“How do we know that the CIA was behind the coup that overthrew
Hugo Chavez? Same way we know that the sun will rise tomorrow morning,”
mused historian William
Blum, an author supposedly read by the dead Osama bin Laden. In the same
way, how do we know the neocons are behind the impending shock and awe campaign
against Iran? Go to the window and see if the sun came up this morning.
In an excellent article penned by Larisa
Alexandrovna of Raw Story, we learn that the “universal
fascist,” backer of permanent revolution, and admirer of Gabriele
D’Annunzio (the Duce of Fiume of Italian fascism), Michael Ledeen recently
trekked to Rome to meet up with Iran-Contra criminal Manucher Ghorbanifar.
“Current military and former intelligence officials remain concerned
about a US-led strike on Iran, despite the recent appearance of diplomacy on
the part of the US State Department and the offer of an incentives package to
Iran,” writes Alexandrovna. “Officials point to new developments,
such as a recent meeting in Rome between an Iranian arms dealer and controversial
neoconservative Michael Ledeen and the March creation of the Iranian directorate
inside the Pentagon, as examples of recent events similar to the lead up with
war in Iraq.”
In short, the Pentagon’s Iranian directorate is a refashioned Office
of Special Plans, the neocon shop designed to crank out absurd lies and fabrications
to build flimsy pretexts prior to the invasion of Iraq. Former CIA officer Larry
C. Johnson characterized the OSP as “dangerous for US national security
and a threat to world peace. [The OSP] lied and manipulated intelligence to
further its agenda of removing Saddam. It’s a group of ideologues with
pre-determined notions of truth and reality. They take bits of intelligence
to support their agenda and ignore anything contrary. They should be eliminated.”
Alexandrovna notes officials “also add that an as-yet uncompleted ‘Phase
II’ investigation into pre-war Iraq intelligence suggests the same problems
may recur when addressing Iran. They note that the Pentagon’s Iranian
directorate mirrors the so-called Office of Special Plans, which played a major
role in feeding intelligence to the President that bolstered a case for war.”
Last month, Laura Rozen, writing for the Los Angeles Times, explained that
the Iranian directorate, while centered in the Pentagon, will be managed by
the State Department, never mind that the neocon Condi Rice sits atop the organizational
chart at the latter. “The administration’s efforts are taking shape
on the second floor of the State Department, where a new Office of Iranian Affairs
has been charged with leading the push to back Iranian dissidents more aggressively,
boost support to democracy broadcasters and strengthen ties with exiles….
The State Department’s new Iranian Affairs office is headed by David Denehy,
a longtime democracy specialist at the International Republican Institute, who
will work under Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Elizabeth
Cheney, daughter of the vice president.”
Kushlis, posting on the WhirledView blog, describes David Denehy as one
stalk in a crop of “twenties-something Pentagon-style whiz kids”
who “created far more havoc than they were worth in Iraq.” No doubt
this “havoc”—suicide bombings, destroyed civilian infrastucture,
sectarian violence—will be replicated in Iran if the neocons have their
As for the International Republican Institute, it is a division of the National
Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID). “The IRI is the indirect product of a democratic globalism effort
spearheaded in the late 1970s by neoconservatives and their allies in the AFL-CIO,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and in the two main U.S. political parties,”
explains Right Web.
“The principals of IRI span the center right-far right spectrum of the
internationalists in the Republican Party. Most of its staff and board have
links to right-wing think tanks, foundations, and policy institutes, while many
also represent major financial, oil, and defense corporations.” In short,
Mr. Denehy is a neolib closely associated with the neocon faction—and
thus the Iranian directorate will produce wholly predictable results.
“Lt. Col. Barry E. Venable, a spokesman for the Pentagon, confirmed the
creation of the directorate for Iran in both a phone conversation and an email
message,” Larisa Alexandrovna continues. “As the State Department
stated in early March (Daily Press Brief, Mar. 3), the U.S. Government is organizing
itself better to address what Secretary Rice called ‘one of the great
challenges for the United States, a strategic challenge for the United States
and for those who desire peace and freedom,’” Venable wrote.
Of course, in neocon doublespeak, “peace” is war (or shock and
awe) and “freedom” is engineered social and cultural disintegration
designed to foment “civil war,” that is to say sectarian strife
ultimately resulting in the balkanization of Iran along ethnic and religious
lines, a process well under way currently in Iraq.
Tellingly, “Venable also confirmed that the new directorate falls under
the policy side—more specifically—under the new number three at
the Pentagon, Eric Edelman. Edelman, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, holds
the same position that Douglas Feith held when he ran OSP at the Pentagon in
the lead-up to the Iraq war.”
Although Edelman appears not to be a raving Zionist like his predecessor Feith,
he is most assuredly a dyed-in-the-wool neocon. He has worked closely with Paul
Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the indicted I. Lewis Libby.
“As an assistant to Cheney, he was part of the foreign policy network
that hurriedly established the ‘intelligence’ rationales [i.e.,
lies] for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Edelman, who is close to such leading neocons
as Michael Ledeen and Richard Perle, worked closely in the vice president’s
office with Scooter Libby in establishing a policy network of hawks and neocons
that was based at the Pentagon and Cheney’s office but extended through
key figures into State, the various intelligence agencies, and the National
Security Council,” notes Right
Web. As such, Edelman’s influence on the new cherry-picking operation
for Iran should be entirely predictable.
Finally, Alexandrovna suggest that since the Pentagon was allowed to slide
on its calculated usage of lies and dredging up scary fictional campfire stories
about Iraq, the same is likely to happen in regard to the Iran Shock and Awe
Directorate. “The lack of a comprehensive report as to how the Pentagon
conducted itself prior to the Iraq war, as well as afterward, raises suspicions
among some still in uniform about the Pentagon’s Iran Directorate’s
role going forward. Many see parallels between what is already known about the
Office of Special Plans and what appears to be escalating activity surrounding
Indeed. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the American people, a mostly somnolent
mass counted upon not to know the difference between the Office of Special Plans
and Office Max, will likely not scream bloody murder when the cruise missiles
and “mini-nuke” bunker-busters begin raining down on Iran. Of course,
there will be the now obligatory anti-war marches worldwide, but these will
be igonred, as the corporate media is onboard with the neocons and their ongoing
war crimes and criminal predation
Pentagon confirms Iranian directorate as officials
raise new concerns about war
by Larisa Alexandrovn
Current military and former intelligence officials remain concerned about a
US-led strike on Iran, despite the recent appearance of diplomacy on the part
of the US State Department and the offer of an incentives package to Iran.
Officials point to new developments, such as a recent meeting in Rome between
an Iranian arms dealer and controversial neoconservative Michael Ledeen and
the March creation of the Iranian directorate inside the Pentagon, as examples
of recent events similar to the lead up with war in Iraq.
These officials also add that an as-yet uncompleted ‘Phase II’
investigation into pre-war Iraq intelligence suggests the same problems may
recur when addressing Iran. They note that the Pentagon’s Iranian directorate
mirrors the so-called Office of Special Plans, which played a major role in
feeding intelligence to the President that bolstered a case for war.
Ledeen goes to Rome
A recent trip by Michael Ledeen to Rome has raised red flags among those concerned
about a potential war with Iran. Some believe that Ledeen -- a long-time advocate
of Iranian regime change -- was involved in the Niger forgeries scandal.
In late 2001, Ledeen, mid-east expert Harold Rhode and Pentagon analyst Larry
Franklin (who later pleaded guilty to passing classified information to a Washington
pro-Israel lobbying group) traveled to Rome to meet with Iranian arms dealer
Manucher Ghorbanifar and various Italian, Iranian, and Egyptian intelligence
agents. Not long after, documents falsely purporting that Iraq had attempted
to buy yellowcake uranium surfaced in the international intelligence community,
ending up at an Italian magazine, Panorama, for which Ledeen wrote periodic
Ghorbanifar and Ledeen were directly involved in the Iran-Contra scandal of
the 1980s, which implicated then-President Ronald Reagan, Vice President George
H. W. Bush and the highest ranking members of the Reagan administration in the
illegal sales of weapons to Iran.
Ledeen’s recent visit to Rome and meeting with Ghorbanifar have created
new concern that something is developing with regard to US plans for Iran. Ledeen,
however, denies that his visit to Italy was anything other than a personal trip
with his wife Barbara.
“I did not ‘go to Rome.’ I went to Naples to see the San
Gennaro celebration and the opening of the Fontanelle cemetery after more than
twenty years of closure,” Ledeen wrote in an email to RAW STORY.
“You'll be able to read descriptions in my forthcoming book, Virgil's
Golden Egg and Other Neapolitan Miracles," he added.
Ledeen, who has spent the last year working on a book about Naples, confirmed
traveling to Rome as part of a visit to meet with friends. When asked if he
had met with Ghorbanifar while in Rome, Ledeen confirmed the allegation by intelligence
sources, but said that this visit was of a personal nature, unlike his previous
“We visited various friends in Rome and Florence,” Ledeen said.
“[Ghorbanifar] is a friend of mine, and so, as it has been for more than
twenty years, I talk to him from time to time and I meet with him when our schedules
intersect,” Ledeen added.
Ledeen characterized the meeting as part of a "normal friendship."
“I would say on average I see him twice a year for a day or half a day,"
he said. "And it's not just him, it's sometimes his wife, his daughter...
imagine! A normal friendship.”
Pentagon confirms Iran Directorate
Military and non-military intelligence sources have also raised worries over
what some describe to as “the Iran group” and others as “the
Iran working group” and still others as a “cabal” operating
out of the Pentagon.
A recent article by Laura Rozen for the Los Angeles Times revealed the Pentagon
has created yet another Office of Special Plans-type body called the Directorate
for Iran, or the Iranian Directorate.
“The Pentagon's directorate began with six full-time staff members,"
Rozen reported. "But they can draw on expertise throughout the government,
providing access to potentially hundreds of specialists."
The notorious Office of Special Plans – which focused on Iraq -- is now
believed by most experts to have provided a secondary conduit of cherry-picked
intelligence on Iraq to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the White House.
One former intelligence official, wishing to remain anonymous for this article,
described OSP in a mocking tone as a “separate channel of information.”
John Pike of Global Security, a Washington-based intelligence clearinghouse,
was less polite in his description of OSP.
“It was created to, as Dean Acheson urged Harry Truman, to scare hell
out of the American people by making things a little bit clearer than the truth,”
Lt. Col. Barry E. Venable, a spokesman for the Pentagon, confirmed the creation
of the directorate for Iran in both a phone conversation and an email message.
“As the State Department stated in early March (Daily Press Brief, Mar.
3), the U.S. Government is organizing itself better to address what Secretary
Rice called ‘one of the great challenges for the United States, a strategic
challenge for the United States and for those who desire peace and freedom,’”
“As a counterpart to the State Department's new Office of Iran Affairs,
the Department of Defense has split off a new directorate for Iran-related policy
issues from the existing Directorate of Northern Gulf Affairs in the Office
of Near East and South Asia Affairs (NESA),” he added. “These regional
policy offices fall within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
for International Security Affairs.”
Venable also confirmed that the new directorate falls under the policy side
-- more specifically -- under the new number three at the Pentagon, Eric Edelman.
Edelman, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, holds the same position that
Douglas Feith held when he ran OSP at the Pentagon in the lead-up to the Iraq
Moreover, sources say that the Iranian Directorate is staffed with many of
the same people, including OSP’s former director Abram Shulsky, and receives
expert analysis from such controversial figures as Project for the New American
Century member Reuel Marc Gerecht, who by all accounts was a failure as a CIA
field officer. It also includes military personnel such as Ladan Archin, who
appears to be serving in the Larry Franklin analyst role among a sea of think-tank
operatives and neoconservative war hawks.
When asked specifically about Shulsky, Venable described his involvement as
“Mr. Shulsky continues in his position as Senior Advisor to the USD (P),
focusing on Mid-East regional issues and the [global war on terror].”
Ledeen says that he is not involved with the new Iran operation out of the
Iraq intelligence inquiry remains incomplete
Former intelligence officials also point to a yet-to-be completed Phase II
investigation of Iraq pre-war intelligence by the Senate Select Committee on
“The committee continues its work on Phase II and hopes to complete it
as soon as possible,” said Wendy Morigi, Communicators Director for Senator
Rockefeller, Vice Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. “One of the
key sections, however, which was to review the office of former Undersecretary
Doug Feith, has been postponed by the Chairman until the Pentagon IG completes
its own investigation.”
As previously reported by RAW ST0RY (article here), Phase II consists of several
areas of focus that the Committee is investigating in order to determine Iraq
pre-war planning and post-invasion failures -- specifically in five key areas:
-Whether public statements and reports and testimony regarding Iraq by U.S.
Government officials made between the Gulf War period and the commencement of
Operation Iraqi Freedom were substantiated by intelligence information;
-The postwar findings about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and weapons
programs and links to terrorism and how they compare with prewar assessments;
-Prewar intelligence assessments about conditions to be expected in postwar
-Any intelligence activities relating to Iraq conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism
Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of
the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; and
-The use by the Intelligence Community of information provided by the Iraqi
The Office of Special Plans aspect of the investigation has been part of the
reason for the delay in the delivery of Phase II by the Committee and is contingent
on the Pentagon Inspector General’s office concluding its own investigation.
The lack of a comprehensive report as to how the Pentagon conducted itself
prior to the Iraq war, as well as afterward, raises suspicions among some still
in uniform about the Pentagon’s Iran Directorate's role going forward.
Many see parallels between what is already known about the Office of Special
Plans and what appears to be escalating activity surrounding Iran.
Trita Parsi, a specialist on Iranian foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University
School of Advanced International Studies, told RAW STORY that “In the
short term the risk for military confrontation [with Iran] has been reduced,”
but cautions that “In the long run, however, unless there are talks taking
place the risk for a military strike remains the same.”
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