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Petraeus Rehabilitates Chalabi in Iraq

By       Message Ron Fullwood     Permalink
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"The key is going to be getting the concerned local citizens — and all the citizens — feeling that this government is reconnected with them . . . Chalabi "agrees with that." --Gen. David Petraeus in October 2007


An article published by Blackanthem Military News reported that the Commanding General in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus, has taken it on himself to rehabilitate the duplicitous opportunist who sold the U.S. the lies about threats from Saddam's regime which led Clinton to legislate regime change for Iraq, and provided cover for the Bush administration's invasion and occupation years afterward.

Ahmad Chalabi, the man who Bush installed as the head of the 'interim Iraq authority' after his illegal invasion and overthrow of Saddam, was reportedly treated like a visiting dignitary as Petraeus introduced him to members of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. stationed in Iraq.

In 2005, Chalabi, an 'elected' member of the Iraqi parliament, temporarily held the post of Iraqi Oil Minister. Chalabi's recent 'job' in Iraq has been to get the country's electricity back in order, five years after the 'shock and awe' of the invasion needlessly destroyed the majority of Iraq's infrastructure. Yet, consistent with every other endeavor Chalabi has been allowed to involve himself in by this administration, it has been reported just this week, that, despite Chalabi's involvement, Baghdad's power supply remains "intermittent and well below pre-war levels." In September, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq told Congress that, Iraq's power supply is "woefully inadequate."

It's not as if there hasn't been more than enough discrediting evidence for the U.S. to completely shun the formerly exiled con man after he mislead (admittedly obliging) U.S. officials who were looking to make a case against Saddam. The U.S. Congress, following testimony from Chalabi, and defense policy executive (later, Ambassador to Iraq) Zalmay Khalilzad, passed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998, and sanctioned the new U.S. policy of regime change. Almost $100 million in taxpayer funds was provided to Chalabi's front group, the 'Iraqi National Congress.' Before the invasion, the Defense Intelligence Agency paid the INC $335,000 a month to the group for their manufactured intelligence.

Chalabi, is a wealthy, U.S.-educated banker whose family fled Iraq when the monarchy was overthrown in 1958. Chalabi's CIA contacts led to the formation of the Iraqi National Congress in 1992. Chalabi's influence in Washington comes from conservatives in and out of the administration who had been advocating for the deposition of Hussein and who have been closely associated with the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and the Project for a New American Century.

Chalabi has been tried in exile by a Jordanian court and sentenced to 22 years in prison on 31 charges of embezzlement, theft of more than $70 million, misuse of depositor funds and currency speculation.

Chalabi's nephew, Salem Chalabi, who was initially in charge of Saddam's prosecution, has associated himself with the so-called Iraqi International Law Group, whose site boasts that their "clients number among the largest corporations and institutions on the planet." And that: " . . . they have chosen IILG to provide them with real-time, on the ground intelligence they cannot get from inexperienced local firms or from overburdened coalition and local government officials."

Here is a family (Chalabi's) that has ingratiated themselves with monied influences, in and out of our government. Their administration benefactors spread our tax dollars around the world with abandon, yet treat the most urgent of our basic needs here at home with miserly neglect. Consistent with Ahmed's U.S. military escort back to his homeland, the Chalabis assumed whatever mandate for power, money, or influence that their Pentagon cabal has provided.

Some of Chalabi's influential friends in the White House included, twenty-year friend Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Director of Iraq reconstruction, Feith was one of Chalabi's main shills in the Pentagon. Feith used Chalabi's web of misinformation about Iraqi WMD's to develop a rationale for war against Saddam; including the ‘intelligence' that Saddam was conspiring with bin Laden.

Feith is known for a 1996 paper he co-authored and presented to President Clinton advocating the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The letter was also signed by Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and others. In the letter they argued that, "In the present climate in Washington, some may misunderstand and misinterpret strong American action against Iraq as having ulterior political motives. We believe, on the contrary, that strong American action against Saddam is in the national interest, that it must be supported, and that it must succeed."

Co-author Feith was one of about five members of the Bush administration who formed a separate ‘special plans office' in October 2001, whose purpose was to collect information from the CIA and the intelligence community to develop their own strategy for the war on terrorism. The group highlighted "interrelationships among terrorist organizations and state sponsors." They claimed "strategic alliances between Al-Qaeda and Iraq, despite the argument that such an alliance would have to withstand deep ideological and religious differences.

Chalabi was also reported to be the source for the phony news stories about Iraq and WMD's written by NYT's Judith Miller.

In 2004, it was reported that Chalabi had leaked intelligence to Iran, informing the Iranians that the U.S. had broken their secret communications code. U.S. officials complained that the disclosures meant that Iran's security agencies would have to redo their codes and that, for, perhaps years, American intelligence wouldn't be able to read the transmissions. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice promised Congress a 'full investigation', at the time, but none materialized from the administration.

In 2004 it was also reported that Chalabi was "counterfeiting old Iraqi dinars - which had been removed from circulation following the fall of Saddam’s regime last year . . . Police found the counterfeit money along with old dinars in Ahmad Chalabi’s house during a May raid.”

The most important value Chalabi has provided the Bush administration's hawks on Iraq recently, has been the position he was gifted in the new Iraqi regime as the administration's shill within the Iraqi government for their latest escalation of force. Chalabi's job was to serve as an intermediary between Baghdad residents and the Iraqi and U.S. security forces as they destroyed homes, lives, and livelihoods in Iraq which found themselves in the way of Bush's swaggering advance. The WSJ reported in February that, the position was meant to "help Iraqis arrange reimbursement for damage to their cars and homes caused by the security sweeps in the hope of maintaining public support for the strategy."

In an amazing defiance of the rationale for the support he provided for Bush and Petraeus' 'surge', Chalabi was reported to have 'sabotaged' reconciliation efforts with the Batthists (Chalabi as head of Iraq’s 'de-Baathification commission'); the enabling of which was the main argument Bush gave for his escalation of force to Iraq. The NYT reported in June that, "Chalabi and members of his organization sabotaged the American-backed plan by rallying opposition among Shiite government officials in southern Iraq, then taking their complaints to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most powerful Shiite cleric."

Once again Chalabi is being employed by the Bush administration as their front man for their arbitrary assaults on Iraqis and their military takeover of sovereign Iraqi territory. Even Chalabi's recently reported ties to the rebel Shiite group, led by al-Sadr, who has rivaled and worked to disrupt the influence and authority of the new Iraqi regime, hasn't been enough for the administration to cut ties with the opportunistic confidence man. But, for the short-sighted support Chalabi has provided this duplicitous administration for their rape and plunder of Iraq, he's been able to maintain an influential (and lucrative) niche in Iraq which has allowed the occupation's initial enabler to continue his confidence game with impunity.

Chalabi has stalled reconciliation several times in the past, and, it looks like he's now being enabled in that effort by the general Bush relies on to manage the 'situation on the ground' in Iraq. In allowing Chalabi continued VIP treatment in Iraq, it's almost as if the administration didn't actually want the reconciliation Bush promised us the almost 1000 troops he sacrificed for his escalation were deployed to 'provide room' for the Iraqis to accomplish. Once again, Chalabi is enabling the White House's deceptions on Iraq. Surprised?

 

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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