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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #38 - 4 msgs

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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" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
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)

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


Message: 2
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: US hires mercenaries for Iraq
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2004 23:46:36 -0600

US hires mercenaries for Iraq role
By Jonathan Franklin
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" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Chalabi influence in IRaq ...
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2004 11:16:38 -0600

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=
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=
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

Chalabi is equally unpopular in some Washington fiefdoms. State Department
officials and CIA agents have loathed him for years, raising questions abou=
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=
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=
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" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Early origins of Iraq war
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2004 22:42:35 -0600

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

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

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

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).

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