July 17, 2003
The Guardian (UK)

The Spies Who Pushed for War

Shadow rightwing intelligence network set up in Washington to second-guess the CIA and deliver a justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force

by Julian Borger

The agency, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), was set up by the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to second-guess CIA information and operated under the patronage of hardline conservatives in the top rungs of the administration, the Pentagon and at the White House, including Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The ideologically driven network functioned like a shadow government, much of it off the official payroll and beyond congressional oversight. But it proved powerful enough to prevail in a struggle with the State Department and the CIA by establishing a justification for war. . . .

The OSP was an open and largely unfiltered conduit to the White House not only for the Iraqi opposition. It also forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon's office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam's Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorise.


Michael Lind, "Israel Lobby Distorts U.S. Foreign Policy," Prospect Magazine, April 2002

"Whose War? Israel's Say Jewish Writers," The Wisdom Fund, March 12, 2003

[But the argument [installing a new regime in Iraq will foster the spread of democracy] has been pushed hardest by a group of officials and advisors who have been the leading proponents of going to war with Iraq. Prominent among them are Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, and Richard Perle, --Greg Miller, "Democracy Domino Theory 'Not Credible'," Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2003]

[Woolsey, one of the most high-profile hawks in the war against Iraq and a key member of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board, is a director of the Washington-based private equity firm Paladin Capital. . . .

An influential member of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board, Perle is managing partner of venture capital company Trireme, which invests in companies dealing in products of value to homeland security.--Antony Barnett and Solomon Hughes, "Bush ally set to profit from the war on terror," Guardian, May 11, 2003

Bernard Weiner, "How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle: A PNAC Primer," Information Clearing House, May 28, 2003

Simon English, "Cheney had Iraq in sights two years ago," Telegraph (UK), July 22, 2003

Jack Shafer, "The Times Scoops That Melted: Cataloging the wretched reporting of Judith Miller," Slate, July 25, 2003

Jerry Kroth, "Who Forged the Letters that Sucked Us into War? Israel, Yellowcake and the Media," CounterPunch, August 2, 2003

William Pierce, "Mossad and the Jewish Problem," National Alliance, August 2003

[The Office of Special Plans (OSP), which worked alongside the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau in Feith's domain, was originally created by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to review raw information collected by the official U.S. intelligence agencies for connections between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Retired intelligence officials from the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have long charged that the two offices exaggerated and manipulated intelligence about Iraq before passing it along to the White House.

But key personnel who worked in both NESA and OSP were part of a broader network of neo-conservative ideologues and activists who worked with other Bush political appointees scattered around the national-security bureaucracy to move the country to war, according to retired Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski, who was assigned to NESA from May 2002 through February 2003.--Jim Lobe, "Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network," Inter Press Service, August 7, 2003]

[Most neocons share unwavering support for Israel, . . . The original neocons were a small group of mostly Jewish liberal intellectuals . . .--"Neocon 101," Christian Science Monitor, August 27, 2003]

[IILG appears to be part of a carefully-constructed network aimed at channelling business into Iraq.

Interestingly, the firm's website is not registered in Salem Chalabi's (nephew of Ahmed Chalabi) name but in the name of Marc Zell, whose address is given as Suite 716, 1800 K Street, Washington. That is the address of the Washington office of Zell, Goldberg &Co, which claims to be "one of Israel's fastest-growing business-oriented law firms", and the related FANDZ International Law Group.

The unusual name "FANDZ" was concocted from "F and Z", the Z being Marc Zell and the F being Douglas Feith. The two men were law partners until 2001, when Feith took up his Pentagon post as undersecretary of defence for policy.--Brian Whitaker, "Friends of the family," Guardian, September 24, 2003]

Sidney Blumenthal, "Bush and Blair - the betrayal," Guardian, November 14, 2003

"General: Israelis exaggerated Iraq threat," AP, December 4, 2003

Julian Borger, "Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq," Guardian (UK), December 9, 2003

VIDEO: "The Lie Factory - How the Neocons & the Office of Special Plans Pushed Disinformation and Bogus Intelligence on Iraq," Democracy Now, December 18, 2003

Mark Thompson, "Paul Wolfowitz: The godfather of the Iraq war," Time, December 21, 2003

[The liberation of Iraq, in the neocon scenario, would be followed by a democratic Iraq that would quickly recognize Israel. This, in turn, would "snowball" - the analogy only works in the Cedar Mountains of Lebanon - through the region, bringing democracy from Syria to Egypt and to the sheikhdoms, emirates and monarchies of the Gulf.

All these new democracies would then embrace Israel and hitch their backward economies to the Jewish state's advanced technology.--Arnaud de Borchgrave, "Iraq and the Gulf of Tonkin," Washington Times, February 12, 2004]

[In 1996, in a strategy paper crafted for Israel's Bibi Netanyahu, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser urged him to "focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power" as an "Israeli strategic objective." Perle, Feith, Wurmser were all on Bush's foreign policy team on 9-11.

- In 1998, eight members of Bush's future team, including Perle, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, wrote Clinton urging upon him a strategy that "should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein."

- On Jan. 1, 2001, nine months before 9-11, Wurmser called for U.S.-Israeli attacks "to broaden the (Middle East) conflict to strike fatally ... the regimes of Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, Teheran and Gaza ... to establish the recognition that fighting with either the United States or Israel is suicidal."

"Crises can be opportunities," added Wurmser.

On Sept. 11, opportunity struck.

On Sept. 15, according to author Bob Woodward, Paul Wolfowitz spoke up in the War Cabinet to urge that Afghanistan be put on a back burner and an attack be mounted at once on Iraq, though Iraq had had nothing to do with 9-11. Why Iraq? Said Wolfowitz, because it is "doable."

On Sept. 20, 40 neoconservatives in an open letter demanded that Bush remove Saddam from power, "even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the (9-11) attack." Failure to do so, they warned the president, "would constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism."--Patrick J. Buchanan, "Have the Neocons Killed a Presidency?,", February 16, 2004]

"Pentagon offices face probe on Iraq claims," Reuters, February 19, 2004

[The fact that so many of the authors of this war are Jewish is not important. That they uncritically fit the alien shroud of Israeli far-right expansionist policy over American security policy is. They supported Chalabi so recklessly because he promised to immediately open relations between Iraq and Israel and begin piping oil to Israel.--Georgie Anne Geyer, "THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT IN THE WASH," Universal Press Syndicate, February 20, 2004]

[They wanted to put in a government friendly to the U.S., and they wanted permanent basing in Iraq. . . .

Almost a billion dollars has been spent - a billion dollars! - by David Kay's group to search for these WMD, a total whitewash effort. They didn't find anything, they didn't expect to find anything. . . .

The last reason is the conversion, the switch Saddam Hussein made in the Food for Oil program, from the dollar to the euro. He did this, by the way, long before 9/11, in November 2000 - selling his oil for euros.--Marc Cooper, "Soldier for the Truth: Exposing Bush's talking-points war," L.A. Weekly, February 20 - 26, 2004]

Stephen Green, "Serving Two Flags : Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush Administration," CounterPunch, February 28, 2004

[It has been important ever since Bush took office in January 2001 for the administration to downplay any connection between Israel and the war against Iraq. Obfuscating the "Israeli motive" of the war was almost certainly one of the reasons the administration so transparently exaggerated first Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and, more recently, Washington's desire for democracy in Iraq.--Bill Christison, "Faltering Neo-Cons Still Dangerous," CounterPunch, March 5, 2004]

Ed Blanche, "Neocons at work: Israel gets its 1st slice of Iraqi pie," The Daily Star, March 17, 2004

Emad Mekay, "9/11 Commission Director: Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel,", March 30, 2004

[Powell felt Cheney and his allies - his chief aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and what Powell called Feith's "Gestapo" office - had established what amounted to a separate government -- William Hamilton, " Bush began to plan war three months after 9/11," Washington Post, April 17, 2004]

[A U.S. senator's charge that Israel is behind the Bush administrations's decision to invade Iraq has rattled American Jewish leaders.--"Senator spoke for many on Hill when he blamed Israel for war,", May 20, 2004]

Justin Raimondo, "Senator Hollings Is Right: It's all about Israel," CounterPunch, May 21, 2004

[Zinni is talking about a group of policymakers within the administration known as "the neo-conservatives" who saw the invasion of Iraq as a way to stabilize American interests in the region and strengthen the position of Israel. They include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Former Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle; National Security Council member Eliot Abrams; and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. --"Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'," CBS News May 21, 2004]

[Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel's view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly threatened by Iran, whose position in the region has been strengthened by the war. The Israeli operatives include members of the Mossad, Israel's clandestine foreign-intelligence service, who work undercover in Kurdistan as businessmen and, in some cases, do not carry Israeli passports.--Seymour M. Hersh, "As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds," The New Yorker, June 21, 2004]

Peter Bergen, "Did one woman's obsession take America to war?," Guardian, July 5, 2004

[Mr Feith's cell undermined the credibility of CIA judgments on Iraq's alleged al-Qa'eda links within the highest levels of the Bush administration.

The cell appears to have been set up by Mr Feith as an adjunct to the Office of Special Plans, a Pentagon intelligence-gathering operation established in the wake of 9/11 with the authority of Paul Wolfowitz.--Julian Coman, "Fury over Pentagon cell that briefed White House on Iraq's 'imaginary' al-Qaeda links," Telegraph (UK), July 11, 2004]

[Cooperation between Israel and the United States helped produce a series of intelligence failures in the lead up to the Iraq war, according to separate reports issued by members of the Senate and the Knesset.--Ori Nir, "Senate Report on Iraq Intel Points to Role of Jerusalem," The Forward, July 14, 2004]

Ray McGovern, "The Iraq War and Israel: How 9/11 Report Soft-Pedaled Root Causes," CounterPunch, July 28, 2004

Patrick J. Buchanan, "Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency," Thomas Dunne Books (September 1, 2004)

Bob Drogin and Greg Miller, "Israel Has Long Spied on U.S., Say Officials," Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2004

Eric Margolis, "FBI painting ugly picture," Toronto Sun, September 5, 2004

[Retired general Anthony Zinni, a former chief of the U.S. Central Command and presidential Middle East envoy, told CBS in May that "the worst-kept secret in Washington" was that the neoconservatives pushed the war in Iraq for Israel's benefit.--Marc Perelman, "Neocons Blast Bush's Inaction On 'Spy' Affair," The Forward, September 10, 2004]

[The weapons of mass destruction disinformation that was fed to the president and to the American public came directly from Shulsky's shop. . . .

Wurmser, Perle and Feith were the principal authors of the 1996 100-day policy plan for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. None ever registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act for this work.

That plan, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," published by Israel's Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, has served as the guiding road map for the neocons both in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office and in the Bush administration.--Anonymous, "The State Department's extreme makeover," Salon, October 4, 2004]

[It was nice to see the White House finally pull the plug on the transparent scheme of the neo-cons to smear U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan over the alleged "oil-for-food scandal."--Jude Wanniski, "Another Neo-Con Imperial Plot,", December 8, 2004]

[The neocons would have you believe that having a nuclear power plant - even one whose operation is subject to IAEA Safeguards, like Iran's - is tantamount to having a plutonium-239 implosion nuke.--Gordon Prather, "Virtual Nukes,", December 11, 2004]

[In 1996, some of the people in Perl's circle had begun to think about what it would mean for Saddam Hussein to be removed from the Middle East scene. They concluded that it would be very good for Israel. . . . the group was pleased enough with its work to send the paper to the newly elected Israeli primime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. "A Clean Break: A new Strategy for Securing the Realm" called for Israel to free itself both from socialist economic policies and the burdens of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Instead of retreating from occupied lands in exchange for dubious promises of peace, Wurmser wrote, Israel should take the fight to the Palestinians and their Arab backers--George Paker, "The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq," Farrar, Straus and Giroux (October 15, 2005) p. 30]

[Libby was among those associated with the Project for a New American Century, a think tank that publicly urged President Clinton to use military force to remove Hussein from power.--Bryan Bender, "Indictments put focus on neoconservatives," Boston Globe, October 29, 2005]

[Republican elder statesman, Gen Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to Bush's father, accused Bush Jr of being 'wrapped around the little finger' of Israel's PM Ariel Sharon.--Eric Margolis, "AMERICANS ARE RUNNING OUT OF PATIENCE WITH THEIR 'WAR PRESIDENT',", November 14, 2005]

[Mylroie had been pushing for an all-out war against Iraq for a decade. In the run-up to the first Gulf war, Mylroie, along with the recently fired New York Times reporter Judith Miller, wrote a book titled, "Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf."--Evelyn J. Pringle, "Laurie Mylroie's War: Bush Gang Swore Saddam was Behind 9/11 in Lawsuit,", November 16, 2005]

Gary Leupp, "A Neocon Plan to Plant WMDs?,", January 14, 2006

[Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country in this case, Israel are essentially identical.--John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," London Review of Books, March 23, 2006]

[Khaled Salih, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government, says: "These are not new allegations for us. Back in the sixties and seventies we were called 'the second Israel' in the region and we were supposed to be eliminated by Islamist nationalist and now Islamist groups.--Mark Urban, "Kurdish soldiers trained by Israelis," BBC Newsnight, September 19, 2006]

VIDEO: "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran."--"Gen Wesley Clark,", March 2, 2007

[ . . . they were out at Kennebunkport, and Bush Jr. says, "Can I ask you a question? What's a neocon?" And the father says, "Do you want names or a description?" The President says, "I'll take a description." He says, "I'll give it to you in one word: Israel,"--Andrew Cockburn, "Donald Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy,", March 7, 2007]

[I discovered that Michaels and his associates were part of an effort by the Kurds and their allies to lobby the West for greater power in Iraq, and greater clout in Washington, and at the same time, by a group of Israeli ex security officials to rekindle good relations with their historical allies the Kurds through joint infrastructure, economic development, and security projects.--Laura Rozen, "Kurdistan's Covert Back-Channels: How an ex-Mossad chief, a German uberspy, and a gaggle of top-dollar GOP lobbyists helped Kurdistan snag 15 tons of $100 bills," Mother Jones, April 12, 2007]

[Bush's "war on terror" is a hoax that serves to cover U.S. intervention in the Middle East on behalf of "greater Israel."--Paul Craig Roberts, "What the Iraq War Is About,", April 23, 2008]

Stephen M. Walt, "The price of folly,", July 5, 2010

[Sen. Hillary Clinton would not let Ritter in her door. Despite his unique insights as a U.N. inspector and his status as a constituent, . . .

Any lingering doubt that Israel played a major role in the U.S.-U.K. decision to attack Iraq was dispelled a year ago when former Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke publicly about the Israeli input into the all-important Bush-Blair deliberations on Iraq in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002. . . .

Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002, the "unstated threat" from Iraq was the "threat against Israel."--Ray McGovern, "The Push of Conscience and Secretary Clinton,", February 24, 2011]

Jon Basil Utley, "The Untold Story of Antiwar Conservatives," theamericanconservative, April 18, 2013]


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