Water Man Spouts

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Libby, Ledeen, and the Wall Street Journal

Timing is everything. Two brief examples come to mind: The same month that George W. Bush broke into the office that Al Gore had actually been elected to, the Niger Embassy in Italy was burglarized. Then, when the Bush administration needed something to convince the American public that Saddam's Iraq posed a threat to this country, the Niger yellow cake forgeries appeared. Fancy that.
When Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and other administration representatives were going to appear on the Sunday morning talk shows on September 8, 2002, they were all able to point to an article from that very morning's New York Times about Saddam's WMD programs. As it turned out, Scooter Libby had timed that article with disgraced "journalist" Judith Miller.
Could it be that those aspens have such good timing because they are connected at the roots? Let's take a look at two articles that came out yesterday, which were about the Niger yellow cake forgeries and the role these documents played in bringing our nation to war in Iraq. The first is an editorial from the Wall Street Journal ("Fitzgerald, Scooter and Us"), the second is from Vanity Fair ("The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed," by Craig Unger).
The Niger yellow cake forgeries are documents that suggested that Iraq was buying large quantities of uranium to use in WMD production. The Niger forgeries are one leaf on a clover of closely related scandals, which also the Plame and the neocon/AIPAC spy scandals. All three involve a core group of shadowy, unofficial intelligence operations, coordinated with what Joseph Wilson has called "a small pack of zealots ... with cells in most of the national security system," and with agents representing foreign governments. Wilson further noted that, "Among these cells are the secretive Office of Special Plans in the Department of Defense (repportedly now disbanded) and a similar operation in the State department that is managed in the Office of Under Secretary for Disarmament John Bolton." (The Politics of Truth; page 432)
The goal of these shadowy operations was summed up in a September 4, 2002 Wall Street Journal article by one of the group's leading members, Michael Ledeen, which advocated the USA overthrowing the governments of Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The fact that the Bush administration was focused on invading Iraq since Bush took office has been documented by a number of former administration officials, including Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill. And in "Plan of Attack," Bob Woodward documents that the Saudi government was offering the Bush administration "up to $1 billion" for joint intelligence operations aimed at overthrowing Saddam in April of 2002. (page 229)
Now let's look at the twelve paragraphs of the WSJ editorial. Their article trashes Patrick Fitzgerald and Joseph Wilson, while expressing support for Scooter Libby. The foundation for this is the Niger forgeries.
The language they use to describe Mr. Fitzgerald and the case against Libby is telling. They claim that Mr. Fitzgerald "comes close to suggesting that senior government officials have no right to fight back against critics who make false allegations." Actually, of course, Libby is charged with lying to FBI investigators and the grand jury.
"It suggests that his case is a lot weaker than his media spin." In fact, Judge Walton looked into exactly who was spinning the media. Team Libby admitted to talking to a reporter, and to releasing a court document before it was made public by the court. The prosecutor had not violated the court's instruction to avoid engaging in such activities.
"...Mr. Fitzgerald is scrambling even now...", "...Mr. Fitzgerald refuses to acknowledge," and "...he has made the terrible mistake ... of taking Joe Wilson's side..." are three other examples of the editorial's attempt to spin the case against little Scooter.
Regarding Joseph Wilson, the editorial refers to: "...Joe Wilson and his false allegations"; "...Mr. Wilson's fantasy version"; "...Mr. Wilson's manifestly false allegations"; and "...the official probes (that) destroyed his credibility."
I am reminded of Minister Malcolm X teaching us that the corporate media would try to portray criminals as victims, and victims as criminals. The WSJ editorial would have us believe that Scooter was acting to protect our country from dangerous enemies when he exposed Valerie Plame's identity, and that the yellow cake documents were not forgeries after all. Indeed, the WSJ "comes close to suggesting" that the US found the yellow cake that these forgeries claimed had been sold to Saddam.
Craig Unger's article in Vanity Fair is everything the WSJ editorial is not. It takes a fair approach that includes presenting both side's claims, it is an honest attempt to find the truth, and it is an accurate report of the Niger forgeries operation that led a large number of citizens to support the administration's aggression in Iraq.
The article includes information from nine former intelligence officials, including several who served in the Bush administration. They refer to the Niger forgeries as "a disinformation operation," "black ops," "black propaganda," and "a classic psy-ops campaign" -- all descriptions of "a covert operation to deliberately mislead the American public."
Vanity Fair found at least 14 examples of the intelligence community warning the White House that the Niger documents were suspect, before George W. Bush included his infamous "16 words" in his 2003 State of the Union address. However, the Office of Special Plans (OSP) and White House Iraq Group (WHIG) continued to push the claim that Iraq was buying yellow cake uranium from Niger for WMD production.
One of the individuals central in the effort to mislead the American public that the article identifies is Michael Ledeen. He has a history of engaging in misinformation operations inside the United States, and coordinating criminal activities such as those of the Iran-Contra scandals. He is closely tied to the group of zealots that Wilson describes as having "spanned decades" in their efforts to promote the neoconservative agenda.
It is interesting to note that the article by Craig Unger lists six times where Wall Street Journal articles by or about Mr. Ledeen include information about the neoconservatives' plans to remake the Middle East in their own image.
Mr. Ledeen has done much more than inspire the WSJ to promote the Niger forgeries. He is described as Douglas Feith's collaborator, who was "in and out" of OSP meetings during the lead-up to the Iraqi invasion. More, he set-up meetings in Rome between intelligence fabricator Manucher Ghorbanifar (who Ledeen connected with Ollie North in the Iran-Contra crimes), Harold Rhode, and Larry Franklin of ythe OSP. Franklin, of course, has pled guilty to playing a role in the closely related neocon/AIPAC spy scandal.
In an April essay, I had suggested that the people connected to the OVP/WHIG were going to engage in a disinformation campaign, to try to make the criminals look like victims, and the victims look like criminals. The Wall Street Journal editorial is clearly part of that campaign. The article is of the same quality as Judith Miller's pre-war advocacy for the OVP/OSP/WHIG lies.
Thank goodness for Craig Unger's article.


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