This is getting a little weird, even for Ahmad Chalabi. Bush recently invited the King of Jordan to ‘piss’ on Chalabi. I hope he cautioned him to do it while Laura is at a safe distance. It seems like yesterday that Chalabi was sitting behind the First Lady at this year’s State of the Union speech.
Chalabi is not taking it lying down. He is demanding a waterproof suit from the CIA and accusing George Tenent of targeting him for personal reasons. The neo-con Con Mon of Baghdad couldn’t come up with a rational reason why the CIA director would waste so much effort encouraging the Jordanian King to wet Chalabi’s attire. The rumor in Langley has it that the rank and file agents don’t like the neo-con colors of his wardrobe.
You would think that the intelligence community would be grateful that Chalabi has declared himself a ‘hero in error’ and volunteered to fall on his sword for the ‘intelligence failures’ that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq. But the CIA never had much use for Chalabi or the band of silk suited crooks in the INC.
Still, one must show just a little admiration for this bank swindler who was promoted by his neo-con handlers as an attractive alternative to Saddam, a combination of George Washington and ‘Saddam Lite’. Chalabi now claims that it was ‘outlandish’ for the CIA to actually believe him. He protests that it was ridiculous that “an exile organization, which was criticized and vilified by the CIA throughout the past decade, would provide information and the United States officials would take it as credible and go to war on its basis." Here is the translation “How could the CIA possibly believe a liar like me. Fooled you once. Fooled you twice. Get ready. I am about to fool you again.”
For once, Chalabi is right. It is ridiculous to believe that the CIA would fall for his attempts to mislead them with bogus intelligence. Ofcourse, it wasn’t the CIA that bit his bait. It was a different ‘intelligence’ outfit that went by the name of the Office of Special Plans. And they didn’t just bite the bait. They also helped prepare it.
This is an old story made new again only because the mainstream media finally has to deal with it. If only to save what will be left of their tattered reputation when all the beans are spilled. As this story develops, we will all discover a dirty little secret about certain prominent journalists who collaborated with the neo-cons and Chalabi to systematically pull off the greatest ‘intelligence failure’ in American history. Two of the neo-con operatives who were definitely involved in this operation are Judith ‘WMD’ Miller of the New York Times and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post.
It is now well established that Chalabi had a difficult time marketing his wares to the DIA and CIA. This infuriated the neo-con men who had used millions of taxpayer dollars to create the fictional Iraqi National Congress and promote Chalabi as Iraq’s great last hope. At first, they resorted to bullying techniques. Cheney and Libby would actually go down to Langley and put pressure on intelligence analysts to be more ‘aggressive’.
At some point, the neo-cons gave up on the CIA and started to berate the intelligence community in public. They flexed their considerable media muscle at FOX and CNN. Both of these media monopolies have been transformed into permanent podiums for the neo-con school of deception. Taking full use of their 24/7 access to the stage, they also propagated whatever fantasy of the week was being brewed at the American Enterprise Institute and other neo-con think tanks that front for the Israeli lobby.
It is difficult to imagine the CIA being a vulnerable organization. But consider the circumstances. This was after the terrorist attack on the WTC and the Pentagon. The world was a different place. The CIA had overestimated Soviet military capabilities in the 1980s and underestimated the lethal potential of Al-Qaida in 2001.
So, it was pretty easy for neo-con operatives like Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith to propose the establishment of an alternative ‘more aggressive’ intelligence operation within the Pentagon. They set up the Office of Special plans and staffed it with other neo-con ‘contractors’ from the AEI. They now had in place an intelligence unit that was ready to swallow whole any fantasy concocted by Ahmed Chalabi and the INC. In effect they created one monster to feast on the produce of another one of their monsters.
The scheme to dumb down intelligence was supported by Rumsfeld and Cheney. It is highly unlikely that major players like Tony Blair and the media titans were unaware of this rogue intelligence operation which was tasked with designing and promoting ‘intelligence failures’. Alternative news operations like Antiwar.com gave real time blow by blow insights into the shenanigans of this professional neo-con ‘intelligence failure’ design team. Jim Lobe, Justin Raimondo and Karen Kwiatkowski painted such a perfect portrayal of their scams that I began to suspect they were imbedded journalists with the neo-con brigades. Thanks to their efforts and the work of many other alternative ‘web’ journalists, we have tons of documentation proving that there was no ‘intelligence failure’. Their work also testifies to the fact that any journalist worth his salt had ready access to the same information. This was not only a government conspiracy. It was a media conspiracy.
As I have written before, the long and short of it is that the OSP was a ‘circular’ intelligence scam. Chalabi was only a single ingredient in the mix. First you concoct intelligence using operatives like Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Next you discover the intoxicating concoction on the menu at Chalabi’s place. Using his recipe, you dismiss the findings of the CIA and DIA as too timid and unworthy of master chefs. You then selectively practice the art of the leak by contacting fellow travelers like FOX and CNN to come over for a taste of Chalabi’s soup de jour. For good measure, Charles Krauthammer and Judith Miller also get invited for the main course. Last, for a final coup de grace, Judith Miller’s WMD stories are put on the OSP lunchroom menu as a new item made of fresh leaks.
For a full account of the OSP scam, you should read ‘The Spies who Pushed for War’ (By Julian Borger, the Guardian, July 17, 2003).
The Post, along with the Times and the Wall Street Journal, had full concrete knowledge of the OSP intelligence scam. Like the neo-cons they are now acting out the part of Chalabi’s dupes. In fact, many of their reporters took an active part in leaking OSP ‘findings’ or in originating OSP ‘intelligence’. While Krauthammer continues to dish out his poison on the pages of the Post, Judith Miller seems to have disappeared. You got to ask yourself what Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, is trying to hide.
After the war, when the United States failed to discover any WMDs, the ‘intelligence failure’ scheme gradually became public knowledge. By then the Office of Special Plans had been disbanded and the CIA was hung out to dry for the sins of the neo-con cabal. It is now an accepted myth that it was CIA agents who digested the Chalabi bait. In fact, the neo-cons have been audacious enough to take to the airwaves and berate the CIA for misleading the nation into war.
The Chalabi story is not nearly over. He was gracious enough to fall on his sword for the neo-cons. Even so, he can’t be blamed for the Niger Yellow Cake Uranium scam. The neo-cons have yet to locate a volunteer to fall on his sword for that chapter in the ‘intelligence failure’ saga. Although, to their credit, they wasted no time in retaliating against Joseph Wilson for challenging the veracity of their Uranium claims. They got even by outing his CIA wife, Valerie Plame. That might be another reason the intelligence community is putting voodoo pins in the neo-con’s Chalabi doll. Getting even is the oldest sport in Washington.
It is too early to write off Ahmed Chalabi. They neo-cons continue to publicly praise him. Wolfowitz is still touting him as a man who provided ‘quality’ intelligence to the United States. William Safire is still praising him on the editorial pages of the New York Times. While the CIA might be having a great time burning Chalabi, the neo-cons see new opportunities for using him to foment a civil war in Iraq.
The whole story line about Chalabi being an Iranian agent just doesn’t add up. The Iranians probably trust him less than the CIA. However, by connecting him to Iran, the neo-cons hope to enhance his stature in Iraq, at least among the Shia community.
Chalabi is now posturing as a ‘Shia’ leader and making loud noises about the Fallujah truce as a capitulation to the old Baathist regime. It is common knowledge that the Baath party no longer exists. The resistance in Fallujah was the work of a home grown insurgency in a very conservative tribal region that didn’t like foreigners messing with their country. The residents of the impoverished Shia slums of Baghdad were among the first to send assistance to their beleaguered Iraqi brothers in Fallujah.
Another phenomenon that must concern Chalabi and his neo-con handlers is that many Sunnis, especially in Baghdad, are joining the ranks of the Mehdi Army. When the Anglo-American invasion comes to an end, the joint resistance of both the Shia and Sunni communities will help inspire national unity in Iraq. That is not something Chalabi and his neo-con co-conspirators want to see. It is worth while to ponder what Chalabi and the neo-con cabal wanted to transpire in Fallujah? The answer is simple. More carnage. For what purpose? Ask Chalabi. And don’t expect a straight answer. He is too busy trying on his new suit and agitating for a civil war.