We Have Met The WMD Terrorists, And They Are US

Well, here comes a new entry in the Captain Renault "I am shocked, shocked to hear of this" file. It turns out that Jose Rodriquez and the CIA are not the only ones that Cheney and Bush have ordered to destroy critical material evidence the subject of investigations into international terror cases. Nope; of course not. They have put their grubby little thumbs to the screws on the Swiss as well. From the startling new reporting in today’s New York Times:

The president of Switzerland stepped to a podium in Bern last May and read a statement confirming rumors that had swirled through the capital for months. The government, he acknowledged, had indeed destroyed a huge trove of computer files and other material documenting the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran.

The files were of particular interest not only to Swiss prosecutors but to international atomic inspectors working to unwind the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani bomb pioneer-turned-nuclear black marketeer. The Swiss engineers, Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, were accused of having deep associations with Dr. Khan, acting as middlemen in his dealings with rogue nations seeking nuclear equipment and expertise.

The United States had urged that the files be destroyed, according to interviews with five current and former Bush administration officials. The purpose, the officials said, was less to thwart terrorists than to hide evidence of a clandestine relationship between the Tinners and the C.I.A.

Yet even as American officials describe the relationship as a major intelligence coup, compromises were made. Officials say the C.I.A. feared that a trial would not just reveal the Tinners’ relationship with the United States — and perhaps raise questions about American dealings with atomic smugglers — but would also imperil efforts to recruit new spies at a time of grave concern over Iran’s nuclear program.

So the prosecution and trial of the Tinner group, and related avenues into the depths of the spiderweb of influence and dealings of AQ Khan is lost. Good thing that our good allies against terror, the Pakistanis, have their thumbs on AQ Khan and are getting to the bottom of how Khan’s "rogue" network was able to operate. Eh, not so much. Now, we know that in the Bush Administration, all policy and interaction with Pakistan begins and ends with Dick Cheney. Kind of makes you wonder whether the Cheney Administration is behind the curious deal to let AQ Khan run free in life without even so much as having ever been debriefed as to what all he and his network had done to proliferate nuclear weapons and technology.

Go figure; the US and the long dark arm of Cheney looks to be leveraging the spring of AQ Khan too. From Gareth Porter via CommonDreams:

But the Bush administration chose to help Musharraf cover up that inconvenient fact. According to CIA Director George Tenet’s memoirs, in September 2003, he confronted Musharraf with the evidence the CIA had gathered on Khan’s operation and made it clear he was expected to end its operations and arrest Khan.

The following January and early February, Khan’s house arrest, public confession of guilt and pardon by Musharraf was accompanied by an extraordinary series of statements by high-ranking Bush administration officials exonerating Musharraf and the military of any involvement in Khan’s activities.

That whole scenario had been “carefully orchestrated with Musharraf”, Larry Wilkerson, then a State Department official but later Colin Powell’s chief of staff, told IPS in an interview last year. The deal that had been made did not require Musharraf to allow U.S. officials to interrogate Khan.

But the Bush administration apparently conveyed to the Pakistani military after that episode that it now expected the Musharraf regime to deliver high-ranking al Qaeda officials — and to do so at a particularly advantageous moment for the administration. The New Republic magazine reported Jul. 15, 2004 that a White House aide had told the visiting head of ISI, Ehsan ul-Haq, that “it would be best if the arrest or killing of any HVT [high value target] were announced on 26, 27 or 28 July.” Those were the last three days of the Democratic National Convention.

The military source added, “If we don’t find these guys by the election, they are going to stick the whole nuclear mess up our a**hole.”

Just hours before Democratic candidate John Kerry’s acceptance speech, Pakistan announced the capture of an alleged al Qaeda leader.

Wow. Yet another Captain Renault moment presents itself. Jeebus, is there any significant terror plot or network in the world that we are not either some type of clandestine part of or, alternatively, haven’t botched the prosecution of through torture, rendition and other immoral/illegal behavior? It is a rhetorical question. Donald Rumsfeld once famously mused about whether we even have the metrics to know whether we are preempting more than is being created when it comes to terrorism. I don’t know what kind of metrics and optics Rummy views through, but it is damn hard to contemplate any set that would yield a positive answer.

The masterminds behind 9/11 and al Qaida, bin Laden and Zawahiri, run free, the purveyors of nukes to Iran, Libya, North Korea, possibly Syria and who knows what other states and/or entities, AQ Khan and the Tinners, run free. You have to question whether the US, through the Cheney/Bush Administration, really wants to curtail these modalities of terror as opposed to merely reaping the giant whirlwind of profit from the constant chase. The Europeans have some questions too. Again, from the NYT article:

But in Europe, there is much consternation. Analysts studying Dr. Khan’s network worry that by destroying the files to prevent their spread, the Swiss government may have obscured the investigative trail. It is unclear who among Dr. Khan’s customers — a list that is known to include Iran, Libya and North Korea but that may extend further — got the illicit material, much of it contained in easily transmitted electronic designs.

The West’s most important questions about the Khan network have been consistently deflected by President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, who resigned last Monday. He refused to account for the bomb designs that got away or to let American investigators question Dr. Khan, perhaps the only man to know who else received the atomic blueprints. President Bush, eager for Pakistan’s aid against terrorism, never pressed Mr. Musharraf for answers.

“Maybe that labyrinth held clues to another client or another rogue state,” said a European official angered at the destruction.

The Swiss judge in charge of the Tinner case, Andreas Müller, is not terribly happy either. He said he had no warning of the planned destruction and is now trying to determine what, if anything, remains of the case against Friedrich Tinner and his sons, Urs and Marco.

Oh, wait, there is one more little part of this sordid story that is relevant to the denizens of this blog, and the expertise of the headmistress. So, what exactly were the Tinner clan doing in relation to the CIA? Well, one of the things involved the clandestine counterproliferation of nuclear weapons:

In 2000, American officials said, Urs Tinner was recruited by the C.I.A., and American officials were elated.

After the Tinners were arrested, Swiss and other European authorities began to scrutinize their confiscated files and to conduct wide inquiries. European investigators discovered not only that the Tinners had spied for Washington, but that the men and their insider information had helped the C.I.A. sabotage atomic gear bound for Libya and Iran. A former American official confirmed the disruptions, saying the technical architect of the operation was “a mad-scientist type” who took pleasure in devising dirty tricks.

An American intelligence official, while refusing to discuss specifics of the sabotage operation or the Tinners’ relationship with the C.I.A., said efforts to cripple equipment headed to rogue nuclear states “buy us some time and space.” With Iran presumably racing for the capability to build a bomb, he added, “that may be the best we can hope for.”

Well, that sounds suspiciously like "Operation Merlin" doesn’t it? In case you don’t recall Operation Merlin, Marcy wrote a wonderful piece about it and a fellow with a curious history known as Jerry Doe. The full background on Merlin is described in James Risen’s book "State of War", excerpted at length here in the Guardian.

One last parting shot, because I know you are already honing in on this question. Yep, it sure is amazing, isn’t it, that the Cheney/Bush Administration is willing to go to such extreme lengths to protect covert CIA assets that they will scuttle the Swiss, European and IAEA investigation of the biggest nuclear proliferation ring in the world, yet they blithely, and with no remorse whatsoever, out Valerie Plame and burn Brewster-Jennings and it’s assets and contacts? Shocking. But true. I’ll hazard a guess that Marcy will be stopping by to ante in on this story. Oh, and make sure you click the links and read both the NYT and CommonDreams pieces in full, they are worthy of a full read.

  1. bobschacht says:

    Awesome! As a pinch-hitter for Our Fair Lady, you’ve hit a home run here, I think.

    Tell me, in a game of spy vs. spy, complete with double agents and double-crosses, would you put your money on Cheney and his stooges, or on the Iranians, or on the I.S.I and A.Q. Khan? Oh, and what about the chance that the ISI and Iran are actually in cahoots?

    My bet is that the Iranians and the ISI took Cheney to the cleaners. And the evidence you have provided will come in handy in adding up the score.

    Bob in HI

    • skdadl says:

      I second that Awesome! I’m also close to seconding Bob’s bet that the ISI and the Iranians are in cahoots, or at least that they sometimes find their interests dovetailing.

      I don’t know how journalists can still write nonsense like this:

      President Bush, eager for Pakistan’s aid against terrorism, never pressed Mr. Musharraf for answers.

      Bush and Cheney definitely needed or thought they needed Musharraf for a few things, notably their move on Iran, but I seriously doubt that fighting terrorism was ever even on the list.

  2. jackie says:

    I love it!!! More dots connecting everyday
    I’ve opened up the Dugg, but it’s not showing up here yet…

  3. JimWhite says:

    Thanks, bmaz. Maybe I’m a little dense, here, but it seems to me that if the CIA really was only involved in sabotaging the information and materials being sent to Iran, then they would want the record preserved. By destroying it, we now don’t know if they were helping or hurting Iran. Did I miss something?

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I’m guessing the part your missing is the part where the CIA figured out that the Iranians had outfoxed them, again.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        I think it was Pat Lang who wrote something to the effect that the Iranians are playing chess and our guys barely know the rules for checkers.

  4. Minnesotachuck says:

    Great post, bmaz! Just when you think there couldn’t be more rocks with snakes under them . . .

  5. Loo Hoo. says:

    Unthinkable. And I know Nancy’s busy, but perhaps she can find twenty minutes or so next week to set the table.

  6. wavpeac says:

    It is truely amazing the widespread “control” that this administration had over the world. The whole world.

    I do not think they would have enjoyed this control without 9/11.

  7. klynn says:

    This puts the March 3, 2002 vote in Switzerland to join the UN, thus effectively ending the country’s history of neutrality, in new light. The US dispatched folks from the Council On Foreign Relations to go and lead a “join the UN” movement in Switzerland. They showed up at a Swiss peace conference which was to focus on remaining neutral…funny timing isn’t it.


    And to think the Swiss were even bullied by an anthrax scare just before the vote…

    Thanks for addressing this bmaz…Simply amazing…I knew we had to be using our intelligence with the Swiss to cause this monumental change.

    No wonder the President of Switzerland was so eager to move a national vote to join the UN and end Swiss neutrality. He was in on/had to know of – the Swiss CIA involvement. So he violated his country calling of neutrality before the vote.

  8. darms says:

    Definitely some overlap w/ the Sibel Edmonds story. href=”http://letsibeledmondsspeak.blogspot.com (html no workee) Wow. Makes Iran-Contra look like the work of a bunch of pikers.

    The powers-that-be missed the powers & profits that came with the cold war so much they squandered their fellow citizens’ blood & treasure in order to create a new ‘cold war’.

    And the best that ‘we the people’ can do in the face of all this is merely another damned election between Tweedledum and Tweedledee? Wow.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      Also, how much does this connect to Brewster Jennings and Valerie Plame? If thier biz was counterproliferation and Merlin was a counterpro operation, they may very well have been involved.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        It defies logic that there aren’t connections.
        The nature, and number, of those connections is what our hive-mind still seeks to suss out, no?

        Nancy Pelosi’s, “You don’t know the half of it” really resonates with what bmaz has put together. Which raises the question: is someone extorting or intimidating Pelosi/Reed? (Yeah, okay, I’m sure that I’ll be jeered out of here forever, but it’s worth considering… but this stunning piece that bmaz has assembled seems to me to underscore the fact that law enforcement – investigation, assembling evidence, prosecution… is the ONLY way to identify, understand, and eradicate this kind of criminal, amoral behavior.)

        Clearly, this is international and the ability of BushCHENEY to control the FBI investigative process and DoJ prosecutions would be critical to the successful implentation of a neofeudalist strategery, would it not…? (Am I missing something…?)

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Apologies — clearly, this neofeudalist Black Nukes Marketeering is international: Neofeudalist Ferengi free-market capitalists, if you will.

          The FBI is restricted to US crimes, is it not? In other words, they can’t investigate the Tinners or Musharaff, can they…?

          Man, not only must this tie in with Valerie Plame and Brewster Jennings, it also has to tie in (probably in multiple ways) with EW’s Ghorbanifar Meetings Timeline. (BTW: is that link ever going to be fixed?!)

  9. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Ditto bobschacht @1.

    …So do the neofeudalists seek to intimidate the rest of the world by controlling and selling nuke materials and technologies? (What a bizarre international collection of Ferengi’s the neofeudalists must be…) No wonder the Ferengi mindset detests any form of regulation or accountability…

    Paging Sibyl Edmonds…

    Note to Nancy Pelosi: it seems polonium and its related energy sources tend to overcook things; the sauce is nearly boiled away. Urgent call to set the table…!

    Scary stuff.
    Bmaz, you’ve outdone yourself.

    RE: ‘ferengi’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferengi

    • wavpeac says:

      Loved the ferengi reference. So fitting.

      Roddenberry was/is the Jules Verne of the 21st century.

      I pray that humanity can take his humanistic values and apply them to a world that is in deep need of this kind of “understanding”.

  10. ohmercy says:

    Thank You.

    I don’t know how to connect all the dots but as I was reading this I kept thinking about Valerie Plame and what might connect her outing to this. Was there possibly more than just the Joe Wilson story which provided a convenient cover somehow?

    My jaw is once again on the floor. Its a good think I don’t really get all the implications or i might need hospitalization.
    arrgghhkksshb v’jgioreqfvGIJQ;!!!

    no matter how many times you think what more could they possibly have done, what more does Nancy need for the dinner party more (and worse) comes out.
    She has that table in deep storage,probably in that little cell they have for inherent contempt.

    Thanks bmaz.

  11. darms says:

    Digging through the links at my post above I found this, from a 2006 Democracy Now! post @ http://www.democracynow.org/20….._hampering

    Over the past year Swiss officials have requested at least four times that the Bush administration share documents and evidence related to Khan’s nuclear black market. But the United States has never responded.

    Swiss officials maintain it needs U.S. assistance in order to convict three Swiss men accused of helping AQ Khan set up a secret Malaysian factory to make components for gas centrifuges.

    & bmaz, thanx once again for yet another excellent (yet scary & depressing) post.

  12. spoonful says:

    This exact story about the destruction of evidence at the urging of US was published 5 months ago on Wayne Madsen report.

  13. Arbusto says:

    Just shows how a true democracy and capitalistic haven that is Switzerland, can deal with the Mafia, embezzlers, tax evaders, Tyrants and the CIA for fun and profit. Truly the neo-liberal capital of the world! I’m sure the Swiss are proud.

  14. R.H. Green says:

    “…never pressed Musharraf for answers.” I see where Bush did counsel M to get immunity before agreeing to resign. So far I haven’t heard whether he got it, but I don’t think Bush was concerned for his friend’s welfare.

  15. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Tinners had spied for Washington, but that the men and their insider information had helped the C.I.A. sabotage atomic gear bound for Libya and Iran. A former American official confirmed the disruptions, saying the technical architect of the operation was “a mad-scientist type” who took pleasure in devising dirty tricks.

    An American intelligence official, while refusing to discuss specifics of the sabotage operation or the Tinners’ relationship with the C.I.A., said efforts to cripple equipment headed to rogue nuclear states “buy us some time and space.” With Iran presumably racing for the capability to build a bomb, he added, “that may be the best we can hope for.”

    To bad you destroyed the evidence now all we know is that American officials asked for evidence linking the CIA to these Swiss guys be destroyed.
    Who gave the order and when do we put them on trial? Someone big had to lean on the Swiss to destroy evidence. Or someone claiming to speak for someone big who had proof enough of this claim to convince the Swiss.
    Also who in our government can give an order like that?
    If Bush knew then we should impeach if he didn’t know then he is incompetent and we should impeach.
    Cheney should also be impeached.
    After all selling fake Nuclear designs is one thing, selling working designs is the kind of stupid that gets the Death Penalty Treason in time of war means the Death Penalty.

    smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran.

    Smuggling Nuclear tech to Iran the same Iran we are threatening to attack and start a war with because they now want to build weapons after we showed them how IS TREASON.

  16. klynn says:

    And we cannot forget Switzerlands’s role in the April 2002 trial of Dr. Wouter Basson, Dr. Death, a chemical weapons expert and head of the germ warfare program in the South African army during the Apartheid era.

    Swiss intel officials had put Basson in contact with global drug dealers and intel from US, Russia, Isreal, Iran, ME and Asian countries … they all feared being exposed as part of labyrinth network contacts between Aparteid South Africa and chemical and biological arms trade.

    I imagine this ties into this picture as well…

    The London Times covered this extensively in 2002 but I am having a difficult time finding articles to link here.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      they all feared being exposed as part of labyrinth network contacts between Aparteid South Africa and chemical and biological arms trade.

      Given EW’s reports that Scooter Libby was fixated on bioweapons, this has a nasty tinge to it.

      Does anyone else find this odd… FIVE sources… speaking to NYT:

      The United States had urged that the files be destroyed, according to interviews with five current and former Bush administration officials. The purpose, the officials said, was less to thwart terrorists than to hide evidence of a clandestine relationship between the Tinners and the C.I.A.

      Now, does “CIA” mean the Porter Goss/Dusty Foggo crowd…? Or does it mean some other faction? (Presuming there are factions within CIA and that Goss and Foggo are perhaps ‘marketeering’ on the side… just a random guess; no evidence and no links).

      FIVE sources…?
      Someones wanna talk, methinks.

  17. wavpeac says:

    Didn’t mean to imply we should take on the Ferengi rule of acquisition. Instead was thinking more of the rules of engagement for different life forms etc. I loved the fact that Roddenberry took into account all the different values that a life form could have, the idea of sentient beings. Oh I miss Roddenberry. The Ferengi’s we would have to figure out how to live with, and nuetralize.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Same thought has crossed my mind on occasion, although given his apparent obsessions on Caspian oil and pipelines it’s probably not the case. But he does seem to play right into their hands — and he handed them the greatest gift of a generation when he implemented US torture policies via DoJ/Criminal Division (Chertoff, then Fisher) -> OLD, and via DoD (Rumsfeld, Haynes, Feith…).

      Putin must be pleased.

  18. plunger says:

    Nice post, BMAZ!

    You’re walking right up the edge of what can only be described as THE massive global conspiracy. Are you ready to “break on through to the other side?”

      • plunger says:

        Maybe we should follow the breadcrumbs where they lead.

        I know exactly where they lead, and trust me, very few want to know (or even have the capacity to grasp the magnitude of) the entire truth.

        “Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he lives is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one’s self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.”

        Michael Rivera

        • darms says:

          Truth – what a quaint concept. My problem w/going into tin-foil hat land is that one can never verify anything, instead it’s conspiracy piled onto conspiracy which is no damn good for figuring out anything. Someone above mentioned Wayne Masden reported the document/file destruction 5 months ago. Well, that’s nice & if true, that would be the very first time I’ve seen a ‘Wayne Masden news item’ confirmed by a reputable independent source ever. Problem is, the Sibel Edmunds/Valerie Plaime/A.Q. Khan ‘tinfoil’ unfortunately seems to make sense via Occam’s Razor as it seems to connect the dots nicely while not requiring cognitive dissonance on the part of the reader nor requiring one to ignore common physics & science principles as is definitely not the case with much of the 9/11-WhatReallyHappened? trash.

          Would Dick Cheney’s bunch be capable morally of doing something like this? Absolutely, the ‘Team B’ garbage, what is proven fact wrt Iran-Contra & the verified use of torture by these guy’s surrogates shows they would & could. Did they? WTH knows. And why hasn’t a ‘deep throat’ come forward, is there no one w/a conscience and an honest, sincere concern for the ‘rule of law’ left in King George’s court?

          • bmaz says:

            There you go, an excellent way to calibrate things. It is impossible to deny linkage of a lot of different things, but when you start to extrapolate out to far, the ground underneath you just falls out. As to Madsen, I don’t read his site, but he every now and then, from what I know and am aware, does have good information. The problem is that you cannot separate it from all the bad. In that regard, it is somewhat analogous to information/confessions obtained through torture. It is not that it never works, it is that there is no way to know or separate the small bits of good usable info from the greater part that is not; thus rendering it all unreliable.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Switzerland cherishes its major companies. That’s major defined not just in sales or number of employees, but also comprising firms engaged in high-volume exports or tourism, those using novel or important technologies, and those involving “Swiss brands”. Nuclear engineering firms fit at least two of those criteria, the Swiss brand for high-precision engineering and important technologies, and another criteria not listed above — secrecy.

    To appreciate just how protective Switzerland is of its companies, consider that the Swiss regard unauthorized disclosures of their secrets — routine corporate espionage or theft of trade secrets — as treason to the state, and, hence, to the people of Switzerland.

    A major Swiss industry, of course, is banking, which today requires 24/7 access to global, high-speed telecoms for the instant transfer of funds and banking information. Much of that is controlled by or heavily influenced by the US. If the Chinese (and Saudis) have us over a barrel because they hold our foreign debt, we have the Swiss over a cash register because we can disrupt that secure telecoms access.

    This.Case.Is.A.Big.Deal. As usual with the shoot-first-think-later-(if at all) Cheney administration, its haste, disregard of consequences and costs, and its incompetence imperils underlying relationships as much as it does the transaction at issue. Here, that’s the alleged use of a Swiss cut-out to send real or corrupted nuclear technology to those we publicly claim are our mortal enemies, purportedly in exchange for help in apprehending specific enemies this administration uses to measure the size of its cajones. Given their success to date, I’d say this administration has been taking steroids for decades.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Brewster Jennings? Given Cheney’s penchant for secrecy and for duplicating the resources of other agencies — his staff’s size and talent exceeds the president’s (unprecedently so), his duplicate NSC staff and Rummy’s DoD duplicated “intelligence activity”, his own network circumvents the president’s and the bureaucracy’s formal chain of command — I’d venture that Brewster Jennings was a threat because it could have uncovered the parallel universe in which Cheney operates. (Pity that Cheney’s efforts have such malignant effects in this one.) It’s demise could only have been deemed favorable collateral damage in his war on Joe Wilson.

    That’s a description of an executive at war with his own government and the people whose general welfare he was elected to promote. I’ll bet he even smokes cigars like Gen. Jack D. Ripper.

    • lllphd says:

      snickers and giggles here, earl; we’re watching the same movie, it seems, replete with the cigars.
      (see first half of my post at 45)

      didn’t i see somewhere that brewster-jennings had intercepted wmd’s going INto iraq in spring 03? sibel or the like? anyone watching that happen from the INside had to know it was all about scamming the public into believing they were already there, raising all manner of questions for anyone watching from the inside.

      that scenario has haunted me since plame was outed; i suspected she had more to do with mid-east wmd’s than some cold war honeypot role. when i learned her beat, it was just way too coincidental to ignore. i so wish plame would find her oath to her country more powerful than her oath to the agency, and talk.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Purity of Essence and Group Captain Mandrake are all that stand between us and Plan R. **

        If the CIA was using the Tinners in its attempts to track and corrupt the efforts of would be traffickers and developers of nuclear weapons, then logically, Plame’s group, if not Plame, would have been involved.

        Yet, Cheney ordered her outing and therefore shut down Brewster Jennings, exposing its team and their contacts to potential termination with extreme prejudice. The choice seems to be that either Brewster Jennings was welcome collateral damage, for reasons as yet undisclosed, or it was considered expendable, a minor cost in kneecapping a credible domestic critic of Cheney’s war in the run up to his 2004 re-election [sic] bid.

        The Swiss reputation for secrecy and security is well-deserved. Destroying the Tinner documents, therefore, seemed unnecessary, if the goal was simply to keep them out of the hands of terrorists (unless with typical Swiss understatement, the Swiss include in that term the United States).

        It does seem to have been done at the behest of the Americans, at the long term cost of more than simple arm twisting, which suggests it was done for reasons similar to those that dictated the destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes and the loss of millions of White House e-mails. Presumably, anyone personally involved with the Tinners had already been forced to assume they’d been fed tainted goods and that their plans might be outed and revised their actions accordingly. Hence, this is political damage control to protect American officials. Another clean-up task before Big Dick leaves office?

        The idea that Cheney will “retire”, even if to a new mansion a stone’s throw from the CIA’s front gate in Langley, rather than remain actively involved more than Kissinger, seems far-fetched. Seems to me removing his security clearance in January 2009 would be a prudent step.

        • 4jkb4ia says:

          In other words Brewster Jennings is the wrong question and I fell for it. You don’t have to have the same front company to be doing the same work. So then the message of outing Plame is that no matter how much you know and what your relationships are, you can be sacrificed and the great project will go on without you. In fact Cheney and Plame were probably working on different great projects.

        • lllphd says:

          i so agree. which is why i suspect that brewster-jennings, in their assigned efforts to track trafficking of wmd’s, intercepted a shipment INto iraq, thwarting plans to plant them in their designated locations, for public news consumption. to me, that would be the only logical explanation for destroying such a huge operation with history and enormous financial investment and so on. of course, the big dick did not consult with anyone about doing this, and novak was advised against using the name by cia, but what do we know about who in the cia knew what dick was up to and when.

          you’re right to question why this would be done just to silence one ‘librul whiner;’ so much lost in terms of agency investment, so much risk. dick had to want her silenced, as well.

          also agree that cheney won’t retire, unless he is ‘retired’ into a jail cell.

          • R.H. Green says:

            “…Novak was advised against using the name by cia…” Can you provide me a reference for this information. The topic has been of interest to me since I first became aware of this “Plamegate” thing. I kept wondering why not use the name, Mrs Wilson, if the goal was to blunt the husband’s criticism.

            • bmaz says:

              CIA official Bill Harlow, upon Novak calling in to ask about Plame prior to publishing his articles, in a direct phone conversation with Novak, told him that he should not run with the material and that it would be damaging to the Company and it’s programs.

              • R.H. Green says:

                Thanks. I gather from this comment, the warning was about the entire story, not just the name to be used ?

                • bmaz says:

                  Jeebus, I can’t remember exactly what the words were (Marcy could), but that is about right I think because if Harlow had gone into any specificity, it would have been admitting to more than he could on a classified/covert program; so yeah that is my general recollection.

                  • lllphd says:

                    bmaz, see my 89 quote from novak’s column. at least, this is what novak printed as happening.

                    harlow’s account differs, as far as i know, only in that he has said he checked her status after the first conversation, and then called novak back to reiterate that her name should not be used:

                    • R.H. Green says:

                      Thanks to both of you(you and bmaz). I don’t yet know how to do things like this for myself, like what descriptors to use. I was aware of Novak’s cover story on this, as well as his claim to have found the name,Plame, in Who’s Who. It is there;I looked it up, but the use of “Plame” instead of Valerie (or Mrs) Wilson didn’t add up (to me) in the overall notion of outing(is that really a word?) her identity as a move to discredit her husband’s published Op-ed. I began to suspect, that she was known to someone from the time before her 1999 marriage, which then led to wondering how she was known, that is, in what capacity. It seems that many others have either speculated along those same lines, or a lot more empty spaces have been infilled since then.

            • lllphd says:

              zowee, that’s one for the headmistress.

              but, if memory serves, novak put that very statement (in so many words) in a column.

              googled, wiki:

              In “The CIA Leak,” published on October 1, 2003, Novak describes how he had obtained the information for his July 14, 2003, column “Mission to Niger”:
              During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA’s counter-proliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: “Oh, you know about it.” The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue. At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson’s wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause “difficulties” if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson’s wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.[52]

              • bmaz says:

                That is correct, but I think Harlow’s version was slightly different; whatever I was recollecting, correctly or incorrectly, would have been from Harlow, not Novak.

          • darms says:

            Yeah, I remember reading reports of a failed mission to plant WMDs in Iraq during the first few days of the invasion. Problem was, those reports were mostly all from fringe sites so while I read them and stored the info I didn’t trust it and certainly didn’t advocate it as being true. Remember Al_Qa’qaa, however? 380 tons of missing HE? Coming soon to an IED near you! (You’ll have to search http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page yourself as the blog software gags & spits on the apostrophe)

            Don’t you wish we could read the history books a hundred years from now? (Assuming there’s anyone still alive to write ‘em…)

            • lllphd says:

              hey, me too, but only sort of; it seemed to be there was some reliability to the source, but i didn’t bookmark it (or if i did, it was lost in the great hard drive crash of last spring).

              in any case, i decided to google this too, and guess what i came up with. larisa was on this back then, and – as luck or providence would have it – just ran across a confirmation from none other than scott ritter:


              the way the story rolls, it doesn’t lead one to any role from brewster-jennings. but, it doesn’t rule it out, either

              • bmaz says:

                Risen’s book, at least to me took it pretty near, if not all the way to, Valerie, whether that implies Brewster-Jennings or not too, i have no idea.

  21. jackie says:

    Some good background stuff here

    US oil pipeline politics and the Russia-Georgia conflict

    ‘Vice President Dick Cheney had served as CEO of oil infrastructure company Halliburton and as a member of Kazakhstan’s Oil Advisory Board, a group set up by the Kazakh government after the fall of the USSR that included the CEOs of oil majors Chevron and Texaco. In the 1990s, Cheney had also used his political pull, as former US secretary of defense in the administration of the senior George Bush, to arrange interviews between Halliburton executives and the Azeri government.’

  22. jackie says:

    Re; Switzerland and Cheney connections. The Ambassador to Switzerland was his guest/witness the weekend he ‘accidentally’ shot his lawyer/friend.

    • bmaz says:

      And in conjunction with Citizen92 @59 – an old and valued friend of the blog emailed this to me earlier on the Willeford angle:

      Your latest article, on the Swiss Government’s Investigation into the AQ Khan Network and CIA Asset, Tinner, made me remember who was with Cheney during the famous Hunting Incident – US Ambassador to Switzerland, Pam Willeford. At the time, if I recall correctly, it was put out that Willeford was involved in dealing with Swiss Pharma on pending US legislation, but honestly that never really seemed to make sense.

      The two events – the Swiss/Tinner/AQ Khan investigation from Feb 04, and Cheney’s tragic hunting boondoggle with Willeford in Feb 06 – may not be related, but then again, maybe so.

      While I share EW’s theory that prior to the hunting trip Cheney got rattled over the “Insta-Declassification” Issue (as in Bush made it clear to Roachman that he was “legally on his own” on the Plame De-classification,) otoh maybe Pam told Darth something over lunch that really shook him up.

      Here are some links, as supplements to EW’s articles:

      Cheney Hunting Incident: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D…..g_incident

      Pam Willeford: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela_Willeford

      • jackie says:

        More dots connecting, lighting up like little LEDs in a Star-Brite picture..
        Cheney is not as untouchable as he believed..:)
        By the way, I have learned so much from your posts, Thank-you

      • Citizen92 says:

        Willeford replaced Bush fundraiser Mercer Reynolds in the ambassador job in ‘03 – but she did not have the credentials or the fundraising prowess common to someone who would be appointed to serve the US in the Swiss Federation. No, maybe by ‘03, with the AQ Khan cards now on the table Cheney realized he needed an open channel to Bern?

        Also keep in mind the tableau of the shooting – the Amstrong Ranch. One could easily dismiss the Armstrong clan as Bush’s major supporters in Texas – but they were/are so much more than that. Katharine Armstrong, the ranch’s owner, is the daughter of Anne Armstrong.

        recentlyDeceased matriarch, Anne Armstrong, was a major player in the Ford Administration, a VP shortlistee for the 1976 race, and a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Board from 1981-1990. She had way more history with Cheney than with Bush Jr.

        I’ve never understood why Wileford was at the ranch or part of that elite hunting party.

  23. R.H. Green says:

    With more regard to following breadcrumbs, this does not entail cowardice, nor doing nothing. Action in this areana is dangerous, and only should be taken by those armed with facts, and thorough analysis. This is adult responsible behavior, as contrased to merely bellowing into the atmosphere as to the enormous magnitude of one’s fear.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Good reminder to the casual. This case involves hot issues that have cost lives and ruined careers. It is not a reality show, plot from a novel, or film about your favorite anti-hero. It is very high stakes poker, with deadly consequences.

  24. lllphd says:

    ohmercy, i’ve thought for a long time that cheney’s outing of plame was a twofer, shutting wilson up and shutting plame down.

    i had these vivid images of cheney and his little band of maniacs toasting their shots and lighting up their cigars after realizing they could spank both of them at once, wilson for exposing their public lies and plame for thwarting their private crimes. like W’s ‘trifecta,’ they likely thought they’d died and gone to heaven.

    i’ve also thought for a long time that the machinations we keep trying to figure out have leapt beyond our old world of nations model and shot right through those boundaries into a world of competing and conniving corporations. these corporations use nations and their resources as pawns, not the other way around, in order to maintain their existence otherwise independent of governments, and certainly beyond threat of them.

    now that we have these mercenary armies working on behalf of governments like US, corporations need no longer to bow to the facade of using governments’ militaries to protect them and “the national interest;” they can just do what they damn well please, with impunity, slapping some tacky lipstick slogan on the pig to avoid rioting peasants.

    as long as the masses are appeased/imprisoned/stupefied/impoverished or otherwise silenced, the corporatocracy can operate like this with impunity. god and the devil know nobody, not even a wildly strong democratic congress, is gonna stop them.

    (which leads us to the question both gandhi and our founding fathers posed: how can a government govern those who are not cooperating? our task then, is to stop cooperating. and this runs far far deeper than protesting and writing incisive blogs. we actually to have to stop consuming what the corporations are pushing. to take a line from the enemy itself, we really do have to starve the beast. the difference here is the difference in the beast. for neocons, it’s the government, which has served to hinder (through the application of our constitution and justice, once upon a time once in a while) their greedy and soulless lust for power; for us, the monster is the greedy soulless bastards.

    minimize, localize, humanize.)

    i really must find someone who can extract this damn soapbox from the soles of my feets.

    • R.H. Green says:

      “…to starve the beast.” Well put; reminds me of Tim Leary’s exhortation to “drop out”. The whole idea rests upon noting the differece between seeing ourselves as citizens, rather than in the consumer role to which we’ve been cast. The beast feeds on our money.

      • lllphd says:

        thanks, and yes, the beast feeds on our money. but in order to do this, it must also encourage our own greed. snake with the apple.

        as the man says, we have met the enemy….

    • Citizen92 says:

      ohmercy, i’ve thought for a long time that cheney’s outing of plame was a twofer, shutting wilson up and shutting plame down.

      What Wayne Madsen wrote “Going Blind in Iran“, circa September 17-18, 2006:

      However, Ney had also stumbled across incriminating evidence tying top Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, to the WMD proliferation network — the same intelligence discovered by covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her Brewster Jennings & Associates (BJ&A) network in their investigation of arms smuggling routes through Cyprus, South Africa, Turkey, and former Soviet Central Asian states. Zayat’s money laundering reportedly coincided with BJ&A’s investigation of WMD money laundering and sanctions-busting activities in Switzerland, Cyprus, and the Isle of Man. Ney’s links to the Middle East arms bazaar also provided the CIA with an important backchannel into Tehran, Damascus, and Baghdad — a backchannel not wanted by the neocons who were anxious to bomb all three capital cities.

      The CIA (BJ&A) was about to bite its own tail (the Tinners) in Switzerland? Cheney had to shut that down by taking out BJ&A (and settling a score with Wilson as the ‘twofer’)?

      Ney had to go to the can because he had his own channel the the neocons didn’t want?

  25. Drumman says:

    Does anybody know what happened to the load new comments thing? Or is it just my old computer does not pick it up?

    • bmaz says:

      Both that and the new post advisory thingy have been disabled for a while now as we sort out some issues that arose from having so many high traffic blogs under the same umbrella. As you all have noticed, things have been much improved on the stability front the past couple of weeks. That is no coincidence. There are some really good people working their butts off behind the scenes to make this enterprise go. And they are getting everything sorted out slowly and correctly so that we have a stable and fully integrated platform for the long term future. The absence of those features bugs us too, trust me, but all is being made good.

  26. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Further tendrils on the ‘Cheney, Richard B.’ aspect of this thread.

    Just up at TPM, new update on Cheney helping the corrupt Toobz Stevens get an oil pipeline in AK, and the interesting activities of one “...Andrew Lundquist…who had worked as the Bush-Cheney campaign’s energy expert in 2000 [and who was later executive director of Cheney’s energy task force before going to work as a lobbyist for BP].
    So quick question: Will Lundquist be traveling with Cheney? Or is he already in Ukraine…?


    Original Newsweek item: http://www.newsweek.com/id/154916?from=rss

    Re: lllphd — are we watching a system that has moved so far beyond The Nation State that we have little chance to rein it in? Or that nation states acting alone don’t have the power to do it; new institutions need to be devised. Or institutions like Congress fundamentally renewed and revitalized…?

    Well, the FBI certainly have no shortage of work ahead of them. Now, they need to be allowed to do their jobs. We’ll see whether THAT happens… (here’s hoping that Scooter Libby lying to the FBI p*ssed off a whole lotta agents…)

    • lllphd says:

      wow, well-posed questions.

      i was just popping off about how i think, largely through this ‘globalization’ move (which, i also think, was merely public justification for what has been going on for centuries, but hugely the past one), international corporations have gained so much power from using government coverage (military, legislation, etc.) that they really don’t need governments anymore. i also think this is why terrorism has emerged so loudly, in response to these corporations just muscling into countries and stripping their resources and subjugating their populations to a level and kind of poverty they never knew before. this is such abject humiliation, such as one only sees from an invading and occupying force. yet, you can’t see the ‘borders’ of such entities, there are no declarations of war and virtually no ‘laws’ that limit their powers to do these things (the capitalist religion has seen to that zeitgeist), and no courts really to hear your grievances, not to mention no real geographical locations to target with military action. how does one howl against this grand abstraction?

      so no surprise that the response has been so guerilla, harkening back to our own inception, which was in so many ways really about freedom from the east india company’s grip. identification with the oppressed is all it takes to sign up, and voila, the response is an abstract howl against the abstract symbol of american imperialism, that conveniently supplies the abstract corporate entities with their needed enemy for a war against the abstract noun of terrorism. no wonder the fbi is chasing its own tail trying to convince us it can investigate itself.

      this all sounds pretty abstract, i know, but the more i watch what cheney and his ilk have done and – importantly – continue to do as if they’ll always be in power, it seems to me that controlling this country and shifting the ability to control this country are all part of their agenda to have completely unfettered corporate control over all peoples everywhere. this is how they read the constitution, like an ayn rand libertarian who believes in the darwinian rule of power over anyone who gets in the way of, oh yeah, MY freedoms.

      even the latest mukasey insistence on domestic spying looks more to me like these powerful businesses wanting to be able to stem ‘extremism’ (remember that meme; watch for its revival soon) wherever it may arise. all they need to do now is find the justification.

      so yeah, longwinded way to say, yeah, it’s beyond the power of nation-states (don’t we know already that those in power are really under the influence if not outright control of these international megalamonsters?) to rein in. i honestly do not think we have any prayer but to pull out the very rug that supports them; stop consuming.

      if any of us took just one day to think about what we rely on now that was not even heard of a century ago, we could then begin to realize what we can in fact actually live without.

      sheez, sounding like the 60s hippy i was, but there’s even more substance to the notion now. this beast must be destroyed, and i do believe it now has so much power – power that we contribute to every time we buy a pineapple or plane ticket or CD – the only way to destroy it is to starve it.

      the quicker the better.

      of course, the planet may well decide she’s had enough of the beast before we do. and she won’t mess around with whining about life without cell phones and weed whackers. we’ll just hear this loud rumble, then she’ll sneeze, and it’ll all be over.

      • bobschacht says:

        Once it became the case that half a dozen international corporations had more assets than half of the countries of the world, George Orwell’s vision is shown to be only slightly askew: He prophesied that businesses would take over countries. But why bother, if governments can be made to do your bidding?

        In the modern era of globalization, we need a whole new vocabulary. In addition to traditional national governments, and super-sized international corporations, we also have NGOs that are also bigger than many small countries. There is indeed a Brave New World out there, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand who the players are. It is like a game of, say, rugby, only the players don’t wear uniforms, and there may be more than two teams on the field at any given time. You’d need a very special score card to have any idea what was going on, let alone who was “winning.”

        Bob in HI

        • lllphd says:

          orwell’s nightmare, and we’re livin’ it, absolutely.

          i like the rugby analogy, but i’d go so far as to add that it’s more than just one game on the field, the concept of teams keeps getting muddied cuz so many players play the ‘winning’ side, and no refs. hell, there don’t seem to be any rules!

          so as far as i can tell, all will be losers.

  27. Citizen92 says:

    Former US Ambassador to Switzerland Pamela Willeford (October 03 – September 06) was one member of Cheney’s ill-fated February 2006 hunting party at the Amstrong Ranch in Armstrong, TX.

    At the time, there was speculation that the reason Cheney tried to keep the whole thing secret was because the two were having a liaision.

    Willeford was not a mega-fundraiser as is characteristic for someone who serves the US in Bern – instead she was more of a Bush family friend/crony.

    Maybe she was less of a crony and more of a “fixer” for the Admin? As the Post article (linked above) points out she was out of the office a heck of a lot, but was also considered the ‘hardest working’ politically appointed ambassador.

  28. 4jkb4ia says:

    Two things about the story:

    The two CIA agents worked under a front company called “Big Black River Technologies” with a fake address on I Street in Washington. If I had any energy I could try to Google if this company has any connection to Brewster Jennings. But the name is clearly similar to Blackwater so I will save somebody pointing it out.

    It was heavily emphasized that if it had not been for the Tinners, we would not have cracked the AQ Khan ring at all. We would not have known that he was selling things to Libya and forced him to be exposed. But there is still mystery about how much Musharraf and the Pakistanis knew about what Khan was doing. Having the evidence destroyed protects Pakistan as well as sending a message that we are satisfied to have information as long as it remains secret. And that doesn’t require a new level of cynicism: that is no secret.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Agree with your critique of waynemadsenreport.com. Distinguishing wheat from chafe is difficult. Formerly, it was useful for expanding notions of where the horizon might be, beyond the self-referential Village voices. It was less helpful for telling those not “in the business” what the facts were. Much on that site is now paid subscription only, which makes it less handy than more consistently reliable news elsewhere, such as the commentary by Chalmers Johnson and Scott Ritter.

    I’d like to hear Ritter’s take, especially, on the Tinners’ role in tracking or interfering with the proliferation of nuclear technology, and the notion of Switzerland destroying its files at the behest of the CIA or the OVP.

    (Oh, and you can be sure that a back-up copy of whatever the Swiss said they destroyed is in the hands of a trusted gnome somewhere; it’s just no longer available to the examining magistrate. The Swiss are paid to protect your secrets, and do it well; protecting Switzerland, however, is a civic duty, not a business.)

  30. Sara says:

    For those wanting to dig into the case — essential material is Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins recent book, “The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the man who sold the world’s mosr dangerous secrets. And How we could have stopped him.” Came out in late 2007, and probably is still in hardback in bookstores. I expect it to soon come out in paperback.

    All our Presidents, including and since Jimmy Carter have been involved in overlooking Pakistan’s Nuclear Program and proliferation activities. Carter and Brzezinski traded putting on the eye shades, and eliminating some sanctions that had been put on Pakistan in 1977 over Nuclear activity, with Zia, in exchange for access to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border so as to deliver arms to the Afghani resistance. The policy of “looking the other way” however was never the policy of CIA — and Nuclear Jihadist teases out a good deal of the CIA program of following the AQ Khan networks. And yes, without naming names, there is a description of a Blond Female CIA Officer recruiting and meeting with the Tinners, and with Swiss Bankers who were part of the AQ Khan setup.

    What seems to me to be new in the NYTimes piece that isn’t in Frantz and Collins’s book is the information about CIA being involved in altering the materials the Khan network shipped to Libya and Iran (and perhaps N. Korea) so they would malfunction. I still think the piece missing in action on the Khan saga is whether or not he sold a system to the Saudi’s. I think it highly likely, and wouldn’t be surprised at all if some of those Swiss records didn’t include information on that aspect of his business. But Tinners was only part of the Khan supply network — there are many more parts, all of which were being carefully watched by the CIA while at the same time the Presidential policy was to “look the other way” given the deals made with Pakistan.

    For Frantz, this book is something of a continuation of his earlier book, “A Full Service Bank: How BCCI Stole Billions around the World” — BCCI being the bank founded in Pakistan, that among other things helped finance Pakistan’s Nuclear Projects and the AQ Khan Network. The founder of BCCI eventually made major contributions to the Carter Center and used his plane to help Jimmy Carter move around Africa on some of his early projects (Carter eventually broke ties with him), but as we also know, there were plenty of BCCI connections to others in Carter’s circle such as Bert Lance and Clark Clifford. Likewise there are many connections to the GHWBush and GWBush in Texas Banking circles.) It is not surprising that neither major league Democrats nor Republicans have been all that forthcoming on the ACTUAL practice and policy vis a vis Khan or the Pakistani Nuclear enterprise.

  31. Citizen92 says:

    One other bit, from your observation above, quoting:

    Your latest article, on the Swiss Government’s Investigation into the AQ Khan Network and CIA Asset, Tinner, made me remember who was with Cheney during the famous Hunting Incident – US Ambassador to Switzerland, Pam Willeford. At the time, if I recall correctly, it was put out that Willeford was involved in dealing with Swiss Pharma on pending US legislation, but honestly that never really seemed to make sense.

    “Swiss Pharma” is apparently Prionics AG of Schlieren. I read somewhere that Prionics might have been working on something for BSE (”mad cow”). But not the point.

    According to the Senate lobbyist disclosure database, Prionics over time has been lobbied the Senate and was repped by:

    – Baker Botts (Jim Baker’s firm) – specifically Jeffrey Stonerock (who’s conected to another interesting story here about Baker’s flouting of the Iraq oil embargo)

    Gage LLC (Leo Giocometto)

    – Katharine Armstrong (Austin, TX address)

    – Karen Johnson (same Austin, TX address as Katharine Armstrong)

    – Will Nixon

    Two addresses appear in these filings.

    Prionics AG (Baker, Gage and Nixon filings)
    Wagistrasse 27a
    CH-8952, Shileren, Switzerland

    Prionics (Armstrong and Johnson filings)
    1250 Oakmeade Parkway
    Sunnyvale, CA 94085

    Now if, in fact, Willeford was in some sort of official role defining a pharma company, and she just happened to be at the ranch of that pharma company’s paid lobbyist (and Cheney was there too) well, that’s interesting.

  32. stryder says:

    Guess what Ledeen is up to

    Midnight in Marbella, our dinner at Antonio’s, down in the hyper-chic port area where the King of Saudi Arabia anchors his modest yacht this time of year, ended a bit after midnight. Great food, plenty expensive (but Barbara and I are guests, so we simply gasp, it is painless), but the dorada with garlic is terrific, the fresh fruit spectacular, and the passing scene is dazzling. It seems every rich kid within a thousand miles is here, and the quantity of clothing is inversely proportional to the class standing of the kid. The richer you are, the less you wear.


  33. bmaz says:


    Coming soon to your favorite blog: A special post on a subject you all love by a very special guest poster.

  34. lllphd says:

    damn, haven’t gotten to risen’s book yet.

    but it’s good to know; makes sense of my hunches.


    and, yet another slip under…. like postcards passing in the fog….