May 28, 2004

Things fall apart: the military, loyal and lumbering, betrayed and embittered; the general in the field, General Sanchez, disgraced and cashiered; the intelligence agencies abused and angry, their retired operatives plying their craft with the press corps

At least four more US soldiers have died in Iraq over
the last 48 hours. For what? The Emperor has no
uniform. The woods have come to the castle walls...

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian: Washington, just weeks
ago in the grip of neoconservative orthodoxy, absolute
belief in Bush's inevitability and righteousness, is
in the throes of being ripped apart by investigations.
Things fall apart: the military, loyal and lumbering, betrayed and embittered; the general in the field, General Sanchez, disgraced and cashiered; the intelligence agencies abused and angry, their retired operatives plying their craft with the press corps, seeping dangerous truths; the press, hesitating and wobbly, investigating its own falsehoods; the neocons,
publicly redoubling defence of their hero and deceiver
Chalabi, privately squabbling, anxiously awaiting the
footsteps of FBI agents; Colin Powell, once the most
acclaimed man in America, embarked on an endless quest
to restore his reputation, damaged above all by his
failure of nerve; everyone in the line of fire
motioning toward the chain of command, spiralling
upwards and sideways, until the finger pointing in a
phalanx is directed at the hollow crown.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1225688,00.html

The Bush orthodoxy is in shreds

A series of investigations has shattered neocon
self-belief

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday May 27, 2004
The Guardian

At a conservative thinktank in downtown Washington,
and across the Potomac at the Pentagon, FBI agents
have begun paying quiet calls on prominent
neoconservatives, who are being interviewed in an
investigation of potential espionage, according to
intelligence sources. Who gave Ahmed Chalabi
classified information about the plans of the US
government and military?
The Iraqi neocon favourite, tipped to lead his
liberated country post-invasion, has been identified
by the CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency as an
Iranian double-agent, passing secrets to that citadel
of the "axis of evil" for decades. All the while the
neocons cosseted, promoted and arranged for more than
$30m in Pentagon payments to the George Washington
manque of Iraq. In return, he fed them a steady diet
of disinformation and in the run-up to the war sent
various exiles to nine nations' intelligence agencies
to spread falsehoods about weapons of mass
destruction. If the administration had wanted other
material to provide a rationale for invasion, no doubt
that would have been fabricated. Either Chalabi
perpetrated the greatest con since the Trojan horse,
or he was the agent of influence for the most
successful intelligence operation conducted by Iran,
or both.

The CIA and other US agencies had long ago decided
that Chalabi was a charlatan, so their dismissive and
correct analysis of his lies prompted their
suppression by the Bush White House.

In place of the normal channels of intelligence
vetting, a jerry-rigged system was hastily
constructed, running from the office of the vice
president to the newly created Office of Special Plans
inside the Pentagon, staffed by fervent neocons. CIA
director George Tenet, possessed with the survival
instinct of the inveterate staffer, ceased protecting
the sanctity of his agency and cast in his lot.
Secretary of state Colin Powell, resistant internally
but overcome, decided to become the most ardent
champion, unveiling a series of neatly manufactured
lies before the UN.

Last week, Powell declared "it turned out that the
sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases,
deliberately misleading. And for that I'm
disappointed, and I regret it". But who had
"deliberately" misled him? He did not say. Now the FBI
is investigating espionage, fraud and, by implication,
treason.

A former staff member of the Office of Special Plans
and a currently serving defence official, two of those
said to be questioned by the FBI, are considered
witnesses, at least for now. Higher figures are under
suspicion. Were they witting or unwitting? If those
who are being questioned turn out to be misleading,
they can be charged ultimately with perjury and
obstruction of justice. For them, the Watergate
principle applies: it's not the crime, it's the
cover-up.

The espionage investigation into the neocons'
relationship with Chalabi is only one of the
proliferating inquiries engulfing the Bush
administration. In his speech to the Army War College
on May 24, Bush blamed the Abu Ghraib torture scandal
on "a few American troops". In other words, there was
no chain of command. But the orders to use the abusive
techniques came from the secretary of defence, Donald
Rumsfeld.

The trials and investigations surrounding Abu Ghraib
beg the question of whether it was an extension of the
far-flung gulag operating outside the Geneva
conventions that has been built after September 11.
The fallout from the Chalabi affair has also
implicated the nation's newspaper of record, the New
York Times, which published yesterday an apology for
running numerous stories containing disinformation
that emanated from Chalabi and those in the Bush
administration funnelling his fabrications. The
Washington Post, which published editorials and
several columnists trumpeting Chalabi's talking
points, has yet to acknowledge the extent to which it
was deceived.

Washington, just weeks ago in the grip of
neoconservative orthodoxy, absolute belief in Bush's
inevitability and righteousness, is in the throes of
being ripped apart by investigations. Things fall
apart: the military, loyal and lumbering, betrayed and
embittered; the general in the field, General Sanchez,
disgraced and cashiered; the intelligence agencies
abused and angry, their retired operatives plying
their craft with the press corps, seeping dangerous
truths; the press, hesitating and wobbly,
investigating its own falsehoods; the neocons,
publicly redoubling defence of their hero and deceiver
Chalabi, privately squabbling, anxiously awaiting the
footsteps of FBI agents; Colin Powell, once the most
acclaimed man in America, embarked on an endless quest
to restore his reputation, damaged above all by his
failure of nerve; everyone in the line of fire
motioning toward the chain of command, spiralling
upwards and sideways, until the finger pointing in a
phalanx is directed at the hollow crown.

Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to
President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of
Salon.com

Sidney_Blumenthal@yahoo.com

Posted by richard at May 28, 2004 10:22 AM