Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Many prominent journalists have recently reported on the "neoconservatives" and their role in US foreign policy - especially after 9/11. The issue became more important after the predictions for a second Iraq war materialized. What follows is a summary of reports from several info sources - I am including as many references as I can. There is much more floating around, but I am trying to steer clear of even mildly wild conspiracy theories. I don't subscribe 100% to everything that appears below, but the connection is there for everybody to see - I apply nothing more than simple reasoning techniques.

Michael Lind of the New Statesman offers his view on what the neoconseravtives are about

(edited): "...The neo-con defence intellectuals, as well as being in or around the actual Pentagon, are at the centre of a metaphorical "pentagon" of the Israel lobby and the religious right, plus conservative think-tanks, foundations and media empires. Think-tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) provide homes for neo-con "in-and-outers" when they are out of government (Perle is a fellow at AEI). The money comes not so much from corporations as from decades-old conservative foundations, such as the Bradley and Olin foundations, which spend down the estates of long-dead tycoons. Neoconservative foreign policy does not reflect business interests in any direct way. The neo-cons are ideologues, not opportunists.
The major link between the conservative think-tanks and the Israel lobby is the Washington-based and Likud-supporting Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa), which co-opts many non-Jewish defence experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out the retired General Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to be proconsul of occupied Iraq...The final corner of the neoconservative pentagon is occupied by several right-wing media empires, with roots - odd as it seems - in the Commonwealth and South Korea. Rupert Murdoch disseminates propaganda through his Fox Television network. His magazine the Weekly Standard, edited by William Kristol, the former chief of staff of Dan Quayle (vice-president, 1989-93), acts as a mouthpiece for defence intellectuals such as Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith and Woolsey as well as for Sharon's government. The National Interest (of which I was executive editor, 1991-94) is now funded by Conrad Black, who owns the Jerusalem Post and the Hollinger empire in Britain and Canada.
Strangest of all is the media network centred on the Washington Times - owned by the South Korean messiah (and ex-convict) the Reverend Sun Myung Moon - which owns the newswire UPI. UPI is now run by John O'Sullivan, the ghost-writer for Margaret Thatcher who once worked as an editor for Conrad Black in Canada. Through such channels, the "Gotcha!" style of right-wing British journalism, as well as its Europhobic substance, have contaminated the US conservative movement.
The corners of the neoconservative pentagon were linked together in the 1990s by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), run by Kristol out of the Weekly Standard offices. Using a PR technique pioneered by their Trotskyist predecessors, the neo-cons published a series of public letters, whose signatories often included Wolfowitz and other future members of the Bush foreign policy team...Few supported Bush during the presidential primaries. They feared that the second Bush would be like the first - a wimp who had failed to occupy Baghdad in the first Gulf war and who had pressured Israel into the Oslo peace process - and that his administration, again like his father's, would be dominated by moderate Republican realists such as Powell, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft. They supported the maverick senator John McCain until it became clear that Bush would get the nomination.
Then they had a stroke of luck - Cheney was put in charge of the presidential transition (the period between the election in November and the accession to office in January). Cheney used this opportunity to stack the administration with his hardline allies. Instead of becoming the de facto president in foreign policy, as many had expected, Secretary of State Powell found himself boxed in by Cheney's right-wing network, including Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton and Libby...The younger Bush was tilting away from Powell and toward Wolfowitz ("Wolfie", as he calls him) even before 9/11 gave him something he had lacked: a mission in life other than following in his dad's footsteps. There are signs of estrangement between the cautious father and the crusading son: last year, veterans of the first Bush administration, including Baker, Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, warned publicly against an invasion of Iraq without authorisation from Congress and the UN..."

He also says that the Pentagon political appointees among them are "despised and distrusted" by the -largely Republican- career soldiers in the Pentagon.

A look back at the origins of the "neoconservatives" - this was written back in April 1991, after the first Iraq war, by former UN bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post and adjunct professor at the American University, Leon T. Hadar - the characters haven't changed

(edited) "As the first scenes from the Gulf war were broadcast on American television, more than a few victory signs were probably raised in the editorial offices of magazines like Commentary or the New Republic and in the study rooms of think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute or the Hudson Institute...It was not difficult to trace in the first days of the war the sense of satisfaction reflected in the columns of such neo-conservative writers as William Safire, "Abe" Rosenthal, Charles Krauthammer or Daniel Pipes. All welcomed the possibility of an American-Arab war which would turn the Palestinian intifada into a sideshow...Who are these neoconservatives, or the neocons," as both admirers and enemies refer to them? The neoconservative movement was founded in the 1960s by a group of New York-based intellectuals, mostly academics and journalists, many of whom were concerned about the "anti-Israel" drift they detected among the ranks of the New Left and Black leaders who were gaining increasing power in the Democratic Party...
Among the major figures in the movement were former Trotskyites who studied in the '30s and '40s at the then "poor man's Harvard," the City College of New York, a center for socialist activism. They included Irving Kristol, who in the 1950s launched an anti-Soviet CIA front, the International Congress for Cultural Freedom; Norman Podhoretz, the editor of the American Jewish Committee's monthly magazine Commentary, which he turned into a major neoconservative outlet; Podhoretz's wife, Midge Decter, the chairperson of the now-defunct Committee on the Free World; sociologists Nathan Glazer and Daniel Bell; and Democratic Party pamphleteer Ben Wattenberg...That neoconservative "nuclear family" was later joined by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Walt and Eugene Rostow, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams (Podhoretz' son-in-law), Kenneth Adelman, and other Cold Warriors...
In 1968 the neocons backed the late Senator Hubert Humphrey from Minnesota for president. In 1972, they mobilized their support behind the late Senator Henry Jackson from Washington. Both Humphrey and Jackson represented staunch anti-Soviet and pro-Israeli positions in the party...Senator Jackson's aides, Richard Perle and Elliott Abrams, who later became major figures in the Reagan foreign policy team, attempted to torpedo any effort by the Nixon and Carter administrations to improve relations with the Soviet Union or to launch peace efforts in the Middle East. From Jackson's office, the two led the campaign to use the issue of Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union to sabotage detente between Washington and Moscow...The neoconservatives formed the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM) in 1973, aimed at rallying anti-Soviet and pro-Israeli Democrats in opposition to the McGovern liberals. That year also saw the beginning of the neoconservative drift toward the Republican Party, whose leaders saw in recruitment of the neocons an opportunity to improve Republican status in the media and in academic circles...It was the Carter administration's foreign policy agenda, including its efforts to improve the relationship with the Soviets and to accommodate the national interests of the Palestinians, that accelerated the political transition of the neocons from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Carter did not bring any members of the CDM into his administration...
The CDM, with the help of neoconservative columnists like Krautharnmer and Safire and of the New Republic, was the driving force behind a coordinated effort to weaken public support for Carter. For example, Michael Ledeen...whose name would surface later as one of the instigators of the IranContra affair (a note here - he was the Mossad-CIA link during the Iran-Contra scandal, and the man who got convicted spy J Pollard his Department of the Navy job) wrote an article in the New Republic which revealed ties between the late Billy Carter, the president's alcoholic brother, and Libyan government officials...At the same time, members of the CDM and other neoconservatives played a leading role in shaping the agenda of the Reagan administration...In addition to Kirkpatrick, who got her job as US representative to the UN after an article she published in Commentary caught Reagan's interest, other neocons occupied top positions in the Reagan foreign policy team. One was Max Kampelman, a former aide to Humphrey who was appointed to the position of director of arms control, and who was later replaced by another neocon, Kenneth Adelman. Richard Perle became the assistant secretary of defense. Richard Pipes, a regular Commentary contributor, joined the National Security Council. Elliot Abrams served as assistant secretary of state for human rights and later as assistant secretary for hemispheric affairs, where he played an active role in the Iran-Contra affair...it was the end of the Cold War that spelled disaster to the neocons, now at risk of being deprived of their favorite enemy...Enter the Middle Eastern bogeyman. - neoconservative intellectuals have focused on the need for the US to confront the new transnational enemy from the East, radical Arab nationalism and Islamic "fundamentalism," or what Krauthammer termed the "global intifada." The operational implication of this type of reasoning is that the original intifada can be forgotten. The neocons' main antagonists in the successful effort to get the United States to start shooting in the campaign to contain Saddam were the so-called "paleoconservatives," such as Pat Buchanan and Joseph Sobran, who since the end of the Cold War had been advocating a less activist American foreign policy...Most US proponents of sanctions, whether liberal or conservative, feared that a war in which thousands of Arabs died at American hands would, in the long run, increasingly isolate Washington in the region. Ironically, the only way to prevent such negative results of the neocon agenda would be decisive efforts by the Bush administration to follow up the rollback of Saddam with an Israeli-Palestinian settlement based upon land for peace. It is just such efforts, however, that the neocons can be counted upon to oppose..."

That was 1991 - the neocons kept on trying, and got their big chance after the G W Bush victory and 9/11.
A few more details about the main characters:

Richard Perle and William Kristol formed the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 1997 - it's famous for a series of open letters addressed to G W Bush since Sept. 2001. PNAC played an important role in the lobbying effort for the approval by Congress of the 'Iraq Liberation Act' (ILA) which allocated $98 million for Chalabi's (see below) INC in 1998. The president of the 'Committee for the Liberation of Iraq' is Randy Scheunemann, House Majority leader Trent Lott's former chief national-security aide who also worked as an adviser to Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq, and a PNAC member.
PNAC members include the following:
Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife - Lynne Cheney, I. Lewis Libby - Cheney's top national security assistant and a lawyer for pardoned fugitive billionaire Marc Rich; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (who met Saddam when he visited Baghdad to prop him up in his fight against Iran in 1983) and four of his chief aides - among them, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams (pardoned by Bush Sr. for his Iran/Contra scandal deeds), John Bolton - Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security , Richard Perle, William Kristol - noted conservative writer for the ' Weekly Standard' (a paper financed by R Murdoch) and the son of Irving Kristol, Bruce Jackson - Chairman of PNAC, a position he took after serving for years as vice president of weapons manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, and who also headed the Republican Party Platform subcommittee for National Security and Foreign Policy during the 2000 campaign( His section of the 2000 GOP Platform explicitly called for the removal of Saddam Hussein) and former CIA Director James Woolsey, who has already declared 'World War IV'
Another PNAC signatory, author Norman Podhoretz, wrote in the September 2002 issue of his journal that the regimes, "that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced, are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen".- this action is about "the long-overdue internal reform and modernization of Islam." Podhoretz, in another article in Commentary, also provided guidance on how to win "World War IV".
Along with his wife, Midge Decter, they were the leaders of the 'Committee on the Present Danger' in 1980, when they worked with Donald Rumsfeld to promote the rise of Ronald Reagan. Podhoretz and Kristol's father, Irving - and mom, Gertrude Himmelfarb - are among the original neo-conservatives. In 1955, Irving Kristol reportedly said, "I regard myself to have been a young Trostkyite and I have not a single bitter memory". Despite recent articles in which some of the characters mentioned above resent the "neoconservative" label, Irving Kristol wrote the defining book in 1995 - 'Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea'. Despite the unilateralism of recent times, Irving Kristol and his mouthpiece, the Wall Street Journal, supported internationalist institutions in the past - NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, NATO, and the use of U.S. forces in UN operations - and he had even showed enthusiasm for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, Medicaid, and cash allowances for unwed mothers.
Kristol’s journal, 'The National Interest', called in 1989 for the integration of Europe, Japan, and the U.S. to create a "super-sovereign" government. He also advocated "the conscious depreciation not only of American sovereignty but of the notion of sovereignty in general." The mag website no longer exists - the mag published from Sept 1985 until 2001, and was considered to be one of the three premier journals in the field of affairs, along with Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. The list of the people involved is very interesting. The Honorary Chairman and Founder was Irving Kristol, the Chairman of the Editorial Board was Conrad Black, the Co-Chairman of the Editorial Board was Henry A. Kissinger, the Publisher was James Schlesinger, the Co-Publisher was Dimitri K. Simes, and the Editorial board included Midge Decter, Martin Feldstein, Francis Fukuyama, Samuel P. Huntington, Josef Joffe, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle and Daniel Pipes, among others.
If Black/Kissinger/Perle and Co didn't approve of the "depreciation of sovereignty" concept, I guess they wouldn't allow it to be published.
In July 2002, G W Bush gave Kristol the Presidential Medal of Freedom. According to the White House PR
, "...His approach adapted traditional conservative thought with contemporary societal issues and became the framework for compassionate conservatism..."
Kristol also edited The Public Interest (co-founded with Daniel Bell) from 1965 to 2002. Bell, a Harvard academic, is the former editor of The New Leader, and belonged to the Young Socialist League and the League for Industrial Democracy which had been named the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. Bell was a leader in the CIA front 'Congress for Cultural Freedom'. One of his most famous books proclaimed "The End of Ideology".

William F. Buckley and his 'National Review' (said to be loaded with Trotskyists and CIA veterans, inc Willmoore Kendall, a former Trotskyist, a founder and senior editor of the mag) is also a strong supporter of neocon causes.
Perle and Co do seem to hate everything that is multilateral in foreign policy - whether this is a short-term detour on the way to the final goal, remains to be seen.

A smiling Rumsfeld gives his hand to Saddam on Dec 20, 1983

A recent Guardian article on Tony Blair, and why Syria won't be a UK target, mentions two more interesting names:
William J Luti is a Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for "special plans" - and Near East and South Asian Affairs. A retired Navy captain and a Cheney man, had secret meetings with Iraqi opposition people to coordinate the training of the "new Iraqi army" - in Hungary - based on the 'Free Iraqi Forces'. He used to work with Zalmay Khalilzad, formerly the chief U.S. advisor to interim president Hamid Karzai in Afganistan (Karzai is a former Unocal employee, according to Le Monde - Unocal worked with the Taliban to build an oil pipeline before 9/11, see below). He was also involved with running "black propaganda" operations for the Pentagon, but his mini-CIA office (called the OSI, or Office for the Strategic Influence) was shut down after an expose in the NY Times.
Douglas Feith is a major figure right now, one of the four top men in the DoD. A managing attorney of the law firm Feith & Zell, P.C. (Lockheed-Martin and Northrop Grumman were firm clients when he sued President Clinton in 1996 for failing to spend more funds on missile defense programs) he served on the White House NSC (National Security Council) and as deputy assistant secretary of defense under Reagan. He used to be Special Counsel to Richard Perle. Perle has worked for Soltam, an Israeli defense firm, while Feith has been a strong advocate for the Pentagon buing Israeli military technology. Feith in his articles has opposed the Camp David Agreements, the Oslo Accords and the "land for peace" concept.
Feith is a former registered foreign agent for Turkey, from 1989 to 1994. Turkey was a good business opportunity for the Feith/Perl duo - Feith was a principal for International Advisors Inc. (IAI), from which he received $60,000 annually - IAI was Turkey’s foreign agent, registered with the Justice Department, and received $800,000 from Turkey in 1989, and then $600,000 annually from 1990 to 1994. Perle was a consultant to IAI and received $48,000 annually from 1989 to 1994 - he also went to Turkey in 1987 to negotiate a $800,000 contract for International Advisors Inc - the source.
Feith openly advocates "transferring" the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to Jordan, as the solution to the conflict. Both were appointed by Paul Wolfowitz. There are reports that Rumsfeld initially did not agree, because of Feith's controversial past - allegedly Feith was caught transferring classified materials to a foreign agent while on the Reagan NSC. Perle was reportedly also investigated by the Justice Department and found to have violated US policies relating to unlawful transmission of sensitive classified information, when he worked for Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, but no charges were filed in both cases, so there is no proof that any of them broke US law.

Wolfowitz studied political philosophy at the University of Chicago under - you guessed it - Albert Wohlstetter, and is another registered Democrat turned neoconservative. He advocates democracy for Middle East states, but not too much of it - he is guarded about how far that democracy process should go, or how the United States would react if anti-American governments come to power in countries as Egypt or Saudi Arabia as the result of free elections - he is said to favor “a case-by-case approach.” In 1992, he wrote a draft of a U.S. defense policy statement that said the U.S. goal in the post-Cold War world should be to perpetuate U.S. global predominance, to preclude the rise of any power that could challenge it and to prevent "untrustworthy" states from acquiring weapons of mass destruction -- by preemptive military action if necessary.
The draft was not adopted - until recently. Within days of the 9/11 attack, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld advocated overthrowing Saddam as part of the U.S. response, despite a lack of evidence connecting the dictator to the hijackings. Powell argued against the idea, and Bush deferred the question. By his January 2002 State of the Union address, when he identified the "axis of evil," Bush seemed to be moving toward a neocon world view, according to a number of sources.
Heritage Foundation fellow John C. Hulsman says that "Wolfowitz is critical," and that "He's the link between intellectual neocons like Kristol and the world of decision-makers."

It's interesting how quickly the Democrats forgot the Iran/Contra affair - Elliot Abrams was recently appointed Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the NSC for Southwest Asia, Near East and North African Affairs - effectively the NSC top policy spot for the Middle East, replacing Zalmay Khalilzad
Elliot Abrams was indicted by the Iran-Contra special prosecutor for giving false testimony about his role in illicitly raising money for the Contras but pleaded guilty to two lesser offenses of withholding information to Congress in order to avoid a trial and a possible jail term. He joined three other characters with a rich Iran/Contra scandal past - John D. Negroponte, John M. Poindexter and Otto J. Reich.
Midge Decter, the wife of Norman Podhoretz, is the mother-in-law of Elliot Abrams.
According to a source, "...Elliott Abrams actually originated the phrase "Shadow Government" designating the machinations of the Bush Cabal during the Iran Contra years. During the Reagan-Bush Administration, the former Assistant Secretary of State was in charge of a propaganda office in the State Department known as the Inter-American Affairs Office, set up to provide a liaison between the Nicaraguan contras, the CIA and the National Security Council.
Through the Inter-American Affairs office, Abrams was responsible for dispensing duly authorized Congressional humanitarian aid to the Nicaraguan contras. At the time, Congress made three separate appropriations totaling $300 million in 1985 and 1986 for so-called "humanitarian aid."
During the Hughes Commission probe of 1988, Congressman Hughes discovered that the State Department could only account for $27 million of the $300 million expended. As Hughes reported in his final summary report, which was then forwarded to the general counsel of the Tower Commission, the remaining $273 million seemed to have disappeared into a variety of "CIA-connected offshore accounts..."
If you think all this money/espionage talk is conspiratorial, check out the official REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FOR IRAN/CONTRA MATTERS - a US Court of Appeals document. Chapter 8 covers the "Enterprise and its finances" - and here is "United States v. Elliott Abrams" - enjoy.
Zalmay Khalilzad, a corporate chair for international security studies at RAND, was assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for policy planning from 1991 through 1992 and director of President George W. Bush's Department of Defense Transition Team in December 2000 and January 2001
Counterpunch.org reports that "...Khalilzad was a paid adviser to UNOCAL Corp., a U.S. oil company that was competing for Taliban approval to construct a $2 billion gas and oil pipeline across Afghanistan. While Khalilzad worked at the for-profit Cambridge Energy Associates, he conducted a risk analysis for UNOCAL. By 1997 he was a participant in UNOCAL's negotiations with the Taliban. Moreover, as paid lobbyist for UNOCAL, he urged the Clinton administration to take a softer line on the Taliban. Khalilzad's attitude to the Taliban seems to have correlated well with UNOCAL's efforts to build the pipeline. At the time, he defended the Taliban in an opinion published in The Washington Post. "The Taliban do not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran," he wrote in 1996. "We should...be willing to offer recognition and humanitarian assistance and to promote international economic reconstruction. It is time for the United States to re-engage," he concluded..."

What most people don't realize - unless you read some "respectable" UK papers carefully, and forgetting other sources for the moment - is that both the US and UK, prior to 9/11, supported radical Islamists in countries like Afganistan and Bosnia, hoping that the demise of secular, nationalist, independent-minded regimes would increase their influence with the powers replacing them. Ben Laden reportedly had Albanian and Bosnian passports, and had travelled to the area - perhaps with his own C-130, or with a plane belonging to the national airline of Afghanistan - with "allied" knowledge, while moslem fundamentalists, including Al Qaeda, Iranians, etc were fighting with the blessing of the Islam-haters against the Serbs, Croats and Christian Gypsies.
What makes the neocon love affair with Bosnian moslems even more interesting, is the Al Qaeda/Bosniak connection - according to a NY Times article by Kurt Eichenwald, "...Years of bloodletting in Bosnia...allowed Al Qaeda to establish a beachhead in central Europe, government officials said. When the United States guided three rival Balkan states to a peace accord at a meeting in Dayton, Ohio, in 1995, the stage was set for Al Qaeda and other militant groups. "Various very militant groups who were mujahedeen-connected were involved in the Bosnia campaign and took advantage of the Dayton peace accords to set up shop" in the Balkans, one former intelligence official said. "They found a very hospitable environment" when a portion of Bosnia was placed in the hands of Muslims ...Charities around the Arab world proclaimed that they were raising money for humanitarian purposes in Bosnia, but in fact portions benefited Islamic extremist groups in the area, including Al Qaeda. Militants linked to Al Qaeda also established connections with Bosnian organized crime figures. The officials said Al Qaeda and the Taliban found a route for the trafficking of heroin from Afghanistan into Europe through the Balkans. Their presence in Bosnia proved so successful for Al Qaeda operatives, officials said, that it became an "off-the-shelf" model for fund-raising and recruitment used by the terrorist organization again and again - in Kosovo, Albania and Chechnya..."
The neocons have excellent intelligence connections, and knew 100% that Al Qaeda was getting stronger and preparing for better things through the Bosnia connection - which raises some interesting questions about the often hysterical effort on their part to support the Bosnian moslems - from Albert Wohlstetter, who wanted to bomb Serbia to make the Bosnian Govt "more secure", down to minor operatives like Stephen Schwartz (see below). Everything that has to do the with Bosnia/Kossovo - Ben Laden/Al Qaeda connection is routinely suppressed by most US media, while the information (mailny on narcotics and women trafficking) is widely available in Europe.
Latest news on Bosnia - Ms Carla Del Ponte predictably arrested the commander of the "innocent Moslem victims" in Srebrenica, a Mr Oric, on the same day Saddam's statue was being toppled in Baghdad. CNN/Ms Amanpour were busy celebrating, and had no time to report on that arrest, but BBC World did cover it. Amazingly, Mr Oric is accused by the Hague court for war crimes commited against Serb civilians ("...burning of dozens of Serb villages around Srebrenica...between 1992 and 1993...") before Karadjic/Mladic launched their murderous assault on the city, in 1995. I wonder how that little detail escaped the attention of award-winning C Amanpour - she couldn't see the burning villages from Sarajevo, where she was doing her Pulitzer-winning reporting, I guess. Mr Oric lived since 1995 near Tuzla, very close to a major US Army base - the warrant for his arrest was issued to all troops in the area seven years ago.

The UK Guardian reports that Perle and many of these characters have the same PR person - a Ms Eleana Benador, "a Peruvian-born linguist" who runs 'Benador Associates'. Along with several of her clients, they are listed as "Core Activists and Supporters" in the website of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL) - established in 1999 by Ziad K. Abdelnour, a "prominent New York-based financier". According to the Guardian's Brian Whittaker, "...the USCFL publishes the 'Middle East Intelligence Bulletin' jointly with the Pipes' 'Middle East Forum'. The editorial board includes Thomas Patrick Carroll, a "former officer in the Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency", as he describes himself, and Matthew A Levitt, "a FBI analyst specializing in tactical and strategic analysis in support of counterterrorism operations" - and WINEP senior fellow.
Other Benador clients include: James Woolsey, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Laurie Mylroie - all affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute; Iraqi defector Khidir Hamza - source of the claims that Iraq has a nuclear bomb; Daily News columnist A.M. Rosenthal, Iranian exile Amin Taheri - who frequently writes on the necessity of "regime change" in Iraq, and has savaged UNMOVIC chief Hans Blix for being an apologist for Saddam Hussein, former Secretary of State Alexander Haig Jr., Rev. Sun Myung Moon operative Arnaud de Borchgrave- editor of the Washington Times, National Review contributing editor Frank Gaffney Jr., Daniel Pipes of FPRI, Iraqi dissident Kanan Makiya - a Brandeis professor who advocates regime change in the pages of The New Republic, and Richard Spertzl - the former bio-weapons inspector for UNSCOM, accused by former chief inspector Scott Ritter of doctoring UNSCOM reports.

CNN happily participated in a disinformation ploy a few days after Saddam's fall, one of the many that will follow in the next few months. A CNN hack in Baghdad presented a UK Telegraph journalist during a live link (they hardly payed any such attention to print media people before) who allegedly found some top secret "evidence" - while searching through the ruins of the bombed Iraqi Intelligence HQ - of Russian agents spying on Tony Blair and having close contacts with Iraq.
The content of this "discovery" was designed to do two things - to embarass Blair, who was putting heavy pressure on some friends of Conrad Black (the owner of UK Telegaph, the Jerousalem Post, and many other companies) to accept something they don't really like - and to cause problems to UK/Russian relations. The Russian didn't even bother to comment on the find, calling the Telegraph "gutter press". As for the close contacts, Saddam himself gave medals to two senior Russian generals for their help intraining the Iraqi army, days before the start of the war.- hardly a secret

Lord Conrad Black is not just anybody - he has people like Richard Perle on his payroll (Perle is one of the company executives - along with Henry Kissinger and William F Buckley - of a major C. Black company, Hollinger International, which owns the Telegraph and many other newspapers and seems to be in some "distress" lately)

Interestingly, there is a high fashion connection here - Black's very opinionated and fashionable (she claims to own hundreds of $400-a-pair Manolo Blahnik shoes and more than a dozen Hermes Birkin bags, which retail for $6,000 and up, and some 40 jewelled Renaud Pellegrino purses) wife, Barbara Amiel, is a goof friend of Anna Wintour, has appeared in the pages of US Vogue and often shows up in AW-hosted parties. Conde Nast (the UK branch) in general has close relations with the Telegraph - the UK Vogue editrix has a regular column in the paper. For whatever weird reason, some people take her seriously - a no-no for anyone who shows up in US Vogue.
Ms Amiel can at best be described as obnoxious - I used to read her op eds when she was writing for the Sunday Times. A few days ago, in her Telegraph column, she once again offered her view of the UN:
"...Given that the UN is little more than an assembly of clapped-out tyrannies, just how it can possibly confer legitimacy on anything is a delusion the now vanished Iraqi minister of information might envy".

The BBC reported that the choice of Perle and Co for becoming the next leader of Iraq is the head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Ahmed Chalabi, who has a 22 year jail conviction for banking fraud in (US ally) Jordan. Isn't that weird - nothing was mentioned by Ms Amanpour or other "respected" US media journalists on the matter, although he often appears in their reports - I guess they overlooked that little detail.

Robert Dreyfuss reported in the 'American Prospect' that"...In an August 1989 episode still surrounded by controversy, the government of Jordan seized the Petra Bank under martial law, arresting its chief currency trader and using Jordan's central bank to pump $164 million into the Petra Bank and its allied institutions to keep them liquid. To avoid arrest, Chalabi fled the country "under mysterious circumstances," according to a 1989 article in the Financial Times. The Hudson Institute's Max Singer says that Prince Hassan personally drove Chalabi to the Jordanian border, helping him escape. (According to one account, Chalabi was in the trunk of the car). Chalabi eventually was tried in absentia by a Jordanian court and sentenced to 22 years of hard labor for embezzlement, fraud and currency-trading irregularities. He reportedly got away with more than $70 million..."
The CIA is openly fighting Chalabi, and Powell's State Dept (the part that he controls anyway) isn't that impressed with him either. In 1996, a CIA-backed, but ill-organized INC offensive in northern Iraq, where Chalabi had assembled about 1,000 fighters, was easily defated by Saddam - even his Kurd allies turned against him and invited Saddam's army into Kurdistan to finish his troops off.
Ahmed Chalabi is the most prominent anti-Saddam Iraqi as far as the US/UK media are concerned - Perle met Chalabi when they both studied under RAND Corporation bigwig, Albert Wohlstetter, (Perle's father-in-law) at the University of Chicago, in the late 1960s.
Reportedly, the list of Iraqi "exiles" to be invited into forming the new Iraqi government is being drawn up by the number three at the Pentagon, Douglas Feith, working directly with his immediate superior and longtime friend, Paul Wolfowitz, now the No 2 in the Defense Dept.
The latest about Chalabi - he reached Baghdad, but it looks like he'll be in trouble if is asked questions about his Jordanian troubles in his first press conference...

Dreyfuss also reports that "...the Heritage Foundation put forward a nearly complete scheme for the privatization of Iraq's oil, creating three separate companies for southern Iraq, the region around Baghdad and the Kirkuk fields in northern Iraq, with additional companies to operate pipelines and refineries and to develop Iraq's natural gas..."

There are also plans to use the Shias in Saudi Arabia - an article with the title "Free the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia" appeared in Conrad Black's Jerusalem Post - the writer, Max Singer again, co-founder of the Hudson Institute, suggested that the United States should help create a Muslim Republic of East Arabia.
"I meant it seriously," says Singer. "Saudi Arabia is vulnerable not only to a U.S. seizure of their land but to U.S. unofficial participation in a rebellion by minority Shi'a in the Eastern Province." The Eastern Province, which is largely Shi'a, happens to include the vast bulk of Saudi Arabia's oil fields.

Dr Strangelove stuff - according to a Washington Post article, admitted Trotskyist Albert Wohlstetter was the inspiration, along with Henry Kissinger, for the film "Dr. Strangelove."
In December 1958, Albert Wohlstetter, working for the RAND Corporation - the original "think tank" in Santa Monica, California - reportedly "...published the "fail-safe" concept in launching US strategic bombers with nuclear weapons. In the "fail-safe" (or the more politically correct "positive control") concept, bombers are launched, fly to and remain near a predetermined point, then return to base unless they receive the attack signal..." The same year he wrote about "The balance of terror" and is considered one of the fathers of the Cold War.
Other sources mention Herman Kahn as a possible, also with RAND and the founder of the Hudson Institute, and also Leo Szilard - "The man behind the Bomb" (in 1934, Szilard filed a patent application for the atomic bomb) although he became a "pacifist" later.
I think it was actually Wohlstetter, and the movie ended with a parody of his "fail safe" concept - in the movie, one bomber does not return to base as instructed, bombs its target and destroys the earth.
The character certainly had something to do with RAND, since Dr. Strangelove talks about a a study he commissioned for the "Bland Corporation"

Wohlstetter was a major anti-Serb campaigner in the Bosnia war. Shortly before he died, in 1996, he was asked for recommendations -that was after the Dayton Accord - on how to improve Bosnia's security. He said: 'We should bomb strategic targets in Serbia.' His wish was fullfilled during the Kossovo war, a few years later.
A source mentions his involvement with the "Unity of the Sciences" movement, along with fellow nuclear experts Wigler, Szilard and many others. The cause was apparently taken over by the Moonies in the early seventies - and the fact that many of Wohlstetter's "students" cooperate with Moonies, raises several questions.

You've heard about all that "regime change" - Kristol and fellow PNAC member Robert Kagan, the men behind a PNAC report titled 'Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy' in 2000, used the term.
In the report, under a heading labeled "Regime Change", in the introductory chapter, Kristol and Kagan target Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and China as challengers that need to be confronted. With respect to Iraq and North Korea, they conclude that U.S. "preeminence" in the 21st century cannot rest on "simply wishing hostile regimes out of existence." They warn that the U.S. will have "to intervene abroad even when we cannot prove that a narrowly construed 'vital interest' of the United States is at stake."
Dick Cheney's deputy national security adviser is Victoria Nuland, the wife of Robert Kagan. Roberts's father, Donald Kagan, is a Yale historian who converted from a liberal Democrat to a staunch neocon in the 1970s. On the eve of the 2000 presidential elections, Donald and his other son, Frederick, published "While America Sleeps," a call to increase defense spending.

As for the "coalition of the willing" - that term was probably coined by Philip Bobbit, of the U of Texas.
According to him, "...Globalisation has brought the end of the territorial nation state and the advent of 'market-states', i.e, nation-states whose power extends beyond territorial boundaries. These powerful states have responsibility for the maintenance of order among backward 'pre-modern' states, for the enforcing of human rights, and for ensuring that such states do not spawn bellicose dictators or provide safe havens for terrorist and pirates.
Bobbitt considers Al-Quaid'a to be a "virtual state" equipped with international political goals, income and followers. In his theory the Al Quai'da threat and that of "rogue states" requires the "right thinking" states to form "coalitions of the willing" to enforce their values - within the United Nations framework if possible, but outside it if necessary...."

Clinton, who used very few of these characters in his administrations, resisted the Perle and Co calls for invading Iraq - as in a letter addressed to him by PNAC, on January 26, 1998.
In the letter, Rumsfeld, Perle, etc were urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein, because he was a 'hazard' to 'a significant portion of the world's supply of oil' - they also said that the US should not be 'crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council'. In addition to the usual suspects, some more names who signed this letter:
Richard Armitage (now deputy secretary of state), William J. Bennett (former Reagan cabinet member, served as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in current Bush administration), Jeffrey Bergner (current member of U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century), Paula Dobriansky (now US Under Secretary of State), Francis Fukuyama (professor of International Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University, member of President's Council on Bioethics), William Schneider, Jr. (Chairman of the Defense Science Board in the U.S. Department of Defense), Vin Weber (co-founder of Empower America, a conservative think tank, associated with Bennett) and Robert B. Zoellick (U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet-level position).

Richard Perle's shadowy financial dealings were (partly) exposed in a New Yorker article by Seymour M. Hersh - owned by Conde Nast, to give credit where it's due.
The Trireme involvement is potentially extremely damaging, but since Perle went on CNN to call Hersh the closest thing to a "terrorist", I won't be the one to mention who else may be involved.
Perle resigned from the chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board (DPB - an "independent" group that advises Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) - but stll remains a member. The resignation was a result of the expose of his involvement in the collapse of bankrupt telecommunications firm Global Crossing Ltd
Some have suggested that the publicity given by US mainstream media to the expose, forcing him to resign his post, was really a 'wrist slap' - because Perle failed to deliver Turkey's support for the Iraq war (He used to be a paid lobbyist for that country, and Turkey's best friend in Washington, as described above)
His boss, Donald "stuff happens" Rumsfeld said afterwards that ""I should add that I have known Richard Perle for many years and know him to be a man of integrity and honor" - me says, he should ask Saudi Prince Bandar, a close friend of the Bush family, about a second opinion.
Perle's mouthpiece, the WSJ, gave him plenty of space to vent, something which impressed even the Slate.com folks

Mr Bolton, the top War Party man in the State Dept, had some dollar-related troubles too - apparently "..After leaving the State Department under the first Bush Administration, Bolton headed the National Policy Forum which "reportedly pursued money from overseas" for the RNC (Los Angeles Times). The NPF defaulted on a $1.3 billion loan guaranteed by Hong Kong businessman Ambrous Young, who's lawyer claimed his willingness to absorb the debt was "contingent upon Mr. Young getting something in return," namely "business opportunities." The Taiwanese government "served as an intermediary for a $25,000 contribution" to the NPF(Washington Post). At his confirmation hearing Bolton acknowledged that he had received $30,000 from the Taiwanese government for writing a series of papers..."
Bolton, according to Michael Lind of the New Statesman, was assigned to the State Department to keep Colin Powell in check

Before G W Bush came to power, in Sept 2000, PNAC produced another report -"Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century".
In it, we read that "'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security.
While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
Also, US forces outside the USA are to be "the cavalry on the new American frontier"- so control of the Pentagon is paramount for that to be achieved. The report clearly says that "The aim for the 21st century is to "Preserve Pax Americana"
(no wonder conspiracy theorists are drooling!!! This used to be strictly anti-US "leftist-speak" - but then again, most of the neocons do have communist pasts)

PNAC's office is on the 5th floor of the AEI building on 1150 17th St, in downtown Washington - the Wohlstetter Conference Cente is in the 12th floor, and that's where a conference called "The Day After: Planning for a Post-Saddam Iraq," was held late last year.
AEI is the key node of a collection of neoconservative foreign policy experts and scholars, the most influential of whom are members of PNAC. David Wurmser, is head of the AEI Middle East studies department and author of a book titled 'Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein'. D. Wurmser’s wife, Meyrav Wurmser, cofounded the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
Also working for the AEI is Laurie Mylroie, author of "Saddam Hussein’s Unfinished War Against America," which promoted the theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 (not the 2001) World Trade Center bombing. When the book was published by the AEI, Mr Perle hailed it as "splendid and wholly convincing".
(Reportedly, "...six militant Islamist conspirators were convicted of the crime in 1997 and 1998 and given prison sentences of 240 years each. In 1995, militant Islamist Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted of conspiracy charges, and in 1998, Ramzi Yousef, believed to have been the mastermind, was convicted of "seditious conspiracy" to bomb the towers - no one was ever convicted for the actual bombing.
In the trial, it was revealed that the FBI had an informant, an ex-US Army Egyptian man named Emad Salem, who was involved with the bombing conspiracy. Salem asserts that the original plan was to have the plotters build the bomb using a harmless powder instead of actual explosive, but that an FBI supervisor decided that a real bomb should be constructed instead. He substantiates his claims with hundreds of hours of secretly-recorded conversations with his FBI handlers, made during discussions held after the bombings. Salem said he wished to complain to FBI headquarters in Washington about the failure to prevent the bombing despite foreknowledge, but was dissuaded from doing so by the New York FBI office. The FBI has not explicitly denied Salem's account..." See the NYT artice, by Ralph Blumenthal, here)

G W Bush gave a speech at AEI on February 26 2003 - the text appears here.
Among other things, he said "..The passing of Saddam Hussein's regime will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training, and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers..." . Why should the US President be concerned about who rewards the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel?

The blueprint for the present Iraq war and its followup was included in a report called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm". This report is probably the most notorious of all.
It was prepared for the Israeli Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (reportedly financed by Richard Mellon-Scaife, it accepts only American, Israeli and Turkish students for its Washington fellowships), and co-authored by Richard Perle; Douglas Feith; David Wurmser - also a special assistant to John Bolton - and his wife, Meyrav Wurmser, also the director of Mideast Policy at the Hudson Institute.
Also signing the report are James Colbert - Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Charles Fairbanks, Jr. - Johns Hopkins University/SAIS, Robert Loewenberg - President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies and Jonathan Torop - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).
The report was presented to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu back in 1996, when he came to power, and was later endorsed in a Wall Street Journal editorial.
Among other things, it includes these goals:

Removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right - as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions
So, the Iraq war was useful mainly for destabilising Syria !

Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which - and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows - is King Hussein. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites (or somebody else, I guess) to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria
Interesting approach - which is probably why the Shia leader in Najf was assasinated - the Syrians (or the Iranians) - are not as inept as the Iraqis.

As Pat Buchanan says: "The principal draftsman is Richard Perle....In 1996, with Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, Perle wrote "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," for Prime Minister Netanyahu....In the Perle-Feith-Wurmser strategy, Israel's enemy remains Syria, but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad. Their plan, which urged Israel to re-establish 'the principle of preemption,' has now been imposed by Perle, Feith, Wurmser & Co. on the United States."

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, included an article called "Perles of wisdom for the Feithful", by Akiva Eldar, on October 1st 2002 . It detailed the Perle and Co long-term goals, as stated during a presentation made earlier that year at the Defense Policy Board in Washington:

“According to information that reached a top official in the Israeli security services, the researchers showed two slides to the Pentagon officials. The first was a depiction of the three goals in the war on terror and the democratisation of the Middle East: Iraq - a tactical goal, Saudi Arabia - a strategic goal, and Egypt - the great prize.
“The triangle in the next slide was no less interesting: Palestine is Israel, Jordan is Palestine, and Iraq is the Hashemite Kingdom.”

In the same article, Ha’aretz noted that a prominent member of the Hashemite royal family, Prince Hassan, (the same one who drove Chalabi to safety) the uncle of King Abdullah of Jordan, played a prominent role in the meeting arranged in London last year for the Iraqi opposition in exile.

So, is Iran next? Not really - because a) the Iranians are not Arabs b) There is no single Saddam there, but hundrends of ayatollahs ready to take the plece of a fallen leader c) The Shia population couldn't care less about being liberated d) Iran controls the Gulf, denying movement to US ships, and can also destroy Gulf regimes in zero time e). They have a strong army.
There is strong evidence that the US administration is actually cooperating with the Iranians - all the US/UK media stooges have focused on Syria, but none is talking about Iran, who also has chemical weapons, even though there is a lot of agitation on their part involving Shia clerics inside Iraq. There is plenty of evidence that Iranian troops entered Iraq and hit the Iraqi army from behind during the US/UK invasion, throughout east and southeast Iraq. Not only did the Americans allowed them to operate freely, but "embedded" reporters with US units in those areas mentioned nothing , although those Iranian troops (mainly the 'Badr Brigades') were in control of several cities when US troops arrived there.
US forces did bomb some Iranians - the'Mujahedeen-e-Khalq', the most potent armed opposition to the Teheran regime, based inside Iraq. The collusion is obvious - the US can't afford to anger the Iranians right now, and may even offer them control of a large part of the country - outside the oilfield areas, of course.
I personally wouldn't be surprised if the Iranians didn't loan the US some chemical artillery shells - either their own or original Iraqi meterial, from stocks captured during the 80s - to frame the Saddam regime. That may happen if the 1000+ WMD hunters send to Iraq come up with nothing significant.

Syria is an easier target, but the Syrians have lots of chemical weapons (legally, because they haven't sign the Chemical Weapons treaty, like Israel) and many modern missiles, which are based a short range away from Israeli cities, giving little time for the Israelis to intercept them. If the Baath regime in Damascus feels threatened, they won't hesitate to fire - they recently announced that will in fact "hurt" Israel if the US turns against them. Blair (actually Jack Straw) stated that the UK has nothing to do with Syria or Iran, and Spain's Aznar agreed, so it will be very difficult for the US to launch an major attack on their own, whatever CNN/Fox and the Murdoch papers say.
The usual suspects are now urging for a "commando" raid, targeted at the location where some Iraqi regime officials are hiding - but that's about it. Expect also pressure on the Lebanon-based Hezbollah - after all, the Sept 2001 letter asked specifically for Lebanese Hezbollah to be bombed. Hezbolla has never struchk targets outside Lebanon, or threatened the US mainland - but is one of the top threats to Israel's strategic objectives. An interesting scenario appears here.
According to Bob Novak, Condoleeza Rice believes that "Hezbollah is a larger threat than Al-Qaeida". The question here is - to whom?
The NYT reported on April 19 that the US will keep four major bases inside Iraq - H1 near the Jordan border, Tallil near Nasiriya, Baghdad Airport and Bashur in Kurdistan. An attack against Syria probably won't take place until the bases are completed.

If you wonder who the current group of right-wing anti-neocons - or "antiwar conservatives", as David Frum, the ex- White House speechwriter that coined the "axis of evil", calls them, here they are:
"...Some are famous: Patrick Buchanan and Robert Novak. Others are not: Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Scott McConnell, Justin Raimondo, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese, Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis, and Taki Theodoracopulos...They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation's enemies..."

btw - remember the Anthrax scare?
The "terrorist" attack which came from either Al Qaeda or Iraq - or both?
When the tracks led to a US Army lab - the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland - and US goverment employees working there, the US media suddenly stopped mentioning anything about the subject.
There is an interesting story involving a Dr Assaad who worked there - and who was harassed by some other scientists - among them, a Dr. Philip Zack.
According to several stories,
"...Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a biological warfare expert at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and a vocal critic of the official investigation, has claimed that biodefence experts had told the FBI the identity of a likely suspect but that the bureau was keeping it secret, possibly because the suspect knows too much about US experimentation with germ warfare. Mrs Rosenberg said the suspect, whom she does not name but describes in detail, was an American contractor working for the CIA, who suffered a career setback last summer that "left him angry and depressed"...".
The original Hartford Courant newspaper articles on the anthrax story have mysteriously disappeared from their site, but I include them at the bottom of this page.
According to the articles, "..."People all over the base knew that they could come in at anytime and get on the microscope," Brown said. "If you had security clearance, the guard isn't going to ask you if you are qualified to use the equipment. I'm sure people used it often without our knowledge." Documents from the inquiry show that one unauthorized person who was observed entering the lab building at night was Langford's predecessor, Lt. Col. Philip Zack, who at the time no longer worked at Fort Detrick. A surveillance camera recorded Zack being let in at 8:40 p.m. on Jan. 23, 1992, apparently by Dr. Marian Rippy, a lab pathologist and close friend of Zack's, according to a report filed by a security guard. Zack could not be reached for comment. In an interview this week, Rippy said that she doesn't remember letting Zack in, but that he occasionally stopped by after he was transferred off the base. "After he left, he had no [authorized] access to the building. Other people let him in," she said. "He knew a lot of people there and he was still part of the military. I can tell you, there was no suspicious stuff going on there with specimens."..."
New York Times reporter Nicholas D. Kristof, in a series of articles published on July 2, 12, and 19, however, he called the anthrax perpetrator “Mr. Z”. He also reported that “Mr. Z” was caught with a girlfriend after hours in Fort Detrick. According to Kristof, “Mr. Z” talked about the importance of his field and his own status in it, and often used the B’nai B’rith attack as an example of how anthrax attacks might happen. He also “had a penchant for dropping Arab names” when he discussed the possibility of anthrax attacks..."
The frenzy that followed the anthrax scare - which killed only six people - helped the neocon cause significantly, since it prepared the American people for a "war against terrorism".

Who actually funds all that neoconservative onslaught?

Well, names mentioned include Lawrence Kadish, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, the Koors family and several foundations
Kadish, a real esate tycoon, is a major republicn party donor and bankrolls Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT) .
AVOT has compiled a sample list of statements by professors, legislators, authors and columnists that it finds objectionable - similar to an earlier effort to monitor war dissidents by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a group founded by Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, and Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman (so even if Gore was elected, the War Party would have their man in the White House)
In a $128,000 full-page AVOT ad in the Sunday New York Times, radical Islam was described as "an enemy no less dangerous and no less determined than the twin menaces of fascism and communism we faced in the 20th century."
I bet the Trotskyists had a lot of fun with that one.

As for Mellon Scaife - CNN wondered who he is. His father, Alan Scaife, served in Europe in the OSS, the forerunner to the CIA. Some "conspirasists" claim he engineered the whole Lewinsky affair there is some intersting evidence to support that. What did Hillary mean when she said that the Lewinsky affair was a "vast right-wing conspiracy"?

An interesting case study is the (ex) Committee for the Free World - this outfit was founded in 1981 by Midge Decter (see above) who was the executive director. Its activities were often covered by the Washington Times, owned by the Moonies. Funding came from Scaife, The John M. Olin Fdn, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Fdn, The Smith Richardson Fdn, The Adolph Coors Fdn, and others. Its goverment connections included Ledeen, Perle, Pipes, Abrams - also Max Singer (see above, also did PR work for the Contras), Irving Kristol and Eugene Wigner (Leo Szilard's friend, died in 1995, RAND Corp. figure, father of Nuclear Engineering, member Commitee on the Present Danger). Several others had connections with the Unification Church or Rev.Sun Myung Moon (like Arnaud de Borchgrave , editor of the Washington Times)

A more complete list of neocon funding sources:

The Castle Rock Foundation - established with the brewing assets of the Coors dynasty of Colorado
The Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation - established with the manufacturing fortunes of Lynde and Harry Bradley of Milwaukee
The Earhart Foundation
The JM Foundation
The Claude R Lambe Charitable Foundation
The Charles D. Koch Charitable Foundation
The David H. Koch Charitable Foundation -
-established with the energy revenues of the Koch family of Kansas
The Philip M. McKenna Foundation
The Scaife Foundations - established with the banking and oil money of the Mellon-Scaifes of Pittsburgh
The John M. Olin Foundation - the chemical and munitions profits of John M. Olin of New York
The Smith Richardson Foundation - coming from Vicks patent-medicine empire of the Smith Richardson family of Greensboro, N.C

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an interesting article on the Bradley Foundation, based in the same city.

The neocon story is slightly more involved that the traditional conservative-liberal game - but the majority of people have yet to figure it out.

Ho can Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell and others from the conservative Evangelical block - or "right wing Christians" - be aligned with this bunch?
Not only ex-commies with suspect domestic agendas, but also the Moonies?
Somebody in the anti-neocon camp should try to "educate" the Evangelicals and all those who follow Fallwell and Co, so that they start asking them questions about their strange bedfellows. Especially on their domestic agenda.
The so-called "Christian Right" which allegedly supports the neocons reportedly includes a couple of "right wing Catholics" - which must be some kind of joke.
As for politicians, few seem to openly support them, Conservative or Democrat. One who does, is "leftist" Congressman Stephen Solarz - again, a strange comrade for Fallwell, Gingrich and Co.

David Horowitz is one of the compative neocon smear artists - sort of a US Barbara Amiel - and interesting case
. In the 60s he was reportedly "...a Black Panther supporter and editor of Ramparts magazine, the premier left-wing publication of the period. He and Peter Collier, co-founder of the CSPC (Center for the Study of Popular Culture) came out as Reagan Republicans in a highly controversial 1985 Washington Post article called "Lefties for Reagan..." Back in 1992, more than 50 percent of the CSPC's budget came from three foundations:Olin, Bradley and Sarah Scaife (joint contributions totaling $482,500).
Another project of his, Committee on Media Integrity (COMINT) begun with $125,000 in start-up funds from the Sarah Scaife Foundation in 1988.

The loonier side of the War Party is represented by a certain Stephen Schwartz, a contributor to the Weekly Standard, who is also a former communist - of a Trotskyist fringe - and who specializes on anti-Saudi and anti-Syrian subjects. He thinks the US needs to engage in a new cold war with practically the whole of the Muslim world - except the Sufis, and the Bosnian branch of Islam (is that a joke? Read this
The fact that "respected" commentators like William Safire have supported his causes in his fight against the US State Dept - big neocon enemy - after he was fired by the VOA (Voice of America) is no joke.
Of course, the evil Saudi Wahabbis he so hates were major funders of the "Bosniaks", but these details do not seem to concern the neocons. Another neocon operative and a smearing artist, like Horowitz, is Ronald Radosh - he joined Safire in the defense of Schwartz. In a book he wrote, he describes his "circuitous route from Communist radical to Neocon radical" - what else is news? Nowdays, Radosh engages in communist-bashing from the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
There is even a neocon barbie - a Ms Debbie Schlussel. She applauded a US airline pilot who refused to accept a passenger who has a federal ID because he was "visibly Arab" - and often trashes Arab-American members of Congress. She also has a "fun club". She is mentioned here because her columns indicated that she knows the full list - inc their bios - of the people Hezbolla killed in Lebanon decades ago.

The CIA was originally funding the neocons and several fronts in which they participated. From 1950, until its link to the CIA was exposed in 1966/67, the 'Congress for Cultural Freedom' was one of the most important such fronts
. Through the Congress and parallel organizations, the CIA secretly underwrote international conferences, art expositions, music festivals, and more than 20 magazines, including the highly respected Encounter - which was edited originally by Stephen Spender and -guess who - neocon Irving Kristol. Other front publications Der Monat in Germany, Preuves in France, Tempo Presente in Italy and some lesser-known journals. In 1964, Congressman Wright Patman, analyzing tax-free foundations, discovered that some were mainly mail drops. Journalists finally picked up on this a couple of years later, and by 1967 the secret was out.
Tenet's CIA is now - along with Powell's State Department - said to be against them, or at least dissaproving of their methods. That's why Rumsfeld is trying to use Army Special Forces to do the jobs CIA was tasked up to now - and even built his own mini-CIA. One result of this infighting, is the confusion about which Iraqi exiles should be governing Iraq. The foreign policy bigwig, Henry Kissinger, pretends that all this is too wild for him - understandably, since his consulting firm has many Saudis and other Arab clients, whom the neocons insult and threaten on a daily basis.
btw, one day before 9/11, the family of the Chilean army genearal who was murdered on orders from the Nixon White House in filed a lawsuit against Kissinger in NYC - I wonder what happened to it.

Lefties around the world have started calling the US "imperialist" again - no wonder:
"The fact is," writes Charles Krauthammer, a Washington Post columnist who espouses neoconservative views, "no country has been as dominant culturally, economically, technologically and militarily in the history of the world since the late Roman Empire."
Lawrence F. Kaplan, Kristol's co-author of the influential book "The War Over Iraq," said: "The real question is not whether the American military can topple Hussein's regime, but whether the American public has the stomach for imperial involvement of a kind we have not known since the United States occupied Germany and Japan."

Misc Links:

Slate/msnbc has a short "field guide to Iraq pundits"- here

A more complete list here
Conrad Black's Telegraph continues the disinformation game - out of the ruins of the Iraqi Govt Intelligence HQ, another "top scret" document with an "illegible" (!!) signature comes up - the aim this time is to discredit a Labour Party MP who has been one of the most vocal opponents of Blair's policies. What really pissed the neocons off, is that Golloway never hesitates to talk about them in the media, causing a lot of people to start searching for more clues - in short, he is doing the people on Black's payroll real damage.
The same character that went on CNN live last time around, hit again: "...The Telegraph's Baghdad correspondent, David Blair, discovered a confidential memorandum in the looted office of the Iraqi foreign minister that purported to show that Mr Galloway received a share of oil earnings from the toppled dictator's regime worth £375,000 a year...". How come the looters take everything except top secret documents with damaging stories about neocon opponents?
Meanwhile, the British army shows their respect for freedom of the press - that was to be expected, since the NY Times revealed that much of what the British "journalists" were saying during the siege of Basra was disinformation.

Proof that US media can be under "regime control" - the owners of 1200 radio stations across the USA with 100 million listeners were accused of "...organising pro-war rallies, muzzling anti-war protests and blocking anti-war music from its broadcasts. Also, "...Clear Channel is extremely vulnerable to accusations of bias because of its close ties to the administration. Charles James, a senior official in the antitrust division at the Department of Justice, was formerly with a Washington law firm that represented Clear Channel when the company sought approval of its 2000 purchase of AMFM Inc, creating a national radio chain, and also when it purchased the giant concert promoter, SFX. Thomas O Hicks, chairman of Dallas-based investment firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst and former co-owner of AMFM, who now sits on the board at Clear Channel, helped Bush become a millionaire when he facilitated the purchase of the Texas Rangers in 1999. In addition, Hicks steered a controversial scheme to use the University of Texas' $13 billion endowment for private investment. Among the beneficiaries were the Carlyle Group, the arms investment firm tied to both George Bush Snr and the bin Laden family, and George W Bush's controversial Harken Oil drilling project in Bahrain..."

Minor neocon figure Newt Gingrich goes after Powell and the State Dept - someone else will blast the CIA in a few days, and so on...
As for who's failure was to get Turkey to cooperate, he claimed Powell had something to do with it - what about Perl/Feith and Co? The Turks were their clients - they had guaranteed the reliability of the Istrael-Turkey-US axis. The fact that people find it easier to criticise the State Dept for the Turkish debacle and nobody counters them, is evidence of how much control the neocons have over the US political system.
The Washigton Post has an article about DoD - Dept of State squabbles.
We learn that "...The State Department, for its part, sought to limit the role in Iraq for Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi because officials there viewed him as a fraud with little backing inside the country..." Rumsfeld also tried to get neocon opearetive Bolton to a certain post but Powell refused - tells you that Powell has no control over some people in his Departement.
Of course Gingrich is old history - "...Discredited and publicly disgraced, he stepped down into oblivion..." - but the neocons always use such characters, mainly useful for the nasty jobs. Their new Conservative Party darling is McCaine - reportedly Kristol has stated that "..McCain, is the new Reagan, the new Newt Gingrich..." If he bombs again, the alternative may be Jeb Bush.

Dozens of people are killed in ethnic fighting in the north of Iraq, from Mosul to Tikrit, Iranian militias control much of the southeast, the US goverment is sending 1000 (!!) WMD inspectors but can't find soldiers to do city policing, there is still no power in Baghdad, and CNN "journalists" keep wondering why Iraqis are not happy to be "liberated" - but even they have started sounding sarcastic today, poking fun at Chalabi's (ie the Pentagon/White House) self-appointed "mayor of Baghdad"

Remember this when you watch the "PFC Lynch daredevil rescue" movie

Col Hackworth details Saddam's CIA past - it's amazing how all the nasties - Saddam, Bin Laden, Noriega, etc - all have similar associations.
btw - anyone has photos from Rumsfeld's 1983 meeting in Baghdad with Saddam?

Since Israel allowed Abu Abbas to go in and out of Gaza for years - obviously he had nothing to do with
Leon Klinghofer's killing, or he would be history by now - should the Israeli goverment be punished for "harboring terrorists" too?
All this noise is benefiting Perle's close friend in the Pentagon, Mr Feith, and those who agree with his views, who want to trash the Oslo accords

Things are so nasty, even Tony Blair has started talking about "conspiracies" - he acted quickly to pour water on the anti-Syrian frenzy in "freedom loving" US/UK media. Everybody knows that Syria is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and it is the Saudi last line of defense against Israel - the Saudis would be commiting suicide if they let Perle and Co go ahead with ther plans. They buy lots of British weapon systems, too.

Amid reports of the Archeological Museum in Baghdad being looted, there are news that American art dealers are calling for a relaxation of Iraq's tight restrictions on the ownership and export of antiquities
Several Iraqi civilians are reported to have told foreign journalists that US troops are telling them to finish looting the public buildings soon, because they will be burned down - this can't be independently verified, as they would say on CNN. The only Goverment building that was secured by US troops, soon after they entered the city, is the Ministry of Oil. The central Library building is also burning.
It is obvious that the destruction of Iraqi state infrastracture has nothing to do with the ability of the troops to do "policing". (in fact, MPs are trained just for that - but Military Police units are absent from Baghdad). Who benefits from all this? Some might say that the more destruction there is, the more money can be spend on "reconstruction", financed by Iraqi oil revenues. However, some others claim that there won't be much of a reconstruction effort - and there is a certain group of people who are advocating the effective destruction of any modern institution in what is effectively the most modern - and among the most secular - Arab state, with an civilian infrastracture backed by a large professional class, something that simply doesn't exist in the Gulf countries, which are run mostly by foreigners since their native population are still tribal camel jockeys
It's hard to believe that "patriotic" or "right wing" US types, who are appalled at the notion of anyone advocating "property damage" - much less looting hospitals - could come up with the concept of people expressing their newfound freedom through property destruction - this is foreign to their mentality. It sounds more like a concept dreamed up by communist Trotskyists (only Stalinists call them Trotskyites) who are into "permanent revolution".

How much of what we see in the media and the internet, questioning widely accepted "thruth", is conspiracy theories? In the past two decades, Hollywood produced lots of films with often outlandish story lines - everything from UFO abductions, to aliens in black suits and "black helicopters" roaming over US cities, and always, certain "powers" try to cover everything up. The resulting confusion from all these conspiracy plots made the public more inclined to dismiss any theory that goes against the "officially sanctioned" version of events as conspiracy talk.The Iraq war, like the Bosnia/Kossovo war a few years ago, is generating more heated debate - why is this war taking place? Are the "freedom-loving" principles expressed by war proponents in the US/UK genuine? Is "liberation" - or even the discovery of WMD - their true aim?

What is really interesting is that some stories which prove to be embarassing for the "official" version of events rarely appear in mainstream media. Some of them are important enough to make people wonder about what the "truth" really is - one example:

Wolfgang Frenz, a founder member of the NPD (the neo-fascist National Democratic Party of Germany) was in court, in a trial (January 2002) that was expected to result in the banning of his Party for racist activities and hate crims. The charges calling for the banning of the NPD quote extensively from an anti-Semitic text that W Frenz had published in 1998. In the prosecution case calling for a ban on the party, his utterances are quoted in several places to show similarities between the NPD and Hitler’s Nazi party.
The court, “more or less accidentally”, discovered during hearings that Frenz, had been collaborating closely with the German secret services for 36 years. Frenz said afterwards that he received between 600 and 800 German marks (US$400) a week for acting as an informant
In recent years, it has been revealed time and again that German secret service agents not only monitor and control right-wing parties, but function as agents provocateurs, i.e., encourage and carry out right-wing extremist acts of violence and help build up the organisational structures of the far right. Some examples:
In 1993, five people died in an arson attack on a house in Solingen, in which Turkish families were residing. Three of the culprits had trained in a karate school run by Bernd Schmitt, a secret service informant.
In 1995, a skinhead named Carsten Szcepanski tried to drown a Nigerian man in a lake near Berlin. Some time later it became known that at the time of the attack he was an undercover agent for the secret service.
At the beginning of June in 2000, Der Spiegel newsweekly reported that the neo-Nazi Thomas Dienel had been employed from 1996 to 1997 in Thuringia as an undercover agent. At the beginning of the 1990s, Dienel was NPD chairman in Thuringia and later created the German National Party. When he was arrested for incitement, anti-Semitic propaganda and fraud, he made contact with the secret service. Following his early release, he claims he had about 80 meetings with his secret service handlers, and received approximately 25,000 marks for his information

So what? you say, even if the guy is an agent, why not ban the NPD fashist party anyway? Even if the German FBI made everything up, isn't bashing neonazis a good thing to do?
As someone suggests "“...despite the fact that it is, for the moment, directed against the extreme right wing, an NPD ban would also set the precedent for restricting the political rights of the population, and strengthening state authority and control. In the future, such bans will be used to criminalise and suppress any opposition to the existing social and political conditions...”
Much in the same way that the 9/11 event and the "terrorist threat" is serving as an excuse to curtail human rights not only in the US, but in most other countries as well.

The story was widely reported in the German media, but was virtually ignored in the US/UK and elsewhere. As for the German Secret service, it's not easy to question their motives in other istances, especially after 9/11 - the same is true for US intelligence services, despite their own gaffs, like the recent debacle with the forgery of the alleged documents "proving" that Saddam had bought nuclear material from Niger

The "Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter" Congressional testimony is one of the most notorious examples of disinformation - you won't find many links to US mainstream media regarding the episode, because it is extremely embarassing to CNN, US media in general, members of Congress and many others. The fraud has been reported extensively outside the US, and helps explain (in part) why many people are not entirely convinced by the administration's rationale about "Iliberating" Iraq.

In a few words - the Congressional Human Rights Caucus held a hearing on Capitol Hill on October 10, 1990, which provided the first opportunity for formal presentations of Iraqi human rights violations. A 15 year old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah (her last name was kept confidential) said, "I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital. While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where ... babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die."
This terrible news about 312 babies made headlines worldwide and helped turn public opinion and Congress against Iraq. During the three months that followed before the war started, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council
Later it was learnt that Nayirah was the daughter of Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait's ambassador to the US. She had reportedly left Kuwait before the Iraqi invasion.
The two members of Congress, Lantos and Porter, who chaired the Human Rights Caucus, were also co-chairs of the Congressional Human Rights Foundation, a legally separate entity that occupied free office space valued at $3,000 a year in Hill & Knowlton's Washington, DC office - the same company that was resposible for pro-Kuwaiti PR.

There is a great story about PR and wars here which includes the details of the disinformation ploy

CNN never mentioned the expose of the fraud - in fact, an HBO Gulf War docudrama, "Live From Baghdad.", a dramatization of CNN's reporting during the last Iraqi conflict includes the folowing scene:
CNN investigates claims that Iraqi soldiers murdered sick Kuwaiti babies by dumping them from their incubators: A nervous Kuwaiti doctor, accompanied by Iraqi soldiers who are clearly pulling his strings, denies it ever happened. The CNN producers whisper to each other: "This sucks, he's scared," before the Iraqi handlers abruptly halt questioning.
As the NY Daily News reported, many people, including Harper's magazine publisher John R. MacArthur, called HBO to express their concern - HBO promised to "clarify the situation" in subsequent releases. .

No news here - the dreaded C Amanpour continues CNN tradition - in a report aired a couple of hours ago, she tried to connect the large number of casualties in Baghdad hospitals to tactics used by the Iraqi army, making it look like the Iraqi army is responsible for the casualties.

There are signs that the sheik the British chose to do their work in Basra isn't exactly popular - Yugoslavia had only a few "tribes", but Iraq has over 150, and the "liberators" are in for some surprises. Tony Blair's fave Shia cleric isn't going to be useful anymore - otherwise, according to the news item, "Despite Chaos, UK Says Iraq Better Than Before".
There is consistent under-reporting of both military and cilvilian casualties - a UK Channel 4 TV crew which was present at a Baghdad mosque while fighting was going on, reported there were several dozen wounded Marines, instead of the reported 21 - and the camera showed civilians getting killed and wounded by indiscriminate firing, inc a 6-year old grl shot in the head. Another TV crew was stopped at a US checkpoint under a bridge - 50 yards away, they filmed the wrecks of several cars with many dead inside, inc two children - the bodies were left there for over 24 hours. In another incident, an Iraqi surface to surface missiles reportedly blew up 17 Hummers when it landed on the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division command post - casualties were reported to be 4 dead (two of them journalists) and 15 wounded. In the "friendly fire" bombing of a US/Kurdish convoy of less than a dozen cars, there were 17 dead and 45 wounded - the numbers don't seem to add up. The casualty totals do not include troops involved in "Special" operations (four US troops died in the convoy bombing, according to the BBC reporter present and Kurdish hospital sources)
CNN reporting continues to be a joke - the dreaded C Amanpour (the joke is that a massacre is about to happen when her face shows up on TV) disappeared after she declared the Umm Quassr port "secure" - and then a week of further fighting followed. She then showed up outside Basra and now in Baghdad - there, when asked about Marine casualties in a suicide bombing, when every news agency was reporting between one and four US dead, she said " ...officially, there are four wounded". We already know CNN is the official mouthpiece of the liberating regime, but perhaps Amanpour has to stress that to better secure her next US "journalistic award".
More on CNN - it turns out that the Iraqis considered the CNN man in Baghdad back in 1991 as the CIA station chief - according to this story, "...al-Sahaf and other Iraqi officials had long believed that CNN journalists worked for the CIA, and a previous information minister had accused Eason Jordan of being a CIA station chief when he was working in Iraq...". Some could call the Baathists paranoid about everything American, but the fact is that they left all other US journalists who wanted to remain (except two Newsday reporters) free to operate in Baghdad. - they only kicked the CNN crew out. BBC World played the game more skillfully and was careful to avoid the usual US jourmalistic pitfalls - their people never claimed that the dead people they were seeing in front of them "could not be independently verified as dead". However, all "coalition" journalists appear visibly upset when UN/Human Rights people remind them that not protecting "liberated" people and cities from looting, pillaging, hospital sacking, etc is a breach of the Geneva convention.
Few people have commented on the ideological warfare going on, with the US armed forces actively seeking and killing/capturing Baath Party members. The Baath is hardly an example of a democratic Party, but most of the professional class in Iraq and perhaps over one million people are Party sympathisers - including whole tribes - is the US going after them? When the Nazi Germany invaded the USSR, the regular Army did not go around trying to kill or arrest Russian Communict Party members - that was the job of special ideological warfare units, like the Einsatzgruppe.and "security police", who dealt with Communist cadres, Jews, etc. Even these political "cleanup operations" were - officially -done for "pillaging and looting" or other "illegal" activities. It's amazing that US/UK Armed Forces personnel claim on camera that their #1 job is to hunt down people because of their political affiliation - which may explain why there all this talk about "death squads", "Baathists executing prisoners", etc. UK troops are seen on TV making mass arrests of "suspected Baathists" at roadblocks and in raids on private homes - this may not be legal under international law, since these people are not proven combatants.

I observed before how two BBC World MI6 stooges/"journalists" had an on-air disagreement about who killed the journalists in the Baghdad Palestine Hotel - shortly after the event. It seems that there is now an effort by the "BBC defense correspondent" to push a rather bizarre argument - that the US tank did fire at the hotel, but so did some Iraqi - and it was the Iraqi that actually killed the journalists.
Obviously, some people in the UK political/defense establishment are worried about the ramifications of this incident - what do they know that the US cowboys don't?
I'll attempt a guess - one of the people killed was a Spaniard, and the son of an important Spanish political leader. Spain has judges who are very active in prosecuting war criminals, and the British remember the Pinochet case, involving Baltasar Garzon, very well. The UK has signed for the International Criminal Court - ICC (the US reversed Clinton policy, so that its soldiers, even if they commit war crimes, can't be tried by the court). Given the fact that UK military staff are responsible for command and control for all operations in Iraq, some of them may find themselves in a war crimes court - and perhaps political leaders may also be charged.
The United States of America was one of only 7 nations (joining China, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Qatar and Israel) to vote against the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998

Jolly British Dept: British army says looting schools and hospitals in Basra is OK, "so that people let off some steam". I guess they have to honor their own military traditions, which include "Sir" Henry Morgan and other colorful pillaging buccaneers - and they hardly have to worry about being prosecuted in any kangaroo "war crimes" courts for Geneva convention breaches, since they'll be running them. They also plan to install some tribal sheik as leader - apparently that's the form of goverment they think wogs should have, since Gulf area emirs have served them well over the years.
It's amusing to see various CNN/BBC/ITV "journalists" mocking the "credibility" of the Iraqi info minister - as if they are not security agency stooges themselves. They never seem to be able to "independently verify" anything that refects negatively on their handlers, and never question any of the dozens of crap reports that Psych Ops military units generate (here is Murdoch's Australian media contribution)
It was also fun to watch two "respected" BBC hacks quarelling on live TV about what actually happened in Palestine Hotel - the MI6 stooge in Qatar towed the official line, that a US tank fired on the journalists on purpose, while the MI6 agent in the hotel who thought that was outrageous and a PR disaster tried to blame the Iraqis - unfortunately for him, the Pentagon proudly took full responsibility. It did take BBC/CNN three hours to report on what happened, when every other TV station had live reports - they obviously waited for orders on what to say. US media (even the NYT treats it as a minor story) tried to bury the episode with the four dead journalists - as if their own public cared. LA Times says "...60% say they believe Saddam bears at least some responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- a charge even the administration hasn't levied against him." Washington Post/ABC poll finds that 69% of respondents said that going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do even if the U.S. fails to turn up biological or chemical weapons I bet 80% will say the tank should have fired more rounds.

Iraq is hardly the most dangerous place to be right now - pic of a protester in Oakland, California, after the police fired various "crowd control devices" from their shotguns - reportedly because the protesters "tried to block two gates" and "were being aggressive to the police". Imagine what would happen if anyone actually threw something at the police or behaved violently.

The sight of A-10 planes on Tuesday moring firing thousands of 30mm depleted uranium rounds into central Baghdad buildings, and the resulting uranium dioxide dust clouds blowing across the city isn't going to make people inhaling the toxic stuff any healthier - perhaps putting on gas masks isn't a bad idea, even if chemicals aren't used. The debate about the effects goes on, UK studies on the matter point to problems, and there have certainly been warnings by specialists.

DoD chief Rumsfeld says "Stuff happens" in response to news of chaos in Baghdad and elsewhere - CNN news person from Baghdad agrees that the situation is somewhat more serious than simply "untidy", but goes on to say that foreign journalists who tend to be anti-American over-report unpleasant incidents. Another CNN hack shows up later, says US facilitated more looting by opening bridges across the river, devotes his whole report to the general mayhem - probably an undercover anti-Amercican foreigner, infiltrating CNN ranks. Prez Bush reminds people what it's all about - "...war in Iraq is really about peace...this victory in Iraq, when it happens, will make the world more peaceful..."
Elsewhere, a US tank crew decided to blow up hundrends of artillery rounds found in a square in the Atayfiyya area, despite residents pleading that they should be carried away instead - detonation destroys every home around the square, one shell hits and burns firing tank, fate of crew unknown. TV report shows water cut by blast, remaining residents loading up cars to escape "liberation".
The ineptness displayed by those responsible for Iraq's defense is mind boggling - the military casualties were not as high as the first Gulf war, but the collapse of organised defense was so fast and complete that it made the whole affair look like a joke. I won't mention too many boring details - but when you have tons of radioactive waste from your nuclear reactor, you use some of it to make a "dirty bomb" - to use it as a deterrent -not leave it for some Marine to find and break the UN inspection seal (!!) risking radiation exposure - unless that was the plan. Eventually, some forgotten poison chemicals and a few Scuds (Saddam kept less than 15 units hidden) will be found - probably near the Syrian border - would that satisfy WMD hunters? Many in Washington would be a lot happier is Saddam used them in battle - now they'll have to prove they weren't planted. The troops leaving Mosul said they weren't fed for months, and their officers abandoned them soon after the bombing started. Their TV, instead of political/patriotic indoctrination, or instructing people on how to set up a proper ambush, kept showing singing and dancing acts All they had to do to slow down the huge fast-moving armored columns was to blow up big holes across the 3-lane highways - when they eventually blew up one bridge in Eastern Baghdad, it slowed the Marines for two days. They held high ground near Baghdad airport, but they couldn't shoot down C-130 aircraft coming in. The concept of camouflage seemed to be as foreign to them as green salad is to the Brits. Being in war for over 10 years, under economic sanctions since 1991, and the most advanced nation in the Middle East was reduced to this. How come the Americans always find poor bastards in a total mess to invade? (The Serbs were an exception, they used oudated Soviet h/w to shoot down stealth planes - the Iraqis parked their more modern missiles under bridges, where they were blown up by tanks). Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq - can it get any worse?

In the news today - the Brits, while engaging in their usual PR "we are not as savage as the Yanks" campaign and pretending to be fighting somebody, they claim to have discovered lots of "skulls and bones" in some warehouse in the middle of nowhere - this should be of particular interest to Prez Bush (note that the Washington Post article on the subject has disappeared)
Apparently, Prescott Bush, the grandfather of the prez, back in 1918, dug up the grave of Geronimo and stole his skull !!! And you thought tomb-raiding was just a movie fantasy.
Of course, devout Christians are not usually associated with weird Masonic societies, but America was always ahead of everyone else in such things...

FT.com -- US-backed militia terrorises town -By Charles Clover in Najaf :
The Iraqi Coalition of National Unity (ICNU), which appeared in the city last week riding on US special forces vehicles, has taken to looting and terrorising their neighbourhood with impunity, according to most residents...click on link for more.

War almost over - at least the conventional phase...