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Saturday, 4 September 2004
Chalabi...Chalabi...where have I heard that name before?

Excerpted from the Washington Post:

FBI counterintelligence investigators have in recent weeks questioned current and former U.S. officials about whether a small group of Iran specialists at the Pentagon and in Vice President Cheney's office may have been involved in passing classified information to an Iraqi politician or a U.S. lobbying group allied with Israel, according to sources familiar with or involved in the case.

The investigators have asked questions about personnel in the office of Pentagon Undersecretary for Policy Douglas J. Feith as well as members of the influential Defense Policy Board...

Investigators have specifically asked about a group of neoconservatives involved in defense issues, including Feith, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, Iraq and Iran specialist Harold Rhode and others at the Pentagon. FBI agents also have asked current and former officials about Richard Perle of the defense board and David Wurmser, an Iran specialist and principal deputy assistant for national security affairs in Cheney's office...

The initial interest was: Do you believe certain people would spy for Israel and pass secret information?" said one source interviewed by the FBI about the defense officials...

[Oh, Israel would never spy on us, we're such good friends.]

(The)investigation...dates back more than two years and includes diverse threads, U.S. officials and people close to the case said.

One aspect of the probe concerns AIPAC and another looks at whether intelligence on Iran ended up in the hands of Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, a longtime Pentagon favorite once considered a possible replacement for Saddam Hussein.

Iran has been a particularly controversial issue within the Bush administration, which still does not have a formal policy more than 3 1/2 years after taking office.

A small group of Pentagon neoconservatives [Real men go to Tehran] opposed a draft directive because it did not support a change of governments in Tehran, which they advocated, current and former U.S. officials said.

The officials whose names came up during questioning have strong ties to Israel. They also share a long-standing position on Iran and other radical regimes. Wurmser, Feith and Perle were co-authors of a 1996 policy paper for then-Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." It called for removing Hussein from power in Iraq as part of a broad strategy to transform the region and remove radical regimes.

...officials also concede that Israel is one of the three countries most active in spying on the United States. Israel denies conducting espionage in the United States.

Noooooo!!!!!Anti-Semitic bastards!!!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:58 AM EDT
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Thursday, 2 September 2004
The Cabal.

The real Republican Party...from the NY Times (Again, sorry.)

Three times a year for 23 years, a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country have met behind closed doors at undisclosed locations for a confidential conference, the Council for National Policy, to strategize about how to turn the country to the right.
Details are closely guarded.

"The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting," a list of rules obtained by The New York Times advises the attendees.

The membership list is "strictly confidential." Guests may attend "only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee." In e-mail messages to one another, members are instructed not to refer to the organization by name, to protect against leaks.

This week, before the Republican convention, the members quietly convened in New York, holding their latest meeting almost in plain sight, at the Plaza Hotel, for what a participant called "a pep rally" to re-elect President Bush.

This week, as the Bush campaign seeks to rally Christian conservative leaders to send Republican voters to the polls, several Bush administration and campaign officials were on hand, according to an agenda obtained by The New York Times.

"The destiny of our nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement," the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, told the gathering as he accepted its Thomas Jefferson award on Thursday, according to an attendee's notes.

The secrecy that surrounds the meeting and attendees like the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly and the head of the National Rifle Association, among others, makes it a subject of suspicion, at least in the minds of the few liberals aware of it.

"The real crux of this is that these are the genuine leaders of the Republican Party, but they certainly aren't going to be visible on television next week," Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said.

"The C.N.P. members are not going to be visible next week," he said. "But they are very much on the minds of George W. Bush and Karl Rove every week of the year, because these are the real powers in the party."

Over the years, the council has become a staging ground for conservative efforts to make the Republican Party more socially conservative. Ms. Schlafly, who helped build a grass-roots network to fight for socially conservative positions in the party, is a longstanding member.

The membership list this year was a who's who of evangelical Protestant conservatives and their allies, including Dr. Dobson, Mr. Weyrich, Holland H. Coors of the beer dynasty; Wayne LaPierre of the National Riffle Association, Richard A. Viguerie of American Target Advertising, Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.

[Who is this guy, Rasputin? He's everywhere.]

On Wednesday, members had a dinner in the Rainbow Room, where William F. Buckley Jr. of the National Review was a special guest. At 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, members had "prayer sessions" in the Rose Room at the hotel.
[Let's Partay!]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:49 AM EDT
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Real men want to go to Tehran.

The Plot Thickens.

This administrations policy on Iran is nonexistent. No wonder the Israelis are thinking of taking matters into their own hands. I don't think we have ever had such a bunch of nincompoops in control of our foreign and defense policies in our entire history.

From the NY Times::

The Pentagon's policy office, where a lower-level analyst is under suspicion of passing secrets to Israel, was deeply involved in deliberations over how the United States should deal with Iran, its conservative Islamic government and its nuclear weapons ambitions - all issues of intense concern to Israel as well.

The analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, a Farsi-speaking specialist on Iran in the office, participated in a secret outreach meeting with an Iranian opposition figure, had access to classified intelligence about Iran's nuclear program and was one of many officials involved in drafting a top-secret presidential order on Iran

Israeli officials were intently interested in both Washington's policy debates and in the intelligence about the progress Iran is making in its nuclear program, a former Bush administration official said.

Israeli officials have made it clear, a former senior American diplomat said recently, that if Iran passes some undefined "red lines" in its nuclear program, Israel will consider attacking the sites, much as it attacked Iraq's main nuclear plant 23 years ago.

"What the Israelis really want," the former diplomat said, "is as much detail as they can get about how close the Iranians are getting."

[I bet they do. But we don't know our asses from our elbows, why are they spying on us?]

For more than a year, a major debate over Iran policy has divided the administration. Hard-liners at the Pentagon, including some in the policy office, and, to some extent, in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, have advocated a policy of threatening confrontation with the government in Tehran, and supporting opposition groups and student demonstrations, government officials said.

[Because that policy worked so well in the long run after the coup we engineered in the 50's.]

In a debate last year involving the fate of an Iranian opposition group that is based in Iraq, Mr. Feith's office has been described by some Bush administration officials as playing an instrumental role in calling for reconsideration of American policy toward the organization.

The group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, maintained heavily armed camps in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but has been listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization since the late 1990's. In the Iraq war last year, American aircraft bombed the group's camps.

Ultimately, the group signed a cease-fire agreement with American military forces in which its members were disarmed. State Department officials said in May 2003 that the question of whether to disarm the Mujahedeen Khalq had been the subject of sharp debate among Pentagon officials.

Some administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have gone further, saying that civilians at the Pentagon within Mr. Feith's office had suggested dropping the terrorist designation from the group, and using its members as a lever to maintain pressure on Iraq. But Mr. Feith has called that characterization incorrect.

[I'm so sure. Do these guys ever learn their lessons? Can you say Afghanistan and Osama?]

The meetings were brokered by Michael Ledeen, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who had played a role in the Iran-contra affair in the Reagan administration. Along with Mr. Ledeen, Mr. Franklin and Mr. Rhode met with Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian who was an arms deal middleman in the Iran-contra affair.

Beginning in 2001, the meetings were intended to put the administration in closer contact with Iranian dissidents who claimed to have valuable information about Iran, Iraq and terrorist activity in Afghanistan. The dissidents also said they could help track down Mr. Hussein's fortune hidden in international banks.

Although top Pentagon officials approved the first meeting, Mr. Ghorbanifar's involvement subsequently raised concern within the administration because it evoked memories of Iran-contra and questions about whether the Pentagon was engaging in rogue covert operations. In the 1980's, Mr. Ghorbanifar was labeled a "fabricator" by the C.I.A.

[Again, ever hear of a guy named Ahmad Chalabi?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:27 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 31 August 2004
More spying...
From the NY Times:

"The Pentagon official under suspicion of turning over classified information to Israel began cooperating with federal agents several weeks ago and was preparing to lead the authorities to contacts inside the Israeli government when the case became publicly known last week, according to government officials."

[Isn't that convenient.]

Look at some of the people defending this guy...

"Friends of Franklin's, like Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, said the accusations against him were baseless."

Of course. Wasn't Mr. Ledeen an Iran/Contra conspirator, by the way?

This is the most amazing part of this whole thing. Are they a lobby group or a conduit for Israeli spying?

But the officials said there was evidence that he had turned the classified material over to officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group. Officials of the group are suspected of then passing the information to Israeli intelligence.
The lobbying group and Israel have denied that they engaged in any wrongdoing."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 September 2004 1:21 AM EDT
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Saturday, 28 August 2004
Our best ally spying against us??? Nonsense!
This is very interesting. That pesky Ofiice of Special Plans and William Luti (Ollie North on steroids) are in the news again. And this time it's the Iranians they have in their crosshairs.

Be sure to see the post below and a few further back about Israel's nuclear capablility and Jonathan Pollard's role in undermining our ability to track Israeli submarines which carry nuclear tipped missiles.

From the Washington Post:

The FBI is investigating a mid-level Pentagon official who specializes in Iranian affairs for allegedly passing classified information to Israel, and arrests in the case could come as early as next week, officials at the Pentagon and other government agencies said last night.

The name of the person under investigation was not officially released, but two sources identified him as Larry Franklin. He was described as a desk officer in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia Bureau, one of six regional policy sections.

Franklin worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency before moving to the Pentagon's policy branch three years ago and is nearing retirement, the officials said. Franklin could not be located for comment last night.

...the case is likely to attract intense attention because the official being investigated works under William J. Luti, deputy undersecretary of defense for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Luti oversaw the Pentagon's "Office of Special Plans," which conducted some early policy work for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

That office is one of two Pentagon offices that Bush administration critics have claimed were set up by Defense Department hawks to bypass the CIA and other intelligence agencies, providing information that President Bush and others used to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

The other office was run by a Luti superior, Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, and was known as the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group. Feith reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who in turn reports to Rumsfeld.

In addition to Franklin, the FBI investigation is focusing on at least two employees at AIPAC, the law enforcement official said.

Last night, AIPAC vigorously denied any wrongdoing and said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

David Siegel, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said: "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous." [Yeah, right, just like the attack on the USS Liberty.]

Israel is a close ally of the United States, but espionage investigations here involving its government are not unprecedented. In 1987, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, Jonathan J. Pollard, admitted to selling state secrets to Israel and was sentenced to life in prison.

Now, isn't this interesting...(Ahmad Chalabi (A suspected spy for Iran) and deja vu all over again.)

Franklin's name surfaced in news reports last year that disclosed he and another Pentagon specialist on the Persian Gulf region had met secretly with Manucher Ghorbanifar, (Didn't he meet with Richard Perle two years ago about fleecing some Saudi business men?) a discredited expatriate Iranian arms merchant who figured prominently in the Iran-contra scandal of the mid-1980s.

That meeting, according to Pentagon officials, took place in late 2001. It had been formally sanctioned by the U.S. government in response to an Iranian government offer to provide information relevant to the war on terrorism.

Franklin and the other Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, met with the Iranians over three days in Italy. Ghorbanifar attended these meetings. Rumsfeld has said that the information received at the meetings led nowhere. {You can take that to the bank. Rummy wouldnever "mistate" anything.)

By all rights this ought to blow up in their faces, especially the part about AIPAC, a PAC and a spy ring all in one, but it won't.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:59 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 August 2004 1:18 PM EDT
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Thursday, 26 August 2004
Is Iran next? (There are those green lights again.)
From the Asia Times:

The head of the political bureau of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said earlier this month that "the entire Zionist territory, including its nuclear faculties and atomic arsenal, are currently within range of Iran's advanced missiles".

Israel's chief of staff, General Moshe Ya'alon, said this week that Iran's nuclear development must be halted before it proceeds much further. He told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot that "Iran is striving for nuclear capability and I suggest that in this matter [Israel] not rely on others".

"The perception [in the US foreign-policy community] is that there is a possibility that the Bush administration may not be reelected, and in that case the Israelis could just go ahead and act and not worry about any political repercussions.

The other possibility is that, if the Bush administration is reelected, than it would in fact give a green light to the Israeli action against the Iranian nuclear facility.

But I have to emphasize that these are rumors that are circulating in Washington, and I am sure the Iranians have heard these rumors and are perhaps reacting to them."

[Oh yeah, only rumors...]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:38 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 August 2004 3:44 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 August 2004
Unmitigated race-baiting in Miami.
I like it! Let's get those abelas out to vote for Kerry!

From the Miami Herald:

Miami Republican who prodded President Bush to get tougher on Fidel Castro is one-upping the president: He's proposing to strip food stamps and health insurance from those who travel to the island.

Dubbed the ''Travel and Commerce with Terrorist Nations Act,'' a bill proposed by State Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, would punish those who travel -- even legally -- to Cuba by cutting off access to Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance for a year.

Rivera said the legislation is aimed at stopping recent arrivals who come to the United States, apply for benefits and then travel back to visit Cuba.

Though such travel is legal, Rivera argues that the money spent on the island only helps prop up Cuban leader Castro.

''It's an issue of gratitude,'' Rivera said at a news conference Tuesday. ``People are sick and tired of people living here, taking advantage of taxpayer generosity and then providing financial support to the Castro regime by traveling back to the island.''

Under the bill, anyone who has lived in Florida for less than five years and travels to any country the U.S. Department of State lists as a sponsor of terrorism would be ineligible for state services for at least a year.

Besides Cuba, the countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Sudan. Because direct charter flights from Florida to any of the other nations are essentially nonexistent, the bill ultimately applies only to Cuba."

[Sounds like the Republicans have given up on the Cuban vote and have decided to go for their neandrathal base full-bore.

No doubt, there will be many Cubans in Broward all for it. 'I used to be called "Castro's animal," but now I'm Bush's butt monkey.']

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:30 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 August 2004 10:37 AM EDT
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Let the whitewash begin!

From the Washington Post:

An Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal has found that military police dogs were used to frighten detained Iraqi teenagers as part of a sadistic game, one of many details in the forthcoming report that were provoking expressions of concern and disgust among Army officers briefed on the findings.

Earlier reports and photographs from the prison have indicated that unmuzzled military police dogs were used to intimidate detainees at Abu Ghraib, something the dog handlers have told investigators was sanctioned by top military intelligence officers there. But the new report, according to Pentagon sources, will show that MPs were using their animals to make juveniles -- as young as 15 years old -- urinate on themselves as part of a competition

"There were two MP dog handlers who did use dogs to threaten kids detained at Abu Ghraib," said an Army officer familiar with the report, one of two investigations on detainee abuse scheduled for release this week. "It has nothing to do with interrogation. It was just them on their own being weird."

Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report has not been released, other officials at the Pentagon said the investigation also acknowledges that military intelligence soldiers kept multiple detainees off the record books and hid them from international humanitarian organizations. The report also mentions substantiated claims that at least one male detainee was sodomized by one of his captors at Abu Ghraib, sources said.

[Not like any of this is anyting new:]

From Report Mainz:

"Between January and May of this year we've registered 107 children, during 19 visits in 6 different detention locations" the representative of the International Red Cross, Florian Westphal, told the TV station SWR's Magazine "Report Mainz". He noted that these were places of detention controlled by coalition troops. According to Westphal the number of children held captive could be even higher.

The TV Magazine also reported of evidence and eye witness reports according to which U.S. soldiers also abused children and youthful detainees. Samuel Provance, a staff sergeant stationed in the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison said that interrogating officers had pressured a 15 or 16 year old girl. Military police had only intervened when the girl was already half undressed. On another occasion, a 16 year old was soaked with water, driven through the cold, and then smeared with mud.

The general in charge of the Whitewash:

The commander of American forces in the Middle East asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this week to replace the general investigating suspected abuses by military intelligence soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison with a more senior officer, a step that would allow the inquiry to reach into the military's highest ranks in Iraq, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The request by the commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, comes amid increasing criticism from lawmakers and some military officers that the half dozen investigations into detainee abuse at the prison may end up scapegoating a handful of enlisted soldiers and leaving many senior officers unaccountable.

General Abizaid's request, which defense officials said Mr. Rumsfeld would most likely approve, was set in motion in the last week when the current investigating officer, Maj. Gen. George R. Fay, told his superiors that he could not complete his inquiry without interviewing more senior-ranking officers, including Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq.

But Army regulations prevent General Fay, a two-star general, from interviewing higher-ranking officers. So General Sanchez took the unusual step of asking to be removed as the reviewing authority for General Fay's report, and requesting that higher-ranking officers be appointed to conduct and review the investigation.

"General Sanchez did this to ensure that there was a complete, thorough and transparent investigation that leaves no doubt as to the veracity of its findings," said Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman.

[Yeah, right.]

Its the same old crap. Sanchez gets off, Rummy get's a pass, so what else is new?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:01 AM EDT
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Saturday, 21 August 2004
Winning hearts and minds, the crass political opportunist way.

From the BBC:

Iraq's successful Olympic football team has launched an outspoken attack on US President George W Bush.

Midfielder Salih Sadir said the team - which won its group stage in Greece - was angry it had been used in Mr Bush's re-election campaign ads.
One accused the US leader of committing "many crimes", and another said he would be fighting US troops if not for Athens.

Their comments were made in a US Sports Illustrated magazine interview.

Salih Sadir said he was angry at Mr Bush's campaign adverts showing pictures of the Afghan and Iraqi flags with the words: "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations - and two fewer terrorist regimes".

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," said the Iraqi player.
"He can find another way to advertise himself."
He called for US troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. "We don't wish for the presence of the Americans in our country. We want them to go away."

Another star player, 22-year-old Ahmed Manajid, asked: "How will [Mr Bush] meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes."

Mr Bush's spokesman defended the war on Iraq and the campaign adverts.

"The ad simply talks about President Bush's optimism and how democracy has triumphed over terror," he was quoted by the Press Association as saying.

"Twenty-five million people in Iraq are free as a result of the actions of the coalition."

[After all, who would know that better, the actual Iraqis themselves or some hack at the White House?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:16 AM EDT
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Thursday, 19 August 2004
Condi Rice; totally incompetent.

A former Bush administration official who led the fruitless postwar effort to find unconventional weapons in Iraq told Congress yesterday that the National Security Council, led by Condoleezza Rice, had botched intelligence information before the war and was "the dog that did not bark" with respect to the status of Iraq's weapons program

In uncharacteristically caustic remarks about his former colleagues, the weapons inspector, David Kay, said the security council had failed to protect President George W. Bush from faulty prewar intelligence and had left Secretary of State Colin Powell "hanging out in the wind" when he tried to gather intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs.

"Where was the NSC?" Kay asked, suggesting that the president had come to depend too heavily on information supplied by Rice, Bush's national security adviser, and that the president needed to reach out to others for national security information.

"Where was the National Security Council when, apparently, the president expressed his own doubt about the adequacy of the case concerning Iraq's WMD weapons that was made before him?" Kay asked.

"Why was the secretary of state sent to the CIA to personally vet the data that he was to take the Security Council in New York, and ultimately left to hang in the wind for data that was misleading and, in some cases, absolutely false and known by parts of the intelligence community to be false?" he continued. "Where was the NSC then?"

It's almost been a year. What has she done with the supposed "Iraqi Stabilization Task Force?"

(This from last October:)

"The White House, facing setbacks and growing casualties in Iraq, is asserting a larger role in overseeing reconstruction efforts and the tens of billions of dollars being spent by the United States.

The move is intended to "cut through some of the bureaucracy and the red tape" [Right!] in Washington and accelerate the work in Iraq, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday.

A classified memo distributed last week established the Iraq Stabilization Group within the White House under Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser to President Bush. Officials said creation of the group would give Rice authority to spur the bureaucracy and put more accountability in the White House.

"Condi's job, and Condi's team is going to make sure that the efforts are continued to be coordinated so that we continue to make progress," Bush said at an East Room news conference with the president of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki.

"And listen, we're making good progress in Iraq," the president said. "Sometimes it's hard to tell it when you listen to the filter (of critics). We're making good progress." [Suuuuure!}

And how about the " I misspoke " fiasco before testifying about planes being flown into buildings at the 9-11 commission hearings?

Or the "very important priciple" she was defending by not testifying and then testifying any way. How about the "16 words" in the State of the Union speech?

I want a job where no matter how badly I screw up I can't get fired.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:02 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 21 August 2004 11:23 AM EDT
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