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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to email@example.com Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Source for mobile bioweapons charge never interviewed by CIA (k hanly) 2. US hires mercenaries for Iraq (k hanly) 3. Chalabi influence in IRaq ... (k hanly) 4. Early origins of Iraq war (k hanly) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <email@example.com> Subject: Source for mobile bioweapons charge never interviewed by CIA Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2004 09:32:01 -0600 Comment: As I recall other sources have claimed that the labs were used for inflating weather baloons. (K Hanly) http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04065/281366.stm U.S. didn't interview tipster on mobile labs Friday, March 05, 2004 By Walter Pincus, The Washington Post WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's prewar assertion that Saddam Hussein had a fleet of mobile labs that could produce bioweapons rested largely on information from an Iraqi defector working with another government who was never interviewed by U.S. intelligence officers, according to current and former senior intelligence officials and congressional experts who have studied classified documents. In his presentation before the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell said "firsthand descriptions" of the mobile bioweapons fleet had come from an Iraqi chemical engineer who had defected and is "currently hiding in another country with the certain knowledge that Saddam Hussein will kill him if he finds him." The claims about the mobile facilities remain unverified, however, and now U.S. officials are trying to get access to the Iraqi engineer to verify his story, the sources said, particularly because intelligence officials have discovered that he is related to a senior official in Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, a group of Iraqi exiles who actively encouraged the United States to invade Iraq. Powell also cited another defector in his speech, an Iraqi major who was made available to U.S. officials by Chalabi's group, as supporting the engineer's story. The major, however, had already been "red-flagged" by the Defense Intelligence Agency as having provided questionable information about Iraq's mobile biological program. But DIA analysts didn't pass along that cautionary note, and the major was cited in an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq and was mentioned in Powell's speech, officials said. The administration's handling of intelligence alleging the existence of mobile bioweapons facilities has become part of several broad investigations now under way into the intelligence community's faulty prewar conclusions that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. The Senate and House intelligence committees are conducting probes, as are the CIA and a commission appointed by President Bush. The investigation of claims about mobile weapons labs, however, doesn't just cover prewar intelligence, but also includes the performance of the intelligence community well after the invasion. In Iraq, Iraqi police arrested 15 terror suspects in two different locations, and officials of the U.S.-led military occupation announced that the death toll from Tuesday's bombings at Shiite Muslim shrines in the capital and in the holy city of Karbala had climbed to 181. Fourteen Iraqis were taken into custody late Wednesday in an operation near the city of Baqubah, about 30 miles northeast of Baghdad where resistance has been strong and where attackers have blown up the police station. The military said one is suspected of leading a cell of Wahhabi Muslims, followers of a strict form of Islam embraced by Osama bin Laden. In addition, forces south of Baghdad captured a man wearing a police uniform and carrying fake police identification who said he was part of the same terror network that launched the attacks on Tuesday, according to Mohammed Dayekh Albu Sayea, an Iraqi police major. Sayea said the man had been planning to blow up two police stations. He added that the man described the group as being made up of mercenaries who were paid $2,000 to $4,000 per job, depending on the number of deaths. A coalition official said he was aware of the arrest but did not have any details. --__--__-- Message: 2 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: US hires mercenaries for Iraq Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2004 23:46:36 -0600 http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/03/05/1078464637030.html US hires mercenaries for Iraq role By Jonathan Franklin Santiago March 6, 2004 The US is hiring mercenaries in Chile to replace its soldiers on security duty in Iraq. A Pentagon contractor has begun recruiting former commandos, other soldiers and seamen, paying them up to $US4000 ($A5300) a month to guard oil wells against attack by insurgents. Last month Blackwater USA flew a first group of about 60 former commandos, many of whom had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet, from Santiago to a 970-hectare training camp in North Carolina. From there they would be taken to Iraq, where they were expected to stay between six months and a year, the president of Blackwater USA, Gary Jackson, said. "We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals - the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system." Chile was the only Latin American country where Mr Jackson's firm had hired commandos for Iraq. The privatisation of security in Iraq is growing as the US seeks to reduce its commitment of troops. At the end of last year there were 10,000 hired security personnel in Iraq. Recruitment in Chile began six months ago and brought criticism from members of parliament and military officers, who fear that it will encourage serving personnel to leave. Chilean Defence Minister Michelle Bachelet ordered an investigation into whether paramilitary training by Blackwater violated Chilean laws on the use of weapons by private citizens. She asked for its recruiting effort to be investigated after it was alleged that people on active duty were involved. Many soldiers are said to be leaving the army to join the private companies. Mr Jackson said that similar issues were bedevilling the US forces. The private sector paid experienced special forces personnel far more than the armed services. "The US military has the same problems," he said. "If they are going to outsource tasks that were once held by active-duty military and are now using private contractors, those guys (on active duty) are looking and asking, 'Where is the money?"' The number of hired soldiers in Iraq is estimated to be in the thousands. Squads of Bosnians, Filipinos and Americans with special forces experience have been hired for tasks ranging from airport security to protecting Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Their salaries can be as high as $US1000 a day, the news agency AFP recently reported. Erwin, a 28-year-old former US army sergeant working in Iraq, told AFP: "This place is a goldmine. All you need is five years in the military and you come here and make a good bundle." Responding to a fear that any of its recruits who might suffer traumatic battlefield stress might be simply dumped back into Chilean society without mental health schemes, Mr Jackson said Blackwater USA had extensive psychological counselling programs. "I personally come from a special operations background and I feel comfortable that we have the procedures in place that will allow them to handle the stress," he said. "We didn't just come down and say, 'You and you and you, come work for us.' They were all vetted in Chile and all of them have military backgrounds. This is not the Boy Scouts." John Rivas, 27, a former Chilean marine, said the work in Iraq would provide a "very good income" that would allow him to support his family. "I don't feel like a mercenary," he said. - Guardian --__--__-- Message: 3 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <email@example.com> Subject: Chalabi influence in IRaq ... Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2004 11:16:38 -0600 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4409622/ The Master Operator You might think Ahmad Chalabi is discredited and despised. But he's still growing more powerful Ahmed Chalabi embraces U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell after a Washington press conference earlier this year By Christopher Dickey NewsweekMarch 8 issue - Nobody seems to love Ahmad Chalabi anymore. From th= e moment he flew into Iraq last year with a band of U.S.-trained militia at his side, many locals saw him as an interloper, a pretender and, in some eyes, an American lackey. These days, when the U.S.-run administration in Baghdad takes confidential polls to gauge public support for its hand-picke= d Iraqi Governing Council, Chalabi's approval ratings are "the most negative by far" among the 25 members, says an official who's perused the results. "The numbers I've seen run around 60 percent negative to 30 percent positive." Chalabi is equally unpopular in some Washington fiefdoms. State Department officials and CIA agents have loathed him for years, raising questions abou= t subjects ranging from his expense accounts to the intelligence he supplied on Iraq's phantom weapons of mass destruction. Even Chalabi's friends and patrons at the Pentagon may be having doubts. Privately, some of Chalabi's aides complain their old buddies in the office of the secretary of Defense have forgotten them. So you might think Chalabi is discredited and finished. But then you'd be wrong-very wrong. On the contrary, the former exile leader has insinuated himself into several of the most powerful positions inside occupied Iraq. This MIT-trained mathematician, a great judge of political odds, knows just how to play both ends against the middle. A huge stain on Chalabi's reputation, widely known in Iraq, is his conviction in absentia for massive bank fraud in neighboring Jordan during the 1980s. (Chalabi denies the charges and claims Saddam Hussein had a hand in framing him.) Never mind all that. Chalabi is now head of the Governing Council's economic and finance committee. As such he has overseen the appointment of the minister of oil, the minister of finance, the central bank governor, the trade minister, the head of the trade bank and the designated managing director of the largest commercial bank in the country. For the moment, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer writes the big checks and can veto policies. But all that will change on June 30, the Bush administration's self-imposed deadline for returning sovereignty to an Iraq= i government. "Ahmad is positioning himself," says one cabinet minister. "He is a master tactician." Chalabi's other major source of strength is the De-Baathification Commission, which he heads. Its mandate-to work against former members of Saddam's regime and his Baath Party-is so wide-ranging that even one of Chalabi's aides calls it "a government within the government." It's empowered to oversee educational reform, track down Saddam's funds, purge senior Baathists from government jobs and occasionally reinstate those who can convince the commission they weren't complicit in Saddam's crimes. The backbone of the operation is a vast collection of secret documents seized from Saddam's files. To process them, according to one Chalabi aide, the De-Baathification Commission has 50 document scanners. There are only 20 other scanners in all the rest of the government. Chalabi's latest feints have been toward the powerful Shiite religious leadership in Iraq, including Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. (Chalabi has lon= g had close ties to the Iranian mullahs, too.) He voiced support for Islamic law, then had a representative of his vote against it last week. As members of the Governing Council struggled to reach agreement on the "fundamental law," or interim constitution that was supposed to be approved by Feb. 28, Chalabi's representative then joined seven other Shiite council members who stormed out of the meeting. "Chalabi is riding the Sistani wave," says one of his critics on the council. Both Iraqi and U.S. officials in Baghdad say it's almost certain that on June 30, the government that does receive sovereignty-and the purse strings-will be either the current, appointed council, or some variation on it. Will Chalabi and his people still be in place, still powerful? You can just about bank on it. =A9 2004 Newsweek, Inc. --__--__-- Message: 4 From: "k hanly" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Early origins of Iraq war Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2004 22:42:35 -0600 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A35472-2004Mar6?language=printer The True Rationale? It's a Decade Old By James Mann Sunday, March 7, 2004; Page B02 The Bush administration has offered a series of shifting justifications for the war in Iraq. Each has been quite specific: The war was to uncover Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction; to dislodge a brutal dictator; to combat Iraq's support for terrorism; to deal with what President Bush called a "grave and gathering threat." Which was the real one? That's the overarching question that has dominated public debate in recent months. But the question is too narrow. The underlying rationale was both broader and more abstract: The war was carried out in pursuit of a larger vision of using America's overwhelming military superiority to shape the future. The outlines of that vision were first sketched more than a decade ago, immediately after the Soviet Union collapsed. Some of the most important and bitterly debated aspects of the war in Iraq -- including the administration's willingness to engage in preemptive military action -- can be traced to discussions and documents from the early 1990s, when Pentagon officials, under then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and then-Undersecretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz, led the way in forging a new, post-Cold War military strategy for the United States. The gist of the strategy they formulated was that the United States should be the world's dominant superpower -- not merely today, or 10 years from now, or when a rival such as China appears, but permanently. The elements of this vision were couched in bland-sounding phrases: The United States should "preserve its strategic depth" and should act overseas to "shape the security environment." What could potentially flow from those vague words was, however, anything but bland: The recent war in Iraq was, above all, an effort to shape the security environment of the Middle East. This account of how that strategy was developed -- and how it has influenced the policies of the current Bush administration -- is based on documents and interviews with many of those involved in the discussions 12 years ago, during what turned out to be the final year of the first Bush administration. Early in 1992, officials in the Pentagon began putting together a document called the Defense Planning Guidance. This statement of America's military strategy, prepared every two years, serves as the blueprint for upcoming defense budgets. As the first since the Soviet collapse, the '92 version took on special significance. An early draft of the document was leaked to reporters, and has been the stuff of legend ever since. A mostly fictional version of that event has been passed down over the years, and it goes like this: Wolfowitz, the undersecretary of defense, had drafted a version of American military strategy in which the United States would move to block any rival power in Europe, Asia or the Middle East. After the leaked document caused a furor, the first Bush administration retreated. The document was toned down and its key ideas were abandoned. But interviews with participants show that this version is wrong in several important respects. Wolfowitz didn't write the original draft. While the draft was rewritten, it was not really toned down. Indeed, in subtle ways, using careful terminology and euphemisms, the vision of an American superpower was actually made more sweeping. And although Wolfowitz and his staff played key roles, the ultimate sponsor of the new strategy was Cheney. It all began two years earlier. The Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, effectively ending the Cold War and prompting the Pentagon to undertake a search for a new set of principles, in part to prevent Congress, then controlled by the Democrats, from slashing the defense budget. The key participants were Cheney, Wolfowitz and Colin L. Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While Powell sometimes disagreed with the two civilian leaders on other issues (including the events of 1990 and '91 leading up to the Persian Gulf War), the three men worked closely together on forestalling cutbacks. The Soviet Union's collapse added new urgency to their task. "What we were afraid of was people who would say, ' . . . Let's bring all of the troops home, and let's abandon our position in Europe,' " recalled Wolfowitz in an interview. The job of writing a new Defense Planning Guidance was assigned to Zalmay Khalilzad, then a Wolfowitz aide and now U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Khalilzad produced a draft that stressed the need to prevent the emergence of any rival power, particularly among the "advanced industrialized nations." (It is largely forgotten now, but at the time, there were fears that Japan and Germany, two of America's closest allies in the Cold War, would eventually become post-Cold War competitors.) Khalilzad's draft also suggested that in this new environment, the United States might sometimes act through "ad hoc assemblies" of nations, rather than through permanent alliances; this was an early rendition of what the second Bush administration would later call "coalitions of the willing." The draft said the United States "may be faced with the question of whether to take military steps to prevent the development or use of weapons of mass destruction" -- an allusion to the possibility of preemption or preventive war. When he finished, Khalilzad sent copies to others in the Pentagon, asking for comment. Within days, an account of this draft appeared on the New York Times front page. The reaction was immediate. Officials in Japan, Germany and other European countries were less than thrilled at the notion that the United States might try to limit their military and economic power. Presidential candidate Bill Clinton's spokesman said that the document represented an effort by the Pentagon "to find an excuse for big budgets instead of downsizing." Wolfowitz hadn't even seen Khalilzad's draft before it was leaked, and he kept a certain distance from the controversy. But Cheney, as defense secretary, was effusive in his praise. "He said to me, 'You've discovered a new rationale for our role in the world,' " Khalilzad told me in an interview. Pentagon officials set out to smooth over the rough edges of the draft without giving up its essentials. The job was given to Wolfowitz's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then principal deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy and now Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. Now came the subtle, crucial change. Libby and others recognized that the notion of America blocking a rival power was the part that had engendered controversy. Yet they also knew this wasn't saying very much: Realistically, there couldn't even be a rival to American power in Europe or Asia for another decade or two, if not longer. So Libby's new draft dropped the language about competitors. Reporters were then told that the idea had been abandoned, and their stories created the impression that the draft had been softened. But it hadn't been. Instead, using careful language, Libby's rewrite encompassed a more breathtaking vision: The United States would build up its military capabilities to such an extent that there could never be a rival. America would develop such enormous superiority in military power and technology that other countries would realize it would be self-defeating to try to compete. A country such as, say, China might embark on an intensive 30-year drive to match America's military might -- but doing so would be prohibitively expensive, crippling other efforts at economic development, and even then, might not succeed. Instead of talking about blocking rivals, Libby's revision spoke more vaguely about preserving America's "strategic depth" -- a term that Cheney had begun to use in congressional hearings on the defense budget. In military terms, "strategic depth" usually connotes additional territory that provides an extra margin of safety in combating adversaries. For example, a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was said to give Pakistan "strategic depth" in dealing with India. When Pentagon officials began using the term in 1990, it had this same geographical connotation: Withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe gave America and its NATO allies "strategic depth" in protecting Western Europe. But in Libby's rewrite, the phrase took on a broader and more abstract meaning; "strategic depth" referred to America's advantageous position in the world, its extensive network of bases, weaponry and advanced levels of military technology. The other key idea in the rewrite was that the United States would not wait passively to see if a rival emerged. It would act to ensure events moved in ways favorable to U.S. interests. This was called "shaping the future security environment." The concept included everything from peacekeeping missions to stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Libby's rewrite altered the wording of some other groundbreaking ideas in Khalilzad's draft as well, without changing the meaning. The revised draft omitted the discussion of "ad hoc assemblies," but it said America had to be ready to protect its critical interests abroad "with only limited additional help, or even alone, if necessary." The new version didn't mention preemption specifically, but noted that "sometimes a measured military action can contain or preclude a crisis" [emphasis added]. Ordinarily, the Defense Planning Guidance is a classified document. But Cheney liked the revised draft so much that he ordered parts of it to be declassified and made public. "He took ownership of it," recalled Khalilzad. In January 1993, as the first Bush administration was leaving office, the document was published as a government document under Cheney's name as America's "Defense Strategy for the 1990s." The Clinton administration set aside Cheney's vision without actually repudiating it. A decade later, as the second Bush administration moved toward war with Iraq, the ideas in the '92 document took on heightened significance. What the Pentagon officials had succeeded in doing, within months of the Soviet collapse, was to lay out the intellectual blueprint for a new world dominated -- then, now and in the future -- by U.S. military power. James Mann is senior writer in residence at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. This article is based on his new book, "Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet" (Viking). End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk