[Marxism] Wash. Times affiliate sees Fitzgerald going after more administration affiliates
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Nov 2 03:04:36 MST 2005
United Press International (the source of this article), when I was a
lad, was one of the basic sources of mainstream bourgeois versions of
the news, along with and with slightly higher standing than AP. It is
now an affiliate of the right-wing Washington Times, which gives the
speculations in this article added significance.
Fitzgerald, who I believe is a punctiliously ethical lawyer and will not
exceed his core mandate by one iota, also seems to be the kind of
Republican who is organically sympathetic to the current attempts to
reconstruct and save the Bush administration, led (IMHO) by former
President George W. Bush.
The investigation into the forged "Nigerian" documents could be defended
insofar as it is linked to the leaking of the name of Valerie Plame as a
CIA operative (something I don't disapprove of and don't think should be
illegal), the "crime" (or, as the liberals like to say "treason") which
he is mandated to investigate.
Given the character of the Washington Times, this may be motivated by
growing fear is that Bush is drifting toward the offer of protection
from his father and aides IF he straightens out and flies correctly from
Some think the appointment of a right-wing zealot to O'Connor's "swing"
seat on the Supreme Court indicates that Bush cannot change course, but
of course Alito can turn out to be a human sacrifice much as Bork turned
out to be for the Reagan administration, giving the liberals some human
flesh to feed on while other policies go forward effectively unopposed.
Bush could be throwing his right-wing base a bone while going forward
with the reconstruction of the administration along lines acceptable to
the forces his the Bush Sr. grouping is recommending.
Actually, not appointing a hard rightist would have been virtually
suicidal at this particular point, totally dissolving his right-wing
base structure. So, despite the New York Times judgement on the
appointment of this beast, I don't think it means that no change of
course will take place.
United Press International - Oct. 23, 2005
Walker's World: Bush at bay
By MARTIN WALKER
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The CIA leak inquiry that
threatens senior White House aides has now widened to
include the forgery of documents on African uranium that
started the investigation, according to NAT0 intelligence
This suggests the inquiry by special prosecutor Patrick
Fitzgerald into the leaking of the identity of undercover
CIA officer Valerie Plame has now widened to embrace
part of the broader question about the way the Iraq war
was justified by the Bush administration.
Fitzgerald's inquiry is expected to conclude this week
and despite feverish speculation in Washington, there
have been no leaks about his decision whether to
issue indictments and against whom and on what
Two facts are, however, now known and between them
they do not bode well for the deputy chief of staff at the
White House, Karl Rove, President George W Bush's
senior political aide, not for Vice President Dick
Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
The first is that Fitzgerald last year sought and obtained
from the Justice Department permission to widen his
investigation from the leak itself to the possibility of
cover-ups, perjury and obstruction of justice by witnesses.
This has renewed the old saying from the days of the
Watergate scandal, that the cover-up can be more legally
and politically dangerous than the crime.
The second is that NATO sources have confirmed to
United Press International that Fitzgerald's team of
investigators has sought and obtained documentation
on the forgeries from the Italian government.
Fitzgerald's team has been given the full, and as yet
unpublished report of the Italian parliamentary inquiry
into the affair, which started when an Italian journalist
obtained documents that appeared to show officials
of the government of Niger helping to supply the Iraqi
regime of Saddam Hussein with Yellowcake uranium.
This claim, which made its way into President Bush's
State of the Union address in January, 2003, was
based on falsified documents from Niger and was
later withdrawn by the White House.
This opens the door to what has always been the most
serious implication of the CIA leak case, that the Bush
administration could face a brutally damaging and public
inquiry into the case for war against Iraq being false or
artificially exaggerated. This was the same charge that
imperiled the government of Bush's closest ally, British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, after a BBC Radio program
claimed Blair's aides has "sexed up" the evidence on
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
There can be few more serious charges against a
government than going to war on false pretences,
or having deliberately inflated or suppressed the
evidence that justified the war.
And since no WMD were found in Iraq after the 2003
war, despite the evidence from the U.N. inspections
of the 1990s that demonstrated that Saddam Hussein
had initiated both a nuclear and a biological weapons
program, the strongest plank in the Bush
administration's case for war has crumbled beneath
The reply of both the Bush and Blair administrations
was that they made their assertions about Iraq's
WMD in good faith, and that other intelligence
agencies like the French and German were equally
mistaken in their belief that Iraq retained chemical
weapons, along with the ambition and some of
technological basis to restart the nuclear and
It is this central issue of good faith that the CIA leak
affair brings into question. The initial claims Iraq was
seeking raw uranium in the west African state of Niger
aroused the interest of vice-president Cheney, who
asked for more investigation. At a meeting of CIA and
other officials, a CIA officer working under cover in
the office that dealt with nuclear proliferation, Valerie
Plame, suggested her husband, James Wilson, a
former ambassador to several African states,
enjoyed good contacts in Niger and could make a
preliminary inquiry. He did so, and returned
concluding that the claims were untrue. In July
2003, he wrote an article for The New York Times
making his mission -- and his disbelief -- public.
But by then Elisabetta Burba, a journalist for the
Italian magazine Panorama (owned by Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi) had been contacted by a "security
consultant" named Rocco Martoni, offering to sell
documents that "proved" Iraq was obtaining uranium
in Niger for $10,000. Rather than pay the money,
Burba's editor passed photocopies of the documents
to the U.S. Embassy, which forwarded them to
Washington, where the forgery was later detected.
Signatures were false, and the government ministers
and officials who had signed them were no longer in
office on the dates on which the documents were
Nonetheless, the forged documents appeared, on
the face of it, to shore up the case for war, and to
discredit Wilson. The origin of the forgeries is
therefore of real importance, and any link between
the forgeries and Bush administration aides would
be highly damaging and almost certainly criminal.
The letterheads and official seals that appeared
to authenticate the documents apparently came
from a burglary at the Niger Embassy in Rome in
2001. At this point, the facts start dribbling away
into conspiracy theories that involve membership
of shadowy Masonic lodges, Iranian go-betweens,
right-wing cabals inside Italian Intelligence and so
on. It is not yet known how far Fitzgerald, in his
two years of inquiries, has fished in these murky
There is one line of inquiry with an American
connection that Fitzgerald would have found it difficult
to ignore. This is the claim that a mid-ranking
Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, held talks with some
Italian intelligence and defense officials in Rome in
late 2001. Franklin has since been arrested on charges
of passing classified information to staff of the
pro-Israel lobby group, the American-Israel Public
Affairs Committee. Franklin has reportedly reached a
plea bargain with his prosecutor, Paul McNulty, and it
would be odd if McNulty and Fitzgerald had not
conferred to see if their inquiries connected.
Where all this leads will not be clear until Fitzgerald
breaks his silence, widely expected to occur this
week when the term of his grand jury expires.
If Fitzgerald issues indictments, then the hounds that
are currently baying across the blogosphere will leap
into the mainstream media and whole affair, Iranian
go-betweens and Rome burglaries included, will come
into the mainstream of the mass media and network
news where Mr. and Mrs. America can see it.
If Fitzgerald issues no indictments, the matter will not
simply die away, in part because the press is now
hotly engaged, after the new embarrassment of the
Times over the imprisonment of the paper's Judith
Miller. There is also an uncomfortable sense that the
press had given the Bush administration too easy a
ride after 9/11. And the Bush team is now on the
ropes and its internal discipline breaking down,
making it an easier target.
Then there is a separate Senate Select Intelligence
Committee inquiry under way, and while the
Republican chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas seems
to be dragging his feet, the ranking Democrat, Jay
Rockefeller of West Virginia, is now under growing
Democratic Party pressure to pursue this question
of falsifying the case for war.
And last week, Congressman Dennis Kucinich,
D-Ohio, introduced a resolution to require the president
and secretary of state to furnish to Congress documents
relating to the so-called White House Iraq Group. Chief
of staff Andrew Card formed the WHIG task force in
August 2002 -- seven months before the invasion of Iraq,
and Kucinich claims they were charged "with the mission
of marketing a war in Iraq."
The group included: Rove, Libby, Condoleezza Rice,
Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and Stephen Hadley
(now Bush's national security adviser) and produced
white papers that put into dramatic form the intelligence
on Iraq's supposed nuclear threat. WHIG launched its
media blitz in September 2002, six months before the
war. Rice memorably spoke of the prospect of "a
mushroom cloud," and Card revealingly explained why
he chose September, saying "From a marketing point
of view, you don't introduce new products in August."
The marketing is over but the war goes on. The press
is baying and the law closes in. The team of Bush
loyalists in the White House is demoralized and
braced for disaster.
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