THE HANDSTAND

MAY 2005

ANTIWAR.COM the first to point at Larry Franklin; suspicions now confirmed !
.http://antiwar.com/

Israel's Fifth Column Exposed
Yesterday, Pentagon analyst and Iran specialist Larry A. Franklin was arrested by the FBI
. The charge: turning over classified U.S. government documents to two operatives of the American Israeli Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), longtime policy director Steve Rosen and his deputy Keith Weissman.

As Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball pointed out when the Franklin affair first came to light: "Franklin's motive appears to have been ideological rather than financial."

What ideology are they talking about? Unconditional support to Israel has always been a central tenet of neoconservative doctrine. As we have argued in these pages for years, American foreign policy has been shaped  and distorted  by a cabal of ideologues who put Israel, not America, first. Franklin's arrest confirms our thesis in spades.


It's no accident that Franklin was part of the Pentagon policy shop presided over by DoD undersecretary Douglas Feith, who also presided over the infamous "Office of Special Plans"  which was set up to funnel misinformation about Iraq's nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction" and lie us into war. Israel's fifth column in Washington is about to be exposed  big time.




As Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Mr. Feith advises the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on matters related to the formation of national security and defense policy, as well as Department of Defense policy regarding national security objectives.

Mr. Feith was nominated by President George W. Bush on April 30, 2001, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 12, 2001. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Feith worked in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Feith & Zell, P.C., specializing in international law.

Franklin's is going to be one exciting trial.


We've been following this story since before it became headline news, providing you with up-to-the-minute coverage and analysis of the story even after it fell beneath the media's radar screen. There are plenty of people who, for this very reason, would love to see us shut down. They would cheer if our readers failed to come through with the support we need to keep going.

We don't have the financial support the War Party has  nor do we have foreign countries backing up our efforts. We just have you  and now we're turning to you for support. We've earned your support by following stories like this, and now it's time for you to come through for us. Contribute today  so that we can cover the trial of Larry Franklin tomorrow.


Proof the Fix Was In

Larry Franklin (left), who worked in the Pentagon until recently leaving a Washington DC court yesterday. The US government is prosecuting Franklin for spying on the US for Israel. He worked with Feith and Wolfowitz and provided the Israeli Embassy in Washington with secret US government information. He also provided the Israeli lobbying group, AIPAC, with secret defense and policy information (Assafir, 5/5/05).


by Ray McGovern
May 5, 2005


"Intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would see those words in black and white  and beneath a SECRET stamp, no less. For three years now, we in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been saying that the CIA and its British counterpart, MI-6,
were ordered by their countries' leaders to "fix facts" to "justify" an unprovoked war on Iraq. More often than not, we have been greeted with stares of incredulity.

It has been a hard learning  that folks tend to believe what they want to believe. As long as our evidence, however abundant and persuasive, remained circumstantial, it could not compel belief. It simply is much easier on the psyche to assent to the White House spin machine blaming the Iraq fiasco on bad intelligence than to entertain the notion that we were sold a bill of goods.

Well, you can forget circumstantial. Thanks to an unauthorized disclosure by a courageous whistleblower, the evidence now leaps from official documents  this time authentic, not forged. Whether prompted by the open appeal of the international Truth-Telling Coalition or not, some brave soul has made the most explosive "patriotic leak" of the war by giving London's Sunday Times the official minutes of a briefing by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain's CIA equivalent, MI-6. Fresh back in London
from consultations in Washington, Dearlove briefed Prime Minister Blair and his top national security officials on July 23, 2002, on the Bush administration's plans to make war on Iraq.


Blair does not dispute the authenticity of the document, which immortalizes a discussion that is chillingly amoral. Apparently no one felt free to ask the obvious questions. Or, worse still, the obvious questions did not occur.

Juggernaut Before the Horse

In emotionless English, Dearlove tells Blair and the others that President Bush has decided to remove Saddam Hussein by launching a war that is to be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." Period. What about the intelligence? Dearlove adds matter-of-factly, "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

At this point, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirms that Bush has decided on war, but notes that stitching together a justification would be a challenge, since "the case was thin." Straw noted that Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran.

In the following months, "the case" would be buttressed by a well-honed U.S.-UK intelligence-turned-propaganda-machine.

The argument would be made "solid" enough to win endorsement from Congress and Parliament by conjuring up:

* Aluminum artillery tubes misdiagnosed as nuclear related;
* Forgeries alleging Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa;
* Tall tales from a drunken defector about mobile biological weapons laboratories;
* Bogus warnings that Iraqi forces could fire WMD-tipped missiles within 45 minutes
   of an order to do   so;
* Dodgy dossiers fabricated in London; and
* A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate thrown in for good measure.

All this, as Dearlove notes dryly, despite the fact that "there was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." Another nugget from Dearlove's briefing is his bloodless comment that one of the U.S. military options under discussion involved "a continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli"  the clear implication being that planners of the air campaign would also see to it that an appropriate casus belli was orchestrated.

The discussion at 10 Downing St. on July 23, 2002 calls to mind the first meeting of George W. Bush's National Security Council (NSC) on Jan. 30, 2001, at which the president made it clear that toppling Saddam Hussein sat atop his to-do list, according to then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was there. O'Neill was taken aback that there was no discussion of why it was necessary to "take out" Saddam. Rather, after CIA Director George Tenet showed a grainy photo of a building in Iraq that he said might be involved in producing chemical or biological agents, the discussion proceeded immediately to which Iraqi targets might be best to bomb. Again, neither O'Neill nor the other participants asked the obvious questions. Another NSC meeting two days later included planning for dividing up Iraq's oil wealth.

Obedience School

As for the briefing of Blair, the minutes provide further grist for those who describe the UK prime minister as Bush's "poodle." The tone of the conversation bespeaks a foregone conclusion that Blair will wag his tail cheerfully and obey the learned commands. At one point, he ventures the thought that, "If the political context were right, people would support regime change." This, after Attorney General Peter Goldsmith has already warned that the desire for regime change "was not a legal base for military action"  a point Goldsmith made again just 12 days before the attack on Iraq until he was persuaded by a phalanx of Bush administration lawyers to change his mind 10 days later.

The meeting concludes with a directive to "work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action."

I cannot quite fathom why I find the account of this meeting so jarring. Surely it is what one might expect, given all else we know. Yet seeing it in bloodless black and white somehow gives it more impact. And the implications are no less jarring.

One of Dearlove's primary interlocutors in Washington was his American counterpart, CIA director George Tenet. (And there is no closer relationship between two intelligence services than the privileged one between the CIA and MI-6.) Tenet, of course, knew at least as much as Dearlove, but nonetheless played the role of accomplice in serving up to Bush the kind of "slam-dunk intelligence" that he knew would be welcome. If there is one unpardonable sin in intelligence work, it is that kind of politicization. But Tenet decided to be a "team player" and set the tone.

Politicization: Big Time

Actually, politicization is far too mild a word for what happened. The intelligence was not simply mistaken; it was manufactured, with the president of the United States awarding foreman George Tenet the Medal of Freedom for his role in helping supervise the deceit. The British documents make clear that this was not a mere case of "leaning forward" in analyzing the intelligence, but rather mass deception  an order of magnitude more serious. No other conclusion is now possible.

Small wonder, then, to learn from CIA insiders such as former case officer Lindsay Moran that Tenet's malleable managers told their minions, "Let's face it. The president wants us to go to war, and our job is to give him a reason to do it."

Small wonder that, when the only U.S. analyst who met with the alcoholic Iraqi defector appropriately code-named"Curveball" raised strong doubts about Curveball's reliability before then-Secretary of State Colin Powell used the fabrication about "mobile biological weapons trailers" before the United Nations, the analyst got this e-mail reply from his CIA supervisor:

"Let's keep in mind the fact that this war's going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn't say, and the powers that be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he's talking about."

When Tenet's successor, Porter Goss, took over as director late last year, he immediately wrote a memo to all employees explaining the "rules of the road"  first and foremost, "We support the administration and its policies." So much for objective intelligence insulated from policy pressure.

Tenet and Goss, creatures of the intensely politicized environment of Congress, brought with them a radically new ethos  one much more akin to that of Blair's courtiers than to that of earlier CIA directors who had the courage to speak truth to power.

Seldom does one have documentary evidence that intelligence chiefs chose to cooperate in both fabricating and "sexing up" (as the British press puts it) intelligence to justify a prior decision for war. There is no word to describe the reaction of honest intelligence professionals to the corruption of our profession on a matter of such consequence. "Outrage" does not come close.

Hope in Unauthorized Disclosures

Those of us who care about unprovoked wars owe the patriot who gave this latest British government document to the Sunday Times a debt of gratitude. Unauthorized disclosures are gathering steam. They need to increase quickly on this side of the Atlantic as well  the more so, inasmuch as Congress  controlled by the president's party  cannot be counted on to discharge its constitutional prerogative for oversight.


In its formal appeal of Sept. 9, 2004 to current U.S. government officials, the Truth-Telling Coalition said this:
"We know how misplaced loyalty to bosses, agencies, and careers can obscure the higher allegiance all government officials owe the Constitution, the sovereign public, and the young men and women put in harm's way. We urge you to act on those higher loyalties. € Truth-telling is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking out is now."

If persons with access to wrongly concealed facts and analyses bring them to light, the chances become less that a president could launch another unprovoked war  against, say, Iran.
http://www.antiwar.com/mcgovern/?articleid=5844

UPDATE, NOW WE FIND AHMAD CHALABI IN THE NEW IRAQ GOVERNMENT:

Franklin moved over to the Pentagon from DIA, where he became the Iran expert, working for Bill Luti and Undersecretary of Defense for Planning, Douglas Feith. He was the "go to" person on Iran for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and for Feith. This situation is pretty tragic, since Franklin is not a real Iranist. His main brief appears to have been to find ways to push a policy of overthrowing its government (apparently once Iraq had been taken care of). This project has been pushed by the shadowy eminence grise, Michael Ledeen, for many years, and Franklin coordinated with Ledeen in some way. Franklin was also close to Harold Rhode, a long-time Middle East specialist in the Defense Department who has cultivated far right pro-Likud cronies for many years, more or less establishing a cell within the Department of Defense.

UPI cia Dawn reports: ' An UPI report said another under-investigation official Mr Rhode "practically lived out of (Ahmad) Chalabi's office". Intelligence sources said that CIA operatives observed Mr Rhode as being constantly on his cell phone to Israel, discussing US plans, military deployments, political projects and a discussion of Iraq assets. '

"Called in to help organize the Iraq war-planning team was a longtime Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, a specialist on Islam who speaks Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, and Farsi. Though Douglas Feith would not be officially confirmed until July 2001, career military and civilian officials in NESA began to watch his office with concern after Rhode set up shop in Feith's office in early January. Rhode, seen by many veteran staffers as an ideological gadfly, was officially assigned to the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, an in-house Pentagon think tank headed by fellow neocon Andrew Marshall. Rhode helped Feith lay down the law about the department's new anti-Iraq, and broadly anti-Arab, orientation. In one telling incident, Rhode accosted and harangued a visiting senior Arab diplomat, telling him that there would be no 'bartering in the bazaar anymore.... You're going to have to sit up and pay attention when we say so.'

"Rhode refused to be interviewed for this story, saying cryptically, 'Those who speak, pay.'

"According to insiders, Rhode worked with Feith to purge career Defense officials who weren't sufficiently enthusiastic about the muscular anti-Iraq crusade that Paul D. Wolfowitz and Feith wanted. Rhode appeared to be 'pulling people out of nooks and crannies of the Defense Intelligence Agency and other places to replace us with,' says a former analyst. 'They wanted nothing to do with the professional staff. And they wanted us the fuck out of there.'

"The unofficial, off-site recruitment office for Feith and Rhode was the American Enterprise Institute (A.E.I.), a right-wing think tank whose 12th-floor conference room in Washington is named for the dean of neo-conservative defense strategists, the late Albert Wohlstetter, an influential Rand Corporation analyst and University of Chicago mathematician. Headquartered at AEI is Richard Perle, Wohlstetter's prize protege, the godfather of the AEI-Defense Department nexus of neoconservatives who was chairman of the Pentagon's influential Defence Policy Board. Rhode, along with Michael Rubin, a former AEI staffer who is also now at the Pentagon, was a ubiquitous presence at AEI conferences on Iraq over the past two years, and the two Pentagon officials seemed almost to be serving as stage managers for the AEI events, often sitting in the front row and speaking in stage whispers to panelists and AEI officials." Centre for Media and Democracy

"Richard Perle, a senior adviser to US President George Bush, said at the start of the Iraq war: "The greatest triumph of the Iraq war is the destruction of the evil of international law."



Bush and Blair Created Reasons to Go to War  

By US Congressman John Conyers

The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so.

The Times reports, based on a newly discovered document, that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a meeting in which he expressed his support for "regime change" through the use of force in Iraq and was warned by the nation's top lawyer that such an action would be illegal. Blair also discussed the need for America to "create" conditions to justify the war. .......This is the British government proclaiming foreknowledge of the manipulation of intelligence many of us have alleged for some time.

This should not be allowed to fall down the memory hole during wall-to-wall coverage of the Michael Jackson trial and a runaway bride. To prevent that from occurring, I am circulating the following letter among my House colleagues and asking them to sign on to it:

May ___, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write because of troubling revelations in the Sunday London Times apparently confirming that the United States and Great Britain had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in the summer of 2002, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action. While various individuals have asserted this to be the case before, including Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council official, they have been previously dismissed by your Administration. However, when this story was divulged last weekend, Prime Minister Blair's representative claimed the document contained "nothing new." If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own Administration.

The Sunday Times obtained a leaked document with the minutes of a secret meeting from highly placed sources inside the British Government. Among other things, the document revealed:

* Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a July 2002 meeting, at which he discussed military options, having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq.

* British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged that the case for war was "thin" as "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran."

* A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain and America had to "create" conditions to justify a war.

* A British official "reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

As a result of this recent disclosure, we would like to know the following:

1) Do you or anyone in your Administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

We have of course known for some time that subsequent to the invasion there have been a variety of varying reasons proffered to justify the invasion, particularly since the time it became evident that weapons of mass destruction would not be found. This leaked document - essentially acknowledged by the Blair government - is the first confirmation that the rationales were shifting well before the invasion as well.

Given the importance of this matter, we would ask that you respond to this inquiry as promptly as possible. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Congressman John Conyers, Jr

669 Federal Building 231 W. Lafayette Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 961-5670 (313) 226-2085 Fax

http://www.house.gov/conyers 

http://www.conyersblog.us