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PRESS RELEASE


Cheney's Whole War-by-Fraud
Strategy Is Now Exposed

Feb. 22, 2004 (EIRNS)—The lid has blown on the outright criminal disinformation campaign, run by Vice President Dick Cheney, to get his dirty little war in Iraq. This promises to be the biggest scandal yet, in the whole sordid "Cheneygate" affair. Over 500 American GIs are dead, another 3,000 are wounded, many with life-altering injuries. At minimum, officially, 15,000 Iraqis are dead, along with scores of Italian, Polish, British, Spanish and other nationalities among the occupation troops. And the whole war was willfully built on a pile of disinformation.

At the same time, the financial crisis will determine the future—the very near future, and candidate LaRouche is warning the population to wake up now. In a brief campaign statement that will be published soon, LaRouche warns voters against choosing candidates the way they "cheer for a sports figure in the arena." We are on the edge of a collapse of the present world monetary-financial system, one more dangerous than what FDR faced in March 1933," says LaRouche. He tells voters, "You are in the arena of a world economic crisis. Don't be a sidewalk superintendent. Act in this election as if your personal future depended upon it. It does."

Dirty Story Has Come Together

Here are the essentials of the story of Cheney's imperial crimes, and how the pieces came together over the past 24 hours. On Friday, the London Daily Telegraph and the Washington Times published the identical article, quoting Ahmed Chalabi, admitting, in effect, that his Iraqi National Congress had funneled disinformation to the United States, to induce an American invasion and ouster of Saddam Hussein. The article began with the blunt statement: "An Iraqi leader accused of feeding faulty prewar intelligence to Washington said his information about Saddam Hussein's weapons—even if discredited—achieved the aim of persuading the United States to topple the dictator." Chalabi, himself, was quoted, gloating, "We are heroes in error. As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful. Our objective has been achieved. That tyrant Saddam is gone, and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important." Chalabi went one step further, taunting, "The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords if [President Bush] wants."

The Telegraph/Times article reviewed several examples of INC-provided disinformation, including the most famous case of the alleged Iraqi mobile biological weapons labs, which turned out to be mobile units producing hydrogen for weather balloons. The source of the later-discredited claims was a major in the Iraqi intelligence service, who had been made available by the INC. "U.S. officials at first found the information credible, and the defector passed a lie-detector test," the story noted. "But in later interviews it became apparent that he was stretching the truth and had been 'coached by the INC.' He failed a second polygraph test and in May 2002, intelligence agencies were warned that the information was unreliable. But analysts missed the warning, and the mobile laboratory story remained firmly established in the catalogue of alleged Iraqi violations until months after the overthrow of Saddam."

The reality is, as Chalabi hinted in his Telegraph/Times comments, offering to "fall on the sword" for Cheney/Bush: The disinformation campaign was "Made in Washington," not in Baghdad, nor in Chalabi's upscale London headquarters. And this can now be proven.

In a discussion with EIR last week, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who served for ten months in the Near East South Asia (NESA) policy shop at the Pentagon, which housed the Office of Special Plans, described how OSP personnel, including Col. William Brunner—a former military aide to then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich—had regularly arranged debriefings of Iraqi defectors—set up through Chalabi and the INC. While CIA and DIA personnel participated in the debriefings, and sent the information to analysts, for cross-checking and evaluation, the OSP unit, led by former Cheney Vice Presidential staffer William Luti, funneled the undigested and unverified information right to Cheney's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby—as if it were fully vetted intelligence. Cheney and Rumsfeld used this fake intelligence to bludgeon President Bush, Secretary of State Powell and others into going to war.

Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski provided her own eyewitness accounts of NESA staff meetings, where Luti boasted that he was taking his marching orders directly from "Scooter," an unprecedented violation of the usually harshly-enforced Pentagon chain of command. Cheney's office was tasking Luti and OSP to go out and dig up whatever disinformation could be found, to sell the war—to the President, the Congress and a duped American public.

Further tightening the noose around Cheney, in June 2002, a Washington representative of the INC sent a letter to the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, identifying Luti and Cheney's deputy chief of staff John Hannah, as two people who directly received the intelligence generated by the INC, under the Information Collection Program. The Information Collection Program established under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, funneled millions of dollars to Chalabi and the INC, to provide defectors and other sources of intelligence to the U.S. government on goings-on inside Saddam's Iraq.

INC Probe Will Bring Cheney Down

So, it was U.S. taxpayers' money that bankrolled the disinformation scheme. In fact, the latest Pentagon budget still includes between $3 million and $4 million dollars to the INC for the Intelligence Collection Program, according to a Knight-Ridder story by Jonathan Landay, Feb. 21, 2004. Landay wrote, "The Department of Defense is continuing to pay millions of dollars for information from the former Iraqi opposition group that produced some of the exaggerated and fabricated intelligence President Bush used to argue his case for war."

Late Friday, Feb. 20, a high-level Washington intelligence source further filled out the picture, confirming that the INC-linked defectors had been prepped to provide specific pieces of tailored disinformation, often in the form of bogus "eyewitness" accounts, purporting to identify locations where they had seen cannisters of chemical weapons, and other components of Saddam's phantom WMD programs. These precise pieces of eyewitness information not only gave Luti the "sexed up" intelligence to feed to Cheney, et al., to argue for war. They gummed up the "official" intelligence process with bogus information that had to be chased down, and which became part of the database from which analysts made judgments about Saddam's weapons. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) reported, over the weekend, that he had recently learned from the CIA that, when UN weapons inspectors, under Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, went to the sites where U.S. intelligence said Saddam had stockpiled WMD, they found nothing. How much of that bogus information came from the Cheney-Chalabi defectors' scam?

There is good reason to believe that some of the Congressional investigators are aware of at least a portion of this story. When, last month, Senate intelligence panel leaders Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), reached an agreement to expand the official probe of prewar intelligence, three areas that were added to the investigation were: intelligence provided by the INC; the role of the OSP and a second Pentagon neocon propaganda shop, the Counterterror Evaluations Group (made up, at one time, of David Wurmser and Michael Maloof); and the uses/abuses of intelligence by senior Bush Administration policymakers.

One document that Senate investigators will certainly wish to review is a September 2003 DIA "internal assessment" which, according to New York Times reporter Douglas Jehl, "has concluded that most of the information provided by Iraqi defectors who were made available by the Iraqi National Congress was of little or no value, according to federal officials briefed on the arrangement." Writing in the Sept. 29, 2003 New York Times, Jehl revealed, "In addition, several Iraqi defectors introduced to American intelligence agents by the exile organization and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, invented or exaggerated their credentials as people with direct knowledge of the Iraqi government and its suspected unconventional weapons program, the officials said... One Defense Department official said that some of the people were not who they said they were and that the money for the program could have been better spent."

A serious probe into this nexus of INC-tutored defectors, the OSP, and the Office of Vice President Cheney, will bring Dick Cheney down. Expect all Hell to break loose over this new "Cheneygate" flank. These bastards will not go quietly, but the evidentiary noose is definitely getting tighter.

Jeffrey Steinberg reporting.