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OK, I'm going to start this diary with an apology, as it is arguably a repetitive diary. But, the gravity of the issue raised by the previous diary which MJ Rosenberg crossposted from TPMCafe is such that I think it needs to be elevated to the recommended list.

Specifically, this relates to an item in Thursday's Congressional Quarterly which mentioned that AIPAC is pushing behind the scenes to undermine the efforts by Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha on the House side, in tandem with Jim Webb's effort on the Senate side (video here), to restrict President Bush's ability to use appropriated funds for a military strike on Iran, absent an immediate threat.

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Get it while it's available: a supporter of recently departed US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton recorded a conference call he did with AIPAC, which is currently leading the charge for war with Iran. You can download it here.

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I'm sure all of the regular readers of my blog, The Gorilla in the Room, have heard about Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin surrendering to the FBI today to face charges of illegal disclosure of classified information to AIPAC.  This post is some background for members of the media, since I'm starting to get a decent amount of traffic from media-linked domains via Google, and want to clue you in to the questions you should be asking to get to the bottom of this story and not fall victim to AIPAC's attempts to "spin" this.
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It's very interesting to note that the Iran Freedom Foundation has its Internet domain name registered under a "proxy" registration service -- so that they don't have to divulge a point of contact.  They do list an address for their office on their website, but it's curious that the domain was originally registered under a proxy -- seems it might have been done to conceal the individual or organization who originally registered it, before the paperwork to set up the Delaware corporation and file with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) was in place.
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A new poster had suddenly appeared all over London. It had no caption, and represented simply the monstrous figure of a Eurasian soldier, three or four metres high, striding forward with expressionless Mongolian face and enormous boots, a submachine gun pointed from his hip. From whatever angle you looked at the poster, the muzzle of the gun, magnified by the foreshortening, seemed to be pointed straight at you. The thing had been plastered on every blank space on every wall, even outnumbering the portraits of Big Brother. The proles, normally apathetic about the war, were being lashed into one of their periodical frenzies of patriotism. -- George Orwell, 1984
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I haven't finished listening to the audio of the House Armed Services Committee hearing this morning yet, but it's damn good.  Wes Clark, and a couple of the congressmen, really confronted the subject head on, and broke some taboos.  Frankly, I was surprised how far they went.  Some of the highlights:
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One of the main headlines in the mainstream media today has been that the presidential commission investigating the intelligence failures regarding Iraq's WMD capabilities has issued its final report -- blaming the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community.
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I know you're taking one for the team here, Steve, but trust me, we'll take care of you.  I already got a call from one of our board members, Bob Donorwitz, out in LA.  He's in the publishing business -- will put you on as a VP at more than double your current salary, and not much work.  As far as sentencing goes, it's just illegal receipt of classified information, not espionage -- you'll be out in a year or two, maybe not even get any jail time at all.
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Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 06:08 AM PST

Let Them Eat Yellowcake

by gorillaintheroom

One thing I've always found rather bothersome (among many things in the Bush administration) is the lack of a serious investigation of the origins of the forged documents purporting to be about uranium yellowcake sales from Niger to Iraq.  Those documents didn't create themselves -- someone forged them, and someone had a motive to forge them.  Someone was carrying out a deception operation to try to convince the U.S. (and the West more broadly) that the Baathist regime in Iraq had restarted its nuclear program.  But who?  We know that they entered the pipeline through Italian military intelligence (SISMI) in late 2001, and echoed around Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA and MI6, in the months after that.
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Where do you think the document come from?

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Laura Rozen has another piece in The American Prospect today, and as usual it's very good, and brings out quite a bit of new information.

One of the questions about the "next phase" in Iran has always been who the neocons would use for the "Chalabi role" -- the Westernized English-speaking Iraqi/Iranian who would tell them what they want to hear ("the Iraqi/Iranian people want an American invasion to liberate them from the Baathist dictator/clerical regime and will welcome you with flowers/pistachios -- you can almost make a MadLib off this!") and give them juicy "intelligence" about the awe-inspiring threat posed by the government the neocons want to take down.

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Who gets to star as "Chalabi" in the sequel?

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This hasn't gotten covered in the American MSM yet (since they tend to be reluctant to cover the subject in general), but AIPAC the pro-Israel (and generally pro-Likud) lobbying group has put two top officials on paid leave who were targets of the FBI's espionage investigation.  These are the two who had met with Larry Franklin of Doug Feith's office at the Pentagon last year and passed them calssified information regarding plans to destabilize Iran.  The FBI took their evidence to a grand jury in early January, so it's possible this thing is nearing a decision on indictments.  More background on the probe is available in this piece from The American Prospect.
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This is a case of contradiction which I'm guessing Michael Rubin has been aware of ever since he read this story in the American Prospect last November, Cloak and Swagger: The Larry Franklin Spy Probe Reveals an Escalating Fight Over Control of Iran Policy, and has been hoping nobody would call him on.  To the best of my knowledge, nobody else had juxtaposed these two articles and pointed out Rubin's hypocrisy.
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