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.
[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,
[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]
[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
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
"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?," Antiwar.com, February 16, 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
[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
for the Truth: Exposing Bush's talking-points war," L.A. Weekly,
February 20 - 26, 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]
[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
Bush began to plan war three months after 9/11," Washington Post, April
[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]
[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,
[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
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,
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," Wanniski.com, 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,"
Antiwar.com, 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]
[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,"
counterpunch.org, November 16, 2005]
[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 Ð in this case, Israel Ð 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,"
democracynow.org, 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," democracynow.org,
March 7, 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," antiwar.com, April 23, 2008]
[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," counterpunch.org, February 24, 2011]