Ahmed Chalabi, assisted by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney, has managed to manipulate the government and people of the United States into an unnecessary and potentially disastrous war- and he is not done yet. As of June 30th, Chalabi will likely become the most powerful official in Iraq, and there is every reason to believe he will run it straight into the ground. If we are to avoid leaving Iraq in anarchy, a terrorist haven and recruiting tool for decades to come, Chalabi must be stopped. And time is running out.
"More damaging was the dependence on defectors. Different agencies all but competed with each over their intelligence without realising that much of it came from the same source, Ahmad Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group that is now competing for power in Baghdad.
"While the CIA was wary of Mr. Chalabi, the Pentagon's Defence Intelligence Agency decided he was reliable. " [emphasis added]
This is damning in and of itself. The emerging picture of the intelligence process before the war in Iraq is one in which top administration officials worked against the will and normal procedures of the rest of the intelligence community, and the fact that Rumsfeld 's intelligence agency picked up the Chalabi ball when the CIA would not touch it cannot but breed suspicion. But Kay 's information becomes nothing short of scandalous viewed in conjunction with a recent Newseek web exclusive by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball. It discusses "the major, " a defector who provided misinformation on apparently fictional Iraqi mobile weapons labs, using an anonymous source inside the intelligence community:
"Within a few months, however, DIA had further checked out the 'major ' and concluded that his stories and credentials were so dubious that the agency felt obliged to issue a governmentwide notice branding the defector as a 'fabricator ' whose information should be avoided. The 'fabricator notice, ' issued in May 2002, reported that the defector had apparently been 'coached by the Iraqi National Congress ' on what to tell U.S. interrogators, according to a source who read the document, which remains classified. " [emphasis added]
So the bureaucracy of the DIA, Rumsfeld's own intelligence agency, identified the INC as having "coached defectors " five months before the 2002 NIE, and yet it was the DIA that persistently pushed their intelligence against the will of the CIA. And according to Knight-Ridder Newspapers (March 19), the DIA 's support was much more than an open ear:
"The CIA had stopped working with Chalabi in the mid-1990s. An audit found that the INC couldn't account for how it had spent all of the millions of dollars provided by the U.S. government. In January 2002, the State Department suspended funding for the INC in a similar dispute over its accounting for government funds. Funding eventually was restored.
"Some of the money supported the INC's Information Collection Program, an intelligence-gathering effort that supplied information from Iraqi defectors that appeared to substantiate assessments that Saddam had illicit weapons and worked with al-Qaida.
Responsibility for the $4 million-a-year effort was transferred in late 2002 to the Defense Intelligence Agency. " [emphasis added]
Now it is not breaking news that Chalabi was "the Pentagon 's favorite exile, " but this hard evidence that Chalabi 's group was officially and definitively discredited by even Rumsfeld 's own analysts, months before the congressional vote authorizing war, has enormous relevance to the case made to Congress and the public preceding that vote. The "intelligence " given to Congress gave preeminence to the information from Chalabi 's defectors, and even stripped caveats and dissenting opinions, leaving little except a handful of potent and unfounded assertions from the INC, along with seemingly illogical worst case scenarios regarding items such as the infamous "aluminum tubes. " That there was almost no decent intelligence included in the version of the 2002 NIE given to Congress should not be a surprise, after all it was 100% wrong on virtually everything except missile development.
But if it is shocking that Chalabi was embraced throughout all of this, it is exponentially more disturbing that the embrace continues even at this very moment, even after his credibility has been demolished with great publicity. It is now a matter of public record that Chalabi has been convicted of bank fraud in Jordan, appears to have swindled both the CIA and State Department on expenses, leaked bogus intelligence to the media in massive quantities, and provided volumes of it to US and other intelligence agencies and yet he remains arguably the most powerful member of the Iraqi Governing Council.
In fact, it is worse than that. The interim constitution dictates that those laws which exist as of the end of June 30th (i.e. those set by Bremer) shall continue until a legitimate elected government is established. The relevance of this to the petri dish privatization paradise concocted to parcel out the country is obvious, but it also hints that the IGC will, in fact, be handed the reigns, since nobody in the administration seems to even be considering alternatives.
If this is the case, and it is hard to imagine how it would not be, then theoretically the IGC will be in charge of setting up proper elections, which means those in charge of expediting the process are the very people who will be thrown out of power once that happens. It will essentially be an open-ended dictatorship of the IGC, and having managed to ascend to the chairmanship of several of the most powerful committees, Chalabi will finally be in a position to rule. That is not to say Chalabi will be alone in his temptation to stall, as everybody on the council will be in that same position, but Chalabi 's drive to rule has been known and supported by the Pentagon from the beginning. Dick Cheney reportedly went so far as to blame the failures of the reconstruction on the decision not to simply appoint Chalabi as ruler. And while a popular Chalabi would have had incentive to produce elections quickly, before other contenders could establish themselves, any such hopes were brutally dashed recently:
"In the recent survey of which leaders Iraqis did and didn't trust, the favorite of some administration officials, former exile leader Ahmad Chalabi, finished dead last, behind even Saddam. "
So if Chalabi attempts to stall elections in a likely futile quest to improve his approval ratings, an act that would hardly be out of character, there will be two possible scenarios regarding his relationship to the US. In one, Chalabi continues a close, although much more quiet relationship with our administration, serving as the happy puppet / collaborator the Rumsfeld and Cheney seem to have hoped he would be. In the second he turns his back on us, and since legally Iraq will be sovereign, we will not be able to stop him from doing whatever he wants. Nobody will side with us if we call foul and try to interject in this newly sovereign state, even if it is earnestly for the sake of Iraqis - a direct result of our zero-credibility status.
Ahmed Chalabi, a scoundrel who has demonstrably taken part in a grand-scale betrayal of the people of the United States, stands within arm 's reach of becoming the most powerful official in Iraq, and will essentially be given responsibility for ending his own rule and conceding power through legitimate elections a responsibility few in his position have ever done well with. The ultimate fate will probably not be a dictatorship of the IGC that goes on for years. Rather, what little legitimacy the IGC has will quickly evaporate as soon as the people get a whiff of the truth. It is not impossible that the poor reputations of Chalabi and other IGC appointees handed down from the Pentagon and the White House have already doomed any chance of the Council gaining acceptance to begin with. To avoid a full descent into anarchy in Iraq, and the festering terrorist haven and massive open wound in the Middle East that could result, Chalabi must be taken down and the IGC must be purged. After June 30th it will be too late, we cannot wait until November; the clock in ticking for Iraq.
Jesse Lee operates Common Sense, a biweekly newsletter distributed via email and designed for printing and distribution by readers in areas lacking decent media coverage. To receive Common Sense in your inbox every two weeks, email Jesse at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is copyright by Jesse Lee, published by OpEdNews.com, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this entire credit paragraph is attached