Sunday, October 14, 2007

THE MAN AND THE WOMAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH

"To us, he [David Albright] was the most credible guy, someone who was able to document something really specific: that is, the role of Turkey in the build-up of the Pakistani nuclear program. Albright told us that Turkey started helping since the very beginning. We didn’t know that. He confirmed that some stuff most likely ended up in Al-Qaeda’s hands. And to us, that was sign that the cycle was complete: we had the Christian fundamentalists, ultra right-wing zionists and the Muslim fundamentalists all in the same bed, because of their hatred of communism."
~ Mathieu Verboud, director, Kill The Messenger.


Here's something very important that my money says you won't see in mainstream American media. When you read it, think of one thing: Sibel Edmonds. From Britain's Guardian:


Rich Barlow idles outside his silver trailer on a remote campsite in Montana - itinerant and unemployed, with only his hunting dogs and a borrowed computer for company. He dips into a pouch of American Spirit tobacco to roll another cigarette. It is hard to imagine that he was once a covert operative at the CIA, the recognised, much lauded expert in the trade in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

He prepared briefs for Dick Cheney, when Cheney was at the Pentagon, for the upper echelons of the CIA and even for the Oval Office. But when he uncovered a political scandal - a conspiracy to enable a rogue nation to get the nuclear bomb - he found himself a marked man.

In the late 80s, in the course of tracking down smugglers of WMD components, Barlow uncovered reams of material that related to Pakistan. It was known the Islamic Republic had been covertly striving to acquire nuclear weapons since India's explosion of a device in 1974 and the prospect terrified the west - especially given the instability of a nation that had had three military coups in less than 30 years . Straddling deep ethnic, religious and political fault-lines, it was also a country regularly rocked by inter-communal violence. "Pakistan was the kind of place where technology could slip out of control," Barlow says.

He soon discovered, however, that senior officials in government were taking quite the opposite view: they were breaking US and international non-proliferation protocols to shelter Pakistan's ambitions and even sell it banned WMD technology.

[ . . . ]

Barlow came to the conclusion that a small group of senior officials was physically aiding the Pakistan programme. "They were issuing scores of approvals for the Pakistan embassy in Washington to export hi-tech equipment that was critical for their nuclear bomb programme and that the US Commerce Department had refused to license," he says. Dismayed, he approached his boss at the CIA, Richard Kerr, the deputy director for intelligence, who summoned senior State Department officials to a meeting at CIA headquarters in Langley. Barlow recalls: "Kerr tried to do it as nicely as he could. He said he understood the State Department had to keep Pakistan on side - the State Department guaranteed it would stop working against us."

[ . . . ]

US foreign aid legislation stipulated that if Pakistan was shown to be procuring weapons of mass destruction or was in possession of a nuclear bomb, all assistance would be halted. This, in turn, would have threatened the US-funded war in Afghanistan. So there were conflicting interests at work when Barlow got a call from the Department of Energy. "I was told that a Pakistani businessman had contacted Carpenter Steel, a company in Pennsylvania, asking to buy a specific type of metal normally used only in constructing centrifuges to enrich uranium. His name was Arshad Pervez and his handler, Inam ul-Haq, a retired brigadier from the Pakistan army, had been known to us for many years as a key Pakistan government operative." Barlow and US customs set up a sting. "Pervez arrived to a do a deal at a hotel we had rigged out and was arrested," Barlow says. "But ul-Haq, our main target, never showed."

Trawling through piles of cables, he found evidence that two high-ranking US officials extremely close to the White House had tipped off Islamabad about the CIA operation. Furious, Barlow called his superiors. "The CIA went mad. These were criminal offences," Barlow says. The State Department's lawyers considered their position. They argued that an inquiry would necessitate the spilling of state secrets. The investigation was abandoned just as Reagan made his annual statement to Congress, testifying that "Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device."

But the Pervez case would not go away. Congressman Stephen Solarz, a Democrat from New Jersey, demanded a closed congressional hearing to vet the intelligence concerning Pakistan's bomb programme. Barlow was detailed to "backbench" at the meeting, if necessary offering advice to the White House representative, General David Einsel (who had been chosen by Reagan to head his Star Wars programme). An armed guard stood outside the room where the hearing was held.

Barlow recalls that Solarz got straight to the point: "Were Pervez and ul-Haq agents of the Pakistan government?" Without flinching, Einsel barked back: "It is not cut and dried." It was a criminal offence to lie to Congress, as other hearings happening on the same day down the corridor were spelling out to Colonel Oliver North, the alleged mastermind behind Iran-Contra. Barlow froze. "These congressmen had no idea what was really going on in Pakistan and what had been coming across my desk about its WMD programme," he says. "They did not know that Pakistan already had a bomb and was shopping for more with US help. All of it had been hushed up."

Then Solarz called on Barlow to speak. "I told the truth. I said it was clear Pervez was an agent for Pakistan's nuclear programme. Everyone started shouting. General Einsel screamed, 'Barlow doesn't know what he's talking about.' Solarz asked if there had been any other cases involving the Pakistan government and Einsel said, 'No'." Barlow recalls thinking, " 'Oh no, here we go again.' They asked me and I said, 'Yes, there have been scores of other cases.' "

The meeting broke up. Barlow was bundled into a CIA car that sped for Langley. It was a bad time to be the US's foremost expert on Pakistan's nuclear programme when the administration was desperate to prove it didn't exist. Shortly after, Barlow left the CIA, claiming that Einsel had made his job impossible.

[ . . . ]

In January 1989, he was recruited by the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD) at the Pentagon to become its first intelligence analyst in WMD.

[ . . . ]

Still optimistic, still perhaps naive and still committed to the ideal of thwarting the Pakistan programme, Barlow convinced himself that his experience in the CIA was untypical, the work of a handful of political figures who would now not be able to reach him. When he was commissioned to write an intelligence assessment for Dick Cheney, defence secretary, giving a snapshot of the Pakistan WMD programme, he thought he was making headway. Barlow's report was stark. He concluded that the US had sold 40 F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in the mid-80s - it had been a precondition of the sale that none of the jets could be adapted to drop a nuclear bomb. He was convinced that all of them had been configured to do just that. He concluded that Pakistan was still shopping for its WMD programme and the chances were extremely high that it would also begin selling this technology to other nations. Unbeknown to Barlow, the Pentagon had just approved the sale of another 60 F-16s to Pakistan in a deal worth $1.4bn, supposedly with the same provison as before.

"Officials at the OSD kept pressurising me to change my conclusions," Barlow says. He refused and soon after noticed files going missing. A secretary tipped him off that a senior official had been intercepting his papers. In July 1989, Barlow was hauled before one of the Pentagon's top military salesmen, who accused him of sabotaging the new F-16 deal. Eight days later, when Congress asked if the jet could be adapted by Pakistan to drop a nuclear bomb, the Defence Department said, "None of the F-16s Pakistan already owns or is about to purchase is configured for nuclear delivery." Barlow was horrified.

On August 4 1989, he was fired. "They told me they had received credible information that I was a security risk." Barlow demanded to know how and why. "They said they could not tell me as the information was classified." All they would say was that "senior Defence Department officials", whose identities were also classified, had supplied "plenty of evidence".

[ . . . ]

The Pentagon officials who were responsible for Barlow's downfall would all be out of government by 1993, when Bill Clinton came into the White House. In opposition they began pursuing an aggressive political agenda, canvassing for war in Iraq rather than restraining nuclear-armed Pakistan. Their number now included Congressman Donald Rumsfeld, a former Republican defence secretary, and several others who would go on to take key positions under George Bush, including Richard Armitage, Richard Perle and John Bolton.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz headed the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which concluded in July 1998 that the chief threat - far greater than the CIA and other intelligence agencies had so far reported - was posed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea: the future Axis of Evil powers. Pakistan was not on the list, even though just two months earlier it had put an end to the dissembling by detonating five nuclear blasts in the deserts of Balochistan.

It was also difficult not to conclude that Islamist terrorism was escalating and that its epicentre was Pakistan. The camps that had once been used to train the US-backed mujahideen had, since the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, morphed into training facilities for fighters pitted against the west. Many were filled by jihadis and were funded with cash from the Pakistan military.

It was made clear to the new president, Bill Clinton, that US policy on Pakistan had failed. The US had provided Islamabad with a nuclear bomb and had no leverage to stop the country's leaders from using it. When he was contacted by lawyers for Barlow, Clinton was shocked both by the treatment Barlow had received, and the implications for US policy on Pakistan. He signed off $1m in compensation. But Barlow never received it as the deal had to be ratified by Congress and, falling foul of procedural hurdles, it was kicked into the Court of Federal Claims to be reviewed as Clinton left office.

When the George Bush came to power, his administration quashed the case. CIA director George Tenet and Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, asserted "state secrets privilege" over Barlow's entire legal claim. With no evidence to offer, the claim collapsed. Destroyed and penniless, the former CIA golden boy spent his last savings on a second-hand silver Avion trailer, packed up his life and drove off to Bear Canyon campground in Bozeman, Montana, where he still lives today.

Even with Barlow out of the picture, there were still analysts in Washington - and in the Bush administration - who were wary of Pakistan. They warned that al-Qaida had a natural affinity with Pakistan, geographically and religiously, and that its affiliates were seeking nuclear weapons. Some elements of the Pakistan military were sympathetic and in place to help. But those arguing that Pakistan posed the highest risk were isolated. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were in the ascendant, and they returned to the old agenda, lobbying for a war in Iraq and, in a repeat of 1981 and the Reagan years, signed up Pakistan as the key ally in the war against terror.

Contrary advice was not welcome. And Bush's team set about dismantling the government agency that was giving the most trouble - the State Department's Nonproliferation Bureau. Norm Wulf, who recently retired as deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, told us: "They met in secret, deciding who to employ, displacing career civil servants with more than 30 years on the job in favour of young, like-thinking people, rightwingers who would toe the administration line." And the administration line was to do away with any evidence that pointed to Pakistan as a threat to global stability, refocusing all attention on Iraq.

The same tactics used to disgrace Barlow and discredit his evidence were used again in 2003, this time against Joseph Wilson, a former US ambassador whom the Bush administration had sent to Africa with a mission to substantiate the story that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material to manufacture WMD. When Wilson refused to comply, he found himself the subject of a smear campaign, while his wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA agent. Libby would subsequently be jailed for leaking Plame's identity (although released on a presidential pardon). Plame and Wilson's careers and marriage would survive. Barlow and his wife, Cindy's, would not - and no one would be held to account. Until now.


Sibel's side of the story, told by John Stanton and picked up by Cryptome:


Religious types like to say that “God/Allah works in mysterious ways.” Interestingly, thanks to September 11, 2001, it appears that such a God/Allah may have been at work to expose some of the demons in American government and business, and their counterparts at work around the world. Who would have thought that Sibel Edmonds would encounter a lot of archived and/or then current documentation flowing through the intelligence pipeline that exposed criminal activity across the board by an array of conniving characters.

American, Turkish and Pakistani operations (and history), planned and unplanned, were, perhaps, uncovered by her in the brief but heady days of worldwide cross-intelligence agency sharing following 911. Imagine the treasure trove of finds!

The actors in this drama include cultural and semi-legitimate groups like the American Friends of Turkey/American Turkish Council (and affiliates and chapters); the Atlantic Council; American (CIA), Turkish (MIT) and Pakistan (ISI) intelligence agencies; Pentagon intelligence operatives like USAF Major Douglas Dickerson and Jan Malek Can Dickerson; former Turkish ministers like Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz under investigation for corruption; Turkish-run companies like Giza Technologies of New Jersey, implicated and then cleared of WMD proliferation charges**; and US officials Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

As an aside, US defense contractors--like Textron, Lockheed Martin and Halliburton ­figure in this story too as they, with US government approval, have regularly exhibited at defense weapons expos in Turkey, Pakistan, and elsewhere for decades. Why China and Iran are vilified as of late for being legitimate participants in these Expos there and here in the USA Homeland remains an intriguing question. It’s interesting to note that MSNBC reported that Cheney’s big visit to China in 2004 included marketing Westinghouse’s nuclear reactors to China. No surprise there as US nuclear technology has been marketed to the world over the years by Cheney and Rumsfeld (the latter in North Korea) to include North Korea.

But go figure. Buying some conventional weapons capability and basic nuclear generation technology from dullard US defense contractors is one thing. The real question is this: How did Pakistan and Turkey escaped [sic] US scrutiny while developing nuclear weapons and Turkey helped pay for them with drug money and technology?


And from Sibel Edmonds herself:


Another well-known and documented case involves Pakistan. Over two decades ago Richard Barlow, an intelligence analyst working for then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney issued a startling report. After reviewing classified information from field agents, he had determined that Pakistan, despite official denials, had built a nuclear bomb. In the March 29, 1993 issue of New Yorker, Seymour Hersh noted that “even as Barlow began his digging, some senior State Department officials were worried that too much investigation would create what Barlow called embarrassment for Pakistan.” Barlow's conclusion was politically inconvenient. A finding that Pakistan possessed a nuclear bomb would have triggered a congressionally mandated cutoff of aid to the country, and it would have killed a $1.4-billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Islamabad. A few months later a Pentagon official downplayed Pakistan's nuclear capabilities in his testimony to Congress. When Barlow protested to his superiors, he was fired. A few years later, the Executive Branch would slap Barlow with the State Secrets Privilege.

As we all now know, Pakistan provided direct nuclear assistance to Iran and Libya. During the Cold War, the U.S. put up with Pakistani lies and deception about their nuclear activities, it did not enforce its restrictions on Pakistan's nuclear program when it counted, and as a result Pakistan ended up with a U.S.-made nuclear weapons system. Yet again, after 9/11, the Bush administration issued a waiver ending the implementation of almost all sanctions on Pakistan because of the perceived need for Pakistani assistance in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, who ironically were brought to power by direct U.S. support in the 1980s in the first place.

Weiss, in the May-June 2004 issue of the Bulletin states: “We are essentially back where we were with Pakistan in the 1980s. It is apparent that it has engaged in dangerous nuclear mischief with North Korea, Iran, and Libya (and perhaps others), but thus far without consequences to its relationship with the United States because of other, overriding foreign policy considerations--not the Cold War this time, but the war on terrorism.” He continues: “But now there is a major political difference. It was one thing for Pakistan, a country with which the United States has had good relations generally, to follow India and produce the bomb for itself. It is quite another for Pakistan to help two-thirds of the "axis of evil” to get the bomb as well.”


Of course, oodles of stuff on Pakistan, Turkey, nuclear technology, and all the dirty players in this mess are archived at Luke Ryland's Kill The Messenger blog.

Okay, so tell me again: Who are the real terrorists??

1 comment:

Alex said...

Consider this, too http://www.samsonblinded.org/news/muslim-world/pakistan