Tuesday, July 26, 2005


DICK LOGIC: Bush, Cheney and Fox News all support Terrorism!

Remember how Dick Cheney justified the attack on Iraq? Mohammad Atta met with senior Iraqi intelligence officers prior to 9/11, one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers received medical treatment in Bagdad, "we know Saddam had a relationship with al-qaeda going back to the 90's" and all the other dubious links he's used to justify war? Well it turns out that the six degrees of Kevin Bacon logic preferred by Cheney can be used to find all sorts of insidious links to terrorism.

In July 1985 the Israel government approached the Reagan administration with a proposal to get hostages held by Iranian-backed terrorists released. For those of you who are Historically challenged remember that this was just 4 years after the ending of the Iran Hostage Crisis.

The Iran hostage crisis was a 444-day period during which the new government of Iran after the Iranian Revolution held hostage 66 diplomats and citizens of the United States. It began on November 4, 1979 and lasted until January 20, 1981 the day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. (things that make you go hmmmm.)

The Israelis wanted the United States to act as an intermediary by shipping 508 American-made TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran in exchange for the release of the Rev. Benjamin Weir, an American hostage being held in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a terrorist organization loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini. This was done with the understanding that the United States would then ship replacement missiles to Israel. Robert McFarlane, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, approached Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and arranged the details. The transfer took place over the next two months. The first American hostage was released in mid-September and into October.

In November 1985, there was another round of negotiations, where the Israelis proposed to ship Iran 500 HAWK surface-to-air missiles in exchange for the release of all remaining American hostages being held in Lebanon. Major General Colin Powell, senior military assistant to Weinberger, attempted to procure the missiles, but realized that the deal would require Congressional notification as its overall value exceeded $14 million. McFarlane responded to Powell that the President had decided to conduct the sale anyway. Israel sent an initial shipment of 18 missiles to Iran in late November, 1985, but the Iranians didn't approve of the missiles, and further shipments were halted. Negotiations continued with the Israelis and Iranians over the next few months.

In December 1985, President Reagan signed a secret presidential "finding" describing the deal as "arms-for-hostages."

In January of 1986, the administration approved a plan proposed by McFarlane employee Michael Ledeen, whereby an intermediary, rather than Israel, would sell arms to Iran in exchange for the release of the hostages, with proceeds made available to the Contras. (All in violation of U.S. Law) At first, the Iranians had refused the weapons from Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian intermediary, when both Oliver North and Ghorbanifar created a 370% markup (WALSH, Lawrence E. "Firewall"). The arms were sold, but Hezbollah proceeded to take more hostages after they had released old ones. Failing to produce any meaningful results, the arms-for-hostages program was cancelled. In February, 1000 TOW missiles were shipped to Iran. From May to November, there were additional shipments of miscellaneous weapons and parts. Oliver North was subsequently indicted and convicted but had his conviction overturned by a Reagan appointed appellate court panel. Oliver North currently works for Fox News as an “analyst” for their fair and balanced news coverage (Fox News: We Report, You Decide.)

Halliburton, the Company run during the 90’s by current Vice President Dick Cheney helped the company set up offshore and United Kingdom subsidiaries to sidestep U.S. laws against doing business with Iran and Syria, countries that Washington says sponsor “terrorism.”

Wendy Hall, a spokeswoman for Halliburton, said that Halliburton set up an in-house committee to study whether the company’s business dealings in Iran has helped fund terrorist activities. Hall said Halliburton finalized a report and sent it to its board of directors and to the Comptroller’s office.

“The report details the company’s limited work in Iran,” Hall said. “We believe that decisions as to the nature of such governments and their actions are better made by governmental authorities and international entities such as the United Nations as opposed to individual persons or companies. Putting politics aside, we and our affiliates operate in countries, to the extent it is legally permissible, where our customers are active as they expect us to provide oilfield services support to their international operations.” (In case you missed that she said who cares about U.S. law even though we are primarily funded by the U.S. government, we’re using our greedy little hands to suck up every nickel that isn’t tied down, even if it means terrorist governments supply those nickels. Of course I’m paraphrasing)

“We do not always agree with policies or actions of governments in every place that we do business and make no excuses for their behaviors. Due to the long-term nature of our business and the inevitability of political and social change, it is neither prudent nor appropriate for our company to establish our own country-by-country foreign policy.”

Iran, supported by all those Tow Missles sold to them by Ronald Reagan and Oliver North and all those oil fields run by Dick Cheney's Halliburton, set up a massive intelligence network in Iraq, flooding the country with agents in the months after the U.S.-led coalition toppled Saddam Hussein's regime. Sources told American intelligence analysts that Iranian agents were tasked with finding information on U.S. military plans and identifying Iraqis who would be willing to conduct attacks on U.S. forces that would not be linked to Iran.

Iranian intelligence agents were said to have planned attacks against the U.S.-led forces and supported terrorist groups with weapons. Iranian agents smuggled weapons and ammunition across the border into Iraq and distributed them "to individuals who wanted to attack coalition forces," according to one report, citing "a source with good access." Separately, an Iraq Survey Group report said that Iranian agents "placed a bounty" of $500 for each American soldier killed by insurgents and more for destruction of tanks and heavy weaponry.

Iran trained terrorists and provided them with safe havens and passage across the border into Iraq, several of the reports say. The Iranian-supported Ansar al-Islam began carrying out bombings and other attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi citizens in the summer of 2003. One report, describing an interview with a source, said: "There were approximately 320 Ansar al-Islam terrorists being trained in Iran . . . for various attack scenarios including suicide bombings, assassinations, and general subversion against U.S. forces in Iraq." The reports linked Ansar al-Islam to al Qaeda and to Abu Musab Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq. "Among the more capable terrorist groups operating in Iraq," an analyst wrote in another report, "are al Qaeda, the al Zarqawi network, as well as Ansar al-Islam."

Iran has been a principal supporter of Moqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shiite cleric whose black-clad Mahdi Army fighters have clashed often with U.S.-led forces. Months before the worst of the insurgency in southern Iraq began last April, U.S. intelligence officials tracked reported movements of Iranian money and arms to forces loyal to Sadr. According to a V Corps report written in September 2003, "There has been an increase of Iranian intelligence officers entering" Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Basra, and Amarah. Sadr's fighters later engaged in fierce battles with coalition forces in each of those cities.

"Double game." Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations in New York did not respond to repeated requests for comment from U.S. News . In a sermon given last April, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a leading political figure in Iran, said that Americans were "a very effective target" but that Iran "does not wish to get involved in acts of adventurism." Separately, in New York last September, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi denied that his country had funded or armed Sadr's Mahdi Army.

U.S. government officials, questioned about the intelligence reports reviewed by U.S. News , say the evidence of Iran's destabilization efforts in Iraq is persuasive. "We certainly do have a lot of evidence of Iranian mischief making," a senior Pentagon official said in an interview, "and attempts [at] building subversive influence. I would never underestimate the Iranian problem. . . . Iran is a menace in a basic sense."

Whatever its objectives in Iraq, Iran has a well-documented history of supporting terrorist groups. For years, the State Department has identified Iran as the world's pre-eminent state sponsor of terrorism. American officials say the regime has provided funding, safe havens, training, and weapons to several terrorist groups, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah. The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks said in its final report that al Qaeda has long-standing ties to Iran and Hezbollah. Iran favors spectacular attacks, officials say, citing its alleged role in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that claimed the lives of 19 U.S. servicemen. Six of the Hezbollah terrorists indicted in the attack "directly implicated" senior Iranian government officials "in the planning and execution of this attack," former FBI Director Louis Freeh wrote last year.

A wolf's claws.

Freeh named two Iranian government agencies, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, or MOIS, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite fighting unit and enforcer for the clerical regime. As the insurgency developed in Iraq, both played central roles in planning and funding some of the attacks on coalition forces, according to the intelligence reports reviewed by U.S. News. Early on, MOIS and the revolutionary guard corps were tasked with the job of creating instability in Iraq, the reports say. In some cases, Iran's agents allegedly worked with former Saddam loyalists, an odd marriage but one that shared a common goal: to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq. The reports detail how Iranian agents sought to recruit former regime loyalists and how one former Iraqi Intelligence Service officer, who had close ties to Saddam's late son, Uday, reportedly set up a front company for Iranian intelligence operations in Baghdad.

Only weeks after Saddam was ousted, in April 2003, Iran publicly signaled support for violence against the coalition. In a sermon on May 2, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary general of Iran's powerful Council of Guardians, called on Iraqis to stage suicide attacks to drive U.S.-led forces from Iran. The Iraqi people, he said, "have no other choice but to rise up and stage martyrdom operations. . . . The Iraqi people were released from the claws of one wolf and have been caught by another wolf." Two months later, U.S. News has learned, coalition forces uncovered a document describing a fatwa , or religious edict, that had reportedly been issued in Iran for its Shiite supporters in Iraq. The fatwa urged "holy fighters" in Iraq to get close to the enemy--the U.S.-led troops. These fighters, the fatwa said, should "maintain good relations with the coalition forces" but at the same time create "a secret group that would conduct attacks against American troops." U.S. analysts could not confirm that the ruling was issued by Iranian clerics, but they believe it was credible. Wrote one analyst: "It seems that they [the Iranians] want them [Iraqi Shiite supporters] to be close to the coalition forces and outwardly respect them so that they can gather intelligence that will assist them in their mission."

Before long, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security stepped up its intelligence operations in Iraq, many of the intelligence reports suggest. Agents set up "significant" intelligence cells in key Iraqi cities, several reports said, including Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Kut, Basra, and Kirkuk. MOIS agents also set up a "listening post" in a city in southeastern Iraq to monitor the activities of U.S. forces. In southern Iraq, 10 Iranian agents reportedly began operating out of two rooms at a Shiite mosque. Iran, according to the reports, also sought to place spies within Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority, then running Iraq's affairs, and they followed and photographed coalition forces. Four Iranians, believed to be MOIS agents, were detained in late July 2003 for photographing a hydropower plant near the central city of Samarra. Power plants became a frequent target of insurgents. In one case, U.S. intelligence officials learned that a MOIS agent, a man named Muhammad Farhaadi, videotaped coalition operations in Karbala, a city south of Baghdad, then took the tape back to Iran.

During the summer and fall of 2003, U.S. analysts' reports describe how MOIS and its operatives sought to develop information from Shiites in the south and from Sunnis in the north on the activities of U.S.-led forces. In the fall of 2003, an analyst for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations wrote: "Iranian intelligence has infiltrated all areas of Iraq, posing both a tactical and strategic threat to U.S. interests."

Bribes and border crossings. MOIS also sought to cultivate former Iraqi intelligence officers who might help develop intelligence on the plans and activities of the Coalition Provisional Authority and U.S.-led forces, several reports said. "Former IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] officers are highly sought-after targets by U.S. intelligence," said an October 2003 report issued by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, "not only for their current and former knowledge of Iraqi activities but also because many IIS officers will likely have a wealth of intelligence information on Iran. Iran knows this and will strive to recruit former IIS officers before the U.S. is able to do so. The environment is ripe for double-agent operations, and loyalties can never be certain."

The intelligence reports detail precisely what Iran was after. Its "collection priorities" included finding out what weapons U.S. troops were carrying and what kind of body armor they were wearing. Iranian agents also sought information on the location of U.S. Army and intelligence bases; on the routes traveled by U.S. convoys; on the operations of the Special Forces' elite Delta Force; and on the plans of the U.S. military and intelligence inside Iraq. A military report said a source had reported that the Iranians were pressing to find out whether the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, was active in Iraq. According to the report, MOIS directed its agents "to collect information on the Israeli intelligence presence in northern Iraq." Iran's "primary objective in Iraq," wrote another analyst, citing a good source, "is to create instability so coalition forces will focus on controlling the unstable situation rather than concentrating on reconstruction efforts."

Perhaps Iran's most significant involvement in Iraq has been its support for Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical, anti-U.S. cleric. His Mahdi Army militia engaged in a series of vicious battles with coalition forces in the holy southern Shiite cities of Najaf and Karbala, and in the teeming Baghdad slum known as Sadr City, between April and October this year. Like most of its operations in Iraq, the intelligence reports indicate that the Iranian regime has tried to mask its support of Sadr. He visited Tehran in June 2003 for a ceremony marking the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of the 1979 revolution, but it is not known whether he received any commitment from Iran at that time. U.S. intelligence reports say that Iran used Hezbollah to train and provide funds to Sadr's Mahdi Army and may also have used front companies to funnel money to him. For a time, the reports suggest, Sadr appeared to be getting funds from a senior Shiite religious leader living in Iran, the Grand Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri, who advocates an Islamic state in Iraq. But by mid-October 2003, according to a special operations task force, Haeri withdrew his "financial support" from Sadr. The ayatollah later publicly cut his ties with Sadr.

There was no such break with Hezbollah. The first sign that the terrorist group planned to support Sadr is reflected in a July 29, 2003, U.S. intelligence report. Citing Israeli military intelligence, the report says Hezbollah "military activists" were attempting to establish contacts with Sadr and his Mahdi Army. The next month they did. By late August, according to a report prepared by a U.S. military analyst, Hezbollah had established "a team of30 to 40 operatives" in Najaf "in support of Moqtada Sadr's Shia paramiltary group." The report, based on a source "with direct access to the reported information," said that Hezbollah was recruiting and training members of Sadr's militia. A later report, citing "multiple sources," said that Hezbollah was "buying rocket-propelled grenades . . . antitank missiles" and other weapons for Sadr's militia.

Intelligence analysts also tied Sadr to Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah. "Reporting also confirms the relationship between . . . Sadr and Hassan Nasrallah," an Army report said. The report cited unconfirmed information indicating that a top adviser to Nasrallah, who is based in Lebanon, had delivered funds to Sadr in Najaf.

There you go, from Ronald Reagan to Oliver North to fighting Terrorists supported by Iran who is propped up by Halliburton money. The question you gotta ask yourself is: Who is making money off all these deals? And.... do they have no soul?

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