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Who forged the papers upon which Bush based his infamous 16-word claim that Saddam was seeking uranium from Africa, and that Joseph Wilson debunked? Justin Raimondo reports a new (though not entirely unexpected) revelation in the case, in the context of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the retaliatory leaking of Wilson's wife's identity as a CIA operative.  

Wikipedia's background on the origin of the forged documents:
By late 2003, the trail of the documents had been partially uncovered. They were obtained by a "security consultant" (and former agent of the precursor agency to SISMI, the SID), Rocco Martino, from Italian military intelligence (SISMI). An article in The Times (London) quoted Martino as having received the documents from a woman on the staff of the Niger embassy, after a meeting was arranged by a serving SISMI agent. ("Tracked down," by Nicholas Rufford and Nick Fielding, Sunday Times (London), Aug. 1, 2004.) Martino later recanted and said he had been misquoted, and that SISMI had not facilitated the meeting where he obtained the documents.

Martino, in turn, offered them to Italian journalist Elizabetta Burba. On instructions from her editor at Panorama, Burba offered them to the U.S. Embassy in Rome in October, 2002. [6]

It is as yet unknown how Italian intelligence came by the documents and why they were not given directly to the U.S. In 2005, Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of counterterrorism operations at the CIA and the intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, expressed the opinion that the documents had been produced in the United States and funneled through the Italians: "The documents were fabricated by supporters of the policy in the United States. The policy being that you had to invade Iraq in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein ...." [7]

In an interview published April 7, 2005, Cannistraro was asked by Ian Masters what he would say if it was asserted that the source of the forgery was former National Security Council and State Department consultant Michael Ledeen. (Ledeen had also allegedly been a liaison between the American Intelligence Community and SISMI two decades earlier.) Cannistraro answered by saying: "you'd be very close." [8]

In an interview on July 26, 2005, Cannistraro's business partner and columnist for the "American Conservative" magazine, former CIA counter terrorism officer Philip Giraldi, confirmed to Scott Horton that the forgeries were produced by "a couple of former CIA officers who are familiar with that part of the world who are associated with a certain well-known neoconservative who has close connections with Italy." When Horton said that must be Ledeen, he confirmed it, and added that the ex-CIA officers, "also had some equity interests, shall we say, with the operation. A lot of these people are in consulting positions, and they get various, shall we say, emoluments in overseas accounts, and that kind of thing." [9]

In a second interview with Horton, Giraldi elaborated to say that Ledeen and his former CIA friends worked with Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. "These people did it probably for a couple of reasons, but one of the reasons was that these people were involved, through the neoconservatives, with the Iraqi National Congress and Chalabi and had a financial interest in cranking up the pressure against Saddam Hussein and potentially going to war with him."[10]

Now Justin Raimondo writes:

Even as the FBI was following the trail of the forgers, the Italians were looking into the matter from their end. A parliamentary committee was charged with investigating, and they issued a heavily redacted report: now, I am told by a former CIA operations officer, the report has aroused some interest on this side of the Atlantic. According to a source in the Italian embassy, Patrick J. "Bulldog" Fitzgerald asked for and "has finally been given a full copy of the Italian parliamentary oversight report on the forged Niger uranium document," the former CIA officer tells me:

"Previous versions of the report were redacted and had all the names removed, though it was possible to guess who was involved. This version names Michael Ledeen as the conduit for the report and indicates that former CIA officers Duane Clarridge and Alan Wolf were the principal forgers. All three had business interests with Chalabi."

Alan Wolf died about a year and a half ago of cancer. He served as chief of the CIA's Near East Division as well as the European Division, and was also CIA chief of station in Rome after Clarridge. According to my source, "he and Clarridge and Ledeen were all very close and also close to Chalabi." The former CIA officer says Wolf "was Clarridge's Agency godfather. Significantly, both Clarridge and Wolf also spent considerable time in the Africa division, so they both had the Africa and Rome connection and both were close to Ledeen, closing the loop."

(Ledeen and Clarridge links added)
This supports recent reports that Fitzgerald's investigation has widened considerably. UPDATE 10/24/05: UPI confirmation of story.

Originally posted to pigpaste on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 01:14 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Republican National Convention, 2008 (4.00)

    -7.88, -7.74 In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.

    by melvin on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 01:21:13 AM PDT

  •  So we know who forged it now? (4.00)
    Chalabi's goons? Makes sense.

    The only real piece left in the puzzle is whether the PNAC goons knew it from the outset or if Chalabi just told them exactly what they wanted to hear and they bought it hook, line, and sinker.

    Considering that they've been doing CYA for years now and crushing anyone who gets in their way (Wilson, Clarke, etc.)...

    I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high for Fitzmas, but a guy can dream.

    Sometimes the jokes write themselves. Sometimes they run for President.

    by Sixfortyfive on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 01:26:33 AM PDT

    •  Judy may have handled ANOTHER Chalabi forgery (4.00)
      after she was an embed in Iraq, according to emptywheel.

      "[I]n all due respect to your profession [journalism], you do a very good job of protecting the leakers." -- Bush on Oct 7, 2003

      by QuickSilver on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:04:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm hoping Fitzmas... (4.00) followed by Fristmas...

      without DeLay.

      The Chimperor Has No Clothes

      by DC Pol Sci on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:17:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I expected that..... (none)

      I've been saying for some time here that all roads (or most anyway) lead back to Chalabi.  

      Question is, was he working for Iran all along, or for someone/something else?  

      My going hypothesis has been that he's been working for Iran, based on "who benefits?" from the Iraq war itself, and on the Iranian crypto leak.

      Someone else I know who is "professionally qualified to have opinions on such things" and who is quite critical of the present Administration, tells me he thinks Chalabi is purely out for himself, and the crypto leak getting fed back to Iran was a case of opportunism:  Chalabi & his boyz pick up whatever tidbits they can and use them to their own advantage, playing off various sides against each other and so on.  

      So I guess we'll see.  

      F---ing sociopaths, they all deserve to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.  

      In any case, Chalabi would make a nice cellmate for Karl Rove.  Top and Bottom respectively.  Bunks, that is:-).  

    •  Not Chalabi's goons, Cheney and Ladeen's goons. (4.00)
      The plot and players behind the Niger Yellowcake foregeries have been known for years - it was all directed at stovepiping to the Office of the Vice President (OVP) by way of Feith, Wurmser, et al. at OSP.

      This from Foer and Ackerman at TNR in February, 2004 by way of Laura Rozen at War& on 02/07/04:

      "...But Cheney's office didn't escape the government bubble so much as create a new one. Any doubts expressed by the intelligence community about the OVP's sources, especially Chalabi, were ignored. During his stint as an adviser to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Hannah had been one of the Clinton administration's most fervent INC supporters. Working for Cheney, he stayed in regular contact with the exile group. "He relied on Ahmed Chalabi for insights and advice," says a former Bush administration official. Cheney himself became an increasingly vocal Chalabi advocate. At an NSC meeting in the fall of 2002, the State Department and Pentagon feuded over releasing even more funding to the INC. In a rare burst of open influence, Cheney "weighed in, in a really big way," according to a former NSC staffer. "He said, 'We're getting ready to go to war, and we're nickel-and-diming the INC at a time when they're providing us with unique intelligence on Iraqi WMD.'" To the OVP, the CIA's hostility to such "unique" INC intelligence was evidence of the Agency's political corruption. Before long, "there was something of a willingness to give [INC- provided intelligence] greater weight" than that offered by the intelligence community, says the former administration official.

      Chalabi was not the only source Hannah used to get alternative information to Cheney. In 2001, Luti had moved from the OVP to across the Potomac to become Feith's deputy for Near East and South Asia (nesa). By late 2002, Luti's Iraq desk became the Office of Special Plans (OSP), tasked with working on issues related to the war effort. In addition to actual planning, the OSP provided memoranda to Pentagon officials recycling the most damaging--and often the most spurious--intelligence about Iraq's Al Qaeda connections and the most hopeful predictions about liberated Iraq. In the fall of 2002, one of the memos stated as fact that September 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence agent months before the attacks--a claim the FBI and CIA had debunked months earlier after an exhaustive investigation. And the OSP didn't just comb through old intelligence for new information. It had its own sources. For example, one of Luti's aides, a Navy lieutenant commander named Youssef Aboul-Enein, was tasked with scouring Arabic-language websites and magazines to come up with what Aboul-Enein would call "something really useful"--statements by Saddam praising the September 11 attacks, Palestinian suicide bombings, or any act of terrorism.

      "According to those who worked in nesa, Luti's efforts had a specific customer: Cheney. "Cheney's the one with the burr under his saddle about Iraq," says retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked for Luti from May 2002 until the eve of the war. During that time, Luti held only about six or seven staff meetings, she says, and "I heard Scooter Libby's name mentioned in half those meetings." Discussing Iraq, Luti would say "things like, 'Did you give something to Scooter?' 'Scooter called; hey, call him back,' ... [or] 'Oh, well, did you talk to Scooter about that?'" And Luti would make trips across the Potomac to see his old colleagues at the OVP. White House officials would often see Luti disappearing into Hannah's office before going on to Libby's.

      "The OVP didn't just generate this information for themselves. They tried to pump it back into the intelligence pipeline on visits to Langley. "Scooter and the vice president come out there loaded with crap from OSP, reams of information from Chalabi's people" on both terrorism and WMD, according to an ex-CIA analyst. One of the OVP's principal interlocutors was Alan Foley, director of the CIA's Nonproliferation Center. Cheney's office pelted Foley with questions about Iraq's nuclear weapons program-- especially about Saddam's alleged attempts to purchase uranium from Niger. According to a colleague, Foley "pushed back" by "stressing the implausibility of it." Months earlier, after all, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson had gone to Niger at the behest of the CIA--a visit that had itself been instigated by questions raised by Cheney in an Agency briefing-- and concluded that the sale almost certainly did not occur. But Cheney kept pressing, and it took its toll on Foley. "He was bullied and intimidated," says a friend of Foley.

      "In the view of many at Langley, the OVP wasn't simply highlighting what it considered weaknesses in CIA analysis. Rather, it was trying to stifle information that it considered counterproductive to the case for war. The tone of the questioning, some analysts felt, was less inquisitive than hostile. "It was done along the lines of: 'What's wrong with you bunch of assholes? You don't know what's going on, you're horribly biased, you're a bunch of pinkos,'" says a retired analyst close to his active-duty colleagues. Some analysts saw the questioning as a method of diverting overtaxed CIA analysts from producing undesired intelligence product. On one occasion, officials asked analysts hard at work on Iraq to produce a paper on the history of the British occupation of Mesopotamia following World War I. The request might seem reasonable on the surface--after all, an occupation ought to be informed by precedent. But policymakers in the OVP and the DOD could just as easily have picked up histories of Iraq from the library and let the CIA go back to work on classified analysis. But, after enduring the questioning for months, an ex-analyst explains, "It gets to the point where you just don't want to fight it anymore."

      "Eventually the OVP's alternative analyses found their way into the administration's public case for war. The distance between the OVP and the intelligence community was greatest on terrorism, and the OVP was determined to win. Libby wrote a draft of Colin Powell's February speech to the U.N. Security Council that outlined a far different threat than the secretary of State envisioned. "[The OVP] really wanted to make it a speech mostly about the link to terrorism," says one former NSC official. Although Powell and his staff balked at the most controversial--and poorly substantiated--details, Libby still provided the initial outline for the speech.

      "Cheney's own public statements went far beyond what the CIA and other intelligence agencies had verified. In an August 2002 speech in Nashville, Cheney asserted, "The Iraqi regime has in fact been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents, and they continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago." The intelligence community was in fact deeply divided over whether the nuclear program was again active, and a classified DIA report a month later indicated that the Agency had "no reliable information" about Iraq's chemical weapons program. But these doubts never seeped into Cheney's public statements. Days before the invasion, Cheney told NBC's Tim Russert on "Meet the Press," "We know [Saddam is] out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons, and we know that he has a longstanding relationship with ... the Al Qaeda organization." By contrast, the intelligence agencies assessed that, despite some apparently fruitless contact between Saddam's henchmen and Al Qaeda terrorists in Sudan in the mid-'90s, Iraq and Osama bin Laden were two unrelated threats.

      "The OVP never considered that it could be wrong, despite the fact that none of its senior members had intelligence training. The CIA, on the other hand, rather than behaving as a rigid and unshakable bastion of unquestionable truth, subjected its judgments to rigorous criticism. On Iraq, the CIA had what is known as the "red cell," a team of four highly regarded retired analysts who conducted alternative assessments of Iraq's ties to terrorism. The OVP, by contrast, put its judgments through no comparable wringer. Perhaps that is why so much of what they embraced was wrong. On the ground in Iraq today, there is no evidence that Saddam reconstituted his nuclear weapons program; according to chief American arms-hunter David Kay's interim report, the evidence of any ongoing chemical or biological weapons programs is fragmentary at best. A classified study prepared by the National Intelligence Council in early 2003 found that only one of Chalabi's defectors could be considered credible, The New Republic has learned. A more recent investigation undertaken by the DIA has found that practically all the intelligence provided by the INC was worthless."


      Worth rereading the whole thing.

      •  Please define: INC (none)

        Greenspan is "one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington." -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

        by slip kid no more on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:28:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No wonder Tenet got the Medal (none)
        No way anyone from the CIA forged these documents at the behest of Chalabi; they get their orders from above.

        Why the hell, if the Italians have known who the forgers are all this time, hasn't Clarridge had his ass held to the fire by now?  Time to subpoena his butt and find out who gave him the directive to create the document in the first place. I don't doubt for a second it goes all the way up to Cheney with probable stop-offs at Bolton and Tenet.

        Say, any precedent for the revocation of the Congressional Medal of Honor?

        I hope Fitz's net captures all these assholes. Just imagine a whole-sale house cleaning of the entire administration! Oh glorious day! (Hey, I can dream can't I?)

        /International treaties? We don't abide by no stinkin' international treaties./

        by sigmarthebad on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:29:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Anyone really surprised by this? (none)
      Way back in 2002-03 when these documents were exposed as forgeries, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that someone high up in this Administration, or aligned with the agenda of this Administration, probably forged the documents.

      Now, it seems, we actually have solid evidence pointing to who these actors were.

  •  What's that sound? (3.94)
    Oh, it's just the combined clenching of the NeoCons sphincters, that's all. Bring on the pain!

    Can you say impeachment? I though you could!

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." - Albert Einstein

    by A Patriot on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 01:28:44 AM PDT

  •  Chalabi (4.00)
    Why am I not surprised that this slimy fuck was involved?  They should all burn for dealing with and getting duped by Chalabi.

    "Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws." -- Trotsky

    by Myrrander on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:19:03 AM PDT

  •  Just so everyone knows (4.00)
    what a prick Ledeen is, here is a quote of the chickenhawk channeling Patton-- not the man, the movie.

    I think the level of casualties is secondary. I mean, it may sound like an odd thing to say, but all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war. . . . What we hate is not casualties but losing. And if the war goes well and if the American public has the conviction that we're being well-led and that our people are fighting well and that we're winning, I don't think casualties are going to be the issue.

    Michael Ledeen
    AEI Breakfast
    March 27, 2003

    faithfully archived on Whiskey Bar

    Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

    by Olds88 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:24:04 AM PDT

    •  Too bad he wasn't there to be one of them (4.00)
      If American casualties are essentially irrelevant, it's too bad that Mr. Ledeen wasn't present to BE one of those casualties, or at least be exposed to being one of them.  But like the rest of the chickenhawks who got us into this was, he's NEVER been in that position.
      •  Remember when he said this too (4.00)
        This breakfast took place when the invasion bogged down because of attacks on the supply lines. It suddenly became clear to many people that this was not going to be a candy and flower cake walk. But this prick, who had helped get us into an elective war on the cheap, was unconcerned... because of his deep connection to the American psyche.

        Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

        by Olds88 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:38:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah (none)
          I think Sy Hersh was writing an article in this time frame where he used the "Q" word - quagmire. This was a speech to rally the troops. No not those troops, the chickenhawk traitors who lied us into the war. Boy the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
    •  Well (4.00)
      Yes, that is pretty creepy, but that's hardly the limit of his prickdom.  This dude is seriously up to his neck deep in incredibly vile stuff.

      "When you starve the beast, you starve the people. And the bathtub was a reference to New Orleans." -- bink

      by bink on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:38:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ok, but (4.00)
      is that an untrue statement about the american people?  

      He's just pointing out that the people can be led, and that they just want to win.  From all the evidence we've seen, about the run-up to war and even the reactions until now, this seems completely true.  

      Most americans who are losing support for the war are not pacifists, they just are starting to think that we're fighting a hydra & can't win.  

      Even now, there are plenty of war supporters in the USA, and if you say to them "but people are dying over there!  children are dying!  our young soldiers are being killed for a reckless war!" ... this argument will not move them.  As long as they believe that we are on the "good" side, and that if we persist we will win, they are willing to sacrifice who knows how many lives.

      although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

      by maracuja on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:15:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Limitedly true (4.00)
        Ledeen may be right making that statement about some Americans: the ones who have no family members in this war.

        You have no idea how f*cking pissed off I was when I first read that comment in 2003; my stepson was on his way to Iraq at the time.

        There are never acceptable levels of collateral damage when it's your collateral flesh-and-blood that someone else flippantly consigns away like so much trash.

        •  I completely agree (none)
          that collateral damage is unacceptable.

          My point was just, that the unhappy reality is that many, many people in the USA are of the opinion that Michael Ledeen described.  

          I prefer it when people are frank about how war happens.  Is it better when the politicians just lie & say "oh, we're really careful, we have smart bombs, there will be no collateral damage"?  Or when they say that the Iraqis will welcome us as liberators, and name streets after George Bush?  And then later they say "oh, sorry, we misunderstood, we meant well, this result was unexpected!, we were misinformed"?

          That comment by Ledeen is not spin, and he was not attempting to smooth over what was going to happen.  He was explaining the strategy.  Maybe it's cold, and shows the side that people don't want to see.  But I prefer it to lying.

          although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

          by maracuja on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:52:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maracuja and rayne (none)
            I think you both have very good points, but let's remember - support for the invasion was soft until we had a nuclear threat. Even after 9/11, when the desire for bloodlust was understandably a great thirst, WHIG had to convince us that Saddam was sitting on a nuclear bomb to garner enough public support for the invasion. Public opinion regarding the current state of the war is different. The "pottery barn" rule isn't based on the belief that winning-is-everything. It's based on a belief that America can and should be an overall force for good in the world. There's also a lot of people that feel, now, that if we leave Iraq to chaos then it was all for nothing. I think these people represent a vast majority of the continued support for the Bush policies in Iraq. Ledeen is wrong, he doesn't think like a normal person. He's just into furthering his agenda, if his lips are moving he's lying.

            As to Maracuja's point about some people in this country being extremely bellicose - okay, but some people join the KKK, today in this day and age. Yet I strongly believe that nearly every American in this country believes that racism is an evil and should be condemned. We may not act on those beliefs as strongly as we need to, but we still share that ideal of an America where people are judged on their character and achievements not their skin color.

            rayne - my thanks to your stepson for his service and to your family for it's burden.

            •  Definitely middle ground (none)
              ...where we meet.  I personally supported Senate authorizing force -- but I believed that this authorization should only have been used to let Saddam know we meant business and to let inspections continue, and only if there were irrefutable evidences of clear-and-present danger.  Actual force should have been the last and ultimate step.

              It always bothered me that Bush immediately blew off the first criteria with his sabre-rattling; it became clear shortly after the authorization that he  was going to use force.  There were other options on the table, ones the US media avoided (a deal formulated by French-Germans to insert UN Peacekeepers in a de facto occupation until inspections were completed never got the attention it deserved, was all but shut down by the press), all of them should have been explored.  And the lack of incontrovertible evidence of immediate danger presented for the public's review was unacceptable.

              I encouraged my stepson to serve; when he joined the armed forces in 2000, I believed it was best for him and for his country.  I've been proud of his growth and what he did, but there is a cloud that hangs over him now.  There are things we can never discuss, things that are directly related to this unholy and illegal war.  For that I can never forgive this administration.

              •  Nor should you forgive - EVER (none)
                 More to the body of your post, did it never strike you odd that in the SotU speech the "16 words" quote started with "The British Government has learned..." That sounded strange to me. Why did he distance himself from the central premise for the invasion? Those words were chosen very carefully, it says to me that they knew at the time. If the President has it in his speech doesn't that by definition mean that our government learned it from their government? Words are chosen carefully and they knew at the time it was bogus. They even admitted it later that summer (after the CIA leaked it to the press) but it was too late then, the invasion had already gone down.

                I personally supported Senate authorizing force -- but I believed that this authorization should only have been used to let Saddam know we meant business and to let inspections continue
                Can't agree more here. I remember Hans Blix testifying somewhere, maybe Congress maybe the UN, he said the same thing. At the time that he made this testimony we had a couple hundred thousand troops staged in the theater and the inspectors had returned. They were back in! Blix said Saddam only let them back in because of the imminent invasion.
                •  Yes on the SOTU (none)
                  I wasn't at all happy with anything I heard in the run up to war, including the SOTU.  There were too many questions among the intelligence community.  There wasn't enough hard evidence being provided to the public to be able to make a fully informed decision.  Perhaps a firm threat of military action would be enough to shake Saddam into complete compliance with UN resolutions...

                  I never did find out what happened to the 800+ pages that the US took out of the Iraqi's report to the UN in November 2002 (believe this documentation showed location of or disposal of WMD, reported in compliance with a UN resolution; the US took the report before it was turned into the UN and removed contents before it was submitted to the UN.).

                  And yet there was much scurrying among the rest of the world community.  It was obvious from overseas media that there were other plans that could have worked had they been given adequate time to mature, wouldn't have resulted in bloodshed.  (I remember following closely the activities of a particular EU official because I felt they had a strong chance at intervening at the last minute.) I hoped they would catch up and insert themselves into this situation in such a way that Saddam would be relieved of power (he was and still is a megalomaniac who should not be responsible for the welfare of people; his sons were even worse) while Iraqis gained their freedom.

                  But at that point our family was stuck; we'd hoped against hope against that 1) Bush wasn't as narrow-minded and intellectually incurious and incapable as he appeared; 2) that the global community would step in and force the issue with Saddam; 3) that if there any weapons at all that Saddam would capitulate in this game of chicken with Bush.

                  Wrong side of the bets.  Fortunately, my stepson came back in one physical piece.  He brought back interesting photos of a land that was bankrupt before our troops got there.  Unfortunately, Bush didn't come to see the light within that first year.  Had we left inside a 12 month window, I think the country would have been more stable than it is now.

                  And what will I tell my younger kids when they become interested in the armed forces?  I can't recommend it any longer; I'll encourage them to enter the Peace Corp or help Medicins sans Frontieres instead.  They already know how I feel about Bush.

            •  ok (3.50)
              I appreciate your comment.

              But we just seem to disagree with what's going on.  

              you defend the support for the war by saying:

              It's based on a belief that America can and should be an overall force for good in the world. There's also a lot of people that feel, now, that if we leave Iraq to chaos then it was all for nothing. I think these people represent a vast majority of the continued support for the Bush policies in Iraq.

              This is an empire mentality.  Every empire believes that it is a "force for good" when it interferes in the affairs of other nations.  

              I think it is too simplistic to say that the neocons are a bunch of non-normal evildoers who have somehow hijacked this nation.  I can guarantee you that Michael Ledeen believes that he is on the good side, & that this was all worth doing because it will make a better future.  I think he's wrong, and so do you, but think it's too easy to dismiss it as some abnormal mentality.

              People never seem to get it.  They will do almost anything, unspeakable acts, because they fall for the lie that the ends justify the means.

              although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

              by maracuja on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:28:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  point well taken (none)
                Empire building has been concealed in the "America is a force for good" ideal. Maybe this fiasco can let us have an honest discussion about these important issues for once. I can hope, the overall evidence seems to me that empire builders aren't even concerned with American interests anymore. It's all about money now.
      •  Acknowledging the public is easily led (4.00)
        in no way condones the high crime of knowingly misleading them into war.

        He's not just 'pointing that out' if he's complicit in this, he's excusing knowingly using fabricated evidence to start a war by claiming we won't care if we win.

        Did you really expect good governance from those who scorn government?

        by Job52 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:42:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ok I absolutely agree with this (none)
          if he helped forge those documents, that is clearly a crime beyond measure.  

          And if he's saying that if we win, then people won't care about the forged documents... well, I'd hope that's not true.  I'm unfortunately a little cynical about the american population these days, but i'd like to believe that people would still care.

          My response was to his comment at face value.  If he said it to defend a crime, that's something else entirely.

          although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

          by maracuja on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:01:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hydra (none)
        Been trying to come up with this word for a few days now...HYDRA, that's I feel stupid...but thanks!

        Giggity giggity giggity...Iraq's a Quagmire

        by TexasDemocrat on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:53:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hydra (none)
        Been trying to come up with this word for a few days now...HYDRA, that's I feel stupid...but thanks!

        Giggity giggity giggity...Iraq's a Quagmire

        by TexasDemocrat on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. And a huge fraction of THEM (none)
        believe that Saddam was involved with 9/11.


        Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by racerx on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 11:04:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  His quote taken at face value? (4.00)
      What we hate is not casualties but losing. And if the war goes well and if the American public has the conviction that we're being well-led and that our people are fighting well and that we're winning, I don't think casualties are going to be the issue.

      If this part is right, they are in a world of trouble...

      Stop mad cowboy disease!

      by wrights on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:46:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately Ledeen is right, (none)
      which is why Americans are so easily coaxed into supporting invasions like this one. We're not a fascist country, just an extremely nationalistic one.
      •  I wouldn't say it was easy (none)
        Public opinion wasn't swayed until Colin Powell did his scare job at the UN. It took the threat of a mushroom cloud to get a majority of the American people to agree to this.

        I don't think any serious scholar would conclude Americans are a particularly warlike people-- anymore than the British, Germans, Italians, or Japanese. Maybe less so-- our most costly war was followed by a generation without a declared war (acknowledging the terrible cost to Native Americans in this period). Rabid nationalism on the right certainly paved the way, but good ol' appeal to fear sealed the deal.

        Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

        by Olds88 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:04:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ? I don't understand (none)
          how can you say:
          "a generation without a declared war (acknowledging the terrible cost to Native Americans in this period)"?  

          Because the war was not "declared" makes it less warlike?  I can't believe you would parenthesize away the almost total destruction of Native American culture.  

          Americans are a nationalistic, victory-oriented people.  How does saying that the British, the Japanese, the Germans etc. are just as bad make it any less true?

          although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

          by maracuja on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:29:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My point was specifically (none)
            about a declared war. War as the American public saw it. The reason I put the parenthesis in was to acknowledge the reality of the horror visited upon Native Americans in this time. It did not rise in the consciousness of the American public to all out war on the scale of the Civil War, regardless of the atrocities involved.

            Ignorance, no matter how unacceptable in a democracy, is not equivalent to being warlike. The horror of the Civil War, which the public experienced up close, did affect them.

            I am not saying the British, et al are just as bad-- I am saying there is nothing inherently warlike about Americans that can't be brought about through fear and patriotism in any culture. What country isn't nationalistic and victory-oriented?

            Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

            by Olds88 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:58:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well (none)
              many people in other countries love their homelands, that's true.  

              But people in the USA, in particular, have a very strong sense of their own superiority.  Even very liberal americans will say "we need to defend the USA because we're the #1 country in the world".  People definitely have the idea that there is something very special here, something better than can be found anywhere else.

              All countries want to be successful, but the USA seems to go beyond that, it wants to dominate.  Why did the USA help with, as an example, the coup to topple Allende in Chile?  He'd been elected by the people of that country.  I mean yes, there are other countries that behave like this, but those countries are considered world menaces.  Americans refuse to believe that their country might have turned into a menace too.

              I've spent a lot of time overseas, and I've honestly never seen a group of people in another country go around shouting "we're #1!" the way they do here.  I've seen people chant or sing the name of their country, sure.  But... I don't think it's the same.

              although it's getting late, you still have plenty of time

              by maracuja on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:50:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I agree there is nothing inherently different (none)
          about Americans. Our government has sought to instill this sense of nationalism in us ever since WWII. No question that visions of mushroom clouds were important in the run up to war as well.

          Maybe it was the addition of fear to an already nationalistic culture that made war an easy sell here, as opposed to just about every other country in the world.

    •  Chickenhawks and chickendoves ... (none)
      We have chickenhawks on the far right and chickendoves on the far left. They have this in common ... both seem perfectly content to let someone else do the suffering and dying as soldiers to defend this country.
    •  Here is the forgery they died for (none)
      Please note the Kindergarten-style letterhead/seal and the real seal of Niger to the right.

      From La Republicca in Italy, faxed to NBC News in July, who never zoomed in on the seal, or expalined why it is such a LAUGHABLE forgery.

      THis is what those casualties died for--so yes they do mean a lot!

    •  Leeden is a chickenhawk bastard. (none)
      So is Richard Perle and Wolfiwitz.

      Greenspan is "one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington." -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

      by slip kid no more on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:18:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the Prick (none)
      "Freedom Scholar"

      from wikipedia:
      Ledeen is a contributing editor to the National Review and the Jewish World Review, and a resident scholar (Freedom Scholar) at the American Enterprise Institute. Ledeen was a founding member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

      Contact Information
      Michael A. Ledeen
      American Enterprise Institute
       1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
      Washington, DC  20036
      Phone: 202-862-5823
      Assistant: 202-862-5855
      Fax: 202-862-4875

      Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by racerx on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 11:12:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Iran-Contra comes bubbling back up. (4.00)
    Which begs the question:

    When referring to the nefarious actions of the neocons, is it proper to refer to 'scandals', or is there really only one big scandal and we just get to see the little bits and pieces of it that come to light from time to time?

    I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

    by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:35:52 AM PDT

    •  I was wondering about this too, (4.00)
      and goddamit if this ends up like Irancontra instead of Watergate I swear I'm emigrating.

      The forgeries alone are so dramatically worse than anything that went on with Watergate that it's really hard to believe that the interviews quoted above haven't started a massive shitstorm. I have to keep reminding myself that Watergate started slowly as well...

      •  the writing on the wall (none)
        was there for all to see. They started out with this crew from day one in Washington and even before that with the "vulcans", the Aspen Institute etc.

        Why didn't we see it clearly at the time? Don't answer that question, please don't say it.

      •  Well the Entire Conspiracy--Front to Back, (none)
        wall-to-wall--is vastly larger than Watergate.

        Watergate was the targetting of a doomed political opponent by a few government operatives. If they hadn't done it, Nixon would still have won the election.

        Here we have c. 30 years of evidently expanding secret governance, one & maybe two stolen Presidential elections, the fraudulent war, and so much economic support of some of these forces that it's questionable whether it could all be rooted out, and if so, what kind or amount of government we'd end up with even in the best case.

        Maybe we just have to share with a mafia kind of presence in government from here on out.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:53:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agree (none)
          ratfucking is nothing compared to this. Even though Iran-Contra, the precursor, was an outrageous abuse of power it wasn't taking place in the same context. Many died in the contra wars, but this is exponentially worse. As a nation, we'll be paying the cost of Iraq for generations, the treasure expending in the loss of lives and the monetary cost is just the tip of the iceberg. Al Qaeda is still out there and Iraq is currently the number one reason to join and fight.

          Watergate + Iran-Contra + Monica = Plame

        •  when you said this: (none)
          "Here we have c. 30 years of evidently expanding secret governance, one & maybe two stolen Presidential elections, the fraudulent war, and so much economic support of some of these forces that it's questionable whether it could all be rooted out, and if so, what kind or amount of government we'd end up with even in the best case."

          The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Our country, the over-the-top spy novel.

      Just goes to show that you can't fool all of the people all of the time.  

      Armando, are you listening here?  

      And to the comment below (re: Watergate), well, that wasn't such a minor deal....and it wasn't the beginning, either.  Recall what was being discussed right before the infamous "18-minute gap" in the Nixon tapes.  It was about E. H. Hunt...the same E.H. Hunt who was theorized to be L.H. Oswald's "handler".  And both Ehrlichman and Halderman revealed that Nixon talked about a certain incident that occured on 11/23/63 in "code", always being careful to refer to that whole messy affair as "that Bay of Pigs thing....".

      And recall how the rest of the 3900+ hours of Nixon recordings are still under lock and key in the national archives, and can't be listened to for, what, another 50 years?

      Connect the dots!  It's a fun little game.  And see what we've become.....

      •  You're right (none)
          The roots of this go way, way back.

          This isn't one scandal. It is much more that we get to see some part of the iceberg which has been operating in our waters a long time. And certain interests are ever active at obscuring the clear view of what happened, disputing and spinning the truth when it does come out. The American people really need to know the whole sordid stories. And it is notable that many of the journalists who helped bring it forth are now dead (like Paul Kangas).  

        It's hard to teach a man who is afraid. - Worm

        by walkshills on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 12:12:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chalabi's CIA-funded "Forgery Factory" (4.00)
    This was linked in my diary on the Aspens, which includes Ledeen and Chalabi references to forgeries and promotion of forgeries (including the ones this year on Iran).

    Chalabi has a huge forgery operation funded by the CIA in the 1990s.  There is a good description of it in this New Yorker article.  There is little doubt that it is still being used extensively to forge documents to promote the neo-con agenda.

    Interestingly, the French minister accused in the oil-for-food scandal is asserting that the documents supporting the scandal were also forged - and since Chalabi seized all the files from the oil ministry following the Baghdad invasion, and then took over running the oil ministry, the French guy may be telling the truth.

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

    by LondonYank on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:43:37 AM PDT

    •  Excerpt describing the forgery factory (4.00)
      From the New Yorker article referenced above. It's a long profile, so I'm just making this easy for readers on this thread.

      In retrospect, one detail of Chalabi's operation seems particularly noteworthy. In 1994, Baer said, he went with Chalabi to visit "a forgery shop" that the I.N.C. had set up inside an abandoned schoolhouse in Salahuddin, a town in Kurdistan. "It was something like a spy novel," Baer said. "It was a room where people were scanning Iraqi intelligence documents into computers, and doing disinformation. There was a whole wing of it that he did forgeries in." Baer had no evidence that Chalabi forged any of the disputed intelligence documents that were used to foment alarm in the run-up to the war. But, he said, "he was forging back then, in order to bring down Saddam." In the Los Angeles Times, Hugh Pope wrote of one harmless-seeming prank that emerged from Chalabi's specialty shop: a precise mockup of an Iraqi newspaper that was filled with stories about Saddam's human-rights abuses. Another faked document ended up directly affecting Baer. It was a copy of a forged letter to Chalabi, made to look as if it were written on the stationery of President Clinton's National Security Council. The letter asked for Chalabi's help in an American-led assassination plot against Saddam. "It was a complete fake," Baer said, adding that he believed it was an effort to hoodwink the Iranians into joining a plot against Saddam; an indication of American involvement, Chalabi hoped, would convince them that the effort was serious. Brooke acknowledged that the I.N.C. had run a forgery shop, but denied that Chalabi had created the phony assassination letter. "That would be illegal," he said. To Baer's dismay, the letter eventually made its way to Langley, Virginia, and the C.I.A. accused him of being involved in the scheme. Baer said he had to pass a polygraph test in order to prove otherwise.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:49:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Manucher oh Manucher! (none)
    This could be big.

    "Mr. Bush's relationship to the environment is roughly that of a doctor to a patient--when the doctor's name is Kevorkian." Bob Herbert, NYT

    by jorndorff on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:49:57 AM PDT

  •  Ledeen's Italian connections (4.00)
    Ledeen's connection to Italian intelligence in the bio cited, got me wondering. If you Google Ledeen, it is almost impossible to not notice his connection to right wing Italian politics. VERY right wing Italian politics, as this piece in The American Conservative makes explicitly clear:

    Flirting with Fascism
    Neocon theorist Michael Ledeen draws more from Italian fascism than from the American Right.

    [...] For the first time, there was an attempt to mobilize the masses and to involve them in the political life of the country." Indeed, Ledeen criticizes Mussolini precisely for not being revolutionary enough. "He never had enough confidence in the Italian people to permit them a genuine participation in fascism." Ledeen therefore concurs with the fascist intellectual, Camillo Pellizi, who argues--in a book Ledeen calls "a moving and fundamental work"--that Mussolini's was "a failed revolution." Pellizzi had hoped that "the new era was to be the era of youthful genius and creativity": for him, Ledeen says, the fascist state was "a generator of energy and creativity." The purest ideologues of fascism, in other words, wanted something very similar to that which Ledeen himself wants now, namely a "worldwide mass movement" enabling the peoples of the world, "liberated" by American militarism, to participate in the "greatest experiment in human freedom." Ledeen wrote in 1996, "The people yearn for the real thing--revolution."

    Here is some of his own beer-hall ejacutlations lovingly encrusted in the National Review. Note this piece, which was written a month after 911 starts out praising America's optimistic if sometimes naive outlook and ends up advocating total war. With Syria, Iraq, and Iran no less.

    Rediscovering American Character
    [...] Next time, we must dismiss those who tell us that all people are the same, all cultures are of equal worth, all values are relative, and all judgments are to be avoided. Silvio Berlusconi was right: We've accomplished more than our enemies, and the overwhelming majority of mankind knows it.

    [...] Do you think Assad, Saddam Hussein, or the Ayatollah Khamenei could win a free election? If their regimes come under attack, will their people spontaneously rally round them? If you answered "yes" to any of the above, kindly report for reeducation.

    Of course, with Ledeen's little Mussolini at the helm, we went from optimistic and naive to pessimistic and naive in a few short years. Must suck to have your model for global paradise so demonstrably smashed.  

    Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

    by Olds88 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 03:09:46 AM PDT

  •  you can hear the dots connecting in the night (4.00)
    What amazes me, lately, here on Fitzmas Eve...

    The way you can almost hear the dots connecting in the night.

    Like the sounds of crickets in a marsh, from the white house to the CIA, you can hear the push pins sinking into the map, and the squeaky magic marker lines being drawn between Niger and Plame and Bolton and Ohio and K-Street money and Abramoff and government procurement and the pre-9/11 terrorists laundering money. The torture memos, rendition, gimo and the grunts trying to find out what the heck to do. Katrina was big fat black line between a government intent on dismantling itself and the death of its poor. People got that.

    You knew that any one of these was likely to be uncovered up to a point, and then fizzle. But now there doesn't seem to be a limit.

    At least now I don't have to outside the U.S. to read the nitty gritty about my own country anymore.

    •  Now you have inspired me (4.00)
      I feel the urge to make a collage.

      Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

      by Olds88 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 03:31:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Repubs: (4.00)
      The party of linkin'.

      It is my experience that most claims of national security are part of a campaign to avoid telling the truth. - Ben Bradlee

      by sharkbite on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:42:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  paging Errol Morris (none)
      Nice imagery. Yes, i can here those magic marker squeeks, over a Philip Glass meandering. Morris would be perfect to document all of this. I'm sure he'd love the twists and turns, the lines connecting names.

      No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. – Winston Churchill

      by subtropolis on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 06:48:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hate to be the downer... (none)
      and maybe I'm just trying to keep what little sanity I have left, but I urge people to be careful about crowing Fitzgerald the King of Truth.  I don't dispute the truth in these connections (which is why my sanity is alreadly in a fragile state) but I'm weary of expecting too much out of Fitzy.  Frankly, I don't think I could survive another massive disappointment.  I keep trying to tell myself: "Be happy with indictments of Rove or Libby" while inside there's a little kid jumping up and down screaming "impeachment! impeachment!"
      •  it's OK to be a 'downer' (none)
        yes, that's OK, realism is a good thing.

        I was here at dailykos, tmp etc and it's just jumping.

        Then I was in a waiting room. This is what I saw on CNN.  Judith Miller was (talking about?) testifying to congress about a shield law for journalists to protect whistleblowers(!!!!). Chertoff was talking about scout teams for the FL hurricane. And Bush was meeting with the Sec. of Education about the 'nations report card'  They looked happy. Calm.

        All through DC not a creature was stirring. Not even a certain special prosecutor.

  •  This will influence the AIPAC case as well (4.00)
    From the Raimondo article:
    No wonder my source tells me that "Fitzgerald asked the Italians if he could share the report with Paul McNulty," the prosecutor in the AIPAC case. There are plenty of links between the two investigations: they are, in a sense, the same investigation, since many of the same people are involved. McNulty is delving into a single aspect of the cabal's activities, while Fitzgerald seems to have broadened his probe to include not only the outing of Plame, but also the origin of the Niger uranium forgeries and other instances of classified information leakage via the vice president's office.

    "Mr. Bush's relationship to the environment is roughly that of a doctor to a patient--when the doctor's name is Kevorkian." Bob Herbert, NYT

    by jorndorff on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 03:37:48 AM PDT

  •  Ahmed Chalabi (4.00)
    It is so nice to see that Mr. Ahmed Chalabi is coming more and more into focus. He is the number three man in Baghdad, despite his betrayal of the U.S. of A., and has plans to push up higher. Would Iraq honor an extradiction request, assuming it and the U.S. of A. have an extradition treaty? I think not. Jordan can't even get him across their border for his financial crimes. What a bunch of punks the neocons are and what a slimy role Ms. Judith Miller and the Grey Bag Lady have played in all of this. It is as if a dumpster of the most atrocious filth imaginable is being tipped and poured down the throats of the U.S. people without most of them even being the slightest bit aware of how they're being poisoned. Israel and Iran: my ass, let them blow each others brains out.
  •  Iran-Contra Redux. (4.00)
    Both Ledeen and Clarridge played prominent roles in Iran-Contra.  The entries for them in the index of Theodore Draper's book on Iran-Contra, A Very Thin Line, are quite long.
  •  More Clarridge/Chalabi forgeries (4.00)
    Found this on the on the Gadflyer from a year ago after a quick google.  

    As Chalabi saga followers may remember, Chalabi remains wanted in Jordan for embezzling $350 million from Bank Petra, where he was CEO and Chairman prior to fleeing in 1991.  In 1992 he teamed up with old CIA friends and started the Iraqi National Congress in London.  From there he was given almost unlimited funding with the aim of helping the neo-cons oust Saddam.

    Forgeries run through all Chalabi stories.  I am intrigued by the following story as it has additional elements of revenge - similar to the revenge possibly taken against the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and the French who opposed the Bush/CIA/Chalabi war to overthrow Saddam.

    Chalabi in US Court
    Laura Rozen (7:03AM) link

    Eli Lake has a nice scoop at the NY Sun. Lake got passed a heap of documents by founding CIA Counter Terrorism Center director Duane Clarridge [and Iran Contra alum], who got them from Ahmad Chalabi, for whom Clarridge has recently been doing some consulting. The documents purport to show that Jordan's King Abdullah, back in 1992 when he was still a prince and heir to the Hashemite throne, attempted to sell arms to Saddam Hussein:


    A handwritten letter to Saddam from his late son Uday, dated February 9, 1992, lists prices for old Soviet military equipment and says that then-Prince Abdullah recommended Uday contact an intermediary identified as "Jack al-Khayyat," who could arrange the sale . . . Prince Abdullah sought to import the equipment and then sell it to Iraq for cash payments. . .Saddam declined the sale, saying that his treasury was depleted, in a three-line note written at the end of the document.

    So apparently, there was no deal. The Jordan embassy, for its part, says it believes the documents are fake. Clarridge says that Chalabi wouldn't dare pass him fake documents. [hmm...]

    But CIA sources tell Lake that in fact the CIA had a plan for any military technology Jordan tried to sell Saddam: to rig it with bugs and back doors to monitor their location and other activities:


    According to a former CIA officer who worked on the Iraq issue, the agency attempted to turn the Iraq-Jordan trade to its advantage by modifying equipment that made its way into Iraq. This source said that in some cases this meant making military equipment unusable, but often this meant placing a "satellite badge," or "tagging" missiles or smaller arms that could be used in a war, so American satellites would know their precise locations. The agency also installed bugs, according the sources, on cell phones and other communications equipment going into Iraq. Indeed, Secretary of State Powell in his February 2003 presentation to the U.N. referenced intercepted military communications that he claimed showed an Iraqi effort to conceal weapons of mass destruction from the inspectors.

    And how are all these revelations being dealt with? In fine American style: Chalabi is suing Jordan for defamation in American court.

    Definitely worth reading the whole piece. Lake does a good job of making explicit what Chalabi's and Clarridge's motives in putting such documents forward are, although it would be worth knowing exactly what kind of work Clarridge has been doing for Chalabi recently. A Straussian might even read this story a second way: as a portrait that reveals some very interesting details about how Chalabi and his allies operate. After all, these documents, even taken at face value (and it's not clear they should be, by any means), show a transaction-that-wasn't. Come to think of it, where have we heard a story line like that recently?

    I really wonder how much of the Oil For Food Scndal to tarnish the French and the United Nations was cooked up by exactly the same cast of charaters.  From Monday's Financial Times:

    "Someone used my name," Mr Pasqua told a press conference in Paris yesterday. He presented journalists with a 60-page memorandum he had sent to the US Senate denying the allegations made by the Senate's permanent subcommittee on investigations in a report in May.

    Mr Pasqua's decision to go public with his defence against the allegations comes amid growing alarm in Parisian diplomatic and political circles about the damage being done to France's image by an independent judicial inquiry, which has already charged a handful of senior French officials. Jean-Bernard Mérimée, France's former UN ambassador, was last week released on bail of €150,000 ($181,000, £102,000) after being charged with corruption and bribery of foreign officials after allegations that he received oil vouchers from Saddam Hussein's regime.

    Mr Pasqua's former diplomatic adviser, Bernard Guillet, was taken into custody in April on similar charges. Mr Mérimée, Mr Guillet and Mr Pasqua were among 11 French businessmen, diplomats and politicians, named in documents retrieved from Iraq's Oil Ministry among more than 200 recipients of oil allocations.

    He said his name had been used by people in France, in Iraq, or in both countries, to peddle influence and profit from the illegal trading in allocations of Iraqi oil.

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

    by LondonYank on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:24:03 AM PDT

    •  Yet more Abrams/Clarridge/Chalabi forgeries (4.00)
      I'm finding so much stuff, this is beginning to look like deliberate Bushista policy!

      From a 2002 article in the Asia Times on the proposed Office of Stratgic Influence (read propaganda).

      During the 1980s, the State Department housed a public diplomacy office on Central America that reported to the National Security Council and was later found by a Congressional investigative body to have engaged in "prohibited, covert propaganda" operations when it, among other things, authored articles purportedly written by leaders of the Nicaraguan contras for publication in US newspapers. Several high-ranking members of the Bush administration contributed to that effort, including Otto Reich, who headed the office and is now assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, and Elliott Abrams, who was assistant secretary then and is now a top National Security Council aide to Bush.

      A third, Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, was to be named as Downey's deputy at the White House anti-terrorist office but apparently fell victim to strenuous protests from Congressional Democrats who recalled that he and Abrams had pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in the Iran-contra affair, only to be pardoned by then-president George Bush Sr.

      The Rendon Group had a CIA contract to do media work on behalf of the INC in the mid-1990s, for which it was reportedly paid US$23 million, an amount that prompted a brief but inconclusive congressional investigation. It worked for the government in Panama during and after the 1989 US invasion "Operation Just Cause", and performed similar services when US troops intervened in Haiti to restore exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:40:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "We're an empire now," (4.00)
      "and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

      No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. – Winston Churchill

      by subtropolis on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:03:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ledeen Hannah Chalabi (none)
    I just Googled these three together. Looks like there is some info to uncover concerning the interactions betwen Ledeen and Hannah.  Too bad I have to go to work now.

    Moralizing is the first refuge of a sociopath--Grand Moff Texan

    by YankInUK on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:39:48 AM PDT

  •  Damn (4.00)
    Ledeen and Dewey Claridge.

    If they forged those documents, well, it's jail time for them.

    The Iranian secret police must be cackling. They took down the US government in the most successful espionage operation since D-Day.

  •  Date correction in Raimondo's article (4.00)
    Small but important date error (have just e-mailed Raimondo about it) when you read his full article at link -- in paragraph 16:

    "Italy's SISME [sic] also reportedly had a hand in producing the forged documents delivered to the U.S. embassy in Rome in early October 2003 . . . " Note Oct 2003 should be 2002 --see par 3 of Raimondo's piece: "In early October 2002, Italian journalist Elisabetta Burba, a writer for Italy's Panorama magazine, delivered some documents to the U.S. embassy in Rome . . . " This date Oct 2002 is important because this was when the NIE was given to Congress to make case for passage of Iraq war resolution (I believe containing the Niger yellowcake allegation), and, as noted in par 19 in Raimondo's article, correlates with Tenet's testimony to Congress, par 19, citing the Niger yellowcake allegation on eve of war.

    PS: Q: No idea what Plame's undercover group was working on but could they have been onto trail of Niger yellowcake/forgeries and, if so, was she outed to effectively stop her entire group's probe in its tracks? No way to check this because classified but if could be checked and found true would put the whole Wilson-Plame thing in a new light.

    Just wondering.

    Let's be an effective opposition! (thanks, Kos) And let's get elected!

    by wardlow on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 04:51:26 AM PDT

    •  Your PS is VERY INTERESTING! (4.00)
      If Plame was engaged in tracing the forged Niger documents and unravelling the backtrail, and if Cheney/Abrams/Libby/Ledeen/Chalabi had all cooked up the forgery plot together, then the outing of Plame had very little to do with revenge on Wilson.  It was more an orchestrated self-defense to keep the warmongering forgery fraud from coming to light.

      Now that would be an interesting line of inquiry for the grand jury!

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:15:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And it explains more (none)
        Who cooked up the "she's just a secretary" or "she's just an office drone" bullsh*t that discounted her value?  It came from somewhere, not out of thin air; the American public and most of the press certainly didn't have a clue about Plame.

        There's a specific reason they did this.

        And I've never been able to understand why they would deliberately out a mother with two toddlers in retaliation against her spouse when he was the one who was supposed to have pissed off the administration.

        Again, there's a specific reason.  More than one.

        •  the whole "secretary" thing (none)
          I just think that the smearing of Plame and the diminishing of her importance at CIA is just the natural reaction of sexist conservatives.  It's a kneejerk thing with these people... the little woman isn't important, how can she be a NOC?  she's got two kids!  she should be at home!

          Truth is that woman was a soldier protecting every last one of us... just like all the other NOC's who have devoted their lives to our country.  I hope they nail the treasonous bastards that did this.

          If Rove concealed the fact that he was a leaker from the President, why hasn't the President fired him?

          by wintersnowman on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 06:02:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wish I could buy that (4.00)
            Think about all the other trashing done over the last 5 years by the right.  Typically there's a pointed reason for the attack that takes two tacks:

            1. attack the strength (ATS) - in Kerry's case, this was a pure Rovian play, trash the one thing that the opponent possesses which makes the candidate look bad.  Kerry's stature as a war vet scared the hell out of Bush/Rove; this is where Kerry's team f'd up, should have seen this coming and applied the Hackett response.

            2. discount and redirect (D-n-R)- Rathergate was a classic example of D-n-R.  They're fakes, CBS sucks, all the other hissing were simply D-n-R that removed all attention from the truth of the matter: Bush failed to serve his country.

            Wilson's bashing on partisanship was closer to ATS since he'd been the last person to tell Saddam in person to piss off and thought highly of by both Bush I and Clinton.

            But Plame's denigration was a classic D-n-R play.  If she was just a wife, why the effort?  Didn't it look organized to you, too tight and consistent?

      •  That's been my thought for some time (none)
        The WHIG must have thought that Wilson's report was part of a deeper effort to unmask the fraud (maybe it was, though it seems unlikely).

        The narrative of this national tragedy is starting to come into focus now.  WHIG was the tip of the iceberg, the propaganda arm that was needed to sell the policy.  That's why they have left so many tracks; they were out in the open.  The deeper part we can only glimpse, but we know the policy was in place by January 2001 because of O'Neill's report.  Miller was a major conduit for the propaganda, and it looks like in some way Sulzberger must have signed on or was compromised to sign on.  There must have been a group deeply buried in the CIA who saw this happening and organized itself to try to stanch the damage, and if it couldn't be stanched, at least to work to undo it at a later date.  It's possible that Tenet was kept out of the loop.

        Let's not forget also that the Brits are in this up to their eyeballs.  In the spring of 2003, when it was clear that Saddam did not have WMD, Tony Blair intervened directly with the American administration to try to stop the enquiry into why none had been found.

      •  *Good show!* (none)
        The PS comment seems so obvious, yet I can't recall ever seeing it elsewhere. It offers a plausible answer to the question of why they would out Plame to get at her husband. That always seemed lame to me, and to the rightwing, too. If you're right, you've rung the big bell. Maybe the biggest of bells.
      •  NOW YOUR'RE GETTING WARMER...... (none)
        Maybe Plame's group was getting too close to comfort to certain issues that were not in the best interest of "national security", or whatever the proper buzzword for CYA is.   Kind of like what might have happened here:

        And for what it's worth, go back and read about some more very very interesting dots here:

      •  Collateral damage (none)
        I don't think Rove, Cheney and company had a motive for outing Plame at all;  I think they just got reckless.  Their standard operating procedure against valid criticism and lie-exposure is to smear the critic.  Wilson was ideally positioned to be listened to, and had perfect credibility, so they had to find something, anything, they could give to the media to use as a "on the other hand..." when they were reporting Wilson's criticism.

        The best that they could come up with was that the trip was a boondoggle (to tourist-central Niger, yeah right) set up by Wilson's wife, and Wilson was lying about it by saying that Cheney sent him.  All false, but still, incredibly, repeated by "journalists" to this day.  (see Mrs. Greenspan's disgrace, reported yesterday)

        I don't believe they realized the potential danger they were putting themselves in by outing a non-official cover agent.  After all, John Ashcroft was the Attorney-General.  And who really cares about "intelligence" anyway?  What is the CIA except the organization you have to lean on in order to get the evidence necessary to advance your agenda?  

        Yes, I believe in God, if I'm allowed to define God as all of the discovered and undiscovered equations of physics. God is, indeed, magnificent and beautiful.

        by power model on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:47:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  By Jove! (none)
        I think you could be onto something there!

        Just call me Ms Cynic

        by xyz on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:28:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Plame's work (none)
      I've been thinking that the leak was not so much revenge on Wilson but retribution against the CIA for allowing him to go public. After all, to them, Wilson was CIA's responsibility. And the neocons wanted to aggresively warn off CIA about going off message.

      If it was more as you've suggested, the answer would possibly lie in the INR memo, as it might shed more light on the group responsible for sending Wilson. However, it's been suggested that Ms Plame only introduced Wilson at the meeting and then left. Of course, it's still possible that she and the principals at this meeting were working on the same thing, but that she had no need to be there (other than to introduce her husband).

      No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. – Winston Churchill

      by subtropolis on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:13:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Laurie Mylroie's anti-CIA book (none)
        Bush Versus the Beltway had as its official publication date Aug. 1, 2003.  But it must obviously have been in the works for some time before that.
      •  Maybe it was an intentional effort to stop (none)
        Plame's work.

        Maybe the vendetta was really against her actual spy work and not that much against Wilson or the CIA. Why would they even care about Wilson? They were the ones who turned him into a celebrity.

        But maybe if Plame was involved with spying on Saudi Arabia et al. she ran the network of agents that really knows what Bush and Cheney used to do and are still doing that stinks to high heaven.

  •  God, I hope (3.80)
    all this means I'm gonna get my America back.

    Is that too much to hope for, to wish for, or to expect?

    The highest U.S. medal goes Fitzgerald if he can get it done!

  •  Leakgate/Franklingate timelines (none)

    Tons of info.

    "Mr. Bush's relationship to the environment is roughly that of a doctor to a patient--when the doctor's name is Kevorkian." Bob Herbert, NYT

    by jorndorff on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:03:54 AM PDT

  •  Before the excuses start (4.00)
    Keep this photo handy for your right-wing friends:

    Chalabi seated with the First Lady

    They will continue to try to spin Chalabi as distant and peripheral to the Administration.  This seating arrangement exposes that lie.  

    Lots of random people manage to be photographed with the President, but seating for the State of the Union Address is always arranged very carefully.

  •  Ledeen's a compulsive nutjob (4.00)
    ...(as is Clarridge)

    If you go look at a complete timeline of the '03 invasion of Iraq, (and hit "ctrl-F", & type in "Ledeen") you can see a bit of Ledeen's participation into the misinformation campaign.
    Dec 9, 2001

    The Bush administration sends two defense officials, Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin, to meet [secretly] with Iranians in Rome in response to an Iranian government offer to provide information relevant to the war on terrorism. The offer had been backchanneled by the Iranians to the White House through Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms trader and a central person in the Iran-Contra affair, who contacted another Iran-Contra figure, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute. Ledeen passed the information on to his friends in the Defense Department. {snip} ...all US government contact with foreign government intelligence agencies is supposed to be overseen by the CIA. {snip} Ledeen and Ghorbanifar discuss ways to destabilize the Iranian government, possibly using the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, a US-designated terrorist group, as a US proxy.

    June 2002 ...At another [secret] meeting, in Paris
    an Egyptian and an Iraqi are present at the meeting and brief the Pentagon official about the general situation in Iraq and the Middle East, and what would happen in Iraq if the US were to invade. {snip} When Secretary of State Colin Powell learns of the meeting, he complains directly to Condoleezza Rice and the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

    August 2002
    ...Chris Carney and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith give two presentations on Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaeda to the CIA at the agency's Langley headquarters. CIA analysts are not impressed, having seen much of the information before and having already determined that it was not credible. Some of the information will nevertheless be included in speeches by Bush and in testimony by Tenet to Congress.

    From Sept 2002 .. including
    Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, adamant hawks, rename the Northern Gulf Affairs Office on the Pentagon's fourth floor (in the seventh corridor of D Ring) the "Office of Special Plans" (OSP) and increase its four-person staff to sixteen...who are known advocates of regime change in Iraq. Notably, the staffers have little background in intelligence or Iraqi history and culture. {snip} The official business of Special Plans is to help plan for post-Saddam Iraq. {snip} The office relies heavily on accounts from Iraqi exiles and defectors associated with Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC), long considered suspect by other US intelligence agencies..."misleading and often faked intelligence reports," ...purposefully ignores intelligence that undermines the case for war while exaggerating any leads that support it. {snip} According to a CIA intelligence official and four members of the Senate's Intelligence Committee, [OSP] is the group responsible for the claim Bush will make in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from an African country.

    Mid-Dec 2003
    Francis Brooke, a DC lobbyist for the INC...acknowedges that the information provided by the INC was driven by an agenda. "I told them [the INC], as their campaign manager, `Go get me a terrorist and some WMD, because that's what the Bush administration is interested in.' "

    No surprises from shown in one of his (many) articles to the national review indicating his rabid furvor...

    Meanwhile, as President Bush prepares us for the coming battles, the leaders of the regime are doing the same, providing Hezbollah and its allies in al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas with better weapons -- including new missiles of North Korean design with chemical-laden warheads -- and coordinating stratagems with Baghdad and Damascus. As I have warned in the past, we had better be prepared for a regional war, not just a limited action in Iraq alone.

    Had we acted quickly after the fall of the Taliban, we could have had the luxury of moving deliberately against Iraq without having to worry about effective assaults organized by Syria and Iran, but those days are long gone. The terror masters are now waiting for us...

    Ledeen's Wiki post has interesting views into his psyche [on the "Axis of EviL"] too...

    One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists. That's our mission in the war against terror.

    (Sorry if this is longish.... I think it timelines very pertinent [and known to us] info...... )

    Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation. ---Jane Addams

    by Orj ozeppi on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:17:30 AM PDT

    •  nicely sourced (none)
      ...a horror film fan once asked Bloch why people were still so fascinated by Ed Gein . Bloch said " cause they don't know about Albert Fish..." ( an infinately more disturbed and prolific serial killer ) and I am reminded of that in this instance .

      Why are people so fixated on Chalabi? Cause they don't know enough about Ledeen. He is 5 times worse than any other operator in this government . And he hides behind the faux-legitmacy of the AEI to spout his false Nazi shit.

      Ledeen. Don't forget this scumbag. A living, breathing demon.

      I once invited his tough-talking ass to a bare-knuckle fight in an underground parking garage of his choice , but he never responded. Pussy.( and you can tell him a Canuk Leftist called him that )  

  •  This all points right back at the white house... (none)
    ..they are neo-cons extraordinaire.
  •  On the subject of forgeries ... (4.00)

    ... ever wonder who forged the Texas ANG documents?  

    They did seem to do wonders for the Bush campaign, didn't they?  Perhaps one of Mr. Chalabi's summer interns handled that job.

  •  Plame - but slightly off topic - Today's WaPo (none)
    editorial is just terrible.  Terrible.  FULL of right wing talking points including the Niger-trip-as-nepotism bs -- fuckin-A, I don't know who is worse the Times or the Post.  

    got to go to work but hopefully someone can write a diary on this bs.

  •  Let's assume Cheney goes down for this.... (none)
    How many other Neocons are in the White House? Could taking him down change the direction of the White House?

    After all, I think Bush has been taking marching orders of a sort from Cheney...

    If someone else gets the seat, perhaps a rapid change in direction?

    Stop mad cowboy disease!

    by wrights on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 05:39:42 AM PDT

  •  Raimondo? (none)
    I'm familiarn with his name but not his work?

    Can anyone comment on his background, tracl record, and reliability?

    I'm not dissing, just asking.

    We are not "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

    by Pachacutec on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 06:15:45 AM PDT

    •  Great questions (4.00)
      I'm not sure I'm the one to answer them, but here's what Kossack DHinMI wrote about Raimondo back in July:

      Folks, [Justin Raimondo's] is not a legitimate source unless you're a far rightwing nativist inspired by Pat Buchanan and don't have a problem with flirtations or worse with anti-Semitism. Buchanan posts on there all the time, and Raimondo's a acolyte of Buchanan. Another ally of that crew is Jude Wanniski, who was the huckster who sold Ronald Reagan on the idiotic theory of "supply side" economics. Wanniski is a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer who denies that Saddam ever used gas against the Kurds and made overtures to Lyndon LaRouche, who defends the Nation of Islam against charges of anti-Semitism, and who left his role as an advisor to Steve Forbes, according to The Nation's David Corn, because he claimed that Forbes' advisors were white spremacists but then went to work advising that well-known advocate of racial harmony, Pat Buchanan.

      Now, that doesn't mean Raimondo is wrong, but it does mean we should take him with a grain of salt.

      The right wing is neo-mercantilist, against a neo-capitalist/neo-socialist left. Stirling Newberry

      by litho on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 06:55:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  interesting (none)
        Did anyone see Hardball last night? Matthews was in overdrive mode retrenching on his position re Plame. The last couple of days he seemed to have some balls saying this whole thing comes down to the "16 words". Last night he took the view that this is the criminalization of normal everyday politics in DC. In the first segment, Buchanan and Gergen were the guests. Buchanan brought up the "lying us into war" perspective in the Plame case, it lie there like a little dead puppy. So sad, so alone.  

        Thanks for the perspective on Raimondo, just because the messenger brings welcome news doesn't mean it's newsworthy.

    •  asdf (none)
      Raimondo has been accused of anti-semitism by the Anti-Defamation League and is generally far too strident for my tastes.  I would be very cautious of unnamed sources exclusive to his site, although if he sources his information then it's as credible as the sources are.  

      Tom DeLay's GOP: cheating America in a time of war.

      by Tom Frank on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:06:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wary-- (none)
      of this article as well for the following paragraph:

      "The story of how the Niger uranium forgeries got past all the safeguards, how the actual documents were never seen by the CIA until after the president's 2003 speech, and who was pushing to include a reference to Saddam's alleged efforts to procure uranium in "an African nation" as one of the president's major talking points - these are all subjects of interest to a prosecutor attempting to prove charges of conspiracy to lie us into war. There must be a special law that covers government employees, including high officials, who transmit tainted information and poison the well of U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts. I'm sure Fitzgerald will have no trouble finding it."

      The truth is, the CIA did see the docs well before the SOTU (Tenet himself advised Shrub and Condi to take it out of a speech Shrub gave in Cincinnatti months beofre the SOTU, and it was taken out.  Condis' on the record saying it was something like "simple oversight" that the Niger reference made it back into the SOTU--YEAH, RIGHT!)

      Anyway, I don't like this Raimondo source at all.  

      Part of me thinks that the forgery--at least the idea of the forgery--originated in the current CIA and was given to SISMI snarkily--so that the events we see unfolding today would [eventually] happen.  Who would've believed though, that it would take two years and cost thousands of lives??  Thank you, MSM.

      Here's my diary of last weekend on just that point:

      Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. -Samuel Clemens

      by wvillmike on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:16:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Raimondo (none)
      is openly and unabashedly anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-neocon, and is generally critical of Israel's foreign policy, both overt and covert.

      He is not infrequently attacked/labeled/smeared as being a [filthy] anti-semitic nutball by the ADL etc., and occasionally by certain prominent kossacks   for the positions Raimondo takes, and the issues that he works to bring to public attention.

  •  So here we have it (none)
    A couple of retired spooks and a former state department consultant were in it for the bucks. All they did was feed the neocons the bait and they took it hook, line and sinker. My God.

    The greatest threat to personal freedom comes from ones own government.

    by Mark701 on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 06:52:56 AM PDT

    •  Not exactly (4.00)
      If I am following the dots correctly, this is not a case of anyone who is "retired", or who just is in it for the money.  They might be described as the "Over the Hill Gang", in that they are no longer officially employed by the US Government.  Officially.  From what I am seeing in this very helpful thread is that many of these folks were employed in the extra-legal shenanigans of Iran-Contra and have a demonstrated track record of off-book activities.  You know, secret agent stuff?  Pretending to be retired, pretending to be "consultants" and pretending to find things?  Documents that, by the way, they had made?  These are not very good forgeries by all accounts, nor apparently did they need to be, because they were made for use by an administration (Bush II) who wanted such documents to magically appear.

      You must recall where Chalabi was getting his money.  From us.  And who more reasonable to assign as Chalabi's handlers than these old and trusted ideologues, decorated veterans of Iran-Contra, "made men" as it were.  To say they were funded by Chalabi is misleading, since Chalabi's funds were coming from the US.  Is it too far-fetched to say they were part of the funding deal with Chalabi? as in, "Here is your money, Ahmed, and oh, by the way, these guys will be working closely with you, and be paid from your account".  Plausible deniability.

      The problem was that there was this other quite serious wing of the CIA who had spent many years working to gather accurate information on the spread of WMDs.  You know, the sort of work desperately needed for the survival of our nation and to avoid an atomic catastrophe?  Okay, so that was an incredibly important clandestine information-gathering group, into which had been poured tremendous financial and human resources, in defense of our nation, and in pursuit of the truth about such transfers of nuclear and biological material.  They must hate forgeries, and probably get offered a lot of them by shysters trying to make a buck.

      So, we've got a classic conflict here, between those fighting for years to establish the truth, who hate forgeries, and a rogue group of provocateurs who were cooking the books with a bad forgery to gin up support for invading Iraq.  This latter group could care less about anyone learning the truth, in fact, they are seeking the reverse.  It is probably not too much of a stretch to suggest that that entire CIA WMD branch was furious that these cowboys were muddying  their pond, and playing fast and loose with the facts.  I can only compare it to how Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve might feel to find some industry reps publishing false information on the strength of the economy.  There would be a professional resentment.

      So there is the conflict: hard-working professionals pitted against a group of cowboys enlisted in the administration's clandestine efforts to deceive the American public in order to trick our nation into going to war against Iraq.  I don't agree that the neo-cons "took the bait", actually, it looks as though they were funding the entire fishing trip.  They all watched too many James Bond movies at an impressionable age.  But life is a lot messier than it is depicted in the movies, isn't it?

      This is just Iran-Contra all over again, with many of the same characters.  The Bushes seem drawn to this sort of stuff, don't they?

  •  All this talk about Michael Ledeen (none)
    has made me look into his history a bit.

    Seems like he was beating the drum harder than anyone for war in the middle east.

    "I think we could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a caldron and destroy the War on Terror." One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists. That's our mission in the war against terror.2

    Seems a guy like that, who has been tied to manufacturing "intelligence", might not be above fomenting a causus belli of a different sort, no?

    So then, in pure speculation, I began to wonder about the Anthrax attacks.

    Those now seem to have been perpetrated by US interests, not foreign, and seem to have been intended to silence opposition to the Patriot Act and the run-up to war.

    Michael Ledeen himself tied these attacks to Iraq.

    Never mind that "wilderness of mirrors" talk. Saddam has an anthrax program, and nobody doubts he'd use it against us if he could. And it looks like even the secretary of state, who tried so hard to deny to himself that Saddam was up to his neck in Osama's operations, now has changed his mind. There are just too many proven connections.

    Anyone ever do any diaries in this particular strain?

    I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

    by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:00:45 AM PDT

  •  Now isn't it about time (4.00)
    for 60 minutes to get their Niger documents story out of mothballs and spend an entire episode exposing all of these dirty little secrets to the rest of the public?

    Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. -- Mark Twain

    by GTPinNJ on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:06:20 AM PDT

  •  Question (none)
    Does this report name any undercover CIA agents?  I would assume not, but if it does that's the last thing we need.  

    Tom DeLay's GOP: cheating America in a time of war.

    by Tom Frank on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:07:04 AM PDT

  •  Why (none)
    is Chalabi still alive?

    I can't think of one good reason for his continued existence.

  •  Return of the Iran-contra 'undead' (4.00)
    !@#$%^&**(1!! This time--al paredon!
  •  Read this book! (4.00)
    James Bamford, A pretext for war.  Bamsford has been writing about spook stuff for decades.  

    He scooped the whole Niger thing. Here's an excerpt from an interview with Bamford on

    Bamford:  Pretext describes how the claims involving Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the connections between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and Hussein's involvement with 9/11, were simply used as pretexts for a war long planned by a small group of neoconservatives supportive of the Israeli government's policies and the expansion of U.S. military power throughout the Middle East. It examines how top Bush administration officials Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser first drafted a war plan outlining an attack on Iraq, and removal of Saddam Hussein, in 1996. But the document, titled "A Clean Break," was drafted for Israel, not the United States. At the time, the three were acting as advisors to newly elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Israel can shape its strategic environment," they wrote. "This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective." Not satisfied with regime change in Iraq, they went on to recommend that Israel continue to "shape its strategic environment" by "rolling back Syria."

    Wurmser then authored a paper in January 2001 arguing that the U.S. and Israel jointly launch a preemptive war throughout the Middle East and north Africa to establish U.S.-Israeli dominance. The U.S. and Israel should "strike fatally, not merely disarm, the centers of radicalism in the region - the regimes of Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Tehran, and Gaza," he wrote. He then added that, "crises are opportunities."

    About the same time, on Jan. 30, 2001, President Bush held his first National Security Council meeting and, according to former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, discussed only two topics: becoming closer to Israel's Ariel Sharon and locating targets to attack in Iraq.

    As Wurmser had suggested, following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration immediately began using the crisis as an opportunity to launch their long-planned war against Iraq. At 2:40 p.m. on Sept.11, as the Pentagon was still burning, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld dictated notes indicating his intention to blame Saddam Hussein, even though there was no evidence of any such link and all the intelligence pointed exclusively to bin Laden and al-Qaeda. "Hit S.H. at same time," he wrote. "Sweep" him up, whether "related" to 9/11 or "not."

    Next, Wurmser was put in charge of a secret unit in Feith's office with the cover name Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group. Its function was to gather and feed less-than-credible intelligence - intelligence discounted by the CIA, such as the supposed Niger uranium deal - to the White House and Vice President Cheney's office. Wurmser is now Cheney's top Middle East advisor.

    Finally, Pretext closely examines the numerous lies and deceptions presented to the Congress, the American public, and the world in order to justify the war in Iraq....

    ...One CIA analyst from the Iraq Nonproliferation section told me that his boss once called his office together (about 50 people) and said, "You know what - if Bush wants to go to war, it's your job to give him a reason to do so." The former analyst added, "And I said, 'All right, it's time, it's time to go... And I just remember saying, 'This is something that the American public, if they ever knew, they would be outraged....

    ...It would seem logical that if Bill Clinton could be subject to impeachment for an alleged deception over a minor consensual sexual affair, George W. Bush should be subject to the same treatment for launching a deadly and seemingly endless war based on lies, distortions and deceptions. If that doesn't qualify as a "high crime," I don't think anything does. The key problem is massive public apathy and extremely poor press coverage. I think the only way to prevent such wars in the future would be to make every citizen an equal shareholder in the war - not just the families of the 140,000 troops currently in Iraq. This would require legislation mandating a draft upon the deployment of a certain number of troops to a combat environment. Also, legislation forbidding deficit spending for a war should be enacted. The cost of a war would have to be paid as a surcharge on all taxpayers in the year the fighting takes place. In this way, nearly every citizen would have both a personal and financial stake in a war. If such were the case today, we would not be in this situation - and if we were, there would certainly be calls for impeachment.

    Do your part for world peace - visit Iraqi Blog Count and interact!

    by Sharon Jumper on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 07:46:16 AM PDT

    •  So how much farther does this go? (none)
      We must ask if there was covert American and Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attack itself designed to create a 'new Pearl Harbor' to spur their war plans forward. In Crisis is opportunity.

      Darkness washed over the Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night...there was no bottom

      by moon in the house of moe on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:05:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is an amazing symmetry to this... (none)
    that restores my faith that dubya has not pressed us into complete chaos.

    The sun is setting on this cabal, albetit a little too late, but set it shall.

    Sing it with me children: hang on, help is on the way, Fizt'll be there as fast as he can!

    Fitzgerald Issues Frog-Marching Guidelines

  •  Should the Democrats regain the Presidency (none)
    what are the chances of Fitzgerald becoming A/G?

    There is a lot of follow-up work to be done.

  •  Late to the party--- (none)

    But, posted a diary on this topic--with lots of background--over the weekend (10/16), and am excited to see these developments.

    Link to my diary, below:


    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. -Samuel Clemens

    by wvillmike on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:39:28 AM PDT

  •  Michael Ledeen stuff (4.00)
    He's the hardest of the hardcore PNAC crowd.

    From the BBC:

    Michael Ledeen has been branded an 'ultra neo-conservative' and is seen by his critics as the most sinister and radical of them all.

    He is a scholar at the neo-conservative think tank The American Enterprise Institute, which also counts the former chair of Pentagon Defence Policy Board Richard Perle among its members.


    But it was in 1985, that he became a well-known figure in the US when his Israeli intelligence contacts were used to help broker the illegal Iran/contra rebel affair - a move was aimed at destablising the left-wing government in Nicaragua.


    Prof Ledeen is also a student of Machiavelli and has written a book about the Renaissance philosopher whose name has become synonymous with strong and brutal governments.

    He is also the author of The War Against the Terror Masters, which claims that America must topple the regimes of the terror masters such as Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia to eliminate the threat of terrorism.

    Prof Ledeen is also believed to have the ear of the White House's current Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and has regular conversations with him.

    His view on the war on terror is clear, he said: "Iraq is just one battle in a larger war, bringing down the regime in Iran is the central act, because Iran is the world's most dangerous terrorist country."

    From The Christian Science Monitor:

    Seen by many as one of the most radical neoconservatives, Mr. Ledeen is said to frequently advise George W. Bush's top adviser Karl Rove on foreign policy matters. He is one of the strongest voices calling for regime change in Iran.

    In 2001, Ledeen co-founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran.

    This from

    In late 2001, PNAC's Middle East Initiative director, Reuel Marc Gerecht, also an American Enterprise Institute fellow, described the desired regional strategy, "If President Bush follows his own logic and compels his administration to follow him against Iraq and Iran, then he will sow the seeds for a new, safer, more liberal order in the Middle East."

    Another AEI scholar and founding director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Michael Ledeen, echoed this new right-wing interventionism in his book The War Against the Terror Masters: "The awesome power of a free society committed to a single mission is something [our enemies] cannot imagine. ... Our unexpectedly quick and impressive victory in Afghanistan is a prelude to a much broader war, which will in all likelihood transform the Middle East for at least a generation, and reshape the politics of many countries around the world." 1


    Bruce Jackson, who sits on PNAC's five-member board of directors and was until 2002 Lockheed Martin's director of strategic planning, was the point man in establishing the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) in November 2002. By Jackson's account, the current administration encouraged him to set up CLI. "People in the White House said, 'We need you to do for Iraq what you did for NATO'," Jackson asserted. 2

    Bruce Jackson left Lockheed in 2002 to dedicate himself fulltime to "promoting democracy in a united Europe." But Jackson remained a board member of PNAC while broadening his declared commitment to democratization in the Middle East. As one of the founders of CLI, Jackson works closely with Randy Scheunemann who also sits on PNAC's board of directors.

    One of the reasons that CLI was so successful in creating a bipartisan base of support for the Iraq invasion was its insistence that the invasion would be more than a military operation and would demonstrate Washington's commitment to democratization and human rights. The CLI committed itself to "work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its economy and the establishment of political pluralism, democratic institutions, and the rule of law." In its mission statement, the committee vowed that it would "engage in educational and advocacy efforts to mobilize U.S. and international support for policies aimed at ending the aggression of Saddam Hussein and freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny." 3

    The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq was the quintessential modern front group, built on a diverse membership, international connections, a broad and unifying statement of purpose, and internal disciplines. Scheunemann, CLI's executive director, was like Jackson a board member of the U.S. Committee on NATO; and he was at the core of the early efforts in Congress and within the Republican Party to support the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Almed Chalabi, INC's chieftain, was a wealthy Iraqi expatriate who gained favor with neocons and hawks during the 1990s but was distrusted by the State Department and the CIA. In his position as national security adviser to Senator Trent Lott, Scheunemann had drafted numerous legislative bills shaping Washington's Iraq policy. One of these bills, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, authorized $98 million to the INC - funds that were never fully disbursed by the Clinton administration, partly because of serious infighting within the INC.

    Most CLI board members were prominent neocons, such as Robert Kagan, Richard Perle, William Kristol, and Joshua Muravchik. 4 But the success of the CLI as a front group stemmed from its ability to incorporate Democrats and Republicans outside the politically incestuous circle of neocons, including former Senator Bob Kerrey, former Congressman Steve Solarz, Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute (an offshoot of the center-right Democratic Leadership Council), Sen. John McCain, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, who served as honorary chairman of the CLI advisory board.


    Two months prior to the Iraq invasion, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton, an early associate of PNAC and a former AEI vice president, traveled to Jerusalem to meet with Ariel Sharon. Bolton promised Sharon that the Iraq offensive would be just the first of the disarmament wars, declaring that "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran, and North Korea afterwards." 5


    Virtually all 31 signatories of the MEF report, which was used to persuade Congress to introduce and pass the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act in 2003, were USCFL members, and several became high officials or advisers in the Bush foreign policy team, including Elliott Abrams, Paula Dobriansky, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser. Other high-profile USCFL members who signed the report demanding that Washington confront Syria included Frank Gaffney, director of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), and David Steinman and Michael Ledeen of the Jewish Institute for Security Affairs (JINSA). Passed in the House of Representatives on October 15, 2003, and signed by President Bush on December 12, 2003, the act enumerated several reasons - support for terrorism, possession of weapons of mass destruction, and harboring Iraqi Ba'athists - that laid the groundwork to justify another "regime change" invasion in the region. The appointment of David Wurmser, a longtime advocate of U.S. military action against Syria, to the staff of Vice President Cheney in September 2003 was widely regarded as another signal that the U.S. regional restructuring crusade might soon be taking the road to Damascus.

    Syria is next on the target list.

    I diaried on this subject on Saturday:

    Is Syria next on the neocon hit parade? Alarming NYT article...

    In other words, Leeden and company are no renegades.  Their forgery work is part of a greater neocon plot to drag us into even more wars in the Middle East.

    One of my longstanding beefs with Senate Democrats is that this plot was widely known in Washington long before Bush even took office in January 2001.

    Giving Bush and these lunatics the okay to wage war was irresponsible, particularly in light of the fact that our Dem senators knew the score going into the vote.  And for them to permit Bush and company to cynically exploit the tragedy of 9-11 to further their pre-palnned agenda is something I will will never forgive those from our side who knew better.

    After they're found guilty, put bags over their heads, rendition `em to Gitmo, and shackle them, naked, to the floor.

    by Bob Johnson on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:46:30 AM PDT

    •  What is the common thread (4.00)
      running through PNAC, the Iraq adventure, neoconservatives, and acquiescent Democrats?


      In particular, the hard right of Israel.  

      No, I am not anti-semitic.  But I'm very concerned about certain Jewish influence.  What is the largest and most powerful lobby here in the US?  AIPAC.

      How can Democrats, who receive a large bloc of Jewish money and Jewish votes, stand against this cabal of Jewish neoconservatives?

      What has happened in this country is the hard right and hard left have both conspired to make criticizing Israel equal to automatic anti-semeticism.  

      As long as we cannot have a frank and open discussion about Israel's influence on our foreign policy, things will not improve.

      Just call me Ms Cynic

      by xyz on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:05:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are ways of ways of writing about this stuff (none)
        without coming off as anti-Semitic.


        • Don't refer to the Bad Guys as "Jews" or refer to "Jewish influence," or whatever, because some Israelis are Christians, plenty of American and Israeli Jews hate the current Israeli government more than you do, and simply referring to "The Jews" as the bad guys just sounds anti-Semitic. Just as referring to "The Muslims" as the enemy sounds creepily prejudiced.

        • Disclaimers count. Put some standard sentence near the top emphasizing that you recognize that there are plenty of nice Israelis who aren't creeps, but that the folks you're writing about are the creeps.

        • Avoid using loaded words like "cabal," and avoid generalizations that are clearly wrong. Example: plenty of neocons are clearly Christians.
        •  Well, (none)
          The bad guys in this case are Jews, and they are Jews who are American but more concerned with Israel.  That's my point.

          I certainly know that not all neoconservatives are Jews.  I've made several comments on just who the neoconservatives are, it's a marriage of convenience of hard right Jews for Israel, big money men/women in business, particularly oil, and Christian fundamentalists.

          By my statement that these people are the hard right of Israel, anyone should know that doesn't encompass all Israelis or even all Jews.  A further disclaimer is unneccessary.

          Oh, and it is a cabal.

          Just call me Ms Cynic

          by xyz on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:17:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Language matters (none)
            Sure, some of the people that you think of as being the bad guys are Jews (but certainly not all -- Cheney; Bolton), but similarly, some druglords are The African-Americans and some members of the mafia are The Italians. But referrring to the bad guys, in these cases, as The African-Americans or The Italians sounds prejudiced, no matter how many disclaimers you put in.

            Similarly, referring to the bad guys here as The Jews instantly freaks me out.

            I think some more accurate terms that would be less likely to send chills down the spines of the many people on Daily Kos who hate the Bushies and hate the Israeli rightwingers and marched against the war in Iraq might be "Likudniks," "Jewish wingnuts," "Zionist wingnuts," "pro-Israel wingnuts," "Meir Kahanies," "Mossad wannabees," "Netanyahoos," "Netanyaboobs" or  "AIPACkers."

            Also: using the word "cabal" is fine. I can't remember what you originally wrote, so this may not apply at all to you, but I think that "Jewish cabal" is really creepy when used in this sort of context. Because, again, many of the neocons are fundamentalist Christians, the fundamentalist Christians involved with all of this are much nuttier than the Jews (I think that wanting to make Israel safer is a lot more reasonable goal than wanting to bring about the Rapture), and "Jewish cabal" just sounds like the sort of term Stalin would have used before he got a bunch of Jews shot and dumped in a mass grave.

            •  OK (none)
              so it bothers you that I used the 'hard right of Israel' rather than 'Jewish wingnuts'.  Maybe you can split this hair a bit finer, if you try.

              I'm glad to hear that my use of the word 'cabal' is now fine with you, after you first disagreed with it.  

              Are you willing to deny there is a cabal of Jewish neoconservatives?  That may be a part of all neoconservatives?

              Because, from where I sit, there's some Jews, (note: some) who are part of the neoconservative movement and who are much more concerned with Israel's welfare than our own.

              And that is the problem of which I speak.

              Since AIPAC is the largest and most potent lobby in the US, and since AIPAC is peopled with some of the most strident right wing Jews, isn't that a reason to discuss it's impact on our foreign policy?

              Maybe you think we should call it Lutheran?

              Just call me Ms Cynic

              by xyz on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:55:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  9/11 changed everything. (none)
      Say it over and over.

      -8.25; -6.41 we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

      by Tirge Caps on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 12:40:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The "forgery factory" and Saddam's trial (none)
    I didn't know about this "forgery factory" stuff, but the question that popped into my head was, how can we be certain that Chalabi-forged disinformation doesn't play a role in Saddam's trial? There is already so much wrong with the trial, that would be the pièce de résistance.

    Greg Shenaut

  •  "PS" replies (4.00)
    Thanks Landreau for "Good show." I'm a new poster and don't know how to make block quotes yet so I'll just do regular quote of my comment for reader reference because I want to add to it -- it's short:

    >>PS: Q: No idea what Plame's undercover group was working on but could they have been onto trail of Niger yellowcake/forgeries and, if so, was she outed to effectively stop her entire group's probe in its tracks? No way to check this because classified but if could be checked and found true would put the whole Wilson-Plame thing in a new light. <<

    Plame and her covert crew (and I include her front company and entire network of undercover contacts who were all compromised when she was outed, a whole system) could have been working on something else besides Niger forgeries, like (as a friend of mine suggested) maybe Aramco/Saudi oil fields and how much reserves they have left -- or some other big bad thing the neocons wanted to keep from surfacing.

    I think nOboDy ("there's a pair of us, don't tell -- they'd banish us, you know") and maybe others have mentioned it could have been something else, and I agree. IAEA debunked the forgeries (although maybe swinging focus to Wilson-Plame was an effort to undermine IAEA's debunking -- and besides IAEA is the U.N., so how credible can they be? the BushRovians would say).

    This goes a bit off track from the Niger forgeries (which remain an option as motive for Plame's outing). What got me thinking weeks ago about this is that "revenge" or nepotism supposedly to undermine Wilson's credibility in debunking his Niger findings -- was not good enough. It was weak. It was a stretch. This made me wonder if the true point was exposing Plame's covert CIA status and her covert
    name, and that in turn would have the effect of ruining whatever operation she and her crew were working on. Killing Plame's operation could have been the real objective of the leak. What that operation was I don't know.

    But maybe Fitz does.

    Interesting how the compromise/exposure/neutralizing of Plame and her entire network (even loss of life, some have suggested) have been treated mediawise as a sort of "sad side-effect" over on the Plame side of the equation, while focus has been on Wilson's trip and this lame "did she send him or not" stuff, when the outing of Plame and destroying of her crew's operation might have been the true aim in the first place.

    Let's be an effective opposition! (thanks, Kos) And let's get elected!

    by wardlow on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:13:56 AM PDT

    •  Slam debunk (none)
      I just mentioned "IAEA debunked the Niger forgeries." For IAEA to do that was a slam dunk. The questions are who forged them, who passed them along, and who cooked up the big scheme. This might be something Plame's crew bumped into in the night, and her outing might have had the conventient effect of stopping the Plame team from following the trail back to  . . .

      Maybe Fitz knows who.

      I share skepticism about Raimondo as a source. His main headline in that Fitz has the unredacted report on Niger forgeries. If he's wrong or misleading us, my questions about Plame's outing still stand but without the advantage of Fitz on the case.

      Let's be an effective opposition! (thanks, Kos) And let's get elected!

      by wardlow on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:33:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good advice for wannabe [p]residents... (none)
      1. Do not make enemies among your diplomatic staff.

      2. Do not make enemies of your federal law enforcement bulldogs.

      3. Do not make enemies out of your generals, especially if you're planning to wage war.

      4. Do not - repeat, DO NOT - make enemies of your super-spooks. It may take awhile through ghostly means, but they WILL destroy you and you'll have no one but yourself to blame.
  •  Didn't Sy Hersh think the CIA forged the Niger... (none) because they knew the WHIG would publicise them, but it would come out that they were obvious forgeries and WHIG would have egg all over their faces?
    •  Really? (none)
      That sounds a little too convoluted to me.

      I heard a journalist who knew Michael Ledeen say that he's a smart guy and that it is hard to believe he would have created such a crude forgery.

    •  Exactly... (3.50)
      In an online interview with the New Yorker (  Hersh claims that the documents originated within the CIA--not to help Chimp's case for war, but to hurt it.  

      "They're bad forgeries. And I think the idea was simply to embarrass the government internally. Don't forget, Niger had already been a source of great dispute between the C.I.A. and the Pentagon and the Vice-President's office. There was this tension. And so the thought was that somebody like Cheney or Rumsfeld and their aides would flash them at a meeting, and then the other side could counterattack. It would be an embarrassment, because the papers were such obvious fakes. Or Rumsfeld or somebody would go public with the papers, not vet them, not analyze them, and the press would go after them. But that didn't happen. Instead, lo and behold, the President used the Niger story to make the case against Iraq in his State of the Union speech in January."

      I'd never heard this theory until Saturday night when, after reading Frank Rich's Sunday NYT piece, I started poking around, figuring that if Cheney and Chimp are going down, the forgeries are probably going to play a larger role in all of this.

      Here's a link to my Saturday diary, with background:

      What's at question here is:
      Not who produced the docs and gave them to SISMI, but who HAD THE IDEA and the influence to generate the docs.  My bet is on the current CIA, with the motive of burying the Bush WHIG.

      Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. -Samuel Clemens

      by wvillmike on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:46:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Once again I'm reduced to... (none)
    ...sounding like a babbling conspiracy theorist. I tell my wife this kind of BushCo stuff and she looks at me like I've lost my mind, like I just suggested we buy some guns and go hide out in the hills until after the End Times when the black helicopters are gone.

    I am simultaneously having a hard time believing this diary while another part of me knows its true. After all, who am I going to believe, me or my lying eyes?

    •  you're not alone (none)
      These guys were in mothballs for a few years, but Bush brought the whole Iran-Contra crew back into power when he got selected by SCOTUS to rule. It's not totally unreasonable. I do question whether it will all come out in the end. Also check the post above about Raimondo's past, this article should not stand on it's own as evidence.

      I sincerely hope that the Plame scandal is merely the entry point to this conspiracy that threatens the safety of every American everyday.

      Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out!

  •  the name missing from this (none)
    that ties all of this together ..

    Former CIA Director James Woolsey
    Scratch underneath anything to do with Chalabi and this guy comes up like a bad penny.

    This is the guy who had influence within the Company to turn agents, to get favors done and generally screw with the integrity of the intel process.

    This SOB should be numero 1 on the list of Judy's cellmates.

    Currently -7.63 -8.62

    by shpilk on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:59:16 AM PDT

  •  Chalabi you say? (none)
    Take a look at my Diary entitled FLAME as a key to the TraitorGate puzzle?.

    I've got a speculation fever that needs to be cooled down or needs more online detective resources applied.

    What do you think?

    ...the New York Times...All the Lies We've Decided to Tell You

    by aspTrader on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 10:19:13 AM PDT

  •  Leeden criticizing former NSA Brent Scowcroft (none)
    He fears that if we attack Iraq "I think we could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a caldron and destroy the War on Terror." One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists. That's our mission in the war against terror. -- Michael Leeden, Scowcroft Strikes Out

    Don't ever forget that Leeden was a pivotal player and traitor in the Iran/Contra scandal.


    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 12:09:54 PM PDT

  •  Bottom line on all this: (none)
    Without a democratic majority in Congress, it is doubtful this investigation will see the light of day.

    The FBI is only so independent.  And I'm waiting for the "Saturday Night Massacre" redux.

  •  Congratulations, Kossacks. (none)
    What a fantastic diary and discussion.

    I swear, many of the comments to this diary are more informative than the modal diary on this site!  That's not a slight to the site; rather it's a comment on the success of the community knowledge on this subject.  Kossacks have done an amazing amount of research on this, and it shows.

    This was a great read.

    Your president lied to me.

    by Oaklander on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 02:49:11 PM PDT

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