Playing the Chalabi Card
By Ahmed Amr
"As far as we're concerned we've been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords if he wants."
With these words, Ahmed Chalabi publicly took the blame for providing false information to the American intelligence community. Isn't Chalabi an American citizen? Isn't there some kind of law against an American deliberately misleading one of his countries for the sake of another one of his countries? Why is Chalabi so unconcerned about the consequences of his admission? Does it have anything to do with helping the Bush administration diffuse some of the pressure from the so-called 'intelligence failures'?
Four months ago, I predicted that Ahmed Chalabi would come forward and fall on his sword as a martyr for the neo-cons. In this season of investigating deliberate 'intelligence failures', the Chalabi card was bound to be played sooner rather than later. Now that the OSP is being probed for corrupting WMD intelligence, Chalabi has been thrown in to the battle to help the neo-cons dodge the blame for the consequences of the rush to war. It doesn't cost him anything. Chalabi's reputation is not exactly worth saving. Besides, he can pose as an Iraqi patriot who did what he had to do to get rid of Saddam.
It should be noted that Conrad Black, a militant pro-Israeli activist, owns the Daily Telegraph, the arena Chalabi chose to fall on his sword. Richard Perle, a prime suspect in the engineering of the 'intelligence failure', sits on the board of Hollinger, the parent holding company of the Telegraph. This little Chalabi dance was choreographed way in advance. It didn't take a genius to see it coming.
Unfortunately for the neo-cons, the Chalabi card is unlikely to deliver a winning hand. Because Chalabi can not take credit or blame for the Niger Yellow Cake uranium 'intelligence failure', the fictional Al Qaeda/Saddam meeting in Prague or the outing of Valerie Plame. Neither can he be held responsible for the delirious predictions of the neo-con establishment about cakewalks and other Likudnik fantasies.
With that introduction, please consider reading the following article that correctly predicted that Chalabi would volunteer to fall on his sword for his neo-con brethren. Note that it was originally published on October 25, 2003.
Playing the Plame Game
By Ahmed Amr
Be certain of this. No journalist working for the Washington Post wants to play the Plame game. The same lack of interest is epidemic at other media monopolies like CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Fox. If you have any doubts about this assertion, use a search engine to verify the fact that they have not published a single story linking the Plame affair to the Office of Special Plans (OSP). Not a single major media outlet has bothered to probe the OSP link to the outing of a CIA agent married to Joseph Wilson IV.
Why link the OSP to the Plame scandal? Why does the OSP link make The Washington Post so averse to playing the Plame game?
The Office of Special Plans (OSP) was set up by Paul Wolfowitz to filter CIA and DIA intelligence to market the Iraq war. The scheme to dumb down intelligence was supported by Rumsfeld and Cheney and their neo-con advisers, Douglas Feith and Lewis Libby. It is highly unlikely that major players like Tony Blaire were unaware of these deliberate 'intelligence failures'.
The long and short of it is that the OSP was a 'circular' intelligence scam. 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. www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,999737,00.html
The Post, along with the Times and the Wall Street Journal, had full concrete knowledge of the OSP intelligence scam. In fact, many of their reporters took an active part in leaking OSP 'findings' or in originating OSP 'intelligence'.
If the administration's post-war fantasies had materialized, the OSP wizards figured that a triumphant America would ignore the fact that Iraq had no WMDs, no connection to Al-Qaida and no role in the 911 atrocities.
Just in case the Iraqi adventure ended up in a disaster, the Likudniks who staffed the OSP would blame it all on 'intelligence failures' and pin the blame on Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. Chalabi had no problem volunteering for this role. He would submit to a few ceremonial lashes and then be excused. After all, he was a desperate man who just wanted to rid his country from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
But events outpaced the worst case scenarios of the OSP. Their post-war plan was a joke, the hallucination of an ugly Likudnik mind. And there was a serious glitch in the OSP backup plan to pin all the 'intelligence failures' on Chalabi. The yellow cake uranium scam did not originate from Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.
When the CIA dispatched Ambassador Wilson to Niger to investigate if there was any substance to the story, he reported back that it was a crude fraud. The mainstream intelligence community concurred, except that the OSP conveniently 'forgot' the CIA's finding. Wilson got irked when Bush used the famous sixteen yellow cake words in a speech to the nation. He wrote a critical article challenging the President and Bush was forced to eat all sixteen words.
Tenent gallantly came forward and took the blame for this intelligence 'failure'. Like Chalaby, he also volunteered for a public flogging and the honor of administering the ceremonial lashes went to Condi Rice. Because her lashes where less than gentle, Tenent demanded that Condi also volunteer for a flogging. In Condi's case, the ceremonial lashes where administered by an unidentified senior administration official.
Within a week, the whole nasty Plame affair had been put to rest.
The Wilson story could very well have ended up as a single footnote in this saga of war and deception. Hans Blix and many others had already taken more serious swipes at the administration. But the White House neo-cons, arrogant as ever and addicted to a doctrine of revenge, decided to get even with Wilson. They chose Plame as the vessel of their vengeance. The first blow in the smear campaign against the Wilsons found a willing publisher in The Washington Post.
This time the neo-cons had gone too far. If only because men like Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV don't take kindly to some Likudnik operative assaulting the career of their beloved AK-47 wielding Jane Bond wives.
So, the Wilson clan took up arms and a whole bunch of livid former intelligence agents joined the fray. An unmarked line in the Beltway swamps had been crossed. And we are no where near the final chapter.
In this national security scandal, all roads lead to the Washington Post Company. But do not expect the Post or the Times to start playing the Plame game anytime soon.
The OSP connection is why the Plame scandal is not your daddy's Watergate. For very good reasons, there will be no Woodwards or Bernsteins emerging from the ranks of the corporate media giants. Because pursuing the OSP link leads straight to their inner sanctums. It will expose quite a few of their media 'stars' for their active role in deceiving the public.
This time, the Woodwards will have to be drafted from the ranks of some very agile alternative journalists. Let the Plame games begin. The smart money says the winners will be independent journalists who don't give a rip about taking on The Washington Post or The New York Times.
Ahmed Amr is the editor of NileMedia.com. This article can be published at will. Please consider reading "This ain't your mama's Watergate", a more detailed account of the mass media's role in the 'intelligence failure' capers.
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