Douglas Feith, the recently resigned undersecretary of defense, who
just happened to be one of the main people who for years on end advocated for
a war in Iraq, and who in large part developed the disastrous policies for the
war in Iraq, planned ahead for his retirement and will not be seen in the unemployment
On January 27, 2005, the Washington Post announced: "A principal architect
of the Defense Department's postwar strategy in Iraq ... will leave his post
The announcement came after years of rumors that top administration officials
had decided that Feith had to go, but were dissuaded by Donald Rumsfeld who
argued that his ouster would be viewed as an admission that the war in Iraq
was a mistake. But the administration had definitely reduced Feith's authority
over the past
In announcing his departure, Feith claimed he was leaving for personal reasons,
citing the desire to spend more time with his children. "For the last four
years, they haven't seen me a lot," he told the Post.
He used the standard administration exit line. Sort of like the noticeably
absent in light of Katrina, ex-FEMA director, Joe Albaugh, who left his job
to spend time with his family. Joe was Bush's chief of staff when he was governor
of Texas and his campaign manager in 2000. Once Bush took office, Joe accepted
a gig as director of FEMA.
Like Feith, when he announced his resignation, Joe said, "Now I am going
to take the opportunity to spend some time with my wife and children."
I sure hope Doug spends more time with his kids than Joe did, because judging
from hindsight, Joe should have been a psychic. He somehow knew at the beginning
of March 2003, that he should quit FEMA and go into the business of securing
reconstruction contracts in Iraq for wealthy clients before the first bomb was
dropped. And his family could not have enjoyed much quality time at all with
Joe, being he opened up New Bridge Strategies for business within a few short
weeks of leaving the White House.
At the time, Josh Marshall, who writes a column for the Washington newspaper,
The Hill, said that he believed that each new piece of legislation needs a catchy
title, and came up with title "The Bush Crony Full-Employment Act
of 2003," for the $87 billion allocated for rebuilding Iraq.
According to Josh, New Bridge was actually an outgrowth of Haley Barbour's
lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers. Josh says he reached that conclusion
after he learned that both firms were located in the same office space. And
also because Lanny Griffith was the CEO of New Bridge and Ed Rogers was the
vice president. Sounds like a logical conclusion to me.
When the company began, the New Bridges official web site said, "the opportunities
evolving in Iraq today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that no
other existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective
both in Washington, D.C., and on the ground in Iraq." That phrasing was
How could it get any sweeter than this? Joe quits FEMA, moves into
the office space of one of the most successful and powerful GOP lobbying firms
in the country and starts advertising for clients who want to win reconstruction
contracts in Iraq.
First Brother, Neil Bush, also jumped on this money train and landed
a $60,000 a year consultant contract with a principal in New Bridge. According
to Neil's testimony in his divorce deposition in March 2004, in return for his
salary, he took phone messages for about 3 hours a week.
However, 3 people contacted by the Financial Times of London reported seeing
letters written by Neil that recommend business ventures promoted by New Bridges
in the Middle East. So we had Neil being paid an annual fee to "help companies
secure contracts in Iraq," the Times reported.
I'm not too worried about Doug Feith ending up in the unemployment lines because
following in Joe's footsteps, Feith and his law partner stayed very busy behind
the scenes planning for Feith's retirement when it came time to leave the White
The Iraqi International Law Group
Before Feith was inducted into the Bush administration, he was the Feith half
of the Feith & Zell, law firm in Washington. His partner, Marc Zell, simply
renamed the firm, Zell, Goldberg & Co, when they decided to set up shop
to start cashing in on the Iraq contracting business.
According to The Hill, Zell, was helping with international marketing for a
concern called the Iraqi International Law Group. Billing itself as a group
of lawyers and businessmen interested in helping investors in Iraq, the venture
was run by Ahmed Chalabi's nephew Salem, who doubled as a legal adviser to Iraq's
governing council, of which his uncle was a member.
How powerful was Feith in awarding contracts? Extremely. According to a June,
2004, by an article in Time Magazine entitled, "The Paper Trail: Did Cheney
Okay a Deal? Feith is the person who approved the controversial no-bid contract
for Halliburton in Iraq.
Time Magazine quoted an email sent by Stephen Browning of the Army Corps of
Engineers, that said the contract for construction of oil pipelines was approved
by Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith "contingent on informing WH
tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w VP,s [Vice
Browning, later said in an interview that he wrote the memo after he and retired
Lt Gen. Jay Garner met with Feith. According to Browning, Feith told him that
he had already informed Cheney's office. The email was dated March 5, 2003,
and Halliburton was awarded the contract three days later with no bids tendered
by any other companies.
If he could pull this off for Halliburton, what he could do for the IILG, goes
without saying. According to its web site, the IILG was made up of lawyers and
businessmen who claimed to have, "dared to take the lead in bringing private
sector investment and experience" to the war-torn country and offered to
"be your Professional Gateway to the New Iraq."
The way it was set up, nephew Salem was charge of the IILG and Feith's partner,
Zell, was in charge of international marketing. The IILG's website claimed that
it was the only firm worth consulting. "At IILG, our task is to provide
foreign enterprise with the information and tools it needs to enter the emerging
Iraq and to succeed," it said.
"Our clients number among the largest corporations and institutions on
the planet" it said, "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."
Imagine that, the top firms on the planet.
"Many firms outside the country purport to counsel companies about doing
business in Iraq," the web site read. "The simple fact is: you cannot
adequately advise about Iraq unless you are here day in and day out, working
closely with officials at the CPA, the newly constituted governing council and
the few functioning civilian ministries [oil, labor and social welfare, etc]."
The truth is, the IILG was nothing more than another one of many front companies,
in a web-like profiteering network, that was specifically set up to funnel tax
dollars through Iraq and back into the pockets of the Bush gang.
And talk about blatant. When the company was set up, its website was not registered
to Salem Chalabi; it was registered under the name of Marc Zell, located at
the very same address as Zell, Goldberg & Co.
According to Salem, quoted in the National Journal, Zell was IILG's "marketing
consultant" and had been contacting law firms in Washington and New York
to ask if they had clients interested in doing business in Iraq.
This tied in with an announcement by Zell, Goldberg & Co, that it had set
up a "task force" dealing with issues and opportunities relating to
the "recently ended" war in Iraq, and to assist companies "in
their relations with the United States government in connection with Iraqi reconstruction
projects as prime contractors and consultants."
Of course Zell made no mention of the firm's ties to the infamous nephew Salem
or the IILG. Zell said it was working with the Federal Market Group, an organization
which specialized in helping companies win government contracts, which boasted
of having a
90% success rate.
Considering all of its boasting about high level connections, IILG was also
rather modest about the family ties of its founder. The website did not mention
that he was the nephew of Ahmed Chalabi even once. Geez, I wonder why.
Implementing The Iraq Profiteering Scheme
Feith had been pushing for the ouster of Saddam for years. In 1998, him and
Richard Perle sent a letter to President Bill Clinton proposing that the US
team up with Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress to get rid of Saddam. Clinton
As we all know, Ahmed had strong support within the Pentagon. In fact, two
of his staunchest supporters were Feith, and Perle, chairman of the Defense
Perle, an assistant defense secretary during the Reagan administration, was
appointed by his old crony, Donald Rumsfeld, to lead the board in 2001. Its
a well-known fact that the board exerts tremendous influence when it comes to
As soon as Bush took office, Perle, Feith and Ahmed Chalabi all started working
diligently together to get the war in Iraq off the ground, with Ahmed providing
bogus intelligence about WMDs and bragging about a secret network within Iraq
which could take over running the country after the invasion.
"There was a close personal bond, too, between Chalabi and Wolfowitz and
Perle, dating back many years," according to Seymour Hersh in the May 5,
2003 the New Yorker.
"Their relationship deepened after the Bush Administration took office,
and Chalabi's ties extended to others in the Administration, including Rumsfeld;
Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy; and I. Lewis Libby,
Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff," Hersh wrote.
"With the Pentagon's support, Chalabi's group worked to put defectors
with compelling stories in touch with reporters in the United States and Europe,"
Hersh said, "The resulting articles had dramatic accounts of advances in
weapons of mass destruction or told of ties to terrorist groups. In some cases,
these stories were disputed in analyses by the C.I.A." he noted.
Almost immediately after September 11th, "the I.N.C. began to publicize
the stories of defectors who claimed that they had information connecting Iraq
to the attacks, Hersh said.
For example, in a October 14, 2001, interview on PBS "Frontline,"
Sabah Khodada, an Iraqi Army captain, said that the 9/11 attack "was conducted
by people who were trained by Saddam," and that Iraq had a program to instruct
terrorists in the art of hijacking. Another defector, who was identified as
a retired lieutenant general in the Iraqi intelligence service, said that in
2000 he witnessed Arab students being given lessons in hijacking on a Boeing
707 parked at an Iraqi training camp near the town of Salman Pak, south of Baghdad.
Feith then fed this type of INC data into a fabrication mill operating at top
speed known as the Office of Special Plans and some of the information processed
through the OSP was not even shared with official intelligence agencies. In
many instances it was passed on to the National Security Council, Cheney, and
Bush without having been vetted by anyone besides this group of nitwits.
And they had to know that much of the information was false. A former high-level
intelligence official told Hersh that American Special Forces units had been
sent into Iraq in mid-March 2003, before the start of the war, to investigate
sites suspected of being missile or chemical- and biological-weapon storage
depots. "They came up with nothing," the official told Hersh. "Never
found a single Scud."
A 46 page report, based on a 15-month investigation, titled, Report of an Inquiry
into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship,
was released on October 21, 2004, which said, "There is ample evidence
that the Bush Administration had a predisposition to overthrow Saddam Hussein
before the 9/11 attacks."
The report accused Feith's office of compiling "selective reinterpretations
of intelligence" that went beyond the views of American spy agencies in
order to help make the case for an invasion of Iraq.
The report concluded that Feith and his staff were convinced that a relationship
existed between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and that the office had advanced that perspective
by trying to change the intelligence community's views and "by taking its
interpretation straight to policymakers."
"That alleged relationship," the report said, "coupled with
the assertion that Iraq possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction
(WMD), was the major argument presented by the Administration for invading Iraq."
Relying on selective reporting, irrespective of credibility and reliability,
Feith's briefing concluded the following:
. Iraq had "more than a decade of numerous contacts" with al Qaeda;
. there were "multiple areas of cooperation" between Iraq and al
. Iraq and al Qaeda had a "shared interest and pursuit of WMD;" and
. there was "[o]ne indication of Iraq coordination with al Qaeda specifically
related to 9/11," presumably a reference to the alleged (but doubted by
the IC) Atta meeting in Prague.
The report states that there are no known intelligence reports, other than
those provided by Feith's office, that could explain where this view originated.
"A pattern emerges of senior administration officials exaggerating the
extent of the relationship in public statements which more closely reflect the
Feith analysis" than those of the intelligence community, it said.
As an obvious example, the report said Feith's office repeatedly asserted in
the months leading up to the war that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta had met with
an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague in the spring before the September 11
attacks, an account that the CIA dismissed because evidence existed that Atta
was elsewhere at the time.
And in at least one case, according to the report, the Pentagon office included
the purported meeting in a report sent to the White House, but omitted it from
the version of the same report sent to the CIA.
The meeting was then constantly referred to by senior administration officials,
and especially Cheney, as evidence of a possible Saddam link to 9/11. In fact,
Cheney said the Feith analysis was the "best source of information,"
according to the report.
However, not only had the alleged meeting never been "known," at
the time of the briefing to the White House, the Intelligence Community was
skeptical in late spring 2002 that such a meeting ever took place. Yet in September
of 2002, Feith called the meeting a "known contact" in a crucial misstatement
about the intelligence, since it indicated a link which did not exist.
"The professional objectivity and independence required in the assessment
of the Iraq-Al Qaeda relationship, a major reason given for going to war, were
compromised to support a predetermined policy -- to present the government of
Saddam Hussein as a serious threat to the security of the United States"
the report wrote.
Finally, relative to the attacks, the final 911 Commission Report itself said
that the "Intelligence Community has no credible information that Baghdad
had foreknowledge of the 11 September attacks or any other al-Qaida strike."
Inventing bogus intelligence was bad enough but during the pre-war planning,
the military experts were systematically excluded from participating in that
process as well. In the end, Feith and the OSP had so grossly underestimated
the Iraqi resistance that it caused General Tommy Franks, who led the invasion
in Iraq, to call Feith "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth,"
according Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack.
Feith and the Defense Policy Board
The DPB is a group of 30 people, who for the most part were chosen by Rumsfeld
and Feith, that advises officials on whether to go to war or not. Many of its
members are literally making a fortune off a war which they had been promoting
for years. At least 9 members have ties to companies that won more than $76
billion in defense contracts during 2001 and 2002.
Feith excluded many top Middle East experts from the State Department from
playing any meaningful role in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Feith's
office and the CPA were tasked with awarding reconstruction contracts in Iraq.
So this was another sweet setup. Feith was deciding who would get contracts,
at the same time that his middleman law partner, Zel, was hustling up business
deals in Iraq for rich clients. Of course, for members of the Bush war profiteering
club, this was merely business as usual.
Among the firms that have profited the most, are those with consultants serving
on the DPB, many of which were hand-picked by Feith.
Some of the construction and defense companies with direct ties to DPB members
include Boeing, Bectel, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen
Hamilton, along with smaller players like Symantec Corp, Technology Strategies
and Alliance Corp, and Polycom Inc.
How much money was up for grabs when it came to doling out defense contracts?
For starters, during the major combat phase of the war, the US military launched
800 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi forces, according to figures released
by the US Navy.
At a price of about $569,000 each, replacing those missiles no doubt generated
a lofty amount for Raytheon Systems, the Pentagon contractor for Tomahawks.
Close to a 100 more missiles were fired during Operation Enduring Freedom in
Occupation forces later launched over 19,000 guided munitions in Iraq, most
of which came from the US, according to a report on Operation Iraqi Freedom
published by the US Central Command Air Forces on 30 April 2003.
There was a $10.3 billion proposal for the development of a missile defense
program in Bush's 2005 defense spending budget, of which Lockheed Martin would
be heavily involved in, according to a report from the World Policy Institute.
Northrop Grumman, the country's third largest defense contractor, secured contracts
to build new weapons systems such as the unmanned predator drones. The firm
is the prime contractor for the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Bush
proposed $12 billion for UAV development for the years between 2004 - 2009.
Northrop earned a company record of $11.1 billion in defense contracts in 2003.
And Bush is funneling our tax dollars to known crooks. Northrop's Vinnell subsidiary
was awarded a $48 million contract to train the new Iraqi Army, even though
Northrop was forced to pay $191.7 million in penalties over the previous 4 years.
In less than a year after he took office, Bush got rid of regulations implemented
by President Clinton that barred contracts for companies convicted or penalized
for crimes during the previous 3 years. Clinton strengthened the rules before
leaving office, and said that repeated violations would make a company ineligible
for new contracts. Bush suspended the regulations within his first 3 months
in office. By December 2001, he had revoked them entirely.
Who Else Is Raking In War Profits?
Lets look at a couple members of the Defense Policy Board. Former CIA Director,
James Woolsey, is a prime example of how the revolving door never stops spinning
for this gang of war profiteers. After he left the CIA, Woolsey remained a senior
advisor on intelligence and national security issues, and specifically the war
in Iraq. When the war began, he worked for two private companies that did business
in Iraq, and was a partner in a company that invested in firms that provide
security and anti-terrorism services.
At the time, Woolsey was a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. In that role,
less than 2 months after the war began, he was a featured speaker at a May 2003
conference titled "Companies on the Ground: The Challenge for Business
in Rebuilding Iraq," at which 80 corporate executives paid $1,100 to attend.
He spoke about the many potential business opportunities in Iraq and about Bush's
decision to steer reconstruction contracts to US firms.
With Woolsey in a Vice President position, Booz Allen became a subcontractor
for a $75-million telecommunications contract in Iraq. Of course in true Dick
Cheney style, Woolsey denies any involvement in that work. But then, it really
does not matter whether he was directly involved or not because as VP of the
company he would get a cut of the profits resulting from any contracts the firm
Soon after 9/11, Woolsey wrote an op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal saying
a foreign state had aided Al Qaeda in preparing the attacks and named Iraq as
the leading culprit. In October 2001, Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz
sent Woolsey to the UK to hunt for evidence to link Saddam to the attacks.
Before the war, Woolsey was up to his neck in war planning. In addition to
sitting on the DPB and giving direct advice to Rumsfeld, he was a founding member
of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), an organization set up by
the WH in 2002 to help garner public support for going to war in Iraq.
They actually put together a promotion team to rally support for the war funded
with our tax dollars no less. Tell me this scheme wasn't well planned and directed.
Before the war, another DPB member, Margaret Bartel, managed the funds channeled
to Amhed Chalabi's exile group, the INC, including funds for its bogus prewar
intelligence program on WMDs. Once it began, Bartel went on to head a consulting
firm which helped investors find Iraqi partners.
Bartel established Global Positioning and told the LA Times that the firm's
primary purpose was to "introduce clients to the Iraqi market, help them
find potential Iraqi partners, set up meetings with government officials . and
provide on-the-ground support for their business interests." So here was
another sweet set up.
As for the chairman of the DPB, Richard Perle was a "special government
employee," subject to federal ethics rules, including the rule that bars
the chairman from using his public office for private gain.
Perle decided to resign as chairman after a little ethical problem came under
scrutiny in March 2003. It was discovered that at the same time that he was
advising the Pentagon on war policies, Perle had been retained by the telecommunications
company Global Crossing to help overcome opposition by the Department of Defense
and the FBI to the firms proposed sale to a Chinese company.
The agencies objected to the sale citing national security and law enforcement
problems, because it would put Global's fiber-optic network, used by the US
government, under Chinese ownership.
According to a legal notice that Global was preparing to file in bankruptcy
court at the time, Perle was set to make $725,000, including $600,000 if the
government approved the sale of the firm to the joint venture of Hutchison Whampoa
Ltd, and Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte, a company controlled by the Singapore
Perle was quick to pipe up to reporters and make the distinction that he was
not involved in the lobbying of Defense Department officials, that his job was
merely to advise Global on the process of gaining approval. That sure put my
mind at ease.
In the end, I don't think its likely that Feith will end up in the welfare
lines. Due to careful post-White House planning, I think its safe to say that
Feith and his band of cronies will enjoy financial benefits for life, just so
long as their never-ending war policies are carried on by their successor.