"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Clintonizing Chalabi

The recent raid and statements from the DIA indicate that Chalabi is about to be "Clintonized", that is, his failures and spying will be blamed on Clinton. Note the construction "for years" in reference to his passing information to the government of Iran.

In the late 1970's Ahmed Chalabi set up the Petra Bank in Jordan. While it offered better services, the most important service was that it allowed individuals to launder hard currency out of Jordan. When, almost a decade later, Jordan was facing a currency crisis, it required banks to put up 30% of their foreign currency reserves in Jordan. Petra could not comply, and the banking collapse that followed showed how hundreds of millions turned up missing, and over 100 million dollars of non-performing loans to Chalabi and his associates had been churned out. Switzerland band Chalabi from banking in their country. Jordan was not so quiet - it convicted him of felony bank fraud - in abstentia, he had long since left the country - and is unlikely to return given that he faces 22 years in prison.

Chalabi then shifted gears - having laundered money for Saddam through Petra bank, he now kicked agitating against him into high gear with the Iraqi National Congress. It was created by a directive of George Herbert Walker Bush Sr. in the wake of the first Iraq-American War.
The Rendon Group - run by long time Democratic party backer John Rendon - took the contract from the CIA to turn the Iraqi National Congress into a credible looking "government in exile". Rendon assigned Francis Brooke to be the liason between the INC and the CIA, and paid him $19,000 dollars a month while in London. It was here that Ahmed Chalabi and Shakir Samir Mahoud al-Samedi were brought on board. The INC began passing information on Saddam to CIA.

The CIA found that the INC was both fractious and ineffective, and that it had a consistent record of failing to come through with effective intelligence, in 1997 CIA pulled the plug on further funding of the INC. Desparate for new backers, Chalabi went to the Neocons - who pushed through the Republican Congress an "Iraqi Liberation Act" in 1998. It authorized almost $100 million for Iraqi opposition, some of which was funnelled into the INC.
The association of Chalabi to Clinton is then, remote - Chalabi never met with Clinton, nor did he have any influence. His influence was entirely through Rendon, and Farouki, an associate of one of Chalabi's long time supporters.

Chalabi's daughter, having participated in anti-Israel activities while at Harvard, and having written a thesis at Brown pushing the notion that Iraq was a totalitarian state like the Soviet Union, rather than a garden variety strong man government - became one of his most persusive advocates. Brilliant and charming, like her father, she won over numerous arab intellectuals to the idea of a new democratic Iraq, freed of Islamic past. She argued, in post-modern vein, that there was no "authentic" Islamic law or experience, and hence, there could be a new Iraq imposed by fiat. Her thesis drew parallels in the history of Lebenon. Her Brown thesis argued that Iraq was totalitarian, rather than a garden variety strong man system. As would be expected, she was involved with anti-Israel activities.

She also tried to white wash the Petra Bank Scandal.
It was an argument which was music to the Project for the New American Century's ears, and Chalabi rapidly became their favorite. parlaying intellect and the ooze of schmooze into the driver's seat. Setting the time table for "sovereignty" over State's objections. An intimate of Perle, Rice and Wolfowitz, to accept the vision of "Iraqi Democracy" requires that you buy Chalabi. Strike that, it requires that you be leveraged to the hilt in Chalabi.
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The INC had been held at a distance under the Clinton Administration - and weapons inspectors consistently reported that INC information was less than adequate. While the INC reports made it into CIA briefings, they did not materially alter the Clinton Administration's view of Saddam: that he was evil, but containable. Ambassador Gallucci was typical of the Clinton Administration's view, namely that Saddam was not a threat, and they were going to act aggressively within the limits of the no fly zones and armistice to make sure that he did not become one - at the same time, there was a prevailing belief that Saddam did have some stocks of forbidden weapons. Gallucci and Ritter had a falling out over this very issue, with Ritter coming to the conclusion that the reports of Saddam's weapons program were bogus.
It was with the Bush tenure that the INC hit high gear. In April of 2001 - note that this is after Clinton has left the White House - the INC opens an office in Tehran, and begins pursuing closer links. At the same time in London, al-Sameadi agitates for the UK to support an invasion. The intention of the INC at this time is to pry loose the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq - SCIRI - from the favored status in Iraq. Iran had funded terrorist activities in Iraq, and backed groups such as the Dawa party dating back to the Gulf War in the 1980's. In 2001 Iranian funded terrroists detonated a large bomb in Baghdad itself.
However, the Iranian hardliners in charge of the "Iraq file" remained aligned with Ayatollah al-Hakim, the SCIRI's charismatic leader, and focused on the Da'wa Party and the SCIRI as the main levers to power. The INC claimed that it had military operations and successes in Iraq during this period, but there is no credible evidence that they did more than run across the border, fire missiles and run back. Iraq took no appreciable damage from their attacks, other than one large refinery fire.
In the run up to the war, Chalabi positioned himself as a secularist moderate, and had his daughter Tamara run interference over the Petra scandal - defending him from the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
CIA regarded the INC with contempt - and stated that they had no intelligence assets of any worth. Instead, it was Perle and Wolfowitz at DoD, backed by SecDef Rumsfeld who took the information and trained the "Free Iraqi Force" under Chalabi's command. Chalabi and his supporters continued to put forward the view - which was absurd on its face - that a revolt in Iraq would spread, and that there would be an easy "liberation".
Rumsfeld bought this vision, rebuked General Tommy Franks for his "massive strike" war plan, requiring some 300,000 troops, cooperation from Turkey and massive air cover - and instead required the "Barbarossa" style plan, which envisioned a single strike from the south with smaller forces.
After the invasion Chalabi continued his manuevers, and took full advantage of the assassination of his SCIRI rival al-Hakim. His supporter al-Samedi, with no experience in security, wrote the security plan for the Interior Ministry to control the security forces, and required 2 Billion US to train an Iraqi security force. The plan was pushed through in the fall of 2003. Chalabi friends in the US hauled down multi-million dollar contracts despite having no experience in the arms trade, and subsequently suffered cost over-runs.
Chalabi's INC, driven out of Iraq in 1996, convinced the Rumsfeld lead DoD to train 1000 recruits as the "Free Iraqi Force". These were to be inserted into Iraq early as the nucleus for a security force.
Chalabi was on the ground early with his FIF, along with Francis Brooke, now his aid-de-camp, and his daughter Tamara. The held a meeting whichconviced Garner to hand over Najaf to Chalabi. The three of them convinced the US military to stop the Ba'athist functionaries from forming security forces in Karabala, Najaf and Al-Nasiryia and instead turn security over to the FIF. This turned out to be an umitigated disaster, as it allowed for the rise of Shia radicals, who would later see al-Sadr, the son of an executed dissident leader, as their focal point. The FIF, or what remained of it, was hired to protect the oil fields and infrastructure, a task they proved singularly ineffective at, as saboteurs degraded the bringing on line of the oil fields.
By fall, it was clear to Chalabi that he needed more allies if he was to take power, he sought them among the Shia Da'wa Party - which had its own, functioning, army, and a military tradition going back to fighting against Saddam since the early 1980's. By some estimates some 60,000 Da'wa soldiers died in the Iraq-Iran conflict, and their leadership contained numerous officers who had been involved in the post-Gulf War uprisings. He began to rediscover his Shia religious roots, and a conference his daughter attended added language that Iraq was to be an "Islamic Republic". The London Declaration was followed by a high profile trip to Tehran, and this winter a declaration that he favored a Sharia law for Iraq. While Tehran still favored the SCIRI, the Da'wa Party backed Chalabi in Iran, and Chalabi backed the Da'wa Party to the DoD. When the constitution was signed, al-Sameadi was made interior minister - as expected - but his deputy was from Da'wa.
It was here that it became obvious that al-Sadr, on one hand, and the post-Saddam insurgents near Fallujah, were a problem. Sadr and the Baathists had formed an alliance, and were beginning to coordinate. The US military was instructed to deal with this. The Interior ministry forces from Sameadi's plan were assigned to help with Fallujah - where they simply melted away - while the hardened Da'wa party army was sent south to help with dealing with Al-Sadr. Because of strategic committments, the US could only go on the offensive against one strong hold at a time. Expecting to hit Sadr with a surprise arrest, Fallujah was picked first.
The Fallujah operation was strategically and tactically a failure, with too little in the way of real force, and a bungled plan which exposed flanks and rear to attacks. US forces bleed heavily early, and the insurgents took the main highway - passing outside of the notorious Abu-Ghraib prison - and attacked supply lines, while insurgents played guerilla warfare hit and run games. Faced with mounting casualties, useless allies, cut supply lines and no prospect of additional forces - as well as a time table that was slipping away for the second phase of operations, the US declared defeat and went home. Even now the US is losing soldiers in the "al-Ansar" province - that is to say the Fallujah area.
The attack then shifted to the south, where the US proceded with more caution and greater support, both from the public, other political leaders such as Sistani, and against an less well organized opposition.
However, the series of failures convinced the US that they needed to distance themselves from Chalabi and his keystone conquistadors. The "hundred year constitution" that Sameadi proclaimed, lasted less than 100 days. Instead the UN and Brahamani were brought in, and Chalabi was pressured out.
Chalabi struck back by using Saddam's files, and his friends in the banking system to start an "independent" investigation of the oil for food deal, which was run by one of his accounting companies.
It was at this point that the Executive was faced with a stark choice - an increasing rebellion in the military ranks, which had found expression by using the Abu Ghraib scandal to exert pressure - remember, scandals don't happen, they are allowed to happen - American Generals were tired of sending their troops to die simply because Chalabai and his associates could not create a security force.
The decision was made to cashier Chalabi - going to Bush himself by some reports. The DIA report is quite likely an attempt to pin Chalabi on Clinton by extending his spying for Iran back into "The Clinton Administration". What evidence there is indicates the reverse - that his currying favor with Iran hit high gear only in 2001, and took flight after Hakim's untimely death in 2003. Only in late 2003 is he an openly welcomed figure in Tehran.
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Chalabi has a long history of fraud and deception, from the Al-Petra bank scandal forward. His daughter has been a front for him, and he has used Francis Brooke as his liason, first to CIA, then to the neocon DoD.
The INC was created by order of Bush Sr., and while Rendon is a Democratic leaning businessman, he was not chosen by Clinton. Clinton continued the policy, but, like Waco, he did not plan the details. In 1996, or perhaps 1997 at the latest, Clinton's CIA stopped funding Chalabi and the INC. This was largely because of the failure of an INC plot against Saddam in 1995, and the low quality of their information.
The INC is refunded by the Republican Congress, and develops ties to the PNAC, which finds Chalabi useful. Chalabi and his associates receive millions, and their connected companies, such as Erysis received contracts in Iraq. Rendon is not alone in doing work for the INC - Burson Marsteller has as well. The ties through the Daghastani's alone, are enough to keep a research busy for days. They are among Chalabi's associates who have received extra-ordinary treatment under the Bush Executive. His long time friends were picked out for ministries in Iraq
The overweening halmark of the entire Iraq operation is the manifest incompetence and unfitness of key players. The interior minister, billed as a writer and business man displays no literary ability whatever in his writing but is, instead, an embarassingly obvious flack, with a penchant for lying. His only biographical information, repeated hundreds of times, offers little of any use, and yet the DoD signs off on him as a "long time Saddam opponent." without explaining why he is "very well qualified" to head the police, Border Enforceement and Facillity Protection Service - not the roles one would assign an "international businessman".
On the contrary he seems to exist to participate in cover-ups such as of Abu Ghraib.
"Members of the new Iraqi interim government say the motives for the mortar attack on the Abu Gharib prison remain unknown. But Governing Council member Samir Shakir Mahmud Sumaidy said he thinks the attackers have "lost their way" and have no strategy other than to create mayhem and chaos."
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The raid an accusations are the beginning of sustained pressure on Chalabi - Jordan wants him for crimes, and there is a need to cashier him. Chalabi, not without supporters and resources, including his long association and embarassingly large number of contacts with Laura Bush, Rice, Perle, Wolfowitz - and access to thousands of Saddam files, and numerous backers in the Defense contracting establishment, and in high places in the Iraqi banking system, is certain to stike back with his considerable charm and acumen. He has always been smooth, and now he is extremely experienced in deception and fraud.
It is impossible to believe that the executive would have ordered the raid unless some means of deflecting blame were avaialble. The most likely scenario is that there will be an attempt to use Rendon and the 1993-1996 funding to "Clintonize" Chalabi. This should not be allowed to happen - Chalabi was made into a major figure by the neocons, and his long history of deception and failure was ignored in their rush to find a "democratically minded strong man" for Iraq.
Chalabi is the Marie Antoinette figure of this latest age of believing in the power of an internationalized and homogenized elite to run the globe: a proof that the powers that be have simply lost their marbles, and have no ability to differentiate between people they like to deal with, and people who can create positive accomplishments on the ground. A year ago, glowering predictions of success would have been enough to silence questions - now with Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, and the collapse of the original IGC plan - among others - we have proof positive that the current executive is a failure factory, and is attempting to dissociate themselves with one of the most prominent clowns of their carnival of catastrophe.
The Republicans will try and connect Abul Huda Farouki, prominent CEO of American International Services, with Clinton - he attended a donors get together, and who, along with his wife, contributed $10,000 each to the Clinton Defense fund. AIS remains a prominent company. Their only hard money activity this cycle so far has been to John Edwards, but they have given hundreds of thousands to Democrats and the DNC over the last 10 years, starting in 1994. But Farouki is not Chalabi, nor is he an intimate of Chalabi. He does have dealings with Chalabi associates however, and this will be used to create the all important "linkage".
The key points to remember are:

  1. Bush Sr. Created the INC

  2. Clinton fired the INC in 1996 after a failed coup attempt and bad information.

  3. The Republican Congress brought them back.

  4. The civilian leadership of DoD - Wolfowitz, Perle and Rumsfeld - made Chalabi the key player.

  5. The INC had no presence in Iran until after Bush took office, and only had a relationship with Iran of any consequence after Hakim's assassination.

  6. Chalabi and Dawa formed an alliance, causing Chalabi to shift towards Islamicism.

  7. The attempt to cashier Chalabi is clearly attached to either building his prestige, or to distance Bush from him - either way, he needs to be pinned on Clinton.

  8. The PNACers cannot distance themselves from him - he is the key figure in the creation of their Iraq.

  9. Chalabi associates have a track record of getting big contracts from the Iraq war, and a track record of overpromising and under delivering.

  10. Chalabi is a convicted felon, and no amount of seething charm will change this. Switzerland doesn't go after people at Saddam's request - so long as the money is clean when they get it, they will do business with almost anyone.


White House transcripts-Bush (from preznit giv me turkee Iraq visit): "I did see Chalabi. I met with -- well, let's see, I had the dinner, you saw that. I wasn't sure how long you were there, you probably timed it, but an hour or so -- are these the times? Oh, these are the people there. I shook a lot of hands, saw a lot of kids, took a lot of pictures, served a lot of food and we moved on to see four members of the Governing Council -- the names are here. Talibani is the head of it right now, so he was the main spokesman. But Chalabi was there... We had a nice visit."
Cheney: ".... We'll want to work, I think, with the Iraqi opposition, with the Iraqi National Congress. I personally met with Mr. Chalabi myself in years past, and I would expect that they will be a part of a continuing effort as we think about how best to deal with that threat."
DoD transcripts-Wolfowitz:"Q: What's the status of Chalabi? Why does he have a CentCom liaison, if he's just one Iraqi leader among many? PW: We ought to be supporting everyone who can do something useful. I think the decision has been made to support democracy and a big tent. [We shouldn't exclude him from the big tent.] We need more transparency in terms of others who we deal with."
Q&A w/DoD spokesman Victoria Clarke-"Q: Last week the U.S. military flew Ahmad Chalabi and 700 armed INC members into Iraq. There are U.S. Special Forces deployed with those INC and Chalabi, and today he's on his way to Baghdad. Presumably, he wouldn't be able to do that without the knowledge and support of the U.S. So how can the U.S. military or the Pentagon deny the perception that they are giving Chalabi and his INC members favorable treatment? And if that's not the case, then what, exactly, is this relationship between the INC and the Pentagon and U.S. military?
CLARKE: Well, it's really the relationship with the Iraqi people overall. We've been working with the Kurds in the north, we've been working with the Shi'a, we've been working with and have brought in free Iraqi forces that were trained in Hungary, we're working with local leaders, with tribal leaders, with clerics, with a wide range of people both within and without Iraq. And at the end of the day, what matters and what's really going to happen is the Iraqi people are going to decide the course of action going forward. So I think if you look at the complete picture, the perception's very different. And it's the reality, as well."
Clinton never armed a Spy's Army and then flew into battle into the midst of US troops.
One note, I have to give Rumsfeld credit for not ever saying anything directly about Chalabi. I'm not even sure he ever mentioned his name. Rumsfeld is one smooth operator. If the BushCo. ship is sinking I'm guessing Rummy has a lifeboat ready to go. The same can't be said for the idiots in the press (Russert, Blitzer, Judith Miller) who fellated Chalabi for months to get stories to please their masters in the White House. Thanks, Media Whores! You got ratings and we got a war.

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