Sunday, January 02, 2005

This is from the falsie awards on (See Here). I had heard this man's name before but never knew what he was about. Why is the evidence that we were completely hoodwinked not compelling enough to this administration?

War Is Sell

The formerly exiled Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress were exposed as hucksters who befriended powerful men in Washington and played an instrumental role in selling the Iraq War. The U.S. major media finally examined the extent to which the INC and Chalabi used funding provided by the U.S. Congress to position themselves as a central source for much of the now-discredited "intelligence information" that the Bush administration used to justify the March 2003 invasion.

“The former Iraqi exile group that gave the Bush administration exaggerated and fabricated intelligence on Iraq also fed much of the same information to newspapers, news agencies and magazines in the United States, Britain and Australia," Knight Ridder reported in March 2004. "A June 26, 2002, letter from the Iraqi National Congress to the Senate Appropriations Committee listed 108 articles based on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress's Information Collection Program, a U.S.-funded effort to collect intelligence in Iraq. The Information Collection Program was financed out of the at least $18 million that the U.S. Congress approved for the Iraqi National Congress, led by Ahmed Chalabi from 1999 to 2003."

"Chalabi appears to have recognized that the neocons, while ruthless, realistic and effective in bureaucratic politics, were remarkably ignorant about the situation in Iraq, and willing to buy a fantasy of how the country's politics worked. So he sold it to them," John Dizard wrote for in May 2004. In a detailed profile of Chalabi and the INC, the New Yorker's Jane Mayer included some fairly candid admissions by Francis Brooke, the INC's PR guru. Without Chalabi, he said, "This war would not have been fought." Beginning in the late 1990s, Chalabi and Brooke had designed a campaign to influence "only a couple of hundred people" in Washington with the ability to shape Iraq policy – people like Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich, Richard Perle and Dick Cheney. Following 9/11, their marketing strategy switched to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Brooke claimed, "I sent out an all-points bulletin to our network, saying, 'Look, guys, get me a terrorist, or someone who works with terrorists. And, if you can get stuff on WMD, send it!'"

Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. gave Chalabi one of the 25 seats on its hand-picked new Iraqi Governing Council. The Pentagon's $335,000 monthly payments to the INC's intelligence program continued until May 2004, when U.S. intelligence agencies began reporting that Chalabi may have actually been a double agent working for Iran. American troops raided Chalabi's headquarters and home in Baghdad, arrested two of his aides, and seized documents. "Only five months ago," observed Andrew Cockburn, "Chalabi was a guest of honor sitting right behind Laura Bush at the State of the Union. What brought about this astonishing fall from grace of the man who helped provide the faked intelligence that justified last year's war?" According to Newsweek, "Bush administration officials say the latest intelligence indicates [Chalabi] may have been supplying the Iranians with information on U.S. security operations in Iraq that could 'get people killed.'"

Chalabi responded by demanding that the U.S. leave Iraq. "Let my people go," he said, adding, "It is time for the Iraqi people to run their affairs." More recently he has aligned himself with Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose militia battled U.S. troops in August in the Iraqi city of Najaf.


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