Posted by AzBluemeanie:
Our local yokel political reporters in Arizona and/or the editors of their newspapers continue to refuse to publish any investigative news reporting that is remotely critical of "Saint" John McCain. They prefer to report the same crapola you get from the talking heads on network and cable news and talk radio all day who will only discuss the "horse race" and opinion polls which agree with their own opinion and narrative of the campaign, entirely devoid of any substantive discussion of important issues. The corporate news media has entirely failed its constitutionally prescribed role as the publics watchdog over the government.
Thankfully, there is still excellent political reporting being done by independent reporters. A recent example of good journalism is the 3-part investigative report by researcher and writer Mark G. Levey. I will provide a link to each of his reports and snippets from each report in a series.
John McCain was a patron of Ahmad Chalabi, the exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress (and a fugitive from justice in Europe) whom Neoconservatives like McCain supported and thereby lent his credibility. Chalabi and his protege "Curveball" provided U.S. intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense with falsified information that the Neoconservatives relied upon to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Part 1 of the investigative report by Mark G. Levey explores "McCain's Role in the WMD Cover-up, John McCain and Charlie Black's War, How a senator and a lobbyist led the deception campaign that tricked the U.S." Read the full report here Election Fraud News & The Money party. Snippets from the report:
"Who’s responsible for the “intelligence failure” that plunged the U.S. into the Iraq War? As much as anyone else, that distinction is shared by two Americans who discovered and nurtured Ahmad Chalabi and “Curveball”, and pushed their fortunes in Washington.
"One of those men is currently the presumptive Republican candidate for President of the United States, and the other is his chief political fixer.
This is the story about how they did it, and then shifted the spotlight of intelligence failure, political scandal, and criminal conspiracy off themselves.
* * *
Iraq War: Made in the USA
The conventional telling of the Iraq War story starts and stops with a motley group of exiled Iraqi businessmen, dissident scientists and professional conmen associated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC).
Most Americans instantly recognize only two names in connection with the Iraq WMD “intelligence failure”: Ahmad Chalabi, the group’s leader and “Curveball”, an engineer who claimed to have been working inside Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons programs at the time of his defection to Germany in 1998.
The INC exiles are often portrayed as masters of deception who by their own home-made ingenuity cooked up the raw intelligence that tricked much of the Washington establishment. We are expected to believe that, they alone, made Senators and spies believe – incorrectly -- that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, and “mushroom clouds” would soon be seen over American cities.
* * *
The truth is, the Iraq “intelligence failure” was more than anything else a case of deliberate and willful self-deception and bullying by a group of powerful Washington insiders – led by Vice President Dick Cheney, along with John McCain on Capitol Hill, and Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon -- who wanted to demonstrate that they, rather than the professional military and CIA, knew best how to start, fight, and (they thought) quickly and easily win wars in the Middle East.
* * *
Ranking GOP Senators and Congressmen, along with their aides and allies in the network of conservative Republican dominated think-tanks and lobbying shops were instrumental in creating INC, and keeping it generously funded during the 1990s until the disaster in Iraq was fully realized in 2005.
* * *
In 1997, after a failed uprising and incompetent coup attempt launched by Chalabi’s orders, against the advice of U.S. officials, the CIA cut-off INC As Robert Baer, who was the CIA officer on the ground in Iraq, Chalabi essentially sacrificed the Kurdish resistance in defiance of Clinton’s National Security Advisor Anthony Lake.
The response of the Washington political establishment was passage in 1998 of the Iraq Liberation Act, which mandated even greater spending on INC and six other opposition groups. During hearings on the Iraq Liberation Act, a parade of ranking U.S. military and intelligence officers led by Gen, Anthony Zinni clearly warned Congress of the dangers and futility of the plan to overthrow Saddam’s government by “regime change”.
Leading the charge on Capitol Hill was Senator McCain, along with his colleague, Joseph Lieberman, both vociferous advocates of regime change, focusing from an early date on the danger they described about Iraq’ arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
* * *
That's the political background against which one may understand, why, from Day One, the incoming Bush-Cheney White House was obsessed with invading Iraq.
* * *
Where Cheney and others could not find sufficient justification in intelligence findings to sell Congress and the UN on invading a sovereign country – a legal nicety that still could not be ignored, even after 9/11 – these officials were quite happy to have evidence manufactured for them by Chalabi’s network, and to loot the U.S. Treasury to pay for it. Those intelligence officers who questioned the construction within the Pentagon and CIA of elaborate stovepipes and “cells” generating falsified data were pushed aside, and those career officers, such as CIA officer Valerie Plame and Lt. Col. Karen Kwaitowski at DIA, who visibly resisted, had their programs and careers destroyed.
But, the story about the INC-OSP-OVP pipeline has been often told. What still needs to be examined – what avert their eyes from – is the part played by key Members of Congress, including John McCain, in laying the groundwork and funding the Iraq intelligence deception.
John McCain was certainly at the center of this. During the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, he was Chairman or Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, as well as a sitting Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He used his particular credibility and influence with the U.S. military to sell a fraudulent intelligence product.
* * *
Among public office holders, the chief sponsors for Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress in the years leading up to the 2003 invasion was a group of GOP leaders and Congressional Committee heads, including Tent Lott, Newt Gingrich, and John McCain.
In October, 1998, after the CIA cut its funding of Chalabi’s group because it was producing unreliable intelligence and a series of disastrous failed rebellions inside Iraq, Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act, handing the INC $97 million to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The funding attached to this Bill, which John McCain co-sponsored, was based on little more than a vaguely defined plan to carry out “regime change”, a plan that Chalabi scratched out with a group of neoconservatives working at Washington and Jerusalem think-tanks.
* * *
McCain, among others in Congress, repeated without reservation that Saddam Hussein threatened the American heartland with WMD. McCain read the classified version of the October 2002 CIA NIE on Iraq, yet never even hinted at the fact that U.S. intelligence was far from unanimous that Iraq had mobile bioweapons trailers and uranium enrichment facilities claimed by the Bush Administration.
* * *
Furthermore, John McCain betrayed the special trust that many Americans had in him. McCain had a practically unique claim to military expertise combined with a sense of moral certainty about him that many, especially in the military, found unusually compelling. He often repeated in terms of Puritan clarity that the invasion of Iraq was a necessary and just war to “disarm” Saddam, a message that worked like a charm. [John McCain authored a New York Times op/ed on March 12, 2003, a week before the invasion, entitled The Right War for the Right Reasons - New York Times ]
* * *
McCain Sponsored INC Disinformation Unit that Replaced CIA Iraq Intelligence Gathering
How did it come to be that McCain and the rest were seemingly so oblivious to the facts on the ground in Iraq? Much of this melts down to the fact that GOP lawmakers simply refused to believe what they were being told by American intelligence officers and international arms inspectors. They wanted a much more aggressive policy there. The response by McCain and others in Congress was to create an alternative intelligence gathering organization, one that would deliver an alternative reality in Iraq to the one being described by the CIA and IAEA.
* * *
[T]he INC produced vast quantities of flawed “product”, raw intelligence and disinformation which it distributed to “US government recipients”, such as William Luti at the Pentagon Office of Special Plans (OSP) and John Hannah, Vice President Cheney’s special assistant for national security. Another recipient of INC materials was news media, including Judith Miller at the New York Times, who long before developed a close working relationship with Chalabi. On December 20, 2001, Judith Miller published a front-page story in the Times about an Iraqi engineer who claimed to have direct knowledge of twenty secret chemical-, biological-, and nuclear-weapons sites in Iraq. That source was, of course. Chalabi’s protégé, Code-name “Curveball”, and this launched the second Iraq War.
* * *
McCain fully embraced the delusion about cheap and easy Middle East wars, and was a co-sponsor of the Act that led to the creation of a false intelligence factory funded by the U.S. Congress to replace CIA Iraq reporting.
Even after the Iraq WMD deception and failed occupation became clear, McCain has refused to acknowledge that he had been wrong all along about Iraq.
* * *
McCain’s Success at Keeping His image clean is owed to Good PR and Charlie Black.
Five years, 4,000 US dead, and $600 billion later, John McCain continues to trade on his image as a maverick, a sophisticated military thinker and crusading fiscal conservative. In great part, he owes that lingering mirage to another key figure in this story, a powerful GOP strategist, and head of one of Washington’s wealthiest lobbying firm, BKSH Associates, a man with the appropriate name, Charlie Black. By one estimate, Black’s clients have paid him some $100 million for his peculiar talents in engineering wars, and keeping political events on track until they pay off with no-bid contracts.
To grasp the mutually profitable Peter-paid-Paul relationship between John McCain and Charlie Black, read this 2003 account of the role of lobbyists in drumming up federal contracts for “rebuilding” Iraq Lobbyists hustle for reconstruction business in Baghdad (8/7/03) -- www.GovernmentExecutive.com (by Peter H. Stone, originally published in the National Journal).
* * *
By day, Charlie Black represents the corporations that profit from the Iraq War, while by night he clean up after John McCain’s indiscretions that might mar his presidential election effort. Yes, Virginia, Washington is a very small town, and the revolving door is golden. In addition to deserving his own share of the credit for cultivating the careers of the men who started the Iraq War, Black is also one of its biggest profiteers, receiving tens of millions to lobby for a host of companies that have swollen their bottom lines with massive military and intelligence contracts during the era of kleptocratic one-party rule, the period of Bush-Cheney-McCain-Delay-Hastert GOP dominion over America.
* * *
John McCain was very much one of Chalabi’s key mentors in Congress, and along with Joe Lieberman, a vocal purveyor of false information about nonexistent Iraqi WMD. And, it was Congress, as well as the White House, the Pentagon, and the CIA, that was responsible for the Iraq WMD deception.
* * *
The presumptive Republican nominee for President has been a knowing part of an espionage and deception operation that led to the deaths of 4,000 Americans in Iraq. John McCain is a security risk."