Water Man Spouts

Saturday, August 20, 2005

In Cold Blood: Perpetual War

{1} "For his part, Cheney knew that the real foreign policy struggle within the administration was not over Rove but Powell. One night he remarked privately that the administration had these intense discussions about the two sides of the Iranian government, that of the democratically elected president, Mohammad Khatami, and the powerful theocratic religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 'The debate is whether it's two sides of the same government or whether it's two separate governments,' he said of Iran, adding jokingly, 'The same question applies to Don Rumsfeld and Colin Powell'." -- "Plan of Attack"; Bob Woodward; pages 128-9

I would like to take a few minutes to discuss the United State's relations with Iran. Sources such as Reuters and Truthout reported that President Bush, in an interview with Israeli media, had noted that all options -- including force -- "are on the table" regarding Iran. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder almost immediately responded, "...let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work." (8-13-05)

Bush's comments raised concerns in Europe, in part because it confirmed an article from the 3-13 London Times, which reported that the "inner cabinet of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, gave 'initial authorisation' for an attack (on suspected Iranian nuclear sites) at a private meeting last month on his ranch in the Negev desert.'" The article described practice raids by elite commando units in rather specific detail. It noted that US officials said a strike could not be ruled out if the UN became deadlocked on the issue.

Further, in a 2-18 London Daily Telegraph article ("America Would Back Israel Attack on Iran"), Bush was quoted as saying, "Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I'd listened to some of the statements by Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having nuclear weapons as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we'd support Israel if her security is threatened." (Both London quotes taken from D. Ireland's "The Real AIPAC Spy Ring Story -- It Was All About Iran"; 8-5-05; direland.typepad.com)

We know from reading Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies" that Iran has proven a difficult country for the United States to deal with since the late 1970s. The goal of this essay is not to attempt to define the Iranian state of affairs. However, it is worth noting that in the Reagan era, a number of members of the Reagan & Bush1 administration were involved in illegal activities that were part of the Iran-Contra scandals. More, in the 1990s, a group of people who were from the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush1 administrations became involved in the "neoconservative movement," which identified a change in governments in Iran as one of their goals.

And, as readers will know from previous DU essays ("Feith-based intelligence: A Neocon Scandal" and "Part 2: the Karl Rove of AIPAC"), an administration official named Lawrence Franklin who is under indictment for espionage is known to have met twice in Europe with a notorious Iranian arms dealer from the Reagan-Bush1 scandal.

{2}"America's and Israel's responses must be regional, not local. Israel and the United States should adopt a coordinated strategy, to regain the initiative and reverse their region-wide strategic retreat. They should broaden the conflict to strike fatally, not merely disarm, the centers of radicalism in the region -- the regimes of Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Tehran, and Gaza." -- David Wurmser; "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm"; 1995

In 1995, a group of neocons authored the "A Clean Break" proposal, which Richard Perle hand-delivered to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan called for: {a} the USA to withdraw from the Palestinian conflict; and {b} for Israel to "roll back" enemies in neighboring countries with "preemptive strikes" that resulted in the installation of friendly governments.

The Muslim world's view of this proposed policy can be found in "Imperial Hubris" by "Anonymous" -- the retired CIA senior analyst -- on pages 11-12, in the secontion on a "greater Israel." The Islamic world's perception that the US backs such a plan is playing a significant role in the current world tensions.

Netanyahu rejected the neocon's plan. However, when George W. Bush assumed the office of the president, it was revived. In large part, this would be the game plan of those in the camp of VP Cheney. They include the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld; his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz; Richard Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board; Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, which is the highest policy position in the Pentagon; and David Wurmser, who started in the State Department, and became VP Cheney's top Middle East expert.

{3}" 'Then along comes a new Administration that is made up of the same neocons that were promoting the (hawkish) Iran policy,' the veteran lobbyist continued, 'but this Administration was divided down the center ...On the one hand, you have the neocons ...on the other side, you have Powell and Richard Armitage and the State department (and the CIA), who want to try to open up a dialogue. One is for confrontation, one is for dialogue ... So the neocons, the Iran hawks, know they have got a natural ally ... at other think tanks around town who feel the same way they do....They also have AIPAC, which has made (Iran) its number-one issue ... My guess is that they went to AIPAC and the others with the same message:"You have friends we don't. Help us to persuade them to see it our way." ' "

-- "The Big Chill" by Laura Rozen; The Nation; 7-14-05

Paul O'Neill, who had only been the Secretary of Treasury for a few days, attended a January 30, 2001 meeting of President Bush2's senior national security team. He would later tell how President Bush started the meeting by announcing, "We're going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict." He noted that he planned to pull the US back from its involvement in the Palestinian conflict, exactly as advocated in Wurmser's "A Clean Break."

Colin Powell, the only person at the meeting who could raise his hand when Bush asked, "Anybody here ever meet Sharon?", objected to this plan. He noted it could lead to an increase in violence. "Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things," Bush answered.

In "Feith-based intelligence," I noted that a newspaper reported on 9-9-01 that President Bush had changed his mind, and was prepared to meet with Yasar Arafat at the up-coming UN General Assembly. After 9-11, of course, this meeting would never occur. The neocons were angry that some on the Powell side of the government had influenced Bush; more, they were furious that Armitage had leaked this to the media. They pressured Condi Rice, who in turn called the Department of Justice, and demanded the FBI investigate leaks from the administration to the media.

As we know, this call resulted in the investigation that has resulted in Lawrence Franklin and two AIPAC employees being indicted for espionage. This investigation is far more involved than simply a government worker sharing his concerns with like-minded patriots from a Washington lobby.

{4} "The Israelis devote a considerable portion of their covert operations to obtaining scientific and technical intelligence. This has included attempts to penetrate certain classified defense projects in the United States and other western nations. The Israeli intelligence service depends heavily on the various Jewish communities and organizations abroad for recruiting agents and eliciting general information ... Israeli agents usually operate discreetly within Jewish communities and are under instructions to handle their missions with utmost tact to avoid embarrassment to Israel." -- CIA document circa 1979, quoted in "A Pretext For War" by James Bamford, page 405

Around the time that the CIA issued this memo, Jonathan Jay Pollard, who was employed by the US Office of Naval Intelligence, was passing over 800,000 pages of highly classified documents to Israeli intelligence. When Pollard's activities were uncovered, it was found that someone had been "tasking" Pollard. In other words, the person who was supervising his spying would identify what documents were needed, and Pollard would fill his order.

In his book on the Pollard case ("Territory of Lies"), Wolf Blitzer wrote, "Their (the Department of Justice) fears were based on more than just a hunch. During their many hours of interogating Pollard, they discovered to their absolute horror that the Israelis had been rather specific in 'tasking' him to obtain certain documents. Indeed, Pollard was often asked to obtain classified documents by their code numbers and titles. U.S. counterintelligence agents quickly concluded that Israel must have had at least one other agent on the inside providing the names of the documents. Perhaps the agent did not have a 'courier card,' like Pollard."

This person was called "Man X" by those investigating the suspected spying that involved Pollard. He -- or they -- were never formally identified and arrested. However, one man who has never stopped investigating the case is David Szady, the FBI's assistant director for Counterintelligence. Szady is a former CIA official who, when informed about the neocon spy case, immediately suspected it could involve "Mr. X."

James Bamford notes that former CIA counterterrorism chief Vince Cannistraro has revealed that Douglas "Feith was fired from a job in the National Security Council early in the Reagan years for leaking classified information to Israel." (page 404)

In "The Price of Power," Seymour Hersch noted that in the fall of 1970, the FBI taped Richard Perle (at the time a staff member for Henry "Scoop" Jackson) passing classified information he had obtained from the National Security Council to the Israeli embassy. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover provided H.R. Bob "Law-n-Order" Haldeman with a summary of the tape.

And former Nixon administration senior advisor Patrick Buchanan notes in his book "Where The Right Went Wrong" that in "1992, when Wolfowitz was an assistant secretary of defense, a startling document leaked from his shop. Defense Planning Guidance had been prepared by Wolfowitz and his deputy, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, for Secretary Richard Cheney. Barton Gellman of the Washington Post called it a 'classified blueprint intended to help "set the nation's direction for the next century ...'." (page 42)

{5}"Several U.S. officials and law enforcement sources said Thursday that the scope of the FBI probe of Pentagon intelligence activities appeared to go well beyong the Franklin matter. FBI agents have briefed top White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials on the probe in recent days. Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which touch Feith's office.

"They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.

" 'The whole ball of wax' was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry."

-- Justin Raimondo; antiwar.com; "Indictment Shows Washington Is 'Israeli-Occupied Territory'; 6-15-05

When Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, representing Douglas Feith, traveled to Europe with Michael Ledeen to meet with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, they were being watched. (The Pentagon and CIA had noted in 1988 that Ledeen was suspected of being a spy for Israel.) Bamford notes their goal was to coordinate efforts to undermine a deal that was being considered by progressive forces in the USA and Iran.

Iran was offering to turn over 5 al Qaeda operatives in return for Washington's agreeing to stop supporting Mujahideen El Khalq (MEK). This Iraqi-based rebel group, supported by Ahmed Chalabi, was listed as a terrorist group by the State Department. It was believed that the 5 operatives being offered by Iran had: {1} information about attacks planned for the future; and {2} details about the location of Usama bin Laden.

It is noted that this meeting represented a "rogue faction" from the Pentagon, attempting to run US foreign policy outside of the normal channels. As noted in "Feith-based intelligence," Franklin was also viewed meeting two AIPAC officials and a representative of the Israeli government, and passing classified information to them.

When confronted by the FBI, Franklin at first was willing to cooperate in order to get charges against him reduced. The FBI gave him "tasks" that included passing disinformation to the AIPAC officials, and then to representatives of Ahmed Chalabi. They had Franklin ask these people to "pass" the information on to higher-level people. And the FBI monitored the flow of information.

On Friday, 8-27-04, the FBI visited AIPAC. Rosen and Weissman were stunned, and refused to be interviewed without their attorneys present. The FBI investigators took a number of AIPAC computer hard-drives, including Rosen's.

Two days later, on a Sunday, Bamford reports that the FBI paid highly unusual visits to the homes of Feith, Wolfowitz, and others. Over the next 21 days, numerous officials were interviewed by the FBI. They were asked questions about Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Wurmser.

On August 27, CBS broke the story. This is the same CBS that would be set-up with fake documents regarding George W. Bush's military service.

Two months later, Franklin had a new lawyer inform the FBI that he would no longer cooperate with their investigation.

On 12-1-04, the FBI conducted a second raid on AIPAC. They confiscated stacks of computer files.

Readers will also remember that the FBI conducted a raid on the offices of Ahmed Chalabi. Media reports connected this raid to concerns that Chalabi had informed some factions inside the Iranian government that the USA had broken their code, and that the US and Israel were able to read Tehran's most secretive internal communications.

There was a time that it was difficult to understand how this fit in the neocon spy scandal. Perhaps it makes more sense now.


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