underground headquarters by September 2018. If it takes another two years to put up all the individual buildings, Trump could running for reelection by the time Israel gets the site up and running.