Wed Nov 15, 2006 at 10:14:35 PM PDT
This is the first installment of a series of articles in which I will introduce you to the cast of characters that pull all the strings behind the neocon movement, The Usual Suspects. This group has had a long and sordid history of criminal activity and have shown a propensity for sacrificing U.S. national security for their own agendas.
Today, I will introduce you to a rather
infamous figure many of you probably already know. Richard Perle,
The Prince of Darkness.
Perle served as an assistant Secretary of Defense for the Reagan administration and on the Defense Policy Board Adisory Committee from 1987 to 2004. He was Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2003 under the Bush Administration.
Perle is a member of the Project for the New American Century, (PNAC), the Hudson Institute and is a resident fellow on the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is also a disciple of the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). You will be hearing those organizations quite often in this series, but let me point out now that Nitze, who founded the SAIS in 1944, was a former investment banker for a company that floated loans for the Third Reich. It was Nitze who wrote NSC Memorandum 68 which was the policy basis for the Cold War and led to the establishment of our never ending war economy. This document asserted, for the first time in U.S. history, a U.S. claim on any economic and social resources anywhere in the world.
Perle earned his nickname "The Prince of Darkness" for his radical ideas including the use of nuclear weapons. He is considered a hardliner and believes in military intervention in the domestic conflicts of foreign nations. Perle is on the public record advocating pre-emptive strikes against North Korea, Syria, Iran amongst other countries.
From 1969 to 1980, Perle was a staffer for Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson. Less than a year after joining the staff, Perle was involved in the leaking of a CIA report on Soviet treaty violations. CIA analyst David Sullivan was author of the report and leaked it to Perle who in turn leaked it to the public. Sullivan quit before he could be fired and was subsequently hired by Henry Jackson, who only reprimanded Perle despite the CIA Director STansfield Turner's insistence that he be fired. The security leaks won't end there.
One could say he was "initiated" into the Usual Suspects in October 1970 when FBI wiretaps recorded him disclosing classified information to Israeli officials at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The information had been passed to him by NSC staff member Hal Sonnenfeldt, who himself was being wiretapped and had been repeatedly investigated by the FBI for suspected security leaks involving Israel.
In the late 70's, Perle, with his mentor Albert Wohlstetter, began promoting Turkey as a key US and Israeli strategic ally. When Islamic terrorists destablized that nation, a military coup established a pro-US regime. It was later found that the terrorism that had destabilized Turkey was carried out by the Turkish military in conjunction with the CIA and NATO. This is but one instance in which Perle was involved in western support for islamic militancy.
In 1980, Perle left his position as a Senate aide to become a consultant with the Abington Corporation. His first clients were Israeli arms dealers who wanted to sell the US weapons produced by Soltam Ltd., an Israeli company. Soltam agrees to pay Abington $10,000 a month for a period of one year. Despite Perle's resignation as a Senate aide, he inexplicably remained on the Senate rolls as a nonsalaried employee until May 31, 1981. During this period, Perle retained his Senate security clearance. William F. Hildebrand later tells the New York Times that Perle's arrangement with the Senate was not normal.
In 1983, it is Richard Perle who recommends that Michael Ledeen be hired at the Department of Defense as a consultant on terrorism. Michael Ledeen, aka Kayser Soze, will be the subject of another installment of The Usual Suspects. Ledeen was considered by the CIA to be an agent of Israel.
It was during his stint as Assistant Secretary of Defense under Reagan that he was accused of corrupt dealings with Israel after he had recommended the purchase of an armaments system from Tamares, Ltd. who had paid him $50,000 in consulting fees just a year earlier.
Controversy surrounded Perles confirmation hearings for Assistant Secretary of Defense when he indicated he would like Stephen Bryen for deputy assistant. Bryen was previously investigated by the FBI for passing classified documents to an Israeli embassy offical in 1978. Once again, spying for Israel becomes a security concern due to Richard Perle.
Two decades later, Larry Franklin will be discovered to be the conduit between the Office of Special Plans, a secret Pentagon cell and two Israeli espionage agents. Richard Perle and many of The Usual Suspects operated out of the OSP in the buildup to the Iraq war.
In 1984, Perle urged the CIA to promote a propaganda program to get Soviet soldiers to defect to the mujaheddin in Afghanistan. The CIA officers describe him as the craziest of the many extreme right-wingers they'd ever dealt with.
By 1986, Perle had completed negotiations on the Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement with Turkey. This put Turkey as the third largest recipient of US military aid after Israel and Egypt. Then he establishes a high-level US-Turkish consultation group co-chaired by the Pentagon and Turkish general staff. Perle is the American co-chair for this group. It is at this time that Richard Clarke is assigned by the State Department to "keep an eye on" Perle when he takes a trip to Turkey.
In 1987, Richard Perle resigned as Assistant Secretary of Defense under allegations he'd leaked classified information.
In 1989 Perle negotiated with Turkey an $800,000 contract for his own company, International Advisors Inc. (IAI), which he started with Douglas Feith. He received $48,000 annually. IAI is registered as Turkey's foreign agent with the Justice Department. In all, IAI receives $3.8 million dollars from Turkey over the next 6 years.
In 1995 Perle, along with Douglas Feith, illegaly act as advisors to the government of Bosnia during the Dayton peace talks without registering with the Department of Justice, as required by law. Perle goes on to serve as military advisor to Bosnia. Within months, Perle is lobbying to get Turkey to arm and train Bosnian muslims, which he claims is of vital interest to the United States.
It is soon after this that it becomes apparent to Interpol that the KLA has taken over heroin trafficking from Turkish criminal elements and that the KLA is also receiving protection from the US. Intercepted messages speak of the desire to drown the western infidels in drugs. Interpol realizes that Turkish-Albanian drug smuggling and political activities are deeply intertwined and that Osama bin Ladin is involved.
Perle was a signatory on the PNAC letter sent to President Clinton in 1998 calling for him to use military force against the Serbs. They urge Clinton to support the KLA.
This letter also calls for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. This letter claimed that diplomatic efforts had been a failure and military force was required to depose the Iraqi dictator. It was spearheaded by Ahmed Chalabi. The signatures read off like a roll call of all The Usual Suspects: Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Richard Armitage, Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, Frank Carlucci and others. These names will continue to crop up in interested places, such as the Niger Uranium forgeries, as this series continues.
He also chaired a study group that included other members of The Usual Suspects, such as Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, that created the strategy paper for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. which recommended, among other things:
incursions into Lebanon.
So far, three of those five recommendations have come to pass.
It was after receiving this paper that Netanyahu became a strong proponent of using American military force to drive Saddam out of Iraq. When Clinton refused, both Netanyahu and Blair were said to be furious.
On 9-11 the Sharon government instantly declared that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks and called for massive retaliation against Baghdad. Within two weeks, The Usual Suspects were making a feverish pitch to invade Iraq. Richard Perle was immediately brought into the inner sanctum.
It was Richard Perle, who during a July 10th, 2002 Defense Policy Board meeting, demanded the purging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of all opponents of the Iraq war, and called for a U.S. military occupation and takeover of the Saudi oil fields and a total break with the House of Saud-just as his July 1996 IASPS "Clean Break" study had proposed.
Perle, along with fellow SAIS disciple Paul Wolfowitz, argued for over 19 hours the week after 9-11 for a war against Iraq, the removal of Saddam Hussein and most importantly the seizure of Iraqi oil, just as soon as the war in Afghanistan could be wrapped up.
It was Perle's contention that we needed only 40,000 troops to invade Iraq. He was critical of Gen. Shinseki's idea to use 250,000 troops. Perle went so far as to tell David Corn of the Nationthat:
Forget the 250,000 figure, Perle said: "The Army guys don't know anything. They said we needed 500,000 troops in 1991 [for the Gulf War]. Did we need that many to win? No."
However, in a
recent issue of the L.A.
Times he is quoted as saying
I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that.
also quotes him as saying:
I think if I had been Delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said 'Should we go into Iraq?' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists . . .'
interesting to note that in that same David Corn interview, he is
quoted as saying this about Scott Ritter:
I said, President Bush was obligated to present a solid case to the American public, and so far Bush and his crew have only asserted that Saddam poses a threat. They have not proven that Saddam's supposed pursuit of weapons of mass destruction has made him a clear and present danger to the United States.
Unstable may well be an appropriate term to describe Richard Perle.
In 2003, The Guardian reported Richard Perle as admitting the invasion of Iraq was illegal.
Mr Perle told an audience in London: "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing."
Perle is also an advocate of Total Information Awareness technology.
His new spin on the Iraq fiasco is that it was a good plan but was executed poorly. This meme seems to be gaining ground amongst The Usual Suspects as a means to hang the failure of the Iraq war on the shoulders of Rumsfeld.
When asked if there would be a Democratic Party candidate he'd support for President, Perle named Joe Lieberman and Gov. Mark Warner, both strong DLC supporters.
Corruption seems to follow him wherever he goes:
On August 31, 2004, a special committee of the Board of Directors investigating the alleged misconduct of the controlling shareholders of Hollinger International submitted the 512-page Breeden Report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the report, Perle is singled out as having breached his fiduciary responsibilities as a company director by authorizing several controversial transactions which diverted the company's net profit from the shareholders to the accounts of various executives. Perle received over $3 million in bonuses on top of his salary, bringing the total to $5.4 million, and the investigating committee called for him to return the money.
Perle once had close business ties with Conrad Black of Hollinger International Inc. which owns over 400 newspapers worldwide. Perle was the top executive of Hollinger Digital Inc. the media management and investment arm of Hollinger International. Now the two men have accused each other of swindling Hollinger International. The Breeden Report describes Perle thusly:
As a faithless fiduciary, Perle should be required to disgorge all compensation received from the company
Hollinger is demanding $22.9 million in reparations.
When he finally stepped down from the chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board in 2003, it was amid allegations of a conflict of interest. He had become an advisor for the telecommunications company Global Crossing, which wanted help cutting through resistance to its proposed sale to a foreign firm with ties to China. Perle was paid $750,000 and promised another $600,000 if the sale was approved. The moment he stepped down, Global Crossing announced their ties with Perle had been severed.
that, Perle had been an advisor to Loral Space and Communications,
which had faced accusations of transferring rocket technology to China.
Sat Nov 18, 2006 at 01:30:20 PM PDT
The first part in this series, covering Richard Perle, can be found here.
In the second installment of The Usual
Suspects series, I will explore the role of Michael Ledeen, aka Kayser
Soze, in American and international affairs. Michael Ledeen has
been called the driving philosophical force behind the neoconservative
movement. Amongst his more infamous quotes are
Change--above all violent change--is the essence of human history.
Meet Michael Ledeen
Ledeen does not consider himself a conservative, but rather a "democratic revolutionary",
According to a Washington Post interview with Washington University's history department faculty, Ledeen was denied tenure in 1972 because of questions about whether he'd "used the work of somebody else without proper credit".
In 1972 Ledeen
published as his doctoral dissertation the book Universal Fascism,
which explored Mussolini's efforts to create a Fascist International in
the '20's and '30's. Ledeen argued that fascism was not reactionary but
was instead both right wing and revolutionary. Ledeen
solely because they had been hypnotized by the rhetoric of gifted orators and manipulated by skilful propagandists. It seems more plausible to attempt to explain their enthusiasm by treating them as believers in the rightness of the fascist cause, which had a coherent ideological appeal to a great many people. While `fascism-movement' was overcome and eventually suppressed by `fascism-regime', fascism nevertheless constituted a political revolution in Italy. For the first time, there was an attempt to mobilize the masses and to involve them in the political life of the country.
fascism was "the Revolution of the 20th century." He contended
that people had determined
the old ruling class had to be swept away so that newer, more dynamic elements - capable of effecting fundamental changes - could come to power.
later write in 1996 that
The people yearn for the real thing-revolution.
Ledeen would more recently write in the National Review that
Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically... it is time once again to export the democratic revolution.
In 1974 Ledeen studied Italian fascism in Rome.
In the late 70's, while working as an consultant to Italian Intelligence, Ledeen was allegedly tied to the Italian P2, a fascist organization that did most of its dirty work at that time.
Sometime around 1980 the CIA allegedly listed Ledeen as an agent of influence for Israel.
In 1980 he collaborated with Francesco Pazienza of SISMI and P-2 in the "BillyGate" affair. This is the same Pazienze who was recently found out to belong to the parallel intelligence agency in Italy. In 1985 Pazienza was found guilty of political manipulation, forgery, and the protection of terrorists. Ledeen is identified in court documents as an agent of SISMI.
Italian police official Umberto d'Amato claimed, "there was an interregnum (during the Reagan transition) during which relations between Italy and the United States were carried on in the persons of the duo Pazienza-Ledeen" By 1984 the new head of SISMI labelled Ledeen an intriguer and unwelcome in Italy.
Pazienza, a forger and felon who was kicked out of SISMI but had found new employment at Propaganda Due, the shadow intelligence agency in Italy, was acquainted with Rocco Martini, the man who produced the Niger Uranium forgeries. Pazienza has to be considered the primary suspect behind those forgeries.
As I discussed in The Usual Suspects Pt 1: Richard Perle, Prince of Darkness, it was Richard Perle who, in 1983 recommended that Michael Ledeen be hired at the Department of Defense as a consultant on terrorism. During this same period he was hired as special advisor by Wolfowitz in his role as head of the State Department Policy Planning Staff.
immediate supervisor was the Principle Assistant Secretary for
International Security Affairs, Noel Koch. Koch noticed early on that
Ledeen had a habit of stopping by Koch's outer office to read
Koch went on to warn the FBI about Ledeens record of spying for Israel, without being accused, despite the fact that the Justice Department was already engaged in several on-going, concurrent investigations of Israeli espionage and theft of American military technology.
Secretary of State George Shultz decreased Ledeen's security authorization, in order to ban him from seeing top secret documents. Even Oliver North recommended that Ledeen be made to take periodic lie detector exams.
Ledeen was a major actor in the Iran/Contra affair. As Robert McFarlane's security advisor, Ledeen vouched for Manucher Ghorbanifar, a suspected forger and a man who will get his own installment of The Usual Suspects at a later date. Ledeen met personally with the Israelis to arrange meetings with the Iranian officials that would cement the weapons for hostages deal.
In early May of 1985, Michael Ledeen, a part-time consultant to the NSC, obtained National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane's approval to meet in Israel with Prime Minister Shimon Peres to explore whether Israel
And now you know why I've nicknamed Ledeen as Kayser Soze, because it was he who originally gathered together "the usual suspects".
The Pentagon downgraded Ledeen's security clearances from Top Secret-SCI to Secret in the mid-1980s, after the FBI began a probe of Ledeen for passing classified materials to a foreign country, believed to be Israel.
Along with Stephen Bryen, Ledeen became a member of the China Commission during the George W. Bush administration. As I pointed out in the Richard Perle installment of this series, Stephen Bryen had been under investigation for giving classified secrets to Israel in the early 80's. In a future installment of this series, we will explore how Stephen Bryen was involved in "state of the art" U.S. fighter plane electronics, missiles and aircraft winding up in the possession of China via Israel.
As I pointed out in Niger Yellowcake and the Man Who Forged Too Much it was Ledeen who organized the meeting between Harold Rhodes, Larry Franklin and Manucher Ghorbanifar on Dec. 1, 2001 in Rome. Ghorbanifar, an alleged MOSSAD double agent, is Ledeen's Iranian connection. He is to Iran what Chalabi has been to Iraq. According to former Iranian President Bani Sadr, it was either Ghorbanifar, Parvis Sabati, or both, who attended the alleged Paris meetings in which the infamous "October Surprise" was set into motion in 1980, which toppled Carter and vaulted Reagan and the Usual Suspects into power.
Meanwhile, at the Tehran airport, television footage shows Iranian officials guarding the hostages listening on portable radios to inauguration ceremonies. Exactly 15 minutes after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office, the hostages were released and put on an airplane to fly home. Clearly, it was a signal. At the time, however, no one except perhaps some newly appointed Reagan officials, and some of their Israeli equivalents, knew what it meant.
In 1981 Ledeen became anti-terrorism advisor to Secretary of State Haig.
The article goes on to say that, because of the October Surprise,
The Reagan administration apparently was vulnerable to highly damaging Israeli blackmail, and at least some top officials of both governments knew it. It also explains how and why the Reagan administration so easily fell into the catastrophic series of arms-for-hostages blunders, clearly instigated as well as carried out by Israel, that became known as Irangate, or the Iran-Contra scandal. The renewed arms shipments in 1985 and 1986 were initiated by reopening exactly the same channels used in 1980 and 1981 by some of the same principals on both, sides.
Those "same principles" being Michael Ledeen and the Usual Suspects.
In the `90's, Ledeen began preaching his "total war" ideology. In 1996 he published "Freedom Betrayed; How the United States Led a Global Democratic Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away", in which he claimed that democratic institutions should be sprouting up in the vacuum created by the fall of the Soviet Union. Ledeen felt that Iran, Syria and Iraq should be the main targets of American democratization.
"Total War", the
concept first proposed by the 19th century Prussian General Karl von
Clausewitz in his book "On War", is the method America should employ
according to Ledeen, to acheive these ends. In his book, "The War
Against the Terror Masters", he states that:
We wage total war because we fight in the name of an idea, and ideas either triumph or fail ... totally.
The parallels between that worldview and both Hitler and Goebbels in Nazi Germany are compelling. In his most famous speech in 1943 Goebbels announced that "Total war is the demand of the hour." He even referred to Hitlers quote that "in the end there will be no winners or losers, only the living and the dead." Hitler, of course, demanded that Germany win utterly or be utterly destroyed, going even so far, in the end, as to issue the Nero Decree.
This is the ideology that Ledeen incessantly whispers in the welcoming ears of The Usual Suspects. This is the ideology that influences our administrations every decision. This is, my friends, "The Course" Bush would have us stay. This is madness.
In March, 2003,
Ledeen told a forum that
the level of casualties in Iraq is secondary (because) we are a warlike people...we love war.
In 2005, when Vincent Cannistrano, former CIA head of counterterrorism operations, was asked if Michael Ledeen was the source of the forged Niger Uranium documents, he answered, "You'd be very close."
said in July of that year thatthe 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
He then went on to confirm the neocon in question was Michael Ledeen.
In 2006 Ledeen reasserted his stance on Iran by insisting once again that he doesn't favor sanctions nor military force, but feels that Iran can be toppled from within through an internal revolution.
Ledeen was Karl
Roves only regular full-time international affairs consultant when Rove
served as Bush's policy analyst. But is Ledeen sane? Check
article by Emptywheel and you tell me. Channeling James Jesus
Angleton? And THIS was Roves primary consultant on international
Why channel James Jesus Angleton?
Which is why I'd like to reconsider Ledeen's use of JJA. At first glance, it appears he chooses to channel JJA because it allows him to claim expertise on intelligence issues he doesn't have and do so in a way that pushes the bounds of sanity.
Now Ledeen, much
like Perle, is trying to distance himself from the failure in Iraq.
In 2002 Ledeen
Blessedly, President Bush knows by now that the Palestinian question can only be addressed effectively once the war against Saddam and his ilk has been won...One can only hope that we turn the region into a
And now, like
Perle, he's singing a different tune. In response to the November
Vanity Fair article Ledeen tried to distance himself from the White
House when he wrote for the National Review:
I do not feel "remorseful," since I had and have no involvement with our Iraq policy. I opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place and I advocated--as I still do--support for political revolution in Iran as the logical and necessary first step in the war against the terror masters.
As William Beeman said
Most Americans have never heard of Michael Ledeen, but if the United States ends up in an extended shooting war throughout the Middle East, it will be largely due to his inspiration.more: Michael Ledeen's "Wilderness of Mirrors" (farther down this page)
Sat Nov 25, 2006 at 11:35:14 AM PDT
Bryen was executive director of JINSA after Michael Ledeen stepped down. In 1981 he handed over the directorship to his wife and became a consultant for Richard Perle. After Perle became Assistant Secretary of Defense, he named Bryen as deputy assistant secretary of defense in charge of regulating the transfer of US military technology to foreign countries.
Bryen, like Ledeen and Perle, was thought to be a spy for Israel.
Bryen had been overheard offering documents to Zvi Rafiah, an Israeli Embassy official who just happened to be the Mossad station Chief in Washington. Also present was the director of AIPAC. While Bryen refused to be polygraphed, the witness agreed and passed the polygraph test.
The FBI also had testimony of a staff member of the Foreign Relations Committee who said she'd witnessed Bryen in his Senate office with Rafiah, discussing classified documents which were spread out on a table in front of an open safe. FBI agents discovered that Bryen met at least two to three times a week with Rafiah.
Bryen's fingerprints were found on classified documents he'd stating in writing to the FBI that he'd never had in his possession. The same documents, which included a detailed analysis of Middle Eastern air defense and radar systems, he'd been accused of offering to Rafiah. Documents that "could prove to be a major embarrassment to the US government." One document was described in a Defense Intelligence Agency report as being "particularly damaging to the U.S. government."
In April of 1979, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert Keuch recommended in writing that Bryen, then a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, undergo a grand jury hearing to establish the basis for a prosecution for espionage. John Davitt, then chief of the Justice Departmentâ€™s Internal Security Division, had concurred with this decision.
Bryen escaped prosecution because Philip Heymann, chief of Justice's Criminal Division, chose to shut down the investigation. Heymann was a former schoolmate and fellow U.S. Supreme Court clerk of Bryen's attorney, Nathan Lewin. Nathan Lewin was the attorney for Larry Franklin, who recently received a 12 year sentence for passing classified documents to Israeli agents at AIPAC. Bryen's boss, Clifford Case, and Richard Perle's boss, Henry Jackson, also exerted strong pressure and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to grant the Justice Department access to files which were key to the investigation.
Bryen was then asked to resign from his post. Rafiah would go on to work as a consultant for Israeli defense industries. His area of expertise was how to obtain U.S. Pentagon contracts.
Less than two years later Perle had placed Bryen in charge of military technology transfer to foreign countries. Within six months, at Richard Perle's insistence, Bryen received both Top Secret-SCI (sensitive compartmented information) and Top Secret-â€�NATO/COSMICâ€� clearances.
By 1988 Bryen had allegedly established a pipeline of classified US technology to Israel. As two former DOD officials who wish to remain anonymous have stated, there were numerous instances where U.S. companies were denied licenses to export sensitive technology, only to learn later that Israeli companies subsequently exported similar (U.S.-derived) weapons and technology to the same foreign power, most notably China. They claim that bypassing US security and getting classified technologies into Israel's hands was "standard operating procedure" for Dr. Bryen.
For example, in early 1988, Israel was in need of "klystrons", small microwave amplifiers critical in a missiles target acquisition system and one of the most advanced US military technologies of that time. Their export was forbidden. By this time, Bryen had founded and was in charge of the DOD's Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA), within Richard Perle's internal security policy office. DTSA controlled defense technology exports.
When Bryen sent Richard Levine, a navy tech transfer official, a standard form informing him of Bryen's intent to transfer 4 klystrons to Israel, Levine flatly replied "No" and asked for a meeting of the ISA (International Security Affairs) and DSAA (Defense Security Assistance Agency), neither of whom had been consulted as would normally be done. At the meeting, all the officials opposed the transfer. Bryen stated that he'd ask the Israelis what they needed the klystrons for. Later he informed all concerned that the Israelis had given an acceptable answer and that the klystrons had been released.
The China Commission
In its May 27, 1997 issue, Defense Week reported that,
The following year, the Nov. 1, 1998 Janeâ€™s Intelligence Review reported the transfer by Israel to China of the Phalcon airborne early warning and control system, the Python air-combat missile, and the F-10 fighter aircraft, containing "state-of-the-art U.S. electronics."
In response to this, Clinton established the United Staes-China Economic and Security Review Commission, ie "The China Commission", to
This was not the first time Israel had passed along sensitive material to a foreign nation at odds with the United States. As Duncan Clarke says in Israel's Unauthorized Arm's Transfers,
In the Pollard spy scandal, Jonathon Pollard stole classified documents relating to the US Nuclear Deterrent relative to the USSR and sent them to Israel who in turn traded them to the Soviet Union in exchange for increased emigration quotas from the USSR to Israel.
An FBI agent is quoted as saying:
In 1992, the first Bush Administration was concerned about the transfer to China by Israel of U.S. Patriot missiles and/or technology. In response they launched a broad inter-departmental investigation into the export of classified technology to China. The Pentagon discovered that the export to Israel of advanced AIM-9M air-to-air missiles was being promoted from out of Paul Wolfowitz's office. Since Israel had already been caught selling AIM 9-L missiles to China, in violation of their agreement with the U.S., the Joint Chiefs of Staff intervened to cancel the deal.
The AIM 9-L, the Harpy anti-radar attack UAV, the TOW-2 anti-tank missile, the F-16, all found their way from the U.S. to Israel to China.
In April 2001, at the urging of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Bryen was appointed a member of the China Commission by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. In August 2004, his appointment was extended through December of 2005.
One former senior FBI counter-intelligence officials reaction to his appointment was:
A Q clearance is required to gain access to nuclear technology.
Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 09:07:59 AM PDT
In the fourth installment of this series I
will cover the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney.
For those just joining, here are the first three installments of
The Usual Suspects:
Dick Cheney has a long and illustrious career aiding and ultimately leading The Usual Suspects. While his political career started at roughly the same time as many of the Usual Suspects, unlike many of this gang, he didnâ€™t get his start working for Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson. He started his career in politics working for Richard Nixon in 1969.
For those of us who lived in 1969, all that needs said is this was a man who was pro-Vietnam yet took 5 deferments because, as he was quoted in 1989: "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service" and who then wanted to work for Richard Nixon.
For the rest of you: Meet Dick Cheney.
Of all Cheneyâ€™s deferments, the fourth and fifth ones are perhaps the most telling. After three deferments for being in college, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution meant being a college student wasnâ€™t enough to avoid going to war. Being married could keep you home, however and so 22 days later, Dick Cheney married his wife Lynee. That kept him out of Vietnam for a while, but then, as Wikipedia explains it:
Well, you do the math. On second thought, let me do the math. Cheney got his wife pregnant on or around the 10th of November, 1965. However, one might also note that their first daughter, Elizabeth, was born exactly 9 months and 2 days after the ban was lifted. Once all his other deferments would no longer keep him from going to war, he and Mrs. Cheney didnâ€™t waste any time. Which is fine by me if youâ€™re not at the same time supporting said war. Obviously, Cheney thought Vietnam was just dandy...for the other guy.
In his 1989 confirmation hearings to become Bush Iâ€™s Secretary of Defense, Cheney said
But back to 1969. Working for Richard Nixon, the man who said
Cheney was special assistant to the director of the Office of Economic Opportunity from 1969 to 1970. Yeah, whoâ€™da thunk it? Cheney working for the Office that oversaw Job Corps, Head Start and a great many of the programs of Johnsonâ€™s War on Poverty. Oh, wait, did I mention that the OEO was dismantled by Richard Nixon and most of its programs shipped off to other agencies? Guess that was one short lived war. Iâ€™m sure Dick Cheney "did his part." He later voted against funding Head Start as a Representative of Wyoming in the 80's. Oh, and by the way, guess who was the Director of the OEO at that time? Donald Rumsfeld.
And so it began.
As the Boston Globe reports:
Yep, that was one short war.
Under Ford, Cheney became the youngest White House Chief of Staff in history. An article in the Rolling Stone reported that
More from the Globe shows us just how far Cheney would go to preserve unfettered presidential powers. When a 20 year CIA domestic spying program was revealed and Congress was in an uproar because the CIA had been opening mail, tapping phones and breaking into the homes of anti-war protestors:
And thus began FISA. So it should come as no surprise that Bush is ignoring FISA and domestic spying has once again become something an American president feels is within his presidential prerogative. Some dare call it tyranny.
In 1978, Cheney became a Representative for Wyoming. By 1988 heâ€™d become the House Minority Whip. What happened during those years are most informative.
According to Sourcewatch
Nice guy huh?
In November of 1986 the Iran-Contra scandal finally broke through the layers of Perception Management and entered the publics awareness. As Robert Parry, one of the reporters to first uncover parts of the scandal would later write:
So the Democrats, in the name of bipartisanship, let The Usual Suspects off the hook over the Iran-Contra scandal and now theyâ€™re back, making an even greater obscenity of our government and laws and the Democrats are back in power again and what do they want? More bipartisanship.
Once the scandal was contained and Bush Sr safely elected President instead of send to prison, Cheney became Bushâ€™s defense secretary. Later, when Bush lost his second election, he pardoned all the Iran-Contra criminals on Christmas Eve 1992. Thanks to that, Elliott Abrams was allowed to become Deputy National Security Advisor and, as can be found in Wikipedia:
Bush's junior is the President.
And now Hamilton just wrapped up making his recommendations as co-chair of the Iraq Survey Group. Bipartisanship. Kinda makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy inside now that the Dems are back in charge doesnâ€™t it?
But back to Dick Cheney, He Who Eats Babies Raw.
Having done his part to bail Daddy Bushâ€™s butt out of the fire and nab himself the job of Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney directed the invasion of Panama, sending of troops into Somalia and Operation Desert Storm. He worked closely with the likes of Paul Wolfowitz and it was Cheney who selected Colin Powell to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was Cheney who openly worried that Iraq, Iran or North Korea would get nuclear weapons.
When Saddam invaded Kuwait, Cheney advised Bush to start Operation Desert Storm without the consent of Congress. Bush asked Congress anyways, to which Cheney said:
During Operation Desert Storm Cheney had to confront the Air Force Chief of Staff, Michael Dugan over quotes made to the press. As Colin Powell recollected:
Cheney fired Dugan, the Iraqis were a pushover and from what weâ€™ve seen so far from The Usual Suspects, American commanders probably were taking their cues from Israel. Canâ€™t let the public find that out, doncha ya know.
Once Clinton took over the presidency, Cheney left public office and joined the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), whose membership seems to be mandatory for The Usual Suspects. One could rename the it The Usual Suspects Bar and Grill.
And of course, as pretty much anyone who hasnâ€™t been in a coma knows, from 1995 to 2000, Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton. What most people donâ€™t know is that during his tenure, Halliburtons off shore tax havens increased from 9 to 44. I can guarantee that most right wingnuts who railed about the U.N. Oil for Food program donâ€™t know that Halliburton was making millions from Iraqâ€™s oil industry under that same program.
Halliburton, of course, received a $7 BILLION no-bid contract to rebuild Iraq. I hear electricity is still sporadic in Baghdad even though Halliburtonâ€™s been in Iraq longer than the U.S. fought WW2. I guess $7 BILLION doesnâ€™t go far in Iraq.
Patrick Leahy accused Cheney of cronyism, to which Cheney told Leahy to "go fuck yourself."
In 2005, Cheneyâ€™s gross income was nearly $8.82 million. Most of this came from his Halliburton stocks. Not too shabby considering what The Nation reveals about what a class-action lawsuit against Halliburton has to say:
Emphasis mine because I just couldnâ€™t miss pointing out the similarity between what happened to Halliburton and how they sold America a bill of goods about Iraq. Then he turns around and makes another killing, getting Halliburton the no-bid contract and taking them from $8 a share to todays final posting of $33.3 per share. Hmmm, quadrupled it since 2001. Not too shabby indeed.
Cheney was a founder for the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). This is the neocon Holy Grail. If you want to know what they plan for Americaâ€™s future, just read that. It contains all sorts of wonderful ideas, like how a "Pearl Harbor" type event would be necessary to propel America into thier "process of transformation". A completely "Ledeenian" type of statement. Or how we should develop genome-specific bioweapons. Eugenics being right up Michael Ledeenâ€™s alley, I suppose.
A politically useful tool?
Given Cheneyâ€™s chickenhawk credentials, I suppose a bioweapon is okay so long as it doesnâ€™t affect him. A race-specific bioweapon, therefore, would be something he would have no problem with at all.
And of course, Cheney joined the board of advisors for JINSA, which, as Iâ€™ve already pointed out in Part 2, was founded by Michael Ledeen.
Since becoming Vice President of the United States, (which for some reason the very typing of those words reminds me of the The Omen III), Cheney made Paul Wolfowitz the Pentagons #2 man, he brought in John Bolton, then vice-president of AEI, and played a key role in getting Elliott Abrams to the Middle East office of the NSC.
Scooter Libby, another member of the PNAC, was his original Chief of Staff. Libby is under indictment for the Valerie Plame affair.
As for the Plame affair, thereâ€™s been plenty posted on the internet so far about Cheneyâ€™s possible involvement and to do it justice would take an article all to itself. I think the fact that Valerie Plame is suing Dick Cheney for illegally conspiring to reveal her identity about covers it for the time being.
Then there was Cheneyâ€™s relationship with Ken Lay. As Michael Moore wrote in "An Open Letter to George W. Bush"
Let me finish with this quote by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January:
Thereâ€™s so much about Dick Cheney that a person could write several novels and still not cover the half of it. Anyone with additional insights, feel free to add your knowledge in the comments section below.
Thu Dec 14, 2006 at 09:29:03 AM PDT
Paul Wolfowitz got his start where many of The Usual Suspects began their careers: on the staff of Henry "Scoop" Jackson. It was there that he developed a close relation with Richard Perle. Like Perle, Wolfowitz was also a disciple of the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Like Perle, Wolfowitz tutor was Albert Wohlstetter. It was Wohlstetter, a vehement opponent of arms control, who recommended Wolfowitz to Fred Ikle, the head of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), who brought him on board in 1973. Stephen Green noted that
Five years later, Wolfowitz was being investigated for passing classified information to Israel through an AIPAC intermediary. Once again, an investigaton into The Usual Suspects spy ring was dropped. Wolfowitz continued to work for the ACDA till the end of the Carter Administration.
Paul Wolfowitz is now head of The World Bank. His story beneath the fold.
Team B, a prelude to the Iraq debacle.
During the Ford administration, Wolfowitz mentor, Albert Wohlstetter, assailed the U.S. intelligence agencies over the annual National Intelligence Estimate because he felt they underestimated the Soviet threat. This came at a time when Rumsfeld and Cheney had just pulled off the "Halloween Massacre" which had purged the White House Cabinet and made Cheney the youngest Chief of Staff in U.S. history. Rumsfeld and Cheney pushed out CIA director William Colby and replaced him with George H.W. Bush.
The reason for this manuever was because the CIA had been uncooperative with the neocons anti-detente campaign. As Sidney Blumenthal explains:
25 years later, history would repeat itself in the intelligence buildup to the Iraq war. Team B would become the Office of Special Plans. The results would be identical.
In 1976, Team B's report would be leaked to the press. It stated that
The report then went on to claim that the Soviets had developed new, terrifying Weapons of Mass Destruction, such as a nuclear submarine fleet that utilized an undetectable sonar system that didn't depend on sound.
According to Dr. Anne Cahn of the ACDA:
The same modus operandi that was put into effect in the propaganda war to get us into Iraq.
When Carter took over in 1977, Wolfowitz moved to the Pentagon.
The next year, as Counterpunch reports
In 1979, when Jeanne Kirkpatrick began the neocon migration from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, Wolfowitz received a phone call from Fred Ikle asking him to leave the Carter administration to join Reagan's administration. In early 1980, he resigned from the Pentagon and began teaching at the SAIS. One of his students was Scooter Libby, who would go on to become one of Wolfowitz deputies.
In 1981, Wolfowitz became Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department where he was responsible for defining the nations long term foreign policy goals. With him came Scooter Libby. Not long after, Wolfowitz made Michael Ledeen a special advisor. Perle, shortly afterwards, recommended Ledeen to the Department of Defense as a consultant on terrorism.
It wouldn't be long after that the Jonathon Pollard spy scandal broke.
According to EIR:
Meanwhile, Libby and Wolfowitz were off to Manila where he met with the Dictator Marcos to press for, as Wolfowitz put it
During this time he fought Congress, which wanted to end military aide to the Marcos regime.
Later, when massive street protests caused Marcos to flee the Philipinnes on a U.S. air force plane and Reagan was forced to recognize the Aquino government, Wolfowitz claimed that this only showed that democracy
Again, a meme we heard repeated in the invasion of Iraq.
Another meme we hear repeated in Iraq can be seen in Wolfowitz handling of his next post, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia. As ABC News reported:
Ah yes, the "insurgency". When you occupy another country and they try to kick you out, they're an insurgent.
ABC News goes on to say that the Director of the International Forum on Indonesian Development claimed Wolfowitz went to East Timor and saw what was happening and kept quiet. ABC News then claims that
Graft, corruption, it's the "free market" neocon way. What else would the High Priest of Neocon do? Wolfowitz still praises Suharto to this day.
When Bush the Elder became president, Wolfowitz became Undersecretary for Defense and reported directly to Dick Cheney. His new job was to figure out a new military strategy for the U.S. after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Defense Planning Guide
Scooter Libby and Paul Wolfowitz would write
Wolfowitz was clear what the U.S. policy should be:
The foundations for the PNAC and the Bush Doctrine were being laid.
Meanwhile the flow of U.S. military technology from Israel and from there to China, as I detailed in The Usual Suspects Pt 3: Stephen Bryen continued with Wolfowitz willing participation. As Lew Rockwell reports:
When Clinton took over, Wolfowitz moved on to academia, becoming the Dean at SAIS.
In 1997, he became a charter member of PNAC. There he continued to advocate preemptive military intervention against Iraq. It was Wolfowitz who drafted the letter to Clinton stating
He attacks the weapons inspectors, claiming
He derides the U.N. and insists that America must unilaterally remove Saddam Hussein for the safety of Israel and our moderate Arab allies. Of course, much as in the Team B report, we would find out that his exaggerated and paranoid warnings were simply not true.
That same year he would urge Clinton to arm Ahmed Chalabi's INC to overthrow Saddams regime from within.
In 1999 NATO formed the Georgia-Ukraine-Uzbekistan-Azerbaijan-Moldava alliance (GUUAM), to control the Caspian oil and gas resources. On the Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce? Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney, Armitage...a regular Who's Who of The Usual Suspects.
Wolfowitz would go on to join The Vulcans, a group led by Condi Rice in Bush Juniors campaign team. When Bush usurped the presidency, Wolfowitz became U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, reporting to Donald Rumsfeld.
And once again, as in Team B, Wolfowitz and The Usual Suspects ignore the advice of the military and intelligence agencies and exaggerate the threat in order to pursue their own agenda. Only afterwards would Wolfowitz admit that there were no ties between Iraq and Al Queda:
And once again, as in Team B, Wolfowitz and The Usual Suspects use Weapons of Mass Destruction as their number one argument to acheive their agenda. As Wolfowitz himself later admitted:
And once again, as in Team B, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld decided that the intelligence community was deemed hostile to conservative ideas and once again, as in Team B, an alternative unit was formed outside the CIA to challenge the agency's intelligence. The Office of Special Plans.
It was from the Office of Special Plans that Larry Franklin operated. Franklin is now serving a 12 year sentence for passing classified information to Israeli agents operating out of AIPAC.
According to Tom Paine's report,
Keep in mind that it was Larry Franklin who accomanied Harold Rhode and Michael Ledeen to Rome in 2001 to meet with Manucher Ghorbanifar to open channels with Iran and get information about Iraq. A trip that coincided with the appearance of the now infamous Niger Yellowcake forgeries.
Franklin studied at SAIS under Paul Wolfowitz and it was Wolfowitz who brought him into the administration. Franklin worked in the OSP under William Luti who bragged to Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski that he reported directly to Scooter Libby.
But passing classified information to Israel was not the Office of Special Plans main function. It was formed, as Team B had been before, to come up with evidence to support the neocons agenda. Niger Yellowcake, weapons of mass destruction, bioweapons labs, the list of things went on and on.
And once again, as in Team B, if you go through the OSP's specific allegations, one by one, you find that they are all wrong.
What was the price for such complete incompetence? In 2005, Wolfowitz became the President of the World Bank.
Summary: In this post, I look at a series
of columns Michael Ledeen has written
using former Counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton (JJA) as a
literary foil. In the earliest of these JJA columns, Ledeen
basically uses the character of the noted paranoid JJA as an excuse to
formulate his own baseless conspiracy theories. But of late, Ledeen has
been using the device to excuse intelligence breaches he--or his very
close allies--have been involved in. In this new formulation, Ledeen
seems to be alluding to JJA as a way to boast of his own conspiracies
to those in the know, while setting up straw man arguments to otherwise
deny the conspiracy.
Michael Ledeen is regularly haunted by a crazy old ghost. Not just any ghost. He's visited by the longtime head of US Counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton (JJA), conjured up through an old ouija board he bought in New Orleans. Or at least that's what Ledeen contrives in a series of columns.
He first used this device, I think, to give himself cover for exploiting current events to make great paranoid claims. Want to turn the Chandra Levy murder into a case of international espionage? Conjure JJA to tell you that Gary Condit was a double agent--blackmailed into trading intelligence in exchange for silence about his multiple affairs. When Levy threatened to expose her affair, she threatened to ruin the double agent arrangement. Want to use the DC Sniper case to drum up fear about Islamic terrorists? Have JJA explain to you that Mohammed's attacks were done at the behest of an Islamic terrorist group who was actually probing US defenses. Want to exploit the anthrax attacks in your attempts to launch a war against Iraq? Make JJA explain how, contrary to all the evidence, the attacks were obviously a plot of Saddam's.
You see, by the end of his life, JJA was absolutely fricking nuts. He had spent his life hunting double agents--heck, he even was a close friend of Kim Philby. And by the end, he had been seeing double for so long he had by most accounts become certifiably paranoid. By invoking JJA, Ledeen allows himself to posit all manner of wacky plots without damaging his (in some crowds, anyway) considerable credibility.
But Ledeen's use of the JJA device has changed
in recent years, in ways that I think merit some attention.
Sometime in 2004, Ledeen begins to use the JJA device to project blame onto the CIA and others (Richard Armitage is a favorite scapegoat) for failures of the Bush Administration. So Ledeen channels JJA to excuse the Bush Administration for failing to predict 9/11. The August 6 PDB? Just one isolated, "vague" piece of intelligence. And Richard Clarke's mountain of evidence? A better justification of a hard line against Iran than evidence that Bush ignored 9/11.
This use of the JJA device is more complex
than its earlier use to build grand conspiracy theories. Ledeen is
still using JJA to make claims that are not defensible, similar to the
way he used JJA to make totally unsubstantiated conspiracy claims. But
he's now making logically inconsistent claims, so he can rage against
ignored intelligence without acknowledging that Bush ignored it.
Let JJA claim that these are unspecific threats, rather than having to make such a ridiculous claim himself. But after dismissing the ability of intelligence to draw conclusions from such information, Ledeen has JJA suggest that we should be using the same evidence to attack Iran. What is at once inconclusive intelligence is, through the magic of JJA, also a casus belli.
Clarke's book at once contains too little
evidence to argue we should have anticipated 9/11, but enough evidence
to argue we should do something about Iran. In this more complex form,
Ledeen uses JJA to make logically incompatible arguments--to
simultaneously exonerate his allies for not meeting the Ledeen
standards of paranoia in the past, but demanding that they act on his
paranoia in the future.
Ledeen's use of JJA to issue denials for himself
Many of Ledeen's most recent uses of JJA serve not to exonerate his allies, but to exonerate himself or others involved in plots they have propagated. He uses JJA to mock the AIPAC espionage investigation, the Chalabi leak case, the Plame and Niger forgery investigations--all intelligence breaches in which Ledeen is reputed to have a very close role. Ledeen, like Larry Franklin, has used close ties with Israel to leverage for a hard line against Iran (indeed, a hard line against Iran is about all he writes about of late). Ledeen was instrumental in helping Chalabi make the case for war against Iraq. And his role as a broker of the the Niger forgeries has been widely alleged. So these are all conspiracies in which he was at least tangentially involved.
His strategy in these JJA dialogues changes again. At several points, he uses JJA to just completely excuse his own behavior.
A friend of yours has shared code word intelligence with one of your own worst enemies? No big deal. JJA was great friends with Kim Philby, after all. Or take Ledeen's explanation for the Plame affair, that it was just an attempted political assassination (of Bush, not Wilson!).
You see, Vice Presidents are supposed to be able to out their own spies.
In other cases, Ledeen uses JJA to mock (but not refute) the claims to conspiracy advanced about his plots, as in this passage from this column on Franklin.
Ledeen, here, sounds like the rational one. But it's just a ruse. He's arguing that because the Israelis got caught once, they wouldn't spy on us again. Now that gives me comfort
But the thing is, when Ledeen deals with his own involvement in these plots, he never denies--or even credibly disproves--the case against him. Here's his take on his role in the Niger forgeries.
Note that Ledeen doesn't bother to answer the
accusation that he "schlepped" these documents. Instead he launches
into a word game. He claims to be arguing against those who "say that the Italian intelligence service never
transmitted the documents to us." Notice the double negative, which
would suggest Ledeen was arguing that SISMI in fact had
given us the documents. But then he shifts the focus of his argument
again. He points out that Italy and SSCI had concluded that SISMI
didn't provide the forgeries. But what he's really
offering is a technical denial, solely that they didn't hand over the
documents themselves (as eRiposte has
shown, they provided near-transcriptions of the documents,
corrected to make them more plausible). Which they didn't. But now he
tries to discredit the Rozen/Marshall/Hersh argument, that Rocco
Martino dealt the documents to Burba, who passed them on to the
embassy. But he mischaracterizes their argument to do so. And finally,
he finds some way to argue that since the documents came through
State--through his buddy Bolton's department, no less!--the CIA is
responsible for not having discredited the document. Huh?
A comparison of methods--two columns on Ahmed Chalabi
The Chalabi column is particularly interesting, because it allows us to compare how Ledeen uses the JJA device with how he makes a similar argument in a more traditional essay. Ledeen wrote a traditional essay on the Chalabi leak just four days after publishing his JJA dialogue. In the JJA column, he excuses Chalabi by completely mischaracterizing the reports of the Chalabi leak and then refuting those mischaracterized claims.
Um, no. I'm not aware of any portrayal of the Chalabi leak in which the leak was discovered because Chalabi communicated it in code that had been broken. Rather, the CIA noticed that Iran stopped using the code and put that fact together with earlier statements from Chalabi they had intercepted. Much of this straw man argument seems to be tongue in cheek, because Ledeen later raises an issue that he must know actually hurts his case and he does it using the same mocking tone.
The thing is, the Chalabi episode by itself proves the CIA was probably correct to deny these exiles entry. They were denied entry for the same kind of double-dealing Chalabi was accused of (double dealing with Iran, not Iraq). And one of the exiles, Ali Karem, was challenged precisely because of his relationship with his cousin, Aras Karem, who is still alleged to be the key link between Chalabi and Iran. In other words, raising this history doesn't exonerate Chalabi. It simply reminds those in the know of how long the relationship between Chalabi and Iran has been suspected. And Ledeen seems to think this is witty, not alarming. In other words, Ledeen mocks the entire story as a wacky conspiracy--even though he as much as admits that the concern is well-founded.
In contrast, in Ledeen's traditional essay, he
admits the INC has been infiltrated by Iranian intelligence.
But he then uses that admission to shift the blame, once again, to scapegoat CIA and Richard Armitage. The scapegoat claim requires Ledeen to turn two more justifiable accusations on their head--that Chalabi ruined the 1996 coup in Iraq, and that his defectors were largely responsible for the mobile weapons claims.
Which finally leaves Ledeen arguing that it doesn't matter if Chalabi is a spy, because our own intelligence services have still screwed up.
Now, both of Ledeen's claims--that Chalabi exposed the 1996 plot as amateur and that Chalabi wasn't directly responsible for the mobile weapons lab claims--are more misdirection. At least according to Bob Baer, it was partly Chalabi's involvement in the 1996 coup attempt that caused the US to withdraw support from an associated CIA-supported plot (See No Evil 200). And no greater authority than Chalabi himself asserts that Chalabi's defectors were responsible for the mobile weapons lab claims (and he says this even after Judy's article backing off the claim the trailers are mobile weapons labs).
So Ledeen, in both the traditional essay and the JJA form, mocks the claim against Chalabi and then introduces reasons why readers should believe the worst about Chalabi (if they're sufficiently aware to understand the oblique references to his past). But in the essay, he treats the claims against Chalabi with some seriousness in an attempt to shift blame. Whereas the dialogue comes off as almost a gleeful confession that, yes, Chalabi might be a double agent and did you know that the Neocons have been involved in his double dealing from day one???
Why channel James Jesus Angleton?
Which is why I'd like to reconsider Ledeen's use of JJA. At first glance, it appears he chooses to channel JJA because it allows him to claim expertise on intelligence issues he doesn't have and do so in a way that pushes the bounds of sanity.
But Ledeen also presents JJA as a very close friend. He calls him "my old friend." He describes JJA's voice as "that gravelly near-whisper I knew so well." These are curious claims. Ledeen returned to the US from his stint of writing books on fascism in Italy in 1977. While Ledeen got involved in Republican smear politics immediately--writing articles alleging Carter had ties to Libya--his ill-fated career in counterintelligence didn't start until several years later, well after JJA had been ousted from the CIA in 1974. Now, Angleton died in 1987, so it's certainly possible Ledeen knew him. But where would he have met him?
I'm not sure. But it's worth considering that JJA occupied the same nexus between Italy, Israel, and US intelligence as Ledeen (JJA apparently doesn't have Ledeen's well-established ties to Iranian fabricators, but his association with British intelligence before the war might amount to the same thing). JJA was rumored to favor Italian fascism when he lived there as a youth, managed counterintelligence in Italy after World War II, and has been alleged to be connected with the founding of Propaganda Due. And for much of his career he managed the CIA's relationship with Mossad. If these allegations are correct, JJA and Ledeen share a fondness for fascism (the fascist movement, Ledeen would say), close operational ties to Israel and Italy, and a habit of seeing ghosts behind every tree.
Which gives Ledeen's mockery of his own conspiracies a very different spin. At the risk of sounding like JJA (or Ledeen) myself, Michael Ledeen and JJA traveled similar paths in counter-intelligence, where a well-cultivated paranoia about enemies justifies all manner of covert activities. For JJA (as far as we know--there were accusations of much more), this justified establishing a wide-ranging spy network within the US. For Ledeen, it justifies trading secrets with friends and enemies and, apparently, constructing elaborate plots to bring the country into a unjustified war.
His JJA columns may have started as something
else. But of late they seem to have turned into celebrations of
Ledeen's own conspiracies ... at least for those in on the joke.
Ledeen admits the truth
My overall impression, then, of Ledeen's JJA articles relating to issues he's involved with, is that he's taunting his opponents--acknowledging the sheer ineptitude of his plots, but laughing that he hasn't been discovered yet.
I find one detail of these dialogues really telling. In both his JJA dialogues and his traditional essays, he occasionally attacks journalists by name. Ledeen attacks Josh Marshall particularly bitterly in one of the dialogues (apparently for Marshall's exposure of Michelle Ledeen's gravy train job in Iraq courtesy of the Heritage Foundation). He attacks Seymour Hersh repeatedly in his traditional essays. But I have not found one mention of Hersh in the JJA dialogues. Hersh, you'll recall, is the guy who brought down JJA in 1974 by exposing his domestic spying activities in a blockbuster article in the NYT. Perhaps, in his dialogues, Ledeen would rather not admit that a little real exposure might bring down the whole charade.
Maybe that will happen for Ledeen soon. On several key points, he has already been proved wrong, as in this passage where he predicts the Franklin case will never result in indictments.
Put up or shut up, indeed.
Not quite comprehensive list of Ledeen's JJA columnsThe French Connection 11/7/05 Published in response to the La Repubblica series, Ledeen tries to blame the Niger forgeries on the French.
Z Squared 10/18/05 Uses the now largely discredited Zawahiri letter to claim terrorist ties between Sunnis and Shiites.
Intelligence? You Kidding Me? 8/12/05, In response to Curt Weldon's championing of the Able Danger story, Ledeen claims the 9/11 commission lied about knowing about the program.
Was It Suicide? 7/18/05 A supposition that the London tube bombing was not a suicide bombing.
Porter's Purge 11/16/04 complaining about the Plame investigation and Anonymous' (Michael Scheuer's) publication.
An Improbable Molehunt 8/31/04 Published before the Franklin case got too far, Ledeen claims the FBI doesn't have any real evidence because there have been no indictments.
The Agency Rides Again 5/24/04 To dismiss the notion that Chalabi is an Iranian spy.
Signals and Background Noise 4/12/04 An attempt to get Condi off the hook for her lies about the PDB that presented only "historical" information.
Once Upon a Spymaster, Part II 3/01/04 A continuation of the critique on Tenet, used to blab more about the Iranian regime.
Once Upon a Spymaster 2/27/04 A critique of Tenet's Senate testimony used to argue for a unified theory of terrorism.
Back to the Angleton Files 11/25/03 Allegations that the DC sniper was tied to Islamic terrorists.
No Finest Hour 4/8/03 Assessment of attempt to take out Saddam used to argue for regime change.
How We're Doing 11/12/01 Allegation that the anthrax was a plot of Saddam's.
An Unexplored Lead 7/16/01 Ledeen imagines Gary Condit is a double agent.
Biographies of the
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