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   1. Chossudovsky on Chalabi (k hanly)


Message: 1
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Chossudovsky on Chalabi
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 12:39:47 -0500

Who is Ahmed Chalabi?
by Michel Chossudovsky    21  May  2004
The URL of this article is:


On the 20th of May, US forces raided the Baghdad home of the head of the
Iraqi National Congress (INC) Ahmed Chalabi. The media in chorus, without
further investigation, described the raid as an effort to silence Chalabi's
condemnation of the US-led occupation:

"My house was attacked... We avoided by a hair's breadth a clash with my
guards. I am America's best friend in Iraq. If the CPA finds it necessary t=
direct an armed attack against my home, you can see the state of relations
between the CPA and the Iraqi people." ( Press Conference in Baghdad quoted
in the Independent, 20 May 2004)

The reports pointed to "a changed relationship" between Chalabi and the
Coalition. "It's a stunning reversal!." Washington has decided  "to drop it=
backing for Mr Chalabi and to distance itself from him".

Chalabi is said to have been plotting against the US by putting together "a
sectarian Shiite faction" to apparently destabilize to the  "UN sponsored"
transitional government which is slated to take office on July 1st.

According to press reports, Chalabi was the target of a US government
investigation "into whether he betrayed American intelligence secrets to
foreign governments, including Iran."

He is also accused of hiding the records of the oil for food program and fo=
having "exaggerated" the threat of weapons of mass destruction, in
intelligence transmitted to the Coalition in the months leading up to the
war. In other words, he is said to have tricked US intelligence into
believing there were WMDs. Where he got this intelligence is not mentioned.
Chalabi returned to Kurdish held Northern Iraq in February 2003 after 45
years in exile and the INC did not have an active network inside Iraq, whic=
would have enabled it to gather intelligence on WMDs

Puppet without Strings

From one day to the next, the puppet is presented as  "pulling the strings"
and maneuvering behind the scenes against the US led coalition.

The official explanation, as conveyed by the press reports, simply does not
make sense.

Up until the 18th of May, Chalabi was still on the Pentagon's payroll
receiving a modest monthly allowance of $355,000 (more than 4 million
dollars a year).

His job was described as "intelligence gathering."  Two days later his hous=
is raided. According to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, cutting hi=
pocket money was part of the "natural evolution" towards democracy in Iraq:

"That was a decision that was made in light of the process of transferring
sovereignty to the Iraqi people... There has been some very valuable
intelligence that's been gathered through that process that's been very
important for our forces, but we will seek to obtain that in the future
through normal intelligence channels." (quoted in the Financial Times, 21
May 2004)

On the 18th of May, they cut his money and the following day they raid his

A puppet does not turn against his master, particularly when key members of
his staff, including his main advisers and spokesmen, are US appointees who
report directly back to the Pentagon.

Who is Ahmed Chalabi?

Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Council are a creation of the CIA.

Chalabi is an Iraqi emigr=E9, handpicked by US intelligence.

He left Iraq and moved to the US with his family at age 13. He holds a US

Chalabi returned to Iraq barely one month before the war. He had not set
foot in Iraq since his childhood.

On April 6 2003, US troops escorted him to Nasiriya, where he established,
with the support of the US military, the so-called Free Iraqi Forces, a
paramilitary army of some 600 fighters.

Since his return to Iraq, he has been a leading figure of the US sponsored
Iraqi Governing Council.

Chalabi may have some degree of controlled "independence", but he remains a
US sponsored "intelligence asset". Key members of his staff, report to
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

The press reports seem to suggest a "blowback". Our trusted ally has gone
against us.":

Washington's longtime ally who was once favored by the Pentagon brass to be
Iraq's post-war leader.

The Iraqi National Police and American military police hauled away
computers, documents, and a "valuable Koran" from his office, according to
Chalabi, a senior member of Iraq's Governing Council and head of the Iraqi
National Congress.

In an angry letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller and CIA Director George
Tenet, the Boston law firm that represents Chalabi, Markham & Read, said a
large contingent of police and armed plainclothes Americans ransacked the
INC's offices and Chalabi's nearby home, ripping computers from their
sockets and smashing doors.

"They marauded his office and disrespected his family," attorney John J. E.
Markham II told the Globe by telephone. He said Chalabi believed the US-led
coalition had launched a vendetta against the INC leader because "he is
starting to distance himself from the folly of [Paul] Bremer," the top US
administrator in Iraq.

Yesterday's raid appeared to be the climax of a relationship gone bad, in
which grievances on both sides have mounted during the past year's
difficulties in Iraq. Pentagon officials relied on Chalabi and the INC
heavily before the war to assess both Saddam Hussein's weapons capabilities
and the chances of success of a US-led war. (Boston Globe, 21 May 2004)

Propaganda Ploy

Following the Gulf War, the CIA assigned a public relations firm the Rendon
Group: "to help organize, advise, and stage-manage the Iraqi opposition... =
In fact, the Rendon Group created the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and its
leader Ahmed Chalabi from scratch,--i.e. from a virtually nonexistent entit=
into a US sponsored political proxy, which would faithfully serve US
interests. "Were it not for Rendon,"a State Department official remarked,
"the Chalabi group wouldn't even be on the map.". (See Michel Chossudovsky,
War Propaganda and the Capture of Saddam Hussein, , December 2003)

In fact, the Rendon Group even chose the name of the INC:

"At the helm of the INC is Ahmed Chalabi, a US-trained mathematician who
fled from Jordan in 1989 in the trunk of a car after the collapse of a bank
he owned. He was subsequently charged and sentenced in absentia to 22 years
in prison for embezzlement. Back home in Iraq, he's referred to by some as
the so-called limousine insurgent and is said to hold little actual standin=
with the Iraqi public. Shuttling between London and DC, Chalabi hasn't been
in Iraq for over years, and draws "more support on the Potomac than the
Euphrates," says Iraq specialist Andrew Parasiliti of the Middle East
Institute in Washington DC.

With funding first from the CIA throughout the 1990s and more recently the
Pentagon, Rendon managed the INC's every move, an INC spokesperson
acknowledges, even choosing its name, coordinating its annual strategy
conferences, and orchestrating its meetings with diplomatic heavy hitters,
such as James Baker and Brent Scowcroft. Not that the Rendon Group was the
first purveyor of psy-op tactics for promoting US foreign policy in the
region. In fact, some of the most impressive spin maneuvers and
disinformation campaigns occurred during the Gulf War in 1991, the lessons
of which are particularly pertinent as the US again gears up (See Ian
Urbina, This War Brought to You by Rendon Group, Asia Times Online, 12
November 2002, ).

Since the Gulf War, The Rendon Group has been involved in several core
disinformation operations. It worked closely with its British partner Hill
and Knowlton, which was responsible for the 1990 Kuwaiti incubator media
scam, where Kuwaiti babies were allegedly removed from incubators in a
totally fabricated news story, which was then used to get Congressional
approval for the 1991 Gulf War. A fabricated statement by a "Kuwaiti nurse"
was presented to the US Congress, who claimed to have seen Iraqi soldiers
removing the babies from the incubators, looting the maternity ward and
killing the babies. It turned out that the "nurse" was the daughter of the
Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington. Her statement, had been commissioned by
the Rendon Group. (See Financial Times, 15 July 2003)

The Office of Strategic Influence (OSI)

When Donald Rumsfeld created his propaganda outfit called The Office of
Strategic Influence (OSI) in the wake of September 11, 2001, the Rendon
Group (TRG), was hired by the OSI as a core consulting firm.

It was to provide the public relations and psych-ops input in support of th=
Bush administration's "war on terrorism". It was also entrusted with a medi=
and PR campaign to discredit the Baathist regime in the Middle East,
demonize Saddam Hussein and build an Iraqi opposition.

When the OSI was officially disbanded, following pressures from the US
Congress, several of its activities were transferred to The Office of
Special Plans (OSP) created  by Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. (The OSP
was subsequently also disbanded).

Several of the OSP's specific propaganda operations were outsourced to the
private sector. The Rendon Group, which had created Ahmed Chalabi, remained
one of the key PR firm on contract to the Pentagon.

The "Liberation of Baghdad" media spin and the staged pulling down of the
statue of Saddam on Fardhus square on April 8th was in all likelihood the
work of a private PR consulting firm on contract to the Pentagon. Members o=
the INC had allegedly been brought in for a media staged event. (for furthe=
details, see The pulling down of the Statue was a staged media event, 11
April 2003 , See also
Michel Chossudovsky, Killing the "Unembedded Truth" by Michel Chossudovsky,
11 April 2003, ).

In the wake of the war, Rendon supported the creation of the INC's daily
newspaper Al Mu'tamar, which played a key role in releasing the story of
Saddam's capture. A (former) staff member of the Rendon Group, Francis
Brooke, who is now Chalabi key adviser, was behind the "opposition media" i=
Baghdad from the beginning of the US led occupation, including TV and news
print (including the Al Mutamar project).

Was the Raid on Chalabi's home a Staged Event?

Was the raid on Chalabi's home part of a staged event, which sought to
present a US sponsored puppet as a legitimate figure of the Iraqi

While there is no proof, there are several pieces of contradictory
information, which cast serious doubt on the official version of events.

Chalabi is accused of "betraying American intelligence secrets to foreign
governments, including Iran," In other words, the US is accusing him of
entering into secret negotiations with Iran:

"The State Department and CIA, have recently expressed deep concern about a
surge in recent intelligence alleging that the INC and Chalabi have been
passing on potentially dangerous information to officials in the government
of Iran. Though Chalabi has never made any secret of his cordial relations
with top Iranian officials-one of his aides claimed that Chalabi had held
discussions with most top Iranian officials over the last six months-Bush
administration officials say the latest intelligence indicates he may have
been supplying the Iranians with information on U.S. security operations in
Iraq that could "get people killed." (MNSBC, 20 May 2004)

Visibly these accusations are fabricated, because the people who are making
decisions for Chalabi with regard to Iran, are Pentagon appointees. Chalabi
cannot move without his US appointed advisers.

Francis Brooke, who is Chalabi's right hand man has close ties with Nationa=
Security Council Chairman Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Secretary of Defense
Paul Wolfowitz.  He has played a central role in Chalabi's intelligence
undertakings including his links to Iran.

Formerly with the Rendon Group, Brooke is on contract in Baghdad with BKSH
and Associates, which is controlled by Charles R. "Charlie" Black, Jr., a
leading Republican political strategist and lobbyist, with close ties to
Reagan, Bush Senior and Bush Junior.

BKSH is using Chalabi and the INC to "open doors" into Iraq on behalf of US

Following the raid on Chalabi's home, Francis Brooke said that "Mr. Chalabi
had never shared any secret information with the Iranians." The fact of the
matter, is that Chalabi was used by US intelligence to lead a secret US
mission to Tehran and the man behind that mission was "our man in Baghdad"
Francis Brookes:

Brooke, who was traveling with Chalabi, ... was so warmly received wherever
he went in Tehran that journalists who met with Chalabi were intrigued. The=
noted that Iranian officials =AD from the departments of security and forei=
affairs, the Revolutionary Guards and the presidency =AD were even more
interested in Brooke than in the INC leader himself.
A young Iranian journalist who asked a Foreign Ministry official just back
from a meeting between Brooke and a senior Iranian National Security
official whether Chalabi's PR consultant had indeed delivered a letter from
the US administration to the Iranian leadership said that the Foreign
Ministry man replied: "All I can say is that he (Brooke) is an important
person who knows many secrets. We believe he is in contact with Washington
decision-making circles. We therefore have to use the opportunity of his
being in Tehran to convey our point of view to the Bush administration
vis-a-vis the war on Iraq =AD especially since the US government has closed
off all other avenues open to us." (Ali Nourizadeh, Frances Brooke, the man
behind the new Iran-US entente on Iraq. Daily Star, 22 March 2003)

In other words, it was not Chalabi who brokered a deal with the Iranians bu=
the Pentagon's appointee, Francis Brooke.

New Image

The raid on Chalabi's home creates the impression that Chalabi is no longer
a figurehead controlled by the US, but a person of political moderation who
speaks his own mind.

The Bush Administration is acutely aware that for Chalabi to continue
performing the role of an "effective puppet", he needs a new image, which
presents him to public opinion in Iraq and the Middle East not only as
"independent" but anti-American.

Chalabi is still a puppet. He cannot move without the consent of the

With mounting resistance, the US cannot reasonably install a political prox=
and expect Iraqis to rally behind him.

Whether this strategy will succeed is doubtful and this is one of the main
reasons behind the US decision to dump the Iraqi Governing Council.

In Iraq, Chalabi is still viewed for what he is, a creature of the CIA.

Whether he plays a direct role in the political transition remains to be

Whether he integrates a transition government or not, or whether that
transition government will actually be formed by July 1st, Ahmed Chalabi
will continue to perform an important role on behalf of his US sponsors.

He constitutes a go-between in the shady dealings of channeling of foreign
investment into Iraq, meaning the confiscation of the country's wealth by a
handful of corporations.

In this context, he is used as a bridge, between selected Iraqi business
collaborators and US companies. His adviser Francis Brookes acts on behalf
of BKSH and Associates, controlled by Charles R. "Charlie" Black, Jr. and
BKSH acts on behalf of major US investors into Iraq.

In turn, Chalabi's nephew Salem Chalabi runs a law firm called the Iraqi
International Law Group (IILG). (The Guardian 24 September 2003). The IILG
was set up in July 2003 "to provide foreign enterprise with the information
and tools it needs to enter the emerging Iraq and to succeed", according to
its website. "Our clients number among the largest corporations and
institutions on the planet," (quoted in Brian Whitaker, Zionist Settler
Joins Iraqi to Promote Trade, )

But it turns out that the IILG based in Baghdad is in fact a proxy for a
Washington based law firm, Zell, Goldberg & Co, "which claims to be 'one of
Israel's fastest-growing business-oriented law firms".

In turn, Zell, Goldberg and Co is the Israeli affiliate of the FANDZ
International Law Group. ( ). Now it just so happens
that FANDZ is a partnership between Marc Zell and Department of Defense
Undersecretary Douglas Feith, who, while on leave from the company, reports
directly to Paul Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld.

"The FANDZ INTERNATIONAL LAW GROUP was established in 1999 with the
formation of Zell, Goldberg & Co. and its alliance with Feith & Zell, P.C"

In other words, in the complex web of political puppets, law firms and
public relations consulting outfits, all roads lead up the ladder to the
Pentagon's highest ranks.

Chalabi has not been dumped. Quite the opposite. He now emerges with a bran=
new anti-American image, which contributes to confusing public opinion. He
remains America's Number One "intelligence asset" in Baghdad, serving a
central role in the economic colonization of Iraq.

The ultimate objective of the US led occupation is to confiscate Iraq's
resources including its oil wells and gain full control over the national

Faced with mounting popular resistance, that desperate process can only be
undertaken under the smokescreen of an illusive national sovereignty.


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