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The Heart of the Matter


By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 17 October 2005

Well, I screwed it up real good, didn't I?
- Richard M. Nixon

In a New York Times article published on Sunday, columnist Frank Rich buried the dart right in the center-black. "What matters most in this case," wrote Rich, "is not whether Mr. Rove and Lewis Libby engaged in a petty conspiracy to seek revenge on a whistle-blower, Joseph Wilson, by unmasking his wife, Valerie, a covert C.I.A. officer. What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney."

That last sentence strikes sparks, for it takes us beyond the minutiae of a case surrounding two senior White House aides. However important Rove and Libby may be to this administration, neither represents the end of the story. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, with deliberation and intent, took this country to war in Iraq based on false premises, inflated intelligence and bald-faced scare tactics. They used September 11 against their own people to get what they wanted. That is the heart of this matter. If Fitzgerald's investigation ends at Rove and Libby, it will have ended too soon.

Rich, in his article, details the existence of the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG. "Its inception in August 2002, seven months before the invasion of Iraq," wrote Rich, "was never announced. Its eight members included Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby, Condoleezza Rice and the spinmeisters Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. Its mission: to market a war in Iraq. Of course, the official Bush history would have us believe that in August 2002 no decision had yet been made on that war. Dates bracketing the formation of WHIG tell us otherwise. On July 23, 2002 - a week or two before WHIG first convened in earnest - a British official told his peers, as recorded in the now famous Downing Street memo, that the Bush administration was ensuring that 'the intelligence and facts' about Iraq's W.M.D.'s 'were being fixed around the policy' of going to war."

WHIG, and its intention to sell an unnecessary war to a shell-shocked public, is only half the story. The other half of the manipulative sales team could be found in the neighborhood occupied by the Department of Defense. The Office of Special Plans, or OSP, was created by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld specifically to second-guess and reinterpret intelligence data to justify war in Iraq. Think of it like baseball: the OSP pitched, and WHIG caught.

The OSP was on no government payroll and suffered no Congressional oversight. Their tainted information and interpretations overtopped the Iraq data being provided by the State Department and CIA. The OSP was able to accomplish this thanks to devoted patronage from high-ranking members of the administration, most prominently Vice-President Cheney.

The highest levels of the OSP were staffed by heavy-hitters like Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and William Luti, a former Navy officer who worked for Cheney before joining the Pentagon. When the OSP wanted to intimidate analysts into shaping conclusions to fit the already-made war decision, Cheney went to CIA headquarters on unprecedented visits. Once there, he demanded "forward-leaning" interpretations of the evidence. When Cheney was unable to go to the CIA, his chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, went in his place.

That's it, right there. Mr. Libby may be a target of Mr. Fitzgerald, but no one should forget the trips Cheney personally made to Langley in order to wring war-supporting evidence out of the analysts. He went himself. His fingerprints are all over the scene.

One name that has been lost in the shuffle of history is that of Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the office of Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith until her retirement. Kwiatkowski charged two years ago that the operations she witnessed during her tenure in Feith's office, and particularly those of the OSP, constituted "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress."

"What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline," Kwiatkowski wrote after her retirement. "If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of 'intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense."

According to Kwiatkowsky, the political appointees assigned there and their contacts at State, the NSC, and Cheney's office tended to work as a "network." Feith's office often deliberately cut out, ignored or circumvented normal channels of communication both within the Pentagon and with other agencies. "I personally witnessed several cases of staff officers being told not to contact their counterparts at State or the NSC because that particular decision would be processed through a different channel," wrote Kwiatkowsky.

That "different channel," we now know, was almost certainly WHIG.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson's public attack on Bush for using the now-rubbished Niger uranium evidence, his attack upon the entire rationale for invasion, was a direct and ominous threat to the latticework of disinformation and lies put forth by WHIG and OSP. They didn't attack Wilson's wife because they didn't like her, or because they were bored. They did it because Wilson could have almost singlehandedly dismantled the administration's case for war. They did it to warn any other insiders who might have wanted to talk that there would be serious consequences for public statements. The administration's case for war was championed not by Rove and Libby, but by Bush and Cheney. It was their party, and Wilson was looking to stop the music.

Two questions remain: why would the administration take such a fantastic risk in attacking Wilson, and where are Bush's fingerprints on this thing? Both questions can be answered by another tidbit that has fallen down the memory hole. On May 22nd, 2003, two months after the invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush signed an Executive Order titled "Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Property in Which Iraq Has An Interest."

The so-called "Development Fund for Iraq" was, by the way, one of the most grandiose money-laundering schemes ever devised. All of the profits made from plundering Iraq's oil were to go into this fund, ostensibly for use by the Iraqi people. In fact, this was the clearing-house for payouts to companies like Halliburton and its subsidiary, Kellog Brown & Root.

The May 22 Executive Order reads:

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that the threat of attachment or other judicial process against the Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, and proceeds, obligations, or any financial instruments of any nature whatsoever arising from or related to the sale or marketing thereof, and interests therein, obstructs the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq. This situation constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

I hereby order: Unless licensed or otherwise authorized pursuant to this order, any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process is prohibited, and shall be deemed null and void."

This Executive Order, declaring a national emergency, gave complete and total legal cover to Halliburton and every other petroleum and quasi-petroleum corporation currently operating in Iraq. No one can sue them, no one can touch them, no matter what they may do. By Executive Order, George W. Bush released Halliburton and the others from the need to display any kind of responsibility or legal behavior. Halliburton was removed from the sphere of civilization, and the laws that govern civilization, with the stroke of Mr. Bush's pen.

George W. Bush declared a national emergency in this Executive Order for one reason: to lock down the oil, and to give total legal cover to Dick Cheney's Halliburton, so they could do whatever they wanted to get their hands on it, and to get paid for it. Here we have Bush's fingerprints, and here is the reason for not only attacking Wilson, but for chucking up a war that was not necessary.

The payout.

The Office of Special Plans to the White House Iraq Group, Cheney to Langley and Bush with his Executive Order, a war to get paid and cash money, honey, for Halliburton and friends. Rove and Libby are small fish. If and when they get fried, the stink may well fill the Oval Office. If George and Dick come out of this unscathed, Mr. Fitzgerald may as well have stayed in Chicago.

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William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.

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The U.S. public, preoccupied with the deception and subsequent disaster of the Iraq invasion and by related scandals like "Plamegate", are blind to the enormously bigger deception and disaster unfolding just before their eyes. The stage is set for a chain of events that could lead to nuclear war in the immediate future. If these events unfold, the trigger will be Israel, the target Iran, the nuclear aggressor the U.S.

According to Israel, the U.S. administration, and 99.2 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives, Iran will not be allowed to have access to any nuclear technology, not even in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). No diplomatic options to achieve that goal will remain when Russia and China veto Security Council sanctions, or if the IAEA refuses on Nov. 24 to refer Iran to the Security Council. Military action will occur before Russia ships uranium fuel to Iran (expected early in 2006) and will inevitably lead to the use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. against Iran.

How will it all get started? No matter how much Bush and Cheney want it, the U.S. Senate is unlikely to authorize the bombing of Iranian installations out of the blue. Unless there is some major disturbance in Iraq that can be blamed on Iran, Israel is likely to pull the trigger. It knows how to and has every motivation to do so. Once Israel drops the first bomb on an Iranian nuclear facility, as it did with Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981, there is no return. Bushehr is likely to be the first target; other installations will follow.

Many of Iran's targeted facilities are underground, and U.S. bombs will be needed to destroy them all. Once the U.S. enters the conflict, 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq will be at risk of Iranian missiles with chemical warheads, or of being overrun by Iran's conventional forces streaming into Iraq. According to the Pentagon planning [.pdf], the U.S. will initiate a nuclear confict whenever it suits "U.S. interests" to do so. Nuclear weapons will be used:

- "To demonstrate U.S. intent and capability to use nuclear weapons to deter adversary use of WMD."
- "Against an adversary using or intending to use WMD against U.S., multinational, or alliance forces or civilian populations…"
- "[O]n adversary installations including WMD, deep, hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons or the C2 infrastructure required for the adversary to execute a WMD attack against the United States or its friends and allies"
- "[T]o counter potentially overwhelming adversary conventional forces…"
- "For rapid and favorable war termination on U.S. terms…"
- "To ensure success of U.S. and multinational operations…"

The upshot: a nuclear superpower will have nuked a non-nuclear state that is an NPT signatory and is cooperating with the IAEA, at the instigation of a state that is not an NPT signatory, that reportedly has over 100 nuclear bombs of its own, and that initiated hostilities with an unprovoked act of military aggression.

Welcome to the new world order, where the U.S. can nuke any non-nuclear country at will. Refrain from having a nuclear deterrent at your own risk. All nations that can will become nuclear, others on their way will be nuked, and all-out nuclear war will become an absolute certainty. Bye-bye, world.

SOURCE: Jorge Hirsch, professor of physics, UCSD, published by Information Clearinghouse.

It would seem the "the heart of the matter" is corruption fostered by greed and thus far the general population opposed to these out of control policies simply sit back and wait for a governing body to take action. Isn't there some way we can use our purchasing power to boycott some of these companies affiliated with corporations who are benefiting from the war in Iraq? This could include major media companies, subsidies of weapons manufacturers etc. I would like to see someone organize these boycotts and we the people would be able to hit them in the only spot that seems to register a response...their bottom line.

It is not news that the premises given by the Bush administration for its war in Iraq are false. This has been obvious for some time. What would be news is the real reason for the Bush administration to be so obsessed with Iraq. Can it be possible that the world has forgotten the events of April,1993? Do some research!

Okay, I give. Please tell us what happened in April of 1993. I'm sure I'm not the only one without a clue of what you're talking about.

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