Neocons, Israeli connections, and the Iraqi war

Today Juan Cole posted on his Blog the following insighfully well-wrapped up and compact text:

Several high-profile FBI investigations, in which substantial progress have been made, may well have been put on hold by the Bush administration for political reasons. That is, it has been alleged to me that the White House may have leaned on the FBI– not to drop the investigations but to postpone some key arrests until after the November elections.

The first such case is the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity as a covert CIA agent to the press as way to undermine the credibility of her husband, Joe Wilson, who had gone public about his warnings to the administration that the story about the Iraqi purchase of uranium from Niger was bogus.

Warning: The text below will use the word “Neoconservative.” In my lexicon, a Neoconservative is a person from a social group that typically voted Democrat before 1968 but now votes Republican. Neoconservatives include all the white southern Christian denominations, such as the Southern Baptists, that emigrated from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party as a result of the Nixon strategy, as well as the Reagan Democrats (largely working-class Catholics) and Jewish Americans who trod the same path. Neoconservatives tend to be far-right Zionists in the Jabotinsky tradition, whether they are Jews or Christian Zionists, and they are associated with a desire to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from the West Bank or at least to so circumscribe their existence there as to render them nonentities. The latest Neoconservative to enlist in the cause is Zell Miller, and he typifies the anger, recklessness and disregard for open, democratic values that characterize the movement.

Neoconservatives have gained allies for themselves from some rightwing Realists, such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, to the extent that it may well be that the latter two have been converted to the Neoconservative ideology, which is distinctive because of its historical origins on the right of the old Democratic Party and in some cases in the far left (Christopher Hitchens is another example). Some have attempted to argue that the very term “Neoconservative” is a code word for derogatory attitudes toward Jews. This argument is mere special pleading and a playing of the race cared, however, insofar as only a tiny percentage of American Jews are Neoconservatives, and only a tiny percentage of Neoconservatives are Jews. The Neoconservative movement is an example of what social scientists call cross-cutting cleavages, which are multiple loyalties and identities typical of complex urban political societies.

We now know that the Niger story involved the forgery of documents by a man with ties to Italian military intelligence, and that moreover Italian military intelligence has ties to Michael Ledeen, Harold Rhode and Lawrence Franklin, pro-Likud Neoconservatives, two of whom had high-level positions in the Pentagon and all three of whom were tightly networked with the American Enterprise Institute. Franklin (a Neoconservative Catholic) is being investigated for spying on the US for Israel. The nexus of Italian military intelligence, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and the Neoconservatives in the Pentagon suggests a network of conspiracy aimed at dragging the US into wars against Iraq and Iran. The Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq after the war was in some significant part staffed by young people who had initially applied to work at the American Enterprise Institute as interns.

Joe Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA in response to a request by Dick Cheney that they investigate the story of the Iraq uranium purchases, and he came to the (correct) conclusion that the whole idea was implausible given the structure of the industry in Niger, which was heavily under the control of European companies. The Neoconservatives around Dick Cheney, including Scooter Libby and John Hannah, were highly commited to the Niger uranium story as a casus belli against Iraq, and were furious when Wilson revealed that he had shown it false in spring of 2002. They were convinced that the CIA was behind this strike at their credibility, and that Valerie Plame had been the one who managed to get Wilson sent. That is, in their paranoid world, Wilson’s honest reportage of the facts was a CIA plot against the Iraq War and perhaps against the Neoconservatives around Cheney and in the Pentagon.

It has been being leaked for many months now that the FBI believes the leak came from persons in Cheney’s circle, possibly John Hannah and/or Scooter Libby. The FBI could well be ready to move in the case. But I have been told that it has orders from the White House to back off until later this fall.

There has likewise been no arrest of Franklin, though one was expected by now. This is not, as the Neoconservatives and their supporters in the press are beginning to allege, because the case against Franklin is week. Rumors are flying in Washington that the FBI found a whole cache of classified documents in his house. If this is true, it was illegal for him to keep them there. We know that the evidence against Franklin was so air tight that Franklin was turned by the FBI, and was attempting to gather incriminating evidence against other Neoconservatives on their behalf. At some point the FBI as a courtesy let Franklin’s boss, Douglas Feith, know of their investigation, and apparently soon after the story was leaked to the press.

Is it possible that Franklin hasn’t been charged yet not because the case is weak, but because the White House does not want to anger the powerful AIPAC lobbying organization just before an election, and does not want to risk alienating Neoconservative voters in swing states like Florida? Indeed, isn’t it likely that the Franklin investigation was leaked to the press by persons in the Pentagon who feared they were under investigation, and who knew very well that such a story leaked in late August before the election would get the investigation squelched or much delayed?

On the other hand the conscientious Dreyfuss warns about Media bias:

What won’t get mentioned in tonight’s debate is that George Bush, Dick Cheney et al. lied to get us into Iraq.

For this I blame the media. For the past six months, the media has basically stopped digging on the issue of the Office of Special Plans, the manipulation of intelligence, the distortions and the lies. It is the single most important failure of the media. As someone who has written extensively and repeatedly about it, it is, to me, very sad. What it means is that Bush will go into the debate tonight far more secure that he ought to be. Kerry can accuse Bush of making the wrong choices, of not having a clear pre-war strategy, of bungling the occupation. But Kerry can’t accuse the president of purposefully misleading America, because he doesn’t have the ammunition—at least not from slam-dunk, mainstream sources that he can wave around.

The facts are that Bush and Cheney wanted to invade Iraq for reasons other than the stated ones. They knew that Iraq couldn’t threaten the United States with WMD, and they knew that Iraq was not allied with Al Qaeda. Yet they manufactured evidence to the contrary, meticulously.

Of course, they miscalculated, too. The occupation is a failure, and America is losing the war it lied to get into. But the latter is a mistake. The former is criminal. And there is a big, big difference.

Six months ago, administration defectors such as Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke made clear that the president was targeting Iraq long before 9/11. The media was abuzz with stories of visits to the CIA by Cheney to pressure analysts to support pre-arranged conclusions. There was lots of news about Joe Wilson and the deliberate lies about Niger yellowcake. The Senate was bustling with pressure from Jay Rockefeller to investigate the OSP. And lots more. It’s all been lost. The media dropped the ball. Instead of looking into the machinations of Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Harold Rhode, Bill Luti and others who managed the Pentagon’s policy shop and the OSP, instead of digging into Richard Perle’s friends David Wurmser and Mike Maloof (who founded OSP’s precursor) and so on, the media got lost. There hasn’t been a single important investigation of the OSP by a major media outlet in months, and (as far as I can remember) not even a recap! It’s like all the lies never happened.

So now Bush can blame the CIA, and George Tenet, for having given him bad intelligence on Iraq’s WMD, and say that at least the world is rid of a bad guy.

Once the lies are off the table, all Kerry can do is to point out how badly things are going. Bush slips away, at least until historians unravel this.

It’s a shame.

This could have helped us untangle some of the mysteries behind Israeli spying and possible direct connections with the office of the prime minister.

For Anonymous on Israeli Spying

Hey anonymous, check out this article that puts the spying case more into perspective.

The conflict is age-old, between the Pentagon and the State department, as I am sure you already know. But this does not mean that there was no spying or that US policy circles that does not blindly swear by Israel are not a bit pissed off.

I think this selection from the above mentioned article, written by Tom Barry (whose site you should absolutely check) pretty much wraps up the importance of the event:

Without notifying the State Department or the CIA, Feith’s office has been involved in back channel operations that have included a series of secret meetings in Washington, Rome and Paris over the last three years. These meetings have brought together Office of Policy officials and consultants (Franklin, Harold Rhode and Michael Ledeen), an expatriate Iranian arms dealer (Manichur Ghorbanifar), AIPAC lobbyists, Ahmed Chalabi, and Italian and Israeli intelligence officers, among others.

Franklin, an Iran expert who was pulled into Feith’s policy shop from the Defense Intelligence Agency, met repeatedly with Naor Gilon, the head of the political department at the Israeli embassy in Washington. According to U.S. intelligence officials, during one of those meetings, Franklin offered to hand over the National Security Presidential Directive on Iran. For more than two years, an FBI counterintelligence operation has been monitoring Washington meetings between AIPAC, Franklin and Israeli officials. Investigators suspect that the draft security document was passed to Israel through an intermediary, likely AIPAC.

Franklin, who is known to be close to militant Iranian and Iranian-American dissidents, is the common link to another series of meetings in Rome and Paris involving Ledeen (an American Enterprise Institute scholar who was a special consultant to Feith), Harold Rhode (a cohort of Ledeen’s from the Iran-Contra days, who is currently employed by Feith to prepare regime-change strategy plans for Middle Eastern countries on the neoconservatives’ hit list), and Ghorbanifar (an arms dealer who claims to speak for the Iranian opposition). These meetings addressed, among other things, strategies for organizing Iranians who would be willing to cooperate with a U.S.-spearheaded regime change agenda for Iran.

Oh and this is another one.

A wrapping up of the world’s situation

By Noam Chomsky, something that we oftenly forget, or simply fails to understand.

We live in an era of media concentration, vast efforts on many fronts (political, economic, military, ideological) to insulate state and private power from critical discussion or even popular awareness, and to reduce citizens to isolated atomized creatures restricted to satisfying personal “created wants.” This massive and coordinated campaign has been partially successful, but only in a limited way. The range and scope and dedication of popular activism has also increased, all over the world, reaching a level of international solidarity and mutual support that has never been seen before. The basic conflicts are very old, but they have taken quite dramatic and significant new forms, and the stakes are far higher than ever before. It is, regrettably, no exaggeration to say that the survival of the species is at risk—and many others with it. We all know why.

The popular movements are the hope for a decent future. They of course have to have access to information and modes of interaction. In addition to alternative print and video, to a very large extent they have relied on the internet, which allows people to escape from the constraints of the doctrinal systems, to explore and investigate and discuss crucial issues with one another, to plan and organize.

“Al-Qaeda” (or equivalent) should not be the only people to do that.

Israeli Spying

Well it’s good to see that some people are still interested in the AIPAC affair after all. The author of the article, Rober Dreyfus, has been following this case for a while now.

Sharon seems to be directly implicated via Feith, Perle, Wurmser and others.

Syro-Lebanese relationship

The complexity of the Syro-Lebanese relationship reached new peaks a couple of days ago when the authorities tried to muzzle a program on a LBC (Lebanese TV channel) that was suppose to air the schizophrenic attitude of Walid Jumblatt.

But guess what?

The Syrians intervened to let the program air..

It seems that people are still wondering why Syrians got it all right since the 70s and why Lebanon got it all wrong since the Cairo agreements (1968).

Think no more friends.

Resolution 1559 and all that

Well, first everybody followed the Burns-Assad talks that resulted with an emphasis on Iraqi security rather than on the fate of the Lebanon.

Second, EU is about to agree with Syria on Economic partnership (the main line of contention was the WMD clause that is being resolved).

Third, Syria just signed the UN convention against torture

Fourth, a symbolic withdrawal occurred last week.

Fifth, check out Nicholas Blanford analysis in the Daily Star on Hezbollah and its remaining cards.

So UN Resolution 1559 is rethorics.

But rethorics are important aspect of daily political upheavals.