Thursday, February 16, 2006

En-Able Danger : Dick Cheney and the Decline of American Security.

If you think about it, you can almost understand how Dick could have accidentally shot one of his hunting partners the other day. Between the revelations that he ordered Libby to out Valarie Plame, the fact that her outing compromised an entire nuclear proliferation intelligence network with eyes on A.Q. Kahn and Iran, and Retired CIA Mid-East Chief Paul Pillar’s article in which he lays out that the Al-Qaeda/Iraq connection was manufactured, the stress must be enormous. All he needs now is to find out that a Republican is looking into Able Danger. Whoops, I almost forgot about Representative Curt Weldon’s (R-PA) trip to the hill. People always say that the best things to do if you’re under a lot of stress are drink, have sex, or shoot a gun. But you don’t do all three, because that’ll just get you into more trouble. Maybe he should have tried chocolate?

As the story behind the shooting of 78 year old lawyer and major Republican contributor Harry Whittington slowly comes to light, other stories nipping at the heals of the embattled Vice-President have fallen to the wayside. But as stories of drinking, cheating, and a possible fumbled attempt at a cover-up, for whatever reason, slips thru the cracks of the main stream media, one would be remiss to think that this latest installment in the life and times of Richard “Dick” Cheney doesn’t sound familiar.

Ever since the fall of the last Dick (Nixon), Cheney has been trying to impose his view of what an executive branch should be on America, preferably a neo-conservative republican executive. In his wake, he has left a trail of breadcrumbs for disaster to follow.

In 1976, during the Ford administration, then Chief of Staff Dick Cheney, along with his predecessor Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Kissinger and Paul Wolfowitz from the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, supported the sale of a US-built nuclear reprocessing facility to Iran. 30 years later, Kissinger told the Washington post that “I don't think the issue of proliferation came up”, despite the warnings of Charles Naas, deputy US ambassador to Iran.

In 1993, as Secretary of Defense for G.H.W.Bush, Dick Cheney officially releases the “Defense Strategy for the 1990s”. That asserts the need for America’s Global Dominance. This was a cleaned up version of an earlier internal “Defense Planning Guidance” document that was leaked the year before. One of the key arguments presented in these documents was that America “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” including its allies. And guess who wrote it, Scooter Libby, and Paul Wolfowitz.

In October of 1997, Dick Cheney, as the head of Halliburton, signs a deal with Turkmenistan to drill for oil. The same day, Unocal (US), Delta Oil (Saudi Arabia), and The Crescent Group (Pakistan) join a consortium to build a pipeline from the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan thru Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. This happens just after the release of Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book, “The Grand Chessboard” in which he proclaims the strategic importance Eurasia, and before the revelation that the CIA had been sniffing out oil fields in the area. Two months later, the Taliban comes to Texas to work out the deal to build a pipeline thru Afghanistan. Unocal then builds a training facility near a bin Laden training camp outside of Kandahar to train Afghans to build the pipeline. It’s interesting to note that this is the same time that bin Laden and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed were already drawing up the plans for the 9/11 attacks, possibly right next door.

The next year, Cheney says “I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight.” Cheney stays on with Halliburton until he picks himself to be G.W. Bush’s running mate. All this time, the deal with the Taliban is hung up on whether the U.N. will recognize the Taliban. Two weeks before the U.N. meeting, in August of 1998, the Taliban capture Mazar-i-Sharif giving them control of 90% of Afghanistan and the entire proposed pipeline route. It is speculated that they were assisted by the CIA thru Pakistani intelligence (ISI). A couple of weeks later, Clinton ordered the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Just before the missile strike, the ISI warns bin Laden of the attack and he gets away, and if you don’t believe me, Ask Richard Clarke.

By the end of Clinton’s term as President, it becomes clear that they’re getting nowhere with the Taliban and they may have to find another way to secure the pipeline. In 2000, Cheney and the P.N.A.C publish the now infamous “Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” This document is the basic outline of the entire Bush administration’s foreign policy including the need for the “creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ ”, control of the Internet, and the subversion of any growth in the political power of allies, and calls for “regime change” in China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran, and other countries. But most ominous of all, they profess that these changes are likely to take a long time, “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” At this time, Halliburton, under Cheney was selling oil field equipment to Iraq Iran, and Libya in violation of U.S. and U.N. embargos.

No sooner does the Cheney/Bush team get into office, the Veep turns up the heat, just not on Al-Qaeda. First, he holds an energy policy meeting with oil company executives in which it’s said that maps of the mid-east are on the table and the plans for Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan are discussed. Cheney refuses to admit that the meeting ever takes place, let alone, what was discussed. Then he sets up the White House Iraq Group (WHIG). Meanwhile, Able Danger ID’s Mohamed Atta, and three other 9/11 hijackers: Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi. That August, the Taliban were warned to “accept our carpet of gold, or we’ll bury you in a carpet of bombs”. Mind you, the Bush Administration was already briefed about Al-Qaeda in January 2000, in which they were warned that Al-Qaeda wanted to attack America, the Taliban were sheltering them, and the CIA recommended that they should use a Predator drone over Afghanistan to take out bin Laden. We knew they blew up the Cole, but Bush and Cheney just sat on their hands. Clinton had subs off the coast of Pakistan, on a hair trigger before Bush took office, but they pulled them back when they took over.

Now we come to 9/11. There are many theories about what happened that fateful day, but just to stay with the theme, I’m going to stick with my main character. Cheney goes down to the bunker below the White House with Condi Rice (an oilman in her own right). At this time, they are tracking flight 77 (Pentagon). Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta is down there when he gets there. Cheney says that he told Bush that the White House has been targeted and that he should stay away from Washington after flight 77 hit the Pentagon at 9:37 am. The 9/11 Commission reported that he got there around 10:00 am. But according to Counter-Terrorism Tzar Richard Clarke and Secretary Minetta, Cheney got there before the Pentagon was hit. But what is even more peculiar is what Secretary Minetta testified to hearing Cheney say when he got there. And I quote Secretary Minetta from the 9/11 Commission Hearing, “There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, "The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got down to, "The plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the vice president, "Do the orders still stand?" And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?" Well, at the time I didn't know what all that meant.”

Yes, this is about the question as to whether there was an order to shoot down flight 77. Minetta later confirmed that he found out that there was an order to “shoot down aircraft”, but in public statements, Cheney said there was no such order issued. So what gives? A better question is, what was the order that the Veep and the staffer were talking about? Was he thinking “New Pearl Harbor, New Pearl Harbor”? Come to think about it, what was Bush thinking in those infamous 7 minutes in Florida? Was it, “How am I going to blame both Osama and Saddam”?

With the U.S. finally in Afghanistan, it was time to turn to Iraq. On October 15th 2001, Italian intelligence (SISMI) reports to the CIA that they have proof that Saddam was trying to buy Yellow cake uranium from Niger. The CIA quickly proves them forgeries and writes them off. In December, Washinton is contacted by Iran thru Iran-Contra gunrunner Manucher Ghorbanifar to talk about how to over throw the Iranian government. During the talks, attended by Cheney staffer Stephen Hadley, neo-con Micheal Ledeen, Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode from DoD, SISMI chief Nicolo Pollari, and Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino, the Niger Documents were discussed. It is speculated that Nicolo Pollari tried to fix the forgeries around this time. Nearly a year later, in September of 2002, as reported in the Italian Newspaper “La Repubblica”Cheney staffer Stephen Hadley meets with an Italian intelligence officer in Washington. From there, Cheney decided that “It was pretty well confirmed” that Saddam was trying to get Nukes, and Bush took it to the State of the Union. ( Links to more Links). Now that looks pretty well confirmed to me!

Meanwhile, as Bush was making his “Axis of Evil” speeches, Cheney was banging on the drums for war with Iraq, and apparently, he was doing it right in the ears of intel analysts. But the administration wasn’t just going to the CIA with their drums, as it was first made apparent during the John Bolton confirmation hearings. The NSA was already supplying wiretaps to administration officials on not only American citizens, but public officials. Then their yellow cake story started to crumble like a dried up cupcake.

The CIA sends former US Ambassador for Iraq, Joe Wilson, to Niger to investigate the yellowcake claims. Wilson returns and reports that it never happened. The CIA didn’t seem to have a problem with the findings, but somehow it got into the State of the Union speech. Wilson, knowing that something was wrong quietly made contact and tried to have it retracted, but it didn’t work, so he wrote an Op-ed piece for the New York Times titled” What I Didn’t Find In Niger”. He even cleared it with the White House before it was published. But Cheney didn’t like that. He got the White House Iraq Group together and brainstormed on how to deal with Wilson. Eventually, as the story goes, Cheney tells Libby to leak the identity of his wife, Valarie Wilson Plame.

Now I don’t know if they knew, and frankly don’t care if they knew, that Plame was a NOC CIA agent working on nuclear proliferation. Her cover was a CIA shell company called Brewster-Jennings and was gathering intel on Iran and A.Q. Kahn.

Alone, this would cripple U.S. intelligence operations in Iraq, but this was only the half of it. As it seems, two of Cheney’s PNAC buddies linked to illegally leaking intelligence to AIPAC, also passed intelligence to Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), including info on our ability to monitor Iran’s communications, to Iran. The FBI was investigating Chalabi, but little has come of it, considering he and a large contingent of his family still hold key positions in the Iraqi government. Many, as well as myself, believe that Chalabi helped Iran dupe America into a war with Iraq for personal gain. But my question is, did the Neo-Cons let him do it?

Did Cheney know that Chalabi would sell us out? Did Cheney and the PNAC recruit Chalabi to do just that? How else could you explain the callous, and dangerous actions of Cheney and his cronies in the outing of Valerie Plame, and by proxy, her entire network of contacts and cover operations? I think they knew, and just didn’t care because they wanted us blinded in the Middle-East. For some reason, that I’m sure will become painfully apparent soon, Cheney and the Neo-Cons wanted the United States to act out of fear of the unknown, as opposed to acting on any intelligence gathered by the Brewster- Jennings network.

And now, just when it looks like Libby and Cheney are caught in the cross hairs of Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation, they are threatening to further compromise our national security to protect their own asses by demanding access to every Presidential Daly Briefing (PDB) between May ’03, and March ’04. Since Libby is charged with Lying to a grand jury, and not the leak, there is absolutely no reason to oblige. As the AP put it, “Fitzgerald accused Libby of attempting to commit "greymail," a reference to past attempts by government officials charged with wrongdoing to derail their prosecutions by trying to expose national security secrets.”

It was widely known, even in the late ‘90’s, that Chalabi was supplying bad intelligence to the CIA. Former C.I.A. counter-terrorism specialist Vincent Cannistraro remarked in “The New Yorker”, “With Chalabi, we paid to fool ourselves. It’s horrible. In other times, it might be funny. But a lot of people are dead as a result of this. It’s reprehensible.” Ex-CIA operator Bob Baer was quoted in the same article as saying, “He was like the American Ambassador to Iraq. He could get to the White House and the CIA. He would move around Iraq with five or six Land Cruisers.”

Even after the FBI investigations, the denials by Bush and Cheney about their relationships with Chalabi, and world wide public condemnations of the pre-war intelligence that Chalabi was feeding to the White House, Chalabi is still one of the most powerful men in Iraq. The only man with more power in Iraq than him is Muqtada-al-Sadar, who makes regular trips to Iran and basically runs the Shi’it south.

Just last month, a story made its way around the blogosphhere about the murder of two American contractors. Dale Stoffel and Joe Wemple were found dead in an Iraqi morgue after their car was found full of blood and bullet holes along the Tigris River. They had a contract with the Iraqi Defense Ministry to sell off scraps from the Iraqi military and use the proceeds to refurbish and rebuild the Iraqi military infrastructure. To get the contracts he hired Burson-Marsteller's BKSH & Assocs, and thru them made contact with Chalabi, and his cousin, the Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan (who would later claim to order the arrest of Chalabi to cover up his own activities).

After the contractors complained to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Senator Rick Santorum that they were never paid for the work they did, they were gunned down. Soon, videos claiming responsibility emerged on the internet from an insurgent group that nobody ever heard of before. The pictures and e-mails from the victims’ laptop that was taken during the incident are posted on at least thirteen websites by multiple groups which, according to analysts, is unheard of. Five months later, it comes out that Hazem Shaalan and his friends walked with the entire Defense Ministry procurement budget, about $1.3 millon. This storyis a must read on this subject.

So this is the world that Dick Cheney and his foreign policy “experts” at the PNAC have given us. The Neo-Conservative version of “democracy” seems to be rolling along in Palastine (Hamas), Iraq (soon to become an Iranian client state and anti-American theocracy), Egypt (with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the forerunner of Islamic Jihad and Al-Qaeda), as well as right hear at home (Plamegate, Diebold, and the Abramoff-i-zation of American politics). Heck of a job there Dickie!

The Washington Post
Foriegn Affairs Magazine
Sign On San Diego
Huffington Post
CNS News
Counter Punch
GSN Magazine
The 9-11 Commission Hearings
After Downing Street
Liberty Post
The Houston Chronicle
Washington Monthly
and La Repubblica


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