Thursday, August 24, 2006

James Bamford on Iran, et al

* on monday, Peter B Collins had James Bamford on the show for an hour (mp3 - start at 66mins) - mostly discussing his latest article in Rolling Stone. i recommend that you listen to it - lots of great stuff tying in chalabi, the osp, aipac, larry franklin, the iran war, Ledeen and ghorba, niger etc.

Bamford (and his FBI sources) reckons that Chalabi was acting on behalf of Iran all along - and he comes out and says that the US invasion of Iraq may very well have been engineered by Iran. The FBI wasn't allowed to interview Chalabi (about the Iranian codes) because State was protecting him.

I'm reminded of this from my interview with Larisa when I asked her how we should think about the fact that Franklin (and Rhode) were giving secrets 'to Iran' and 'Israel' - my premise being that we need to think of these things in non-state terms. She offered up these categories:
Strategic Military/Intelligence Leaks: Part of either disinformation campaign or allegiance. This is seen as legal as long as it does not put into peril our own security. An example of this would be those planted stories by military agents (disinformation) or leaks of tactical information to foreign agents we may be using in the field, an example may be MEK (allegiance).

Industrial Military/Intelligence Leaks - 'Enabled': this is what I describe as a leak that happens from the contractors end, with the blessing and/or support of certain people in the military/DOD structure for their own interests, but is in fact illegal and does in fact compromise our national security. An example of this would be what Sibel uncovered.

Industrial Military/Intelligence Leaks - 'Solo': same as above, but done without the approval/blessing of any insider. Stealing secrets from military/DOD to essentially make money. A good example of this is the codes Chalabi got a hold of and sold to Iran.

Nationalistic/Ideological Military/Intelligence Leaks: This would be where an agent of another country infiltrates our own military/intelligence infrastructure. A spy essentially or mole. Larry Franklin case might fall here, as he was not acting as a mercenary.

Political Military/Intelligence Leaks: Leaks that are politically motivated, that is not to say that there cannot be multiple reasons, such as "enabled" but the public best knows these cases as 'political hits' - the outing of Valerie Plame is the best example.
I wonder whether Larisa still thinks that Chalabi was acting 'solo' in an isolated pay-to-say gig when he sold those codes, or if he was an agent all along, and that Iran actually engineered the US invasion of Iraq (which Bamford says).

Peter Collins also says that he used to think that Franklin was an isolated event - but now he sees it in the full context. He quotes, amazed, from Bamford's column:
"Now, unwilling to play by the rules any longer, Franklin was taking the extraordinary—and illegal—step of passing on highly classified information to lobbyists for a foreign state. Unable to win the internal battle over Iran being waged within the administration, a member of Feith's secret unit in the Pentagon was effectively resorting to treason, recruiting AIPAC to use its enormous influence to pressure the president into adopting the draft directive and wage war against Iran."
I'm not exactly sure that Franklin 'recruited AIPAC' - or if the causality went the other direction. I suspect that AIPAC recruited Franklin - or perhaps the OSP recruited AIPAC (or more accurately, people at AIPAC) to recruit Franklin. or something. The other thing to note is that it appears that we need to separate AIPAC from 'Israel' - and consider it (at least in the context of most of these particular crimes that we look at) an arm of the cabal - just as we look at the ATC. Sibel has pointed to the fact that there's a helluva an overlap in the 'membership' between AIPAC and ATC (and of course, there's an 'overlap' with the OSP)

This from Sibel's interview with Chris Deliso:
"CD: I want to say this: the Turkish lobby might be powerful, but the Israeli lobby is by far the most powerful in Washington, at least with the current administration. So considering that the pro-Israel neocons are in power, how was it possible that this AIPAC investigation – which apparently started way back in 1999 – could have continued all these years, and didn't end up getting squashed like your investigation was?

SE: I don't know. But it will be interesting to see how far they pursue it – whether they will be satisfied just to make an example out of the fairly low-level guys they're looking at now (Larry Franklin), or want to keep going higher.

CD: When you were at the FBI, did you have any colleagues who were working on this case, investigating the Israelis?

SE: Look, I think that that [the AIPAC investigation] ultimately involves more than just Israelis – I am talking about countries, not a single country here. Because despite however it may appear, this is not just a simple matter of state espionage. If Fitzgerald and his team keep pulling, really pulling, they are going to reel in much more than just a few guys spying for Israel.

CD: A monster, 600-pound catfish, huh? So the Turkish and Israeli investigations had some overlap?

SE: Essentially, there is only one investigation – a very big one, an all-inclusive one. Completely by chance, I, a lowly translator, stumbled over one piece of it.

But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it. And of course a lot of people from abroad are involved. It's massive. So to do this investigation, to really do it, they will have to look into everything.

CD: But you can start from anywhere –

SE: That's the beauty of it. You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people. There may be a lot of them, but it is one group. And they are very dangerous for all of us."
Didja notice how Sibel side-stepped the question about whether any of her 'colleagues' were working on the AIPAC investigation?

The good news is that Larry Franklin has turned 'State's witness' - and will testify in the AIPAC case. I wonder whether he knows what Sibel knows. Let's hope that he's angry at being hung out to dry.

Make sure you listen to the Bamford interview.


Miguel said...

"The FBI wasn't allowed to interview Chalabi (about the Iranian codes) because State was protecting him."

This is interesting because the people at State were reported to have hated Chalabi. It was the Pentagon that was always Chalabi's champion.

Mmmmm, the State department blocking FBI counterintelligence investigations- does that sound familiar at all?

starroute said...

Separating AIPAC from Israel and seeing it as an arm of the cabal is a wonderful notion -- not only for those of us who are interested in such things, but also as a general political strategy.

A couple of weeks back, there was a great deal of hand-wringing about how the Israel-Lebanon War was the ultimate wedge issue that the GOP could use against the Democrats in this fall's elections. That has since died down -- with suggestions even starting to show up here and there that it is not a Good Thing for Israel to be used as America's regional proxy and egged on to do things that are not particularly to its advantage -- but it's far from dispelled.

If the entire Neocon agenda could be revealed as exploiting Israel's feelings of insecurity rather than supporting its real interests, it could go a long way towards cutting through this particular Gordian Knot in the political process.

The tinfoil side of me is ready to grab onto the AIPAC=cabal equation as an extremely deep rabbit hole, hiding one nasty little secret after another. But my more practical political side is also insisting very strongly right now that this shouldn't be at the extense of the far simpler message that The Neocons Are Not Israel's Friends.

Anonymous said...

Plame leaks are interesting, but I wonder id she was using NSA/DIa assetts in her work on domestic political parties and chose the enbale the public to attack the White House. The NSA has always done this work.

lukery said...

miguel - it does sound oddly familiar...

re State hating Chalabi - originally they were paying all the bills, and then the Pentagon took up the reins.

the chalabi visit was in 05 - after there'd been a change (condi) to the top of State - so that might explain it.

lukery said...

starroute - thnx for the comment.

i agree with your 'simpler message' - perhaps the 'cabal frame' explains why.

lukery said...

anon - i'm not exactly sure what you are saying - could you pls explain a bit more.