"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Splits Surfacing In Bush War Team

(CBS) The Bush administration is divided on three major issues related to the war in Iraq and its aftermath, according to newspaper reports.
If the reports are true, the divisions would echo disagreements in the days before the war, particularly about the grounds for military action and the wisdom of seeking United Nations support.
But the reports do not necessarily reflect disunity within the government. President Bush, like his father, is said to encourage disagreement among staff members to elicit new ideas and critical thinking.
However, there are also potential points of tension between the United States and Britain.
Domestically, the current arguments concern the way the war is being fought, the responsibility for delivering aid and the structure of the post-war administration that will run Iraq.
The New York Times reported in Tuesday editions that a simmering dispute over the war strategy overseen by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has reached down to commanders in the field in Iraq, who fault the war plan for failing to include enough troops.
The complaints point to stiff resistance from Iraqi irregulars at cities like Umm Qasr, Nasariyah and Basra, which the invasion bypassed on its way to Baghdad, only to return later for tough fighting.
"He wanted to fight this war on the cheap," a colonel told the Times. "He got what he wanted."
That seemed to mirror earlier comments by an Army commander in the Iraqi theatre, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace of V Corps, who said "the enemy we're fighting is different from the one we war-gamed against."
Other commanders told journalist Seymour Hersch of the New Yorker that Rumsfeld overruled military war planners on six occasions when they tried to field an invasion larger than the 300,000-person force in the region.
Rumsfeld has denied the accusations. "The planners are in the Central Command. They come up with their proposals and I think you'll find that if you ask anyone who's been involved in the process from the Central Command that every single thing they've requested has in fact happened," Rumsfeld said.
Central Command claims the war is going well, noting that in less than a fortnight U.S. troops have closed to within 50 miles of Baghdad. Some commanders have said the reports of dissention are overstated.
But evidence of tension between Rumsfeld and the military brass are not new. The secretary's desire to modernize and streamline the armed forces has caused conflict with some uniformed commanders.
Leading up to the war, the civilian heads at the Pentagon clashed with Army chief of staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki over the likely size of the post-war force that will occupy Iraq. Shinseki said hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said that estimate was "wildly off the mark."
The Times also reported that Secretary of State Colin Powell has written to Rumsfeld asking that the State Department — and not the Pentagon — be in charge of handing out aid inside Iraq.
The department's Agency for International Development has experience in such work, and officials say the department wants to avoid any symbols of military occupation.
But Jay Garner, the retired general who has been tapped to lead a post-war administration and reports to military commanders, has said he will control the aid programs.
According to another newspaper, Britain's liberal Guardian, Wolfowitz has clashed with Garner over the staffing of his post-war administration.Garner is said to be upset at some of the Iraqis who will be given powerful positions in that regime.
One Iraqi likely to have a high-level post is opposition leader Ahmed Chalabi. As head of the Iraqi National Congress, Chalabi has gained the admiration of many in Congress and the Pentagon. But he has not lived in Iraq for any length of time since 1956, leaving the extent of popular support for Chalabi in doubt.
The post-war regime is also a potential source of conflict between Washington and its closest ally in the war, the British government.
Prime Minister Tony Blair is said to prefer a larger United Nations role, while the United States may seek to limit international involvement. The State Department says discussion on the issue are ongoing.
Washington and London could also be at odds over the implantation of the "road map" for Middle East peace. Blair has linked solving the Arab-Israeli conflict to disarming Iraq.
President Bush announced the week before the war began that the implementation of the road map could precede the end of the war if Palestinians confirmed a prime minister. It is widely believed this was done for Blair's benefit.
But Mr. Bush suggested the road map could still be changed, and Israel has suggested it wants to do so. The other members of the negotiating team that developed the road map, including Britain, believed it was mainly a final document.
According to the Times of London, Powell's stark warning to Syria that it faced "crucial choice" over supporting terrorism, which suggested Syria would face grave consequences if it chose wrong.
That hinted at expanding U.S. military pressure to other countries in the region, which London would resist.
©MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.

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Milton Frihetsson, 15:42
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Ex-CIA Accuse Bush of Manipulating Iraq Evidence

Monday, March 17, 2003

WASHINGTON — Invoking the name of a Pentagon whistle-blower, a small group of retired, anti-war CIA officers are accusing the Bush administration of manipulating evidence against Iraq in order to push war while burying evidence that could show Iraq's compliance with U.N demands for disarmament.

The 25-member group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, composed mostly of former CIA analysts along with a few operational agents, is urging employees inside the intelligence agency to break the law and leak any information they have that could show the Bush administration is engineering the release of evidence to match its penchant for war.
VIPS member Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA veteran who gave intelligence briefings to top Reagan officials before retiring in 1990, said the administration has not made the case that Iraq has ties to Al Qaeda and is providing information that does not meet an intelligence professional's standard of proof.

"It's been cooked to a recipe, and the recipe is high policy," McGovern said. "That's why a lot of my former colleagues are holding their noses these days."
But the CIA said McGovern doesn't have any authority to speak of the quality of intelligence policy-makers are reviewing.

"He left the agency over a decade ago," spokesman Mark Mansfield said. "He's hardly in a position to comment knowledgeably on that subject."

VIPS say their appeals to CIA staff are an attempt to evoke another Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Leaking classified national defense information is illegal, and CIA officers, who take a secrecy oath when they join could lose their security clearances or jobs, and may even face prosecution.
On top of that, the culture of the CIA is very introverted -- disputes stay inside the agency and intelligence officers rarely discuss policy, adopting the attitude that their job is to gather and dispense information, not decide how to act on it.

"Our role is to call it like we see it, to provide objective, unvarnished assessments. That's the code we live by, and that's what policy-makers expect from us," Mansfield said.
But McGovern, who now works in an inner-city outreach ministry in Washington, said officials who blow the whistle would be performing a higher service.
"It goes against the whole ethic of secrecy and going through channels, and going to the [inspector general]. It takes a courageous person to get by all that, and say, 'I've got a higher duty,'" he said.

Administration officials insist that the data being reviewed and dispensed is of the highest quality, and point to the materials handed out to the United Nations by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence," Powell said at the presentation.
But McGovern and others in this group say it's no secret that the material leaked to members of Congress or administration officials frequently is one-sided and gives a narrow picture of the entire outlook.

The group said officials who act as would-be whistle-blowers can use the same method as those now handing out information -- giving it over to members of Congress who can both protect them and show the entire picture.

"They have to basically put conscience before career," said Patrick Eddington, a VIPS member and former CIA agent who resigned in 1996 to protest what he describes as the agency's refusal to investigate some of the possible causes of Gulf War veterans' medical problems.
Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, said he saw little chance of CIA analysts going public to contradict the Bush administration.

"Sure, there's a lot of disagreement among analysts in the intelligence community on how things are going to be used [by policy-makers]," he said. "But you are not going to see people making public resignations. That would mean giving up your career.",2933,81148,00.html

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Milton Frihetsson, 13:48
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The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq

American attitudes about a connection have changed, firming up the case for war.

By Linda Feldmann | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON - In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.

Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

Sources knowledgeable about US intelligence say there is no evidence that Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor that he has been or is currently aiding Al Qaeda. Yet the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression, as it seeks to maintain American support for a possible war against Iraq and demonstrate seriousness of purpose to Hussein's regime.

"The administration has succeeded in creating a sense that there is some connection [between Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein]," says Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.
The numbers

Polling data show that right after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were asked open-ended questions about who was behind the attacks, only 3 percent mentioned Iraq or Hussein. But by January of this year, attitudes had been transformed. In a Knight Ridder poll, 44 percent of Americans reported that either "most" or "some" of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. The answer is zero.

According to Mr. Kull of PIPA, there is a strong correlation between those who see the Sept. 11-Iraq connection and those who support going to war.

In Selma, Ala., firefighter Thomas Wilson supports going to war with Iraq, and brings up Sept. 11 himself, saying we don't know who's already here in the US waiting to attack. When asked what that has to do with Iraq, he replies: "They're all in it together - all of them hate this country." The reason: "prosperity."

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden himself recently encouraged the perception of a link, when he encouraged attacks on the US in response to a US war against Iraq. But, terror experts note, common animosity toward the United States does not make Hussein and Mr. bin Laden allies.

Hussein, a secularist, and bin Laden, a Muslim fundamentalist, are known to despise each other. Bin Laden's stated sympathies are always toward the Iraqi people, not the regime.

This is not to say that Hussein has no link to terrorists. Over the years, terrorist leader Abu Nidal - who died in Baghdad last year - used Iraq as a sometime base. Terrorism experts also don't rule out that some Al Qaeda fighters have slipped into Iraqi territory.

The point, says Eric Larson, a senior policy analyst at RAND who specializes in public opinion and war, is that the US public understands what Hussein is all about - which includes his invasion of two countries and the use of biological and chemical agents. "He's expressed interest - and done more than that - in trying to develop a nuclear capability," says Mr. Larson. "In general, the public is rattled about this.... There's a jumble of attitudes in many Americans' minds, which fit together as a mosaic that [creates] a basic predisposition for military action against Saddam."
Future fallout

In the end, will it matter if some Americans have meshed together Sept. 11 and Iraq? If the US and its allies go to war against Iraq, and it goes well, then the Bush administration is likely not to face questions about the way it sold the war. But if war and its aftermath go badly, then the administration could be under fire.

"Going to war with improper public understanding is risky," says Richard Parker, a former US ambassador to several Mideast countries. "If it's a failure, and we get bogged down, this is one of the accusations that [Bush] will have to face when it's all over."

Antiwar activist Daniel Ellsberg says it's important to understand why public opinion appears to be playing out differently in the US and Europe. In fact, both peoples express a desire to work through the UN. But the citizens get different messages from their leaders. "Americans have been told by their president [that Hussein is] a threat to security, and so they believe that," says Mr. Ellsberg. "It's rather amazing, in light of that, that so many Americans do want this to be authorized by the UN. After all, the president keeps saying we don't have to ask the UN for permission to defend ourselves."

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Milton Frihetsson, 06:50
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Beware Visionaries Wielding Power

By Michael Lind
Whitehead Senior Fellow

The Australian
March 14, 2003

In the debate about a second UN resolution authorising a US-dominated invasion and occupation of Iraq, both sides share a common premise. France, Russia and Germany argue that the UN will lose its moral authority if it rubber-stamps a war that the US has decided to wage. The Bush administration argues that the UN will lose its geopolitical credibility if it does not. Both sides are mistaken – the UN has neither authority nor credibility to lose.

The UN has never functioned as its founders intended it to do. US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who coined the name and oversaw planning for the UN during World War II, was a realist who sought to avoid the mistakes that had rendered the League of Nations ineffectual.

In Roosevelt's conception, the UN Security Council was to have formalised a great-power concert of the US, Britain and the Soviet Union. The addition to the Security Council's permanent membership of two minor powers, Nationalist China (at US insistence) and France (at Britain's insistence) undermined the Security Council's nature as a superpower steering committee.

Then Soviet-US competition paralysed the council for almost half a century. After the Cold War ended, the UN authorised the first Persian Gulf War. But an expected Russian veto in the Security Council led the US and its allies to wage war on Serbia under the authority of NATO rather than the UN. The present rift over Iraq between the US and other permanent council members may inspire future US administrations to follow the model of the war against Slobodan Milosevic rather than that of the two wars against Iraq.

The UN Security Council suffers from two defects, one that can be repaired and a second that cannot. The first defect is anachronism. The Security Council's permanent members are the victors of World War II, not today's great powers (France and China were not first-rank powers even in 1945). Germany, Japan and India in many ways are more important in today's world than Britain and France. As US foreign policy scholar Philip Bobbitt has observed, membership in the G-8 group of leading economies reflects the distribution of world power more accurately than the permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

The anachronistic nature of the Security Council might be remedied by the addition of new permanent members – at the price of multiplying potential vetoes. But the deeper defect that cripples the UN cannot be cured. That flaw is the theory of collective security.

In a system of multiple, sovereign states, world governance may be undertaken in one of three ways: by all, one or some of the states. Collective security holds that a threat to world order is a threat to all states, which therefore should act in unison. In reality, of course, few threats affect all countries severely enough to make the risk or reality of war worthwhile. Most countries, therefore, will opt out of most military campaigns against states or non-state actors that do not threaten their interests – not because their leaders are cowardly or immoral but because the first duty of statesmen is to avoid needlessly squandering the lives of their soldiers and the money in their treasuries.

Compared with world governance by all, world governance by one is a more workable proposition. The theory of US unilateral world domination, adopted by George W. Bush and theorised chiefly by Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, holds that the US can best protect itself by providing the world with certain public goods, including nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the suppression of terrorism by means of preventive wars waged solely by the US if necessary. No problems of collective action arise in this system, since all important decisions are made in Washington. The only thing required of the rest of the world is collective acquiescence.

This is not easily obtained, as the Bush administration is discovering. The British Empire, which used its naval superiority to suppress piracy and end the slave trade, is held up by today's US unilateralists as a precedent for benevolent US hegemony. But 19th-century Britain was not perceived as a benevolent global hegemon by the US or other countries at the time.

Until the early 1900s, the British fleet was considered the main military threat by US war planners. Rejecting the British claim that global free trade served the good of humanity rather than the narrow interests of British manufacturers, the US engaged in industrial protectionism to promote its manufacturing capability at the expense of Britain.

By the early 20th century, Britain's brief military and commercial hegemony had provoked its own nemesis, in the form of the arms build-ups and nationalist industrial policies of the US, Germany, Japan and Russia.

Paradoxically, Americans have been the principal sponsors of collective security and the new doctrine of US unilateralism. While the means differ, the end is the same – a world in which a single authority, be it the UN or the US acting on its own, is the functional equivalent of a world government, in which the line between war and law enforcement vanishes.

The goal shared by US proponents of collective security and unilateralism explains why so many neoconservative unilateralists can describe themselves as Wilsonians even as they spurn alliances and reject international organisations. Both schools of Wilsonianism hope to transcend old-fashioned diplomacy.

The rival conceptions of the UN as world government and the US as world governor are two versions of the same utopian illusion. The only realistic method of maintaining a minimal degree of order in international affairs is world governance neither by all nor by one but by some. When the great powers of a given era compete, the results are expensive and lethal proxy wars or direct conflicts. However, when the great powers form a concert and collaborate in managing regional crises, the chances for a nonviolent, if not necessarily just, world are maximised.

This was the perception of 20th-century realists such as Theodore Roosevelt, who envisioned a US-British-French alliance as an alternative to US president Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations after World War I, and it inspired Roosevelt's hopes for a US-British-Soviet concert after World War II.

The relative success of NATO in the Balkans suggests an approach to world order that requires neither collective security under the UN nor collective acquiescence to the US. Most so-called global problems, including Iraq and North Korea, are actually regional problems and should be dealt with chiefly by those great powers that have the greatest interest in doing so, in addition to the greatest capability to act.

The hype about the US as the sole global superpower obscures the fact the US is best described as a multi-regional great power. Both the US and Russia, among the great powers, have a stake, for reasons of geography alone, in what goes on in Europe and North-East Asia. Russia, bordering on many Muslim nations, arguably has a greater interest in the Middle East and Central Asia than does the US, which has been the hegemon in the Persian Gulf only since the first Gulf War. BECAUSE neither the US nor Russia colonised the Middle East, Russo-American co-operation in the region might have more legitimacy than interventions by the former colonial powers of Britain and France (although US acquiescence in Israeli extremism hurts US legitimacy).

By the same realist logic, the North Korean crisis ought to be addressed not by all (the UN) nor by one (the US) but by some – the US, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea, the states with the greatest stake in the outcome. Unlike the Bush administration's collection of bribed and opportunistic client states, these regional coalitions, to be perceived as legitimate, would have to include more great powers than one.

The alternative to the false utopias of UN world governance and US world governance, then, is not global chaos, as the rival proponents of the two schools of collective security and unilateralism claim. Rather, the alternative is a sustainable system in which different groups of great powers collaborate to resolve regional problems on an ad hoc basis.

Such an approach is not likely to inspire the visionaries who dream of world federation or world empire. But the 20th century should have taught us that there is nothing more dangerous than visionaries wielding power.
Copyright: 2003 The Australian

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Milton Frihetsson, 03:09
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Background/ The Iraq crisis as the War of the Jews

By Bradley Burston,
Haaretz Correspondent
07:58 12/03/2003

The Iraq crisis has triggered the largest pre-emptive anti-war movement in history, with millions on the march against a war that has still yet to begin. As the tide of opposition has grown, so has an undercurrent of argument that Jewish influence in America and Israel is a crucial factor pushing Washington into battle, in turn spurring furious debate over the line between free expression and classic anti-Semitism.

The latest focus of the debate was a congressional district close to Washington, where veteran Democratic Congressman James P. Moran Jr. sparked fiery condemnation by telling an anti-war gathering at a Virginia church why he believed mass opposition across the U.S. to an Iraq offensive had not done more to reverse the march to war."If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," Moran said in remarks quoted Tuesday by the Washington Post. "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."An onslaught of criticism followed, undiminished by Moran's subsequent apology.

Voicing regret for replying as he did because his questioner had identified herself as Jewish, Moran maintained that his views pertained to organizations as a whole. "If more organizations in this country, including religious groups, were more outspoken against a war, then I do not think we would be pursuing war as an option." Sophie R. Hoffman, president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, was plainly unconvinced. "When Moran realized just how outrageous his remarks were, he attempted to backpedal, saying he didn't mean what he clearly said," she said. "This time, it just won't work."Hoffman's spokesman went further, calling Moran's statement "reprehensible and anti-Semitic."

Moran's remarks came amid a flood of commentary from analysts of both the American left and right suggesting that Bush administration was taking advice - if not outright orders - from the Sharon government and the Israeli defense establishment on handling Saddam Hussein.

The analysts' comments have intensified as top-ranking Israeli officials have gone on record predicting that the war could have a cure-all effect for many of the Jewish state's paralyzing economic and security ills. The image of such a deus ex machina has been invoked so often as to have entered Israeli public discourse as a synonym for the positive side effects of a war in Iraq - a solution which, if far-fetched in many of its assumptions, may be the only remedy on an otherwise desolate horizon. Of late, the very Jewish organizations speaking out against what they perceive as the new anti-Semitism have themselves come in for attack for allegedly doing the bidding of offstage Jewish and Israeli puppet-masters.

In October, the African-American poet Amiri Baraka - vowing to resist efforts to depose him as poet laureate of New Jersey for having written verses suggesting that Jews and the Israeli government had foreknowlege of the September 11 attacks - told a New York poetry club that he wanted to know "why the [B'nai Brith] Anti-Defamation League is not registered as an agent of a foreign power."

The initial rumblings of the current debate over alleged Jewish and Israeli influence took place years before the election of George W. Bush. The Clinton administration was peppered with Jewish aides in key positions.

But the debate has gone fully public only during the Bush presidency. Several of Bush's current defense advisers were instrumental in the preparation of a 1996 position paper for then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a darling of a number of self-described neo-conservatives, many of them high-profile Jewish Republicans. As one of its recommendations, the position paper advised Israeli leaders to "focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq."
The paper's authors included Douglas Feith, now Bush's Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Richard Perle, currently chairman of the Pentagon's advisory Defense Policy Board, and David Wurmser, now a special assistant to Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton.

The voices alleging undue hardline Israeli and Jewish influence on the administration also cite the appointments of the hawkish Paul Wolfowitz as Deputy Defense Secretary and of Perle protege Elliot Abrams, viewed as a persuasive critic of the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as director of Mideast affairs for the National Security Council. The Abrams appointment spurred an unnamed senior administration official to tell the Washington Post last month that "the Likudniks are really in charge now." "The conspiracy theory appears in several variations, ranging from malignant to merely cynical," wrote New York Times columnist Bill Keller in a recent piece on contentions of undue Israeli and Jewish influence on American policy.

"But it goes something like this: A cadre of pro-Zionist zealots within the Bush administration and among its media chorus (the 'amen corner,' as the isolationist Pat Buchanan crudely called them last time we threatened Iraq) has long schemed to make the Middle East safer for Israel by uprooting the hostile regime of Saddam Hussein. They have finally succeeded, the theory goes, in pushing their agenda up to the desk of a gullible president."

Barely two weeks after September 11, Buchanan, a Nixon and Reagan White House aide and three-time presidential candidate, referred to the Netanyahu-neoconservative tie when he wrote, "The war Netanyahu and the neocons want, with the United States and Israel fighting all of the radical Islamic states, is the war bin Laden wants, the war his murderers hoped to ignite when they sent those airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
After dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan, Buchanan asks, "Do we then dynamite Powell's U.S.-Arab-Muslim coalition by using U.S. power to invade Iraq? Do we then reverse alliances and make Israel's war America's war?"

With Buchanan and other rightists implicitly questioning Jewish influence, similar arguments are being advanced by the American left. Although Jews on the left have long been inured to being dismissed - often by fellow Jews - as anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel, the vociferous nature of some anti-war organizers' anti-Israel positions has convinced even fellow Jewish leftists that anti-Semitism is indeed the proper designation. Rabbi and peace activist Michael Lerner, editor of the leftist-Jewish Tikkun Magazine, himself a frequent object of scorn by Jewish community officials incensed over his attacks on the Sharon government and his advocacy of Palestinian statehood, last month described speeches at anti-war rallies organized by radical left groups as, in part, "a barrage of Israel bashing and anti-Semitic garbage.""The emotional climate at these demonstrations has been one that most Jews I have encountered find somewhere between uncomfortable and overtly anti-Semitic," he told LA Weekly. "So it seems to me incredibly self-destructive for an anti-war movement - that at the moment does not have the allegiance of the majority of Americans - to be pushing away one of the most progressive sectors of American society, the liberal and progressive voices of Jews" who criticize Israel but actively support its right to exist.

Yet another source of tension is the timing of Israel's current request that the Bush White House approve billions of dollars in new loan guarantees and direct aid grants.
Responding to the burgeoning debate, Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman told the U.S. Jewish Forward weekly last month that while it is certainly legitimate to question where the Sharon government or American Jewish groups stands on the war, the thin line is crossed by those who portray these entities as a shadowy Jewish conspiracy that controls American foreign policy."It is an old canard that Jews control America and American foreign policy," Foxman said. "During both world wars, anti-Semites said that Jews manipulated America into war. So when you being to hear it again, there is good reason for us to be aware of it and sensitive to it."According to former minister of education and culture Amnon Rubinstein, the accusations that the imminent war "is a plot hatched by the Jews" ring familiar. "They are reminiscent of the Arab claim that the attack on the Twin Towers was perpetrated by Mossad ("It is a fact that that day, the Jews didn't come to work") or the blood libel that alleges the Jews are spreading AIDS in Egypt. "What makes these accusations so interesting is the fact that they link anti-Semitic propaganda with anti-Israeli propaganda," Rubinstein writes in Tuesday's Haaretz. "True, not every criticism of Israel is unfounded and not everyone who denounces raids on refugee camps in Gaza is anti-Semitic."However, Rubinstein continues, special attention should be paid the recent boycott of a Malaga, Spain art gallery against "any person related to Israel, as we are in total disaccord with its segregationist policy and we certainly hold an anti-Semitic attitude to any person related to that country." Although the Malaga case is extreme by any measure, Rubinstein cites it as a warning of the possible revival of classic Jew-hate – even in a secular society where the church has lost its influence. "The incident in Malaga shows that even where there are no Jews or very many committed Christians, there still remains a worrisome residue of that age-old hatred. Even when the Cheshire cat of the Church has vanished, its anti-Semitic smile remains - in Spain and elsewhere."

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Milton Frihetsson, 16:18
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Manhunt in Iraq: Israel Trains U.S. Assassination Squads

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh reveals how a new Special Forces group assembled to “neutralize” Iraqi resistance is working with Israeli commandoes to train in assassination and other tactics – comparable to the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. One of the key planners is Lt Gen. William Boykin who declared that Bush was not elected but appointed by God. [Includes transcript]
In his latest article in the New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh writes:
“The Bush Administration has authorized a major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq. In interviews over the past month, American officials and former officials said that the main target was a hard-core group of Baathists who are believed to be behind much of the underground insurgency against the soldiers of the United States and its allies. A new Special Forces group, designated Task Force 121, has been assembled from Army Delta Force members, Navy seals, and C.I.A. paramilitary operatives, with many additional personnel ordered to report by January. Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination.
“The revitalized Special Forces mission is a policy victory for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has struggled for two years to get the military leadership to accept the strategy of what he calls ‘Manhunts’ — a phrase that he has used both publicly and in internal Pentagon communications. Rumsfeld has had to change much of the Pentagon’s leadership to get his way. “Knocking off two regimes allows us to do extraordinary things,” a Pentagon adviser told me, referring to Afghanistan and Iraq.
“One step the Pentagon took was to seek active and secret help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East. According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq.”
Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the New Yorker. His latest piece is titled "Manhunt in Iraq"
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AMY GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now!.
AMY GOODMAN: Certainly an explosive piece that you have here. Can you tell us exactly what you found?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, Amy, beyond -- I did, Amy, in the article but I can repeat it for you, and I will be glad to, which is essentially as you read. One solution -- look we're obviously, as I quote somebody saying in the piece, we're getting mauled. Our guys are getting whacked on the ground, and it's the old sort of story again, you know, we get hit and we can't find out who's hitting us, and so we respond.
The operation that everybody was critical of, everybody, including those who support the war and very supportive of this administration, is what they call "Iron Hammer". This is the current American get-tough policy of bombings, and destroying homes, and collective punishment, and going in and making nighttime raids based on terrible intelligence and basically creating more insurgents. Everybody knows we have to do something different. So, the proposal -- this is something Rumsfeld and a lot of people in the Pentagon, his fellow conservatives have wanted to do for a long time, which is to -- they used the word 'premeditated manhunt', the euphemism for killing people. They want to go after the guys they think are running the insurgency. The only problem is, I'm anticipating a question, I know, the only problem is, who are they and can we find them? Do we have the intelligence to do so?
AMY GOODMAN: And can you talk about how exactly they're being trained, assassination squads, and who is doing it?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, again, the word I used was we're getting a tutorial on how to do it from the Israelis. I don't know what that does to the hair on the back of your neck, but anyway, essentially, we have been -- the Israelis have, according to Israeli officials, and I think this is correct, they have actually been, in their very tough approach to Hamas, particularly in the West Bank, they have destroyed at this point -- the Israelis, by target bombing and assassinations -- they have a special unit in Israel that dresses in Arab clothing, a military unit, and they all speak wonderful Arabic and they pounce on people. They can find somebody and pounce on them. We don't have those kind of units. They are small units.
The Israelis have been training us in some of their tactics, and how to do it once, you know -- The problem with the Israeli approach is, as a lot of Israelis will tell you, is that they have pretty much destroyed the ability of Hamas centrally to control the terror bombing against the Israelis in Israel. But that doesn't preclude independent people from continuing to operate. So, destroying the central core of communication and I guess process in Hamas still hasn't removed the threat, but it has certainly eased it somewhat. I think we're seeing that now in Israel.
And so the idea is to do the same here, to get the targets and be as tough as the Israelis have been. It's not clear we can be, because American people, soldiers, generally are not quite -- are not trained to be quite as tough. That's one reason Special Forces are going in, they're very tough. Delta, Seals. They will shoot, and they're very competent. Please don't misunderstand. They do what they're assigned to do and they're very good at it. It's just again the kind of information they have. And so I think the idea here is to see what happens, to try and destroy the central communication links of the Hamas equivalent in the Ba'ath party, as we see it, anyway. The idea is that we are also going to set up small Iraqi intelligence units. We have been collecting Iraqi intelligence people from the mukhabbarat intelligence service and military intelligence for eight or nine months, seven months, since the end of the combat war in early April. By now, we have put together enough sophisticated former Iraqi intelligence officers, we think, to form ad hoc advisory groups that would travel with our special forces. They'll also have an Israeli adviser, i think, pretty much undercover in the country advising them, too. So, that's the next step, you know. Bang, bang, bang.
AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Seymour Hersh. I'm looking at a piece in today's "Guardian" following up on your piece that came out yesterday in the "New Yorker" where Julian Borger quotes a U.S. Intelligence official- former. "This is basically an assassination program. That's what's being conceptualized here. This is a hunter-killer team." He says, "It's bonkers, insane. Here we are. We're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we have just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams." And goes on to say that the Israeli so-called 'consultants' have not only been at Ft. Bragg but also in Iraq with U.S. troops.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Am I supposed to comment on that?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I didn't dispute that. I think -- I didn't write that, but I -- you know, if you -- only because, you know, the "New Yorker" has a very appropriately you know-- you need more than one source for certain things, but certainly, that's in the air. It depends how you define 'consultants'. But the basic line is obviously, if anything, I know this is -- everybody's going to lose their breakfast, but I'm probably inside the facts. Do you know what I mean? I'm within what the reality is. It's probably a little more acute, there's probably even more cooperation and particularly with -- in terms of prisoners. But you know it's just -- the bottom line is, Donald Rumsfeld has wanted since 9-11, more than two years ago, to get this manhunts -- he called it 'manhunts' with a plural, he has wanted to get manhunts going. He has wanted to be able to -- the Pentagon has assembled a list of what they call 'High Value Targets', H.V.T., and they are also known as 'Time Sensitive Targets', T.S.T. They have all of those acronyms and letters. They tried- last year we wrote -- I wrote a piece in the "New Yorker" about an attack on somebody in Yemen, a former Al Qaeda person in Yemen. Other people had written about it, but the point I made in the story I wrote was that it was the first manhunt. And there were a lot of questions about what happened. There were two previous attempts. They were firing from an unarmed -- unmanned airplane known as a 'predator', a hellfire missile. And twice the missile had been targeted at other cars before they finally got the guys they got. And both cars they were waived off, at the last minute in one case, because they were full of innocent Bedouins. The intelligence wasn't good. They finally got their man. When they got him, five other people were with him. One of them was an American citizen, presumed to be bad guys, but they weren't on the H.V.T., High Value Target list. So there was a lot of questions. And you know the military, the American military is a very, very cautious bureaucracy. And there were a lot of guys inside that don't like the idea of being hunter-killer teams. That's not what the military does, Even in Delta and the S.E.A.L. teams. These are, they're soldiers, and they fight wars, and they don't do targeted assassinations.
Rumsfeld, to get his way - he couldn't get his way last year. He has basically changed, I know I wrote a little bit about this in the New Yorker, he has changed a lot of the personnel. He has gotten rid of people that fought him, and this is his prerogative. And he has put in the Army positions of command people who are much more supportive of what he and some his aides want to do; that is work with the Israelis and others to begin killing people. And so, this is his show. I'm sure the President, yes, the President obviously approves, and the Vice President, Cheney. They all work very closely together. I'm not sure where the C.I.A. is on it. I think, you know, these guys are in a real dilemma. They're not winning. They can't win the war militarily, and from George Bush's point of view, they can't lose the war politically. So, the answer in the short run seems to be to escalate. And they're going to escalate with targeted bombing and targeted killings, and if that doesn't work, I don't know what else they'll do.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, one of the things we know they're doing is that they're wrapping towns in barbed wire.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Yeah. I saw that story. That story is actually in the "Times". Just to show you how funny the newspaper world is, that story was reported by everybody six weeks ago. That happened then. I'm glad the "Times" caught up to it, but it was reported six weeks ago. That happened in October- November.
It's been -- I will tell you also what's going on, there's a lot of collective punishment in the fields. In other words, we're going to villages that were considered to be hotspots of insurgency and saying to the people there, tell us in advance of what's going to happen or else. And when something else, another landmine goes off or something, we're destroying irrigation devices, fields, sometimes houses, bulldozering, using bulldozers. It's collective punishment that's going on. That will be the next story. That's been going on for months.
AMY GOODMAN: You quote a Pentagon adviser saying, "Knocking off two regimes allows us to do extraordinary things."
AMY GOODMAN: You then go into the personnel who are involved with this; the rise and fall of different people. You talk about Rumsfeld's rising star in the Pentagon, is it pronounced Steven Cambone?
AMY GOODMAN: You also talk about William Boykin of Somalia fame.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Lieutenant -- they call him Jerry, Jerry Boykin, everybody calls him by that name. He's a total warrior. He ran the Delta Force. He has been a Black Operator, a Black Operations guy. He was in Mogadishu he was involved in the hunt for Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord. Very controversial stuff I read about. And he is the fellow that the "L.A. Times," Bill Arkin, a gentleman for the "L.A. Times", about six weeks ago published a long account based on videotapes of General Boykin's speeches, or I guess Sunday morning sermons to born-again religious groups or even church groups, churches, I guess, in the Ozarks and southern Florida where he would talk about -- compare Islam to Satan, and talk about how this is sort of a, you know, a crusader sort of religious war. Quite unbelievable talk. And normally anybody -- he did that in uniform; he was then a two-star General, and head of the Special Forces Command at Ft. Bragg -- and normally he would be done.
Instead what happened is he had a meeting with Rumsfeld and they got along very well. I quote somebody as saying "like two old warriors", and he has now been in the chain of command. You know, the Pentagon will deny that he's specifically involved, but he's certainly deeply involved. He's Cambone's chief aid. Cambone is the new tough guy, that's been Rummy's -- gotten to be closer to Rummy than anybody right now, even Wolfowitz. And he's a very conservative -- out of Claremont College, which some of you might know that Claremont -- it's a neo-conservative school. He's certainly very bright. He was a guy who five years ago was talking about the need to go to war with China. Now he has been the leader in the idea of manhunts. He has been trying to do stuff on manhunts for Rummy even before he got into his job. And so, he's very much on the team. Boykin is very much on the team, and I don't know whether Cambone shares his view of -- this is a war against Satan, but you know, the horrible prospect of what's going to happen because --
A lot of the people I talk with, as I say, are true blue Republicans, true blue military guys, true blue, very big supporters, they hope everything works, but they all say the same thing. It's not going to work. It's very hard to get the intelligence. You can't really trust what we're going to get from the Iraqis. One guy said, it made a wonderful line, he said one of the particular officials, Iraqi former military intelligence, mukkhabarat guys, I mean these were the torturers for Saddam, and now they're working for us. One of them, he said, has made an agreement with the United States and he'll carry out the agreement, he said, "to the letter, but not to the spirit", the C.I.A. told me that, whatever that means. And so the next step is, and what everybody is worried about, and this came up six or seven times in a couple of dozen interviews, was Phoenix. In the late 1960's the American C.I.A. working with various sort of groups Mountagnards and ----? groups, mercenary groups in Vietnam began targeted assassination of what was said to be Vietcong and Vietnamese Nationalists, Vietnamese Communists and Vietnamese Nationalist oppositions. And in four-year periods, 40,000 of those people, later defined as 'enemy civilians', were killed, by South Vietnamese count. And the American count was over 20,000 in that year. And it turned out many of them controlled the operations - the operations got totally out of control. South Vietnamese officials were playing cards and losing money and turning guys in that they owed money to us for assassination. I'm not exaggerating. It was that bad. Way out of control. And that was the worry now. We're going to have another disastrous operation. And don't forget, Phoenix didn't win the war for us. We didn't win that war. So that's the other worry. And then once you are done with this and it doesn't work, what do you do? I don't know.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Seymour Hersh, we have to break for a minute, but when we come back I want to ask you about how Iran fits into this as well. We are talking to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Seymour Hersh. His latest piece in The New Yorker is called "Manhunt In Iraq". And we were also just talking about one of the seminal people in this, is Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, who was quoted last June telling a congregation in Oregon, quote, "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation and he wants to destroy us as a Christian Army." He praised President Bush as a man who prays in the Oval Office and declared, Bush was not elected President but appointed by God. "The Muslim world hates America", he said, "because we are a nation of believers", quoting from the article that Seymour Hersh quotes Boykin in, in The New Yorker. We'll be back with him in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re still with Seymour Hirsch. His article in the New Yorker magazine is called “Manhunt in Iraq." Washington targeting insurgents as it once did in Vietnam. And that has some experts worried—among others. What about Iran? SEYMOUR HIRSCH: Well, that's the big issue because there's a lot of people that I respect very much who say that the intelligence in their view is sound, that Iran -- that there is specific Iranian support for the Ba'ath insurgency, which on the surface seems a little over the top because, of course, Shiite Iran and the Sunni Ba'athists don't get along well. They fought a long war against each other. Iran traditionally has some relationships with the Shiites in the south of Iraq, but certainly the Iraqis in the South, the Shiites are more nationalistic than they were in terms of than Shiism. They supported Saddam all the way during the war, but the intelligence -- there is specific intelligence.
I think some does come from Israel, and a lot of people get their edge raised, but there's a lot of concern that Iran may be playing a dangerous game. After all, Iran has Afghanistan on one border, and now Iraq. So they're feeling squeezed. On the other hand, there are also people saying, yes, Iran is keeping all options open as anybody rationally would. They are in contact with the Ba’athists and they certainly Know. . . You know, there's no worry in Iran about the fact that the insurgency isn't working. But the notion that they would be actively involved is -- in terms of supplying communication gear and weapons and bases is way over the top. And more -- as somebody said to me, it's more of the Chalabi stuff, talking about Ahmed Chalabi whose intelligence we now know, is generally conceded, provided in the Bush administration in the year or two after 9-11, played a key role in making case for WMD, the horrible case.
It's a very complicated issue, but I will tell you that one of the reasons we're organizing Iraqi--you saw in the papers the other day: we are organizing Iraqi teams of paramilitary— is, if they do decide to do something cross-border into Iran, it will be with Iraqis with American backing. That's the talk right now. Obviously,it needs more reporting, because it is just a dispute right now in the intelligence community. But you cannot rule out anything.
If Iran, certainly, whether it's directly overtly helping or not, Iran is certainly, and Hezbollah, too, have a tremendous interest in what's going on. The stakes are being raised dramatically in that part of the world because of our invasion of Iraq.
Israelis tell me there's nothing more exciting than waking up in the morning and seeing America to the east. Israel likes us there, many in Israel, not everybody. Many people think it's also disastrous in the long run.
But there's more talk now. You see it in just the administration's comments, more talk about hostility towards Syria. There was a long piece said by administration officials in the New York Times -- I don't mean to suggest that the information was accurate as everybody knew it, nobody was doing propaganda. There was a story quoting administration officials as saying that David Kay, this sort of hapless fellow that is in charge of the search for the WMD-- why he took that job he must be asking himself that, now-- Kay, what he has found was that maybe there was an arms deal for air defense weapons, which are not outside of the U.N. agreements anyway, that were purchased by Iraq or Iraq tried to purchase them from North Korea through Syria. You hear that kind of talk. So, they’re beginning to open up talk about Syria again like the neoconservatives did in late March and early April when it looked like everything was going great in Iraq and they were going to keep on rolling.
So, you can have a dark -- the dark scenario would be that we do expand our aggressiveness into regime change into Syria and perhaps a new Iran and we end up sort of back-to-back with the Israelis fighting a middle east insurgency. That's where some of the people, if you read what they say very carefully, what they said in the last ten years, that’s what the neoconservatives want. That's in their writing. I'll be honest, it's in internal papers that I have, but I haven't published because they are what they call white papers. They're easy discounted. In other words, a lot of thinking inside the pentagon is done unofficially, in unofficial papers, the papers that are not officially part of the system. So, the problem with those is they're so easily discountable. They're not real documents. That's one reason they do it that way. Inside the government they are known as the white papers. It just doesn't exist. In those papers, there is talk of wholesale Middle East chaos. And that's to our advantage because the next step would then be some sort of democracy. That seems to be what they think.
It does look like despite all of the troubles we're having in Iraq that some of those elements of the policy are still being carried out, and I can also add that, talk about self-fulfilling prophesies, I don't think there's any question that some Mahabis from Saudi Arabi, some very radical Shiites are coming across the border from Saudi Arabi, I think more than any other country. They're terrorists and they're intent on doing car bombings.
We began a war against a country claiming they were terrorists when I think everybody now understands they were not. No connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, no significant connection, nothing that meant much. Now we set the situation in which what we initially began the war against is beginning to happen.
I know that the two and three and four-star generals, if you ask them about what's going on, everybody wants more troops. Nobody is going to say so publicly. It means end of career, but they also all say the same thing: My boys are getting killed, and my job is to defend them. You now have a situation where what we thought we had when we went into Iraq, we may have triggered.
What do you do with that? You know, what do you do with the fact that people are coming across the border? Well, there we are. I mean it's possibly the most bungled foreign affair episode in the history of pretty much bungled stuff we have done over the last 250 years. It always ends perfect.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Seymour Hirsch, I want to thank you very much for being with us. His latest piece appears in this week's New Yorker; it's called, "Manhunt in Iraq."

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Why Was Richard Perle Meeting With Adnan Khashoggi?

By Seymour M. Hersh
The New Yorker

At the peak of his deal-making activities, in the nineteen-seventies, the Saudi-born businessman Adnan Khashoggi brokered billions of dollars in arms and aircraft sales for the Saudi royal family, earning hundreds of millions in commissions and fees. Though never convicted of wrongdoing, he was repeatedly involved in disputes with federal prosecutors and with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in recent years he has been in litigation in Thailand and Los Angeles, among other places, concerning allegations of stock manipulation and fraud. During the Reagan Administration, Khashoggi was one of the middlemen between Oliver North, in the White House, and the mullahs in Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. Khashoggi subsequently claimed that he lost ten million dollars that he had put up to obtain embargoed weapons for Iran which were to be bartered (with Presidential approval) for American hostages. The scandals of those times seemed to feed off each other: a congressional investigation revealed that Khashoggi had borrowed much of the money for the weapons from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I.), whose collapse, in 1991, defrauded thousands of depositors and led to years of inquiry and litigation.

Khashoggi is still brokering. In January of this year, he arranged a private lunch, in France, to bring together Harb Saleh al-Zuhair, a Saudi industrialist whose family fortune includes extensive holdings in construction, electronics, and engineering companies throughout the Middle East, and Richard N. Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is one of the most outspoken and influential American advocates of war with Iraq.

The Defense Policy Board is a Defense Department advisory group composed primarily of highly respected former government officials, retired military officers, and academics. Its members, who serve without pay, include former national-security advisers, Secretaries of Defense, and heads of the C.I.A. The board meets several times a year at the Pentagon to review and assess the country's strategic defense policies.

Perle is also a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Trireme' s main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The letter mentioned the firm's government connections prominently: "Three of Trireme's Management Group members currently advise the U.S. Secretary of Defense by serving on the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and one of Trireme's principals, Richard Perle, is chairman of that Board." The two other policy-board members associated with Trireme are Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State (who is, in fact, only a member of Trireme's advisory group and is not involved in its management), and Gerald Hillman, an investor and a close business associate of Perle's who handles matters in Trireme's New York office. The letter said that forty-five million dollars had already been raised, including twenty million dollars from Boeing; the purpose, clearly, was to attract more investors, such as Khashoggi and Zuhair.

Perle served as a foreign-policy adviser in George W. Bush's Presidential campaign-he had been an Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan-but he chose not to take a senior position in the Administration. In mid-2001, however, he accepted an offer from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to chair the Defense Policy Board, a then obscure group that had been created by the Defense Department in 1985. Its members (there are around thirty of them) may be outside the government, but they have access to classified information and to senior policymakers, and give advice not only on strategic policy but also on such matters as weapons procurement. Most of the board's proceedings are confidential.

As chairman of the board, Perle is considered to be a special government employee and therefore subject to a federal Code of Conduct. Those rules bar a special employee from participating in an official capacity in any matter in which he has a financial interest. "One of the general rules is that you don't take advantage of your federal position to help yourself financially in any way," a former government attorney who helped formulate the Code of Conduct told me. The point, the attorney added, is to "protect government processes from actual or apparent conflicts."

Advisory groups like the Defense Policy Board enable knowledgeable people outside government to bring their skills and expertise to bear, in confidence, on key policy issues. Because such experts are often tied to the defense industry, however, there are inevitable conflicts. One board member told me that most members are active in finance and business, and on at least one occasion a member has left a meeting when a military or an intelligence product in which he has an active interest has come under discussion.

Four members of the Defense Policy Board told me that the board, which met most recently on February 27th and 28th, had not been informed of Perle's involvement in Trireme. One board member, upon being told of Trireme and Perle's meeting with Khashoggi, exclaimed, "Oh, get out of here. He's the chairman! If you had a story about me setting up a company for homeland security, and I've put people on the board with whom I'm doing that business, I'd be had"-a reference to Gerald Hillman, who had almost no senior policy or military experience in government before being offered a post on the policy board. "Seems to me this is at the edge of or off the ethical charts. I think it would stink to high heaven."

Hillman, a former McKinsey consultant, stunned at least one board member at the February meeting when he raised questions about the validity of Iraq's existing oil contracts. "Hillman said the old contracts are bad news; he said we should kick out the Russians and the French," the board member told me. "This was a serious conversation. We'd become the brokers. Then we'd be selling futures in the Iraqi oil company. I said to myself, 'Oh, man. Don't go down that road.'" Hillman denies making such statements at the meeting.

Larry Noble, the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research organization, said of Perle's Trireme involvement, "It's not illegal, but it presents an appearance of a conflict. It's enough to raise questions about the advice he's giving to the Pentagon and why people in business are dealing with him." Noble added, "The question is whether he's trading off his advisory-committee relationship. If it's a selling point for the firm he's involved with, that means he's a closer-the guy you bring in who doesn't have to talk about money, but he's the reason you're doing the deal."

Perle's association with Trireme was not his first exposure to the link between high finance and high-level politics. He was born in New York City, graduated from the University of Southern California in 1964, and spent a decade in Senate-staff jobs before leaving government in 1980, to work for a military-consulting firm. The next year, he was back in government, as Assistant Secretary of Defense. In 1983, he was the subject of a New York Times investigation into an allegation that he recommended that the Army buy weapons from an Israeli company from whose owners he had, two years earlier, accepted a fifty-thousand-dollar fee. Perle later acknowledged that he had accepted the fee, but vigorously denied any wrongdoing. He had not recused himself in the matter, he explained, because the fee was for work he had done before he took the Defense Department job. He added, "The ultimate issue, of course, was a question of procurement, and I am not a procurement officer." He was never officially accused of any ethical violations in the matter. Perle served in the Pentagon until 1987 and then became deeply involved in the lobbying and business worlds. Among other corporate commitments, he now serves as a director of a company doing business with the federal government: the Autonomy Corporation, a British firm that recently won a major federal contract in homeland security. When I asked him about that contract, Perle told me that there was no possible conflict, because the contract was obtained through competitive bidding, and "I never talked to anybody about it."

Under Perle's leadership, the policy board has become increasingly influential. He has used it as a bully pulpit, from which to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the use of premptive military action to combat terrorism. Perle had many allies for this approach, such as Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, but there was intense resistance throughout the bureaucracy-most notably at the State Department. Premption has since emerged as the overriding idea behind the Administration's foreign policy. One former high-level intelligence official spoke with awe of Perle' s ability to "radically change government policy" even though he is a private citizen. "It's an impressive achievement that an outsider can have so much influence, and has even been given an institutional base for his influence."

Perle's authority in the Bush Administration is buttressed by close association, politically and personally, with many important Administration figures, including Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is the Pentagon's third-ranking civilian official. In 1989, Feith created International Advisors Incorporated, a lobbying firm whose main client was the government of Turkey. The firm retained Perle as an adviser between 1989 and 1994. Feith got his current position, according to a former high-level Defense Department official, only after Perle personally intervened with Rumsfeld, who was skeptical about him. Feith was directly involved in the strategic planning and conduct of the military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan; he now runs various aspects of the planning of the Iraqi war and its aftermath. He and Perle share the same views on many foreign-policy issues. Both have been calling for Saddam Hussein's removal for years, long before September 11th. They also worked together, in 1996, to prepare a list of policy initiatives for Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after his election as the Israeli Prime Minister. The suggestions included working toward regime change in Iraq. Feith and Perle were energetic supporters of Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial leader of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress, and have struggled with officials at the State Department and the C.I.A. about the future of Iraq.

Perle has also been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, and Americans who are in its pay. He has often publicly rebuked former American government officials who are connected to research centers and foundations that are funded by the Saudis, and told the National Review last summer, "I think it's a disgrace. They're the people who appear on television, they write op-ed pieces. The Saudis are a major source of the problem we face with terrorism. That would be far more obvious to people if it weren't for this community of former diplomats effectively working for this foreign government." In August, the Saudi government was dismayed when the Washington Post revealed that the Defense Policy Board had received a briefing on July 10th from a Rand Corporation analyst named Laurent Murawiec, who depicted Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that the Bush Administration give the Saudi government an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its financial assets in the United States and its oil fields. Murawiec, it was later found, is a former editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, a magazine controlled by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., the perennial Presidential candidate, conspiracy theorist, and felon. According to Time, it was Perle himself who had invited Murawiec to make his presentation.

Perle's hostility to the politics of the Saudi government did not stop him from meeting with potential Saudi investors for Trireme. Khashoggi and Zuhair told me that they understood that one of Trireme's objectives was to seek the help of influential Saudis to win homeland-security contracts with the Saudi royal family for the businesses it financed. The profits for such contracts could be substantial. Saudi Arabia has spent nearly a billion dollars to survey and demarcate its eight-hundred-and-fifty-mile border with Yemen, and the second stage of that process will require billions more. Trireme apparently turned to Adnan Khashoggi for help.

Last month, I spoke with Khashoggi, who is sixty-seven and is recovering from open-heart surgery, at his penthouse apartment, overlooking the Mediterranean in Cannes. "I was the intermediary," he said. According to Khashoggi, he was first approached by a Trireme official named Christopher Harriman. Khashoggi said that Harriman, an American businessman whom he knew from his jet-set days, when both men were fixtures on the European social scene, sent him the Trireme pitch letter. (Harriman has not answered my calls.) Khashoggi explained that before Christmas he and Harb Zuhair, the Saudi industrialist, had met with Harriman and Gerald Hillman in Paris and had discussed the possibility of a large investment in Trireme.

Zuhair was interested in more than the financial side; he also wanted to share his views on war and peace with someone who had influence with the Bush Administration. Though a Saudi, he had been born in Iraq, and he hoped that a negotiated, "step by step" solution could be found to avoid war. Zuhair recalls telling Harriman and Hillman, "If we have peace, it would be easy to raise a hundred million. We will bring development to the region." Zuhair's hope, Khashoggi told me, was to combine opportunities for peace with opportunities for investment. According to Khashoggi, Hillman and Harriman said that such a meeting could be arranged. Perle emerged, by virtue of his position on the policy board, as a natural catch; he was "the hook," Khashoggi said, for obtaining the investment from Zuhair. Khashoggi said that he agreed to try to assemble potential investors for a private lunch with Perle.

The lunch took place on January 3rd at a seaside restaurant in Marseilles. (Perle has a vacation home in the South of France.) Those who attended the lunch differ about its purpose. According to both Khashoggi and Zuhair, there were two items on the agenda. The first was to give Zuhair a chance to propose a peaceful alternative to war with Iraq; Khashoggi said that he and Perle knew that such an alternative was far-fetched, but Zuhair had recently returned from a visit to Baghdad, and was eager to talk about it. The second, more important item, according to Khashoggi and Zuhair, was to pave the way for Zuhair to put together a group of ten Saudi businessmen who would invest ten million dollars each in Trireme.

"It was normal for us to see Perle," Khashoggi told me. "We in the Middle East are accustomed to politicians who use their offices for whatever business they want. I organized the lunch for the purpose of Harb Zuhair to put his language to Perle. Perle politely listened, and the lunch was over." Zuhair, in a telephone conversation with me, recalled that Perle had made it clear at the lunch that "he was above the money. He said he was more involved in politics, and the business is through the company"-Trireme. Perle, throughout the lunch, "stuck to his idea that 'we have to get rid of Saddam,'" Zuhair said. As of early March, to the knowledge of Zuhair, no Saudi money had yet been invested in Trireme.

In my first telephone conversation with Gerald Hillman, in mid-February, before I knew of the involvement of Khashoggi and Zuhair, he assured me that Trireme had "nothing to do" with the Saudis. "I don't know what you can do with them," he said. "What we saw on September 11th was a grotesque manifestation of their ideology. Americans believe that the Saudis are supporting terrorism. We have no investment from them, or with them." (Last week, he acknowledged that he had met with Khashoggi and Zuhair, but said that the meeting had been arranged by Harriman and that he hadn't known that Zuhair would be there.) Perle, he insisted in February, "is not a financial creature. He doesn't have any desire for financial gain."

Perle, in a series of telephone interviews, acknowledged that he had met with two Saudis at the lunch in Marseilles, but he did not divulge their identities. (At that time, I still didn't know who they were.) "There were two Saudis there," he said. "But there was no discussion of Trireme. It was never mentioned and never discussed." He firmly stated, "The lunch was not about money. It just would never have occurred to me to discuss investments, given the circumstances." Perle added that one of the Saudis had information that Saddam was ready to surrender. "His message was a plea to negotiate with Saddam."

When I asked Perle whether the Saudi businessmen at the lunch were being considered as possible investors in Trireme, he replied, "I don't want Saudis as such, but the fund is open to any investor, and our European partners said that, through investment banks, they had had Saudis as investors." Both Perle and Hillman stated categorically that there were currently no Saudi investments.

Khashoggi professes to be amused by the activities of Perle and Hillman as members of the policy board. As Khashoggi saw it, Trireme's business potential depended on a war in Iraq taking place. "If there is no war," he told me, "why is there a need for security? If there is a war, of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent." He commented, "You Americans blind yourself with your high integrity and your democratic morality against peddling influence, but they were peddling influence."

When Perle's lunch with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and his connection to Trireme, became known to a few ranking members of the Saudi royal family, they reacted with anger and astonishment. The meeting in Marseilles left Perle, one of the kingdom's most vehement critics, exposed to a ferocious counterattack.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who has served as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States for twenty years, told me that he had got wind of Perle's involvement with Trireme and the lunch in Marseilles. Bandar, who is in his early fifties, is a prominent member of the royal family (his father is the defense minister). He said that he was told that the contacts between Perle and Trireme and the Saudis were purely business, on all sides. After the 1991 Gulf War, Bandar told me, Perle had been involved in an unsuccessful attempt to sell security systems to the Saudi government, "and this company does security systems." (Perle confirmed that he had been on the board of a company that attempted to make such a sale but said he was not directly involved in the project.)

"There is a split personality to Perle," Bandar said. "Here he is, on the one hand, trying to make a hundred-million-dollar deal, and, on the other hand, there were elements of the appearance of blackmail-'If we get in business, he'll back off on Saudi Arabia'-as I have been informed by participants in the meeting."

As for Perle's meeting with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and the assertion that its purpose was to discuss politics, Bandar said, "There has to be deniability, and a cover story-a possible peace initiative in Iraq-is needed. I believe the Iraqi events are irrelevant. A business meeting took place."

Zuhair, however, was apparently convinced that, thanks to his discussions with Trireme, he would have a chance to enter into a serious discussion with Perle about peace. A few days after the meeting in Paris, Hillman had sent Khashoggi a twelve-point memorandum, dated December 26, 2002, setting the conditions that Iraq would have to meet. "It is my belief," the memorandum stated, "that if the United States obtained the following results it would not go to war against Iraq." Saddam would have to admit that "Iraq has developed, and possesses, weapons of mass destruction." He then would be allowed to resign and leave Iraq immediately, with his sons and some of his ministers.

Hillman sent Khashoggi a second memorandum a week later, the day before the lunch with Perle in Marseilles. "Following our recent discussions," it said, "we have been thinking about an immediate test to ascertain that Iraq is sincere in its desire to surrender." Five more steps were outlined, and an ambitious final request was made: that Khashoggi and Zuhair arrange a meeting with Prince Nawaf Abdul Aziz, the Saudi intelligence chief, "so that we can assist in Washington."

Both Khashoggi and Zuhair were skeptical of the memorandums. Zuhair found them "absurd," and Khashoggi told me that he thought they were amusing, and almost silly. "This was their thinking?" he recalled asking himself. "There was nothing to react to. While Harb was lobbying for Iraq, they were lobbying for Perle."

In my initial conversation with Hillman, he said, "Richard had nothing to do with the writing of those letters. I informed him of it afterward, and he never said one word, even after I sent them to him. I thought my ideas were pretty clear, but I didn't think Saddam would resign and I didn't think he'd go into exile. I'm positive Richard does not believe that any of those things would happen." Hillman said that he had drafted the memorandums with the help of his daughter, a college student. Perle, for his part, told me, "I didn't write them and didn't supply any content to them. I didn't know about them until after they were drafted."

The views set forth in the memorandums were, indeed, very different from those held by Perle, who has said publicly that Saddam will leave office only if he is forced out, and from those of his fellow hard-liners in the Bush Administration. Given Perle's importance in American decision-making, and the risks of relying on a deal-maker with Adnan Khashoggi's history, questions remain about Hillman's drafting of such an amateurish peace proposal for Zuhair. Prince Bandar's assertion-that the talk of peace was merely a pretext for some hard selling-is difficult to dismiss.

Hillman's proposals, meanwhile, took on an unlikely life of their own. A month after the lunch, the proposals made their way to Al Hayat, a Saudi-owned newspaper published in London. If Perle had ever intended to dissociate himself from them, he did not succeed. The newspaper, in a dispatch headlined "washington offers to avert war in return for an international agreement to exile saddam," characterized Hillman's memorandums as "American" documents and said that the new proposals bore Perle's imprimatur. The paper said that Perle and others had attended a series of "secret meetings" in an effort to avoid the pending war with Iraq, and "a scenario was discussed whereby Saddam Hussein would personally admit that his country was attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction and he would agree to stop trying to acquire these weapons while he awaits exile."

A few days later, the Beirut daily Al Safir published Arabic translations of the memorandums themselves, attributing them to Richard Perle. The proposals were said to have been submitted by Perle, and to "outline Washington's future visions of Iraq." Perle's lunch with two Saudi businessmen was now elevated by Al Safir to a series of "recent American-Saudi negotiations" in which "the American side was represented by Richard Perle." The newspaper added, "Publishing these documents is important because they shed light on the story of how war could have been avoided." The documents, of course, did nothing of the kind.

When Perle was asked whether his dealings with Trireme might present the appearance of a conflict of interest, he said that anyone who saw such a conflict would be thinking "maliciously." But Perle, in crisscrossing between the public and the private sectors, has put himself in a difficult position-one not uncommon to public men. He is credited with being the intellectual force behind a war that not everyone wants and that many suspect, however unfairly, of being driven by American business interests. There is no question that Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war. In doing so, he has given ammunition not only to the Saudis but to his other ideological opponents as well.

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Milton Frihetsson, 17:24
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