Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #535 Death Trap, Part III – Italian Fascism, Bogus Intelligence and the Iraq War

Recorded Novem­ber 20, 2005
REALAUDIO

NB: This stream con­tains both FTR # 535 and an older pro­gram, FTR #514 Con­ver­sa­tion with John Lof­tus About the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, orig­i­nally aired and blogged on June 21, 2005. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast. See also FTR #527 Death Trap Part II &
FTR #471 Death Trap.

In a sup­ple­ment to FTR#’s 471, 502, 527, this pro­gram presents infor­ma­tion about the bogus intel­li­gence used by the United States to jus­tify the inva­sion of Iraq. This broad­cast high­lights the role of the fascist-influenced Ital­ian intel­li­gence agency SISMI in the gen­er­a­tion of the Niger yellow-cake ura­nium canard that gen­er­ated the Valerie Plame case. As noted, dur­ing the run-up to the Iraq war, Ital­ian for­eign min­is­ter Gian­franco Fini—the head of Italy’s fas­cist polit­i­cal party (the Alleanza Nationale) and a coali­tion part­ner of prime min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlusconi—met in Switzer­land with lead­ers of Euro­pean fas­cist polit­i­cal par­ties, includ­ing Achmed Huber, a direc­tor of the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s Bank Al Taqwa. The broad­cast asks the hypo­thet­i­cal ques­tion: Did Fini and his cohorts work to delib­er­ately lure the US into a trap in Iraq, using the SISMI to help plant the bait? In that con­text, the pro­gram also reviews numer­ous other con­nec­tions between the milieu of the Alleanza Nationale, Berlus­coni and the P-2 Lodge and the Al Qaeda/Al Taqwa/Muslim Broth­er­hood nexus. The pro­gram con­cludes with a look at an Al Qaeda defec­tor who was believed to be delib­er­ately mis­lead­ing his Amer­i­can inter­roga­tors with infor­ma­tion point­ing in the direc­tion of Iraq. All of this infor­ma­tion is viewed against the back­ground of Mr. Emory’s work­ing hypoth­e­sis that the Al Qaeda/Al Taqwa/Muslim broth­er­hood milieu and the allied Under­ground Reich was lur­ing the US into a trap that would enmesh the US in a costly, drain­ing war with the world’s Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion. Note that this pop­u­la­tion will have access to WMD tech­nol­ogy as a result of the inva­sion of Iraq (see FTR#527.)

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of the “dooms­day” arrange­ment between Al Qaeda and Sad­dam, in which Iraq would give tech­ni­cal know-how about WMD’s to bin Laden’s forces, which would then act as a “back-up” unit in the event of an Amer­i­can over­throw of Sad­dam; review of the numer­ous con­nec­tions between the Al Taqwa nexus and the milieu of the P-2 Lodge, Sil­vio Berlus­coni and the Alleanza Nationale.

1. Unfor­tu­nately, both the pro-war and anti-war sides have got­ten it wrong with regard to Saddam’s rela­tion­ship with Al Qaeda. Although there is no indi­ca­tion that Iraq or Sad­dam were involved with 9/11, the two enti­ties did have a “dooms­day back-up” arrange­ment. Sad­dam and bin Laden worked out an arrange­ment in which Iraq—in order to pro­vide for a pay­back capa­bil­ity if the U.S. ousted him—gave infor­ma­tion about WMD’s to bin Laden’s peo­ple. Al Qaeda, in turn, was to act as a back-up unit for Saddam’s Iraq, strik­ing at the United States if it knocked out Sad­dam. Of course, pre­cisely that sce­nario has tran­spired. The United States has walked into this “Death Trap,” and a dis­turbingly large per­cent­age of the Mus­lim and Arab com­mu­ni­ties appear ready to join the con­flict. “It appears, how­ever, that this ver­sion is the pub­licly admis­si­ble one, the one that can pass polit­i­cal muster. Accord­ing to the same sources, there was another sce­nario more. In keep­ing with the cal­cu­lat­ing men­tal­ity of Sad­dam Hus­sein and his secret ser­vices. In 1998, after declin­ing all offers that had been made to them through offi­cial diplo­matic chan­nels, those ser­vices are reported to have estab­lished a secret oper­a­tional ‘con­nec­tion’ with bin Laden in Manila and in Kash­mir. It was indeed dif­fi­cult for Iraq to ignore an Arab like Osama bin Laden who so effec­tively humil­i­ated the Amer­i­cans.’ Colonel Khairal­lah al Takir­iti, the brother of the head of Mukkhabarat, the intel­li­gence ser­vices, is reported to have been named case offi­cer for the con­nec­tion. The arrest of two Mor­roc­can asso­ciates of bin Laden in Rabat on Novem­ber 11, 1998, made it pos­si­ble to estab­lish to estab­lish the link with cer­tainty. Accord­ing to West­ern sources, the Iraqi ser­vices have sought to secure the assis­tance of bin Laden’s net­works, in case Iraq were again to be attacked by the United States, in order to carry out attacks against Amer­i­can tar­gets in Arab coun­tries.”
(In the Name of Osama Bin Laden; by Roland Jacquard; Copy­right 2002 [SC]; Duke Uni­ver­sity Press; ISBN 0–8223-2991–3; pp. 112–113.)

2. “Accord­ing to Arab sources, in antic­i­pa­tion of a fore­see­able rever­sal of alliances in Kabul, bin Laden had been in dis­creet con­tact since Sep­tem­ber 2000 with asso­ciates of Oudai Hus­sein, another of Saddam’s sons; the ground for agree­ment was the anti-Israeli and anti-American bat­tle. Bin Laden and the Iraqis are said to have exchanged infor­ma­tion about chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal weapons, despite the oppo­si­tion of some of the Bagh­dad lead­er­ship, includ­ing Tarik Aziz” (Ibid.;p. 113.)

3. Much of the pro­gram focuses on an Ital­ian media report that the SISMI intel­li­gence agency in that coun­try was the source of the bogus claim that Sad­dam Hus­sein was seek­ing yellow-cake ura­nium from Niger in order to pur­sue the devel­op­ment of nuclear weapons. This spu­ri­ous claim was one of the main pieces of false intel­li­gence used to jus­tify the move into Iraq. Much of the broad­cast exam­ines the pos­si­bil­ity that Ital­ian fas­cist ele­ments asso­ci­ated with the P-2/Alleanza Nationale milieu may have delib­er­ately par­tic­i­pated in the decep­tion. Note that this milieu is directly descended from Mussolini’s fas­cists. For more about the P-2 Lodge and the AN Party of Gian­franco Fini, use the search func­tion. As will be seen below, Fini, Prime Min­is­ter Berlus­coni (a for­mer mem­ber of the P-2) and other fig­ures in the P-2/Alleanza Nationale milieu are linked to the Al Taqwa com­plex, involved with—among other things—the fund­ing of Al Qaeda. As seen in FTR#413, the Al Taqwa com­plex also han­dled some of the illicit funds spir­ited out of Iraq by Sad­dam Hus­sein. Is it pos­si­ble that fig­ures involved with Al Taqwa may have intro­duced Al Qaeda and Baathist ele­ments, so that they could con­clude the “dooms­day” agree­ment dis­cussed above? “Behind the CIA leak scan­dal lies a bizarre trail of forged doc­u­ments, an embassy break-in and inter­na­tional decep­tion that helped pro­pel the United States to war in Iraq. While Amer­i­can pub­lic atten­tion focuses on spe­cial coun­sel Patrick Fitzgerald’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the leak, U.S. and Ital­ian law­mak­ers are prob­ing a series of bogus claims of Iraqi ura­nium pur­chases in Africa that were the open­ing chap­ters in a saga that resulted in the dis­clo­sure of the iden­tity of CIA offi­cer Valerie Plame.”
(“Seeds of Leak Scan­dal Sown in Ital­ian Intel­li­gence Agency” by Robert Col­lier; San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle; 10/30/2005; p. E3.)

4. “In the past week, the respected, left-of-center Ital­ian daily La Repub­blica pub­lished a three-part series of inves­tiga­tive arti­cles claim­ing that doc­u­ments pur­port­ing to prove that Sad­dam Hus­sein was seek­ing yel­low­cake ura­nium in Niger had been forged by an Ital­ian free­lance spy and then were fed by the Ital­ian intel­li­gence agency to eager offi­cials in Wash­ing­ton and Lon­don. On Capi­tol Hill, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­tic leader, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., are ask­ing for pub­lic hear­ings into the forg­eries and their role in Bush admin­is­tra­tion claims that Hus­sein was devel­op­ing nuclear weapons.” (Idem.)

5. “The Ital­ian Par­lia­ment is sched­uled to hold hear­ings about the La Repub­blica alle­ga­tions on Thurs­day, with intel­li­gence chief Nicolo Pol­lari expected to come under heavy grilling. The arti­cles relied heav­ily on sources in the Ital­ian spy agency, the Mil­i­tary Infor­ma­tion and Secu­rity Ser­vice, known as SISMI. They pro­vide a tan­ta­liz­ing account — cred­i­ble to some observers, base­less spec­u­la­tion to oth­ers — of how Pres­i­dent Bush and Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair were snook­ered by fab­ri­cated intel­li­gence about Hussein’s alleged nuclear pro­gram. The alle­ga­tions in La Repub­blica’s arti­cles lead far into the murky depths of Italy’s intel­li­gence agen­cies, a realm of con­spir­acy claims and coun­ter­claims. In Italy this nether­world is called dietrolo­gia — a word that loosely trans­lates as the wide­spread belief that polit­i­cal, secu­rity and crim­i­nal forces are con­stantly engaged in secret plots and maneu­vers, noted Henry Far­rell, a pro­fes­sor of inter­na­tional affairs at George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in Wash­ing­ton and a blog­ger on the Crooked Tim­ber Web log, which has dis­sected the Ital­ian angle to Plamegate” (Idem.)

6. The arti­cle notes that, dur­ing the Cold War, the SISMI coop­er­ated closely with the US. In the wake of the Cold War, has that changed? Are the Ital­ian fas­cists mov­ing away from the “Atlanti­cist” posi­tion they held dur­ing the cold war? (By “Atlanti­cist,” we mean a pro-U.S., pro-NATO stance.) “ ‘It’s hard to say if (the Repub­blica infor­ma­tion) is the truth, truth with some dis­tor­tion, or mis­in­for­ma­tion from the offi­cials who are lead­ing this,’ Far­rell said. ‘But it cer­tainly raises some very trou­bling ques­tions.’ Far­rell noted that dur­ing the Cold War, the U.S. and Ital­ian spy agen­cies coop­er­ated closely on under­cover work. Bush and Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni are close allies, and Berlus­coni has strongly sup­ported Bush’s Iraq pol­icy, sta­tion­ing 3,000 Ital­ian troops south of Bagh­dad.” (Idem.)

7. The dis­cus­sion high­lights some of the fas­cist con­nec­tions of the SISMI orga­ni­za­tion. For more about SISMI and the Ital­ian ter­ror­ist land­scape, use the search func­tion and look for infor­ma­tion about the “strat­egy of ten­sion”. “SISMI has long been accused of involve­ment in right­ist con­spir­a­cies, includ­ing work in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pro­pa­ganda Due, or P-2, a Masonic secret soci­ety, and the Armed Falange, a neo-fascist ter­ror­ist group. SISMI ‘does not have an immac­u­late his­tory at all,’ said Gian­franco Pasquino, a polit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at the Bologna, Italy, cam­pus of the School of Advanced and Inter­na­tional Stud­ies of Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity. ‘It has been purged and reor­ga­nized very often.’ Pasquino called SISMI ‘friendly to the right wing and will­ing to offer its ser­vices for right-wing pur­poses.’” (Idem.)

8. “Accord­ing to La Repub­blica, the forged doc­u­ments were orig­i­nally pro­duced in 2000 by Rocco Mar­tino, a for­mer mem­ber of the Cara­binieri para­mil­i­tary police who then became a free­lance agent for both SISMI and French intel­li­gence. SISMI com­bined these fakes with real doc­u­ments from the 1980s show­ing Hussein’s yel­low­cake pur­chases from Niger dur­ing that period — in the process, con­duct­ing a break-in at the Niger Embassy in Rome to steal let­ter­head and seals. Soon after­ward, La Repub­blica reported, Ital­ian oper­a­tives passed news of their scoop to the CIA and the British intel­li­gence agency, MI6. When the CIA expressed doubt about the verac­ity of the claims, SISMI began seek­ing to ped­dle it directly to the most pro– war fac­tion of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion.” (Idem.)

9. “SISMI chief Pol­lari met in Rome with Michael Ledeen, an influ­en­tial Wash­ing­ton neo­con­ser­v­a­tive who has long been reputed to play a back-channel role between U.S. and Ital­ian spy agen­cies. Pol­lari also met in Wash­ing­ton with Stephen Hadley, deputy national secu­rity adviser, to dis­cuss the new infor­ma­tion, La Repub­blica reported. On Thurs­day, a National Secu­rity Coun­cil spokesman con­firmed that the Hadley– Pol­lari meet­ing had taken place The elab­o­rate hoax finally suc­ceeded. In late Sep­tem­ber 2002, Sec­re­tary of State Colin Pow­ell cited Iraq’s alleged Niger deal­ings as proof of Hussein’s nuclear ambi­tions. In his Feb­ru­ary 2003 State of the Union address, Bush declared that British intel­li­gence had ‘learned’ Sad­dam Hus­sein had been seek­ing to buy nuclear mate­r­ial in Africa. Through­out the period, Blair made sim­i­lar claims.” (Idem.)

10. “British offi­cials have insisted that they had other evi­dence in addi­tion to the forged doc­u­ments that con­firmed Iraqi ura­nium pur­chases in Niger. The British have declined to show this evi­dence, how­ever. La Repub­blica quoted a SISMI offi­cial as say­ing of this alleged cor­rob­o­rat­ing evi­dence, ‘If it ever were brought for­ward it would be dis­cov­ered, with red faces, that it was Ital­ian intel­li­gence col­lected by SISMI at the end of the 1980s and shared with our friend Hamil­ton McMil­lan’ — the top MI6 counter-terrorism offi­cial dur­ing that period. . . . .” (Idem.)

11. The alle­ga­tions in La Repub­blica were sub­se­quently con­firmed b by Italy’s spy­mas­ter, Nico Pol­lari. “Italy’s spy­mas­ter iden­ti­fied an Ital­ian occa­sional spy named Rocco Mar­tino on Thurs­day as the dis­sem­i­na­tor of forged doc­u­ments that described efforts by Iraq to buy hun­dreds of tons of ura­nium ore from Niger for a nuclear weapons pro­gram, three Ital­ian law­mak­ers said Thurs­day. Gen. Nicolo Pol­lari, direc­tor of the Ital­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency known as SISMI, dis­closed that Mar­tino had been the source of the forged doc­u­ments in closed– door tes­ti­mony to a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee that over­sees secret ser­vices, the law­mak­ers said. . . .”
(“Ital­ian Spy Chief Dis­closes Source of Forged Doc­u­ments” by Elaine Sci­olino and Elis­a­betta Pov­oledo [New York Times]; San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle; 11/4/2005; p. A12.)

12. Next, the pro­gram revis­its a point of infor­ma­tion dis­cussed in—among other programs—FTR#’s 378, 456. In the spring of 2002, as the prepa­ra­tions for the Iraq war were under­way, Al Taqwa direc­tor Achmed Huber net­worked with other Amer­i­can and Euro­pean fas­cists and far right­ists, includ­ing Gian­franco Fini, head of the Ital­ian Alleanza Nationale. Might the meet­ing have had some­thing to do with Iraq? Had the “Atlanti­cist” ori­en­ta­tion of the P-2 milieu been super­seded by an anti-U.S./Third Posi­tion ori­en­ta­tion in the I

tal­ian fas­cist milieu? Did this meet­ing have any­thing to do with the feed­ing of false intel­li­gence to the US in order to lure the coun­try into a drain­ing, expen­sive and (ulti­mately) fatal war with the Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion of the “Earth Island”? Note in this regard, that Fini is cur­rently the Ital­ian for­eign min­is­ter. Is it pos­si­ble that the man (Fini) who char­ac­ter­ized Mus­solini as “the great­est states­man of the 20th cen­tury” has not changed his stripes? Is it pos­si­ble that he was con­fer­ring with the other Euro­pean fas­cist lead­ers in order to help lure the US into a trap? (For more on Huber, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 343, 354, 357, 359, 377, 456.) “Per­haps the most recent remark­able story con­cern­ing Huber comes from a brief item in the Swiss tabloid Blick that in an April 26, 2002 arti­cle by Alexan­der Saut­ter that Huber was involved in a meet­ing of far-right lead­ers from Europe. A photo show­ing Huber with Jean Marie Le Pen accom­pa­nies the arti­cle. The Blick story (avail­able on the web) is as fol­lows: ‘Mon Pelerin VD: Chris­t­ian Cam­buzat, the pro­moter (Scharf­macher) of the right extrem­ist Jean-Marie Le Pen (73): The guru assem­bles together some of the top lead­ers of the Euro­pean right. On the idyl­lic Mont Pelerin, they debate their crude ideas. At his secret visit to a spa in Switzer­land, Le Pen hardly remained alone. Right­ist lead­ers from all over Europe trav­eled to meet the extrem­ist pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who was hosted by Cam­buzat. Franz Schon­hu­ber (79). Founder of the Repub­li­can Party in Ger­many and a for­mer mem­ber of the SS. He talked with Le Pen who con­sti­tutes together with Schon­hu­ber the ‘Front National’ Fac­tion in the Euro­pean par­lia­ment. Gian­franco Fini (50). Ital­ian post-fascist, Mus­solini admirer, and founder of the Alleanze Nationale. He also was at the meet­ing with Le Pen and Schon­hu­ber. Ahmed Huber (74). The Swiss is on the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion black­list . . . ‘I met le Pen at Mont Pelerin as he went to Chris­t­ian Cambuzat’s spa,’ Huber told Blick yes­ter­day. At the extrem­ist ren­dezvous an Amer­i­can far right politi­cian was also sup­posed to have taken part. [Note: the Amer­i­can is not fur­ther identified.—KC] Chris­t­ian Cam­buzat said that Le Pen (after the elec­tion) had again become the sharpest weapon of the ‘Front National’ because Le Pen changed his image from a ven­omous old man to a ‘kindly U.S. TV evan­ge­list.’ Proudly Cam­buzat brags, ‘With me Le Pen can relax well’ [from his polit­i­cal endeavors—KC]. And openly link up with new con­tacts. [Although the Blick story does not give details, Cam­buzat runs a spa for the very rich, the Lemanique de Revi­tal­i­sa­tion, inside a hotel on the famous Mont Pelerin.]’”
(“Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa” by Kevin Coogan; pp. 14–15.)

13. In the con­text of the April, 2002 meet­ing of Euro­pean fas­cist lead­ers at Mt. Pel­lerin, it is impor­tant to note that (in addi­tion to Fini) other Ital­ian fas­cists from the AN/P-2 milieu are to be found within the Al Taqwa orbit. Allessan­dro Ghe is a mem­ber of the fas­cist Ordine Nuovo, headed up by Pino Rauti. Rauti is a vet­eran of the SS-controlled Salo Repub­lic that was estab­lished in North­ern Italy after Mussolini’s capit­u­la­tion in 1943. Rauti is also a part of the suc­cess­ful elec­toral coali­tion of Sil­vio Berlus­coni and Gian­franco Fini. “The goal of the meet­ing with the notary was the found­ing of ‘al-Taqwa man­age­ment Orga­ni­za­tion SA’ that said it would be con­cerned with import­ing and export­ing var­i­ous goods. ‘Taqwa man­age­ment Orga­ni­za­tion SA’ that said it would be con­cerned with import­ing and export­ing var­i­ous goods around the world. 333 of the 1000 shares (at 100 Swiss Francs a share) went to Mohammed Man­sour and his wife. 332 went to Huber. Nada and Him­mat took the rest. Man­sour was named the pres­i­dent but rarely was the clause in the con­tract papers men­tioned that each deci­sion must be co-signed by the minor­ity hold­ers Nada and Him­mat . . . Among the 500 share­hold­ers besides Huber, Him­mat and Nada were ‘also a noto­ri­ous right extrem­ist from Italy’ [not fur­ther iden­ti­fied but this is Alessan­dro Karim Abdul Ghe] and three mem­bers of the bin Laden fam­ily.” (Ibid.; p. 8.)

14. More about Allessan­dro Ghe, and Ordinie Nuovo’s links with Moslem rad­i­cals and (allegedly) Bin Laden: “Another Con­nec­tion involves al-Taqwa group share­holder Alle­san­dro Ghe, an Ital­ian rad­i­cal who has been ques­tioned by his country’s secu­rity forces about his links to Bin Laden. Ghe was a mem­ber of the Ital­ian neo-fascist ‘Ordine Nuovo’ that began cou­pling up with Moslem rad­i­cals in the 1970’s, says Ely Kar­mon. [Empha­sis added.]”
(“A Ter­ri­fy­ing Alliance” by Yael Haran; 1/14/2002; Enduring-Freedom-Operation.org; pp. 4–5.)
(For more about the links between Ordine Nuovo and the cur­rent gov­ern­ing coali­tion of Italy, see, among other pro­grams, FTR#’s 307, 320, 321. For more about con­duits run­ning between Al Taqwa and Sil­vio Berlus­coni, see FTR#’s 342, 351, 357.)

15. The Al Taqwa orbit con­tains one Gus­tavo Selva—a par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Fini’s Alleanza Nationale. “Gus­tavo Selva belongs to Nasreddin’s wider cir­cle. The for­mer jour­nal­ist and today par­lia­men­tary mem­ber of the post fas­cist Partei Alleanza Nationale, Selva was until April 19, 1999, involved in the Roman-based busi­ness, the Arab-Italian Con­sult­ing House. Six months before it went under, on Sep­tem­ber 18, 1998, a cer­tain Ser­gio Marini was named the firm’s offi­cial receiver. Marini was, together with the Nasred­din Inter­na­tional Group Lim­ited Hold­ings, also part of the Milan-registered Line Invest­ment Srl. Since 1988, Marini was CEO of ‘L.I.N.E. Devel­op­ment Light Indus­try and Envi­ron­ment Devel­op­ment Srl’ in Rome whose admin­is­tra­tive direc­tor was Abduhrahim Nasred­din along with his deputy Ghaleb Him­mat, him­self a founder of Al Taqwa Group.”
(“Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa” by Kevin Coogan; p. 9.)

16. Another evi­den­tiary trib­u­tary lead­ing in the direc­tion of the Ital­ian far right con­cerns areas of over­lap between the Al Taqwa milieu and that of Sil­vio Berlusconi—former mem­ber of the fas­cist P-2 lodge and the head of the Ital­ian coali­tion gov­ern­ment of which Fini’s AN is part. “The deeper inves­ti­ga­tors dug, the more sense­less it seemed. For exam­ple: The Liechtenstein-registered Nasred­din Inter­na­tional Lim­ited Hold­ings on Octo­ber 20, 1994, decided to change its name to Mid­dle East and Turkey Invest­ment Hold­ing Ltd. And then eight days later it returned to its orig­i­nal name. There is also the fact that Nasred­din at the found­ing of the Nasred­din Inter­na­tional Group Lim­ited Hold­ing in Jan­u­ary 1997 appointed—next to Dr. Enrico Walser as trustee—of all peo­ple the Tessino lawyer Dr. Ercole Doninelli to the admin­is­tra­tive board. Doninelli, until his death, was seen as the ‘soul’ of the Lugano finance soci­ety Fimo that was widely involved in the finan­cial scan­dals of the 1990’s. Fimo helped Ital­ians to send up to 250 mil­lion Swiss francs yearly in cap­i­tal flight. Even more defin­i­tive is the role Fimo has played since 1968 in the financ­ing into the mil­lions [of] the first projects of the (at the time utterly unknown) con­struc­tion builder from Milan, Sil­vio Berlus­coni. The knowl­edge of how cap­i­tal from the mar­ried pair of Ercole and Ste­fa­nia Doninelli went from Eti Hold­ings in Chi­asso to more stops in the Inter­change Bank and from there to Ital­cantieri, a com­pany headed by two Berlus­coni straw men, finally ended with the mass bank­ruptcy of Fimo.” (Ibid.; pp. 9–10.)

17. Another per­son bridg­ing the worlds of Berlus­coni and Al Taqwa is Pier Felice Barchi, an attor­ney for both Berlus­coni and Yussef Nada. (For more about Barchi, see FTR#’s 357, 359.) “The Akida Bank of Nasred­din was also sup­posed to be con­cerned with the spread­ing of Islamic bank­ing prac­tices. The Lugano-registered affil­i­ate of the bank listed along with its founder Nasred­din, the Tessino-based Pier Felice Barchi. This attor­ney had great expe­ri­ence with rich and influ­en­tial for­eign cus­tomers. Barchi was also con­cerned with the Tessino finan­cial inter­ests of Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Berlus­coni and the Saudi minor­ity part­ner in Berlusconi’s media group Medi­aset, Prince al-Waleed al Talal.” (Ibid.; pp. 10–11.)

18. Another detail con­cern­ing the bogus intel­li­gence that was used to jus­tify the Iraq inva­sion involves an Al Qaeda cap­tive who was eval­u­ated by the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency. That agency opined that he was very likely giv­ing his Amer­i­can inter­roga­tors infor­ma­tion that he felt they wanted to hear. Is it pos­si­ble that he was also help­ing to lure the US into a trap? Bin Laden him­self stated that the US over­throw of Sad­dam was a boon for his orga­ni­za­tion. Is it pos­si­ble that Mr. al-Shaykh was delib­er­ately work­ing to lure the United States into the “dooms­day back-up” trap that had been laid by Al Qaeda and Iraq?! This is a pos­si­bil­ity to be seri­ously eval­u­ated. “Who in the White House knew about DITSUM No. 044–02 and when did they know it? That’s the newly declas­si­fied smok­ing– gun doc­u­ment, orig­i­nally pre­pared by the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency in Feb­ru­ary 2002, but ignored by Pres­i­dent Bush. Its declas­si­fi­ca­tion last week­end blows another huge hole in Bush’s claim that he was act­ing on the best intel­li­gence avail­able when he pitched the inva­sion of Iraq as a way to pre­vent an al Qaeda ter­ror­ist attack using weapons of mass destruc­tion. The report demol­ished the cred­i­bil­ity of the key al Qaeda infor­mant the admin­is­tra­tion relied on to make its claim that a work­ing alliance existed between Sad­dam Hus­sein and Osama bin Laden. It was cir­cu­lated widely within the fed­eral gov­ern­ment a full eight months before Bush used the prisoner’s lies to argue for an inva­sion of Iraq because ‘we’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda mem­bers in bomb-making and poi­sons and deadly gases.’”
(“Lying with Intel­li­gence” by Robert Scheer; San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle; 11/9/2005; p. B13.)

19. “Al Qaeda senior mil­i­tary trainer lbn al-Shaykh al-Libi — a Libyan cap­tured in Pak­istan m 2001 — was prob­a­bly ‘inten­tion­ally mis­lead­ing the debriefers,’ the DIA report con­cluded in one of two para­graphs declas­si­fied at the request of Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and released by his office over the week­end. The report also said: ‘Ibn al-Shaykh has been under­go­ing debriefs for sev­eral weeks and may be describ­ing sce­nar­ios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their inter­est.’ He got that right. Folks in the high­est places were very inter­ested in claims along the lines Libi was ped­dling, even though they went against both logic and the pre­pon­der­ance of intel­li­gence gath­ered to that point about pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion between two ene­mies of the United States that were fun­da­men­tally at odds with each other. Al Qaeda was able to cre­ate a base in Iraq only after the U.S. over­throw of Hus­sein, not before. ‘Saddam’s regime is intensely sec­u­lar and is wary of Islamic rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ments,’ accu­rately noted the DIA. Yet Bush used the informant’s already dis­cred­ited tall tale in his key Oct. 7, 2002, speech just before the Sen­ate voted on whether to autho­rize the use of force in Iraq and again in two speeches in Feb­ru­ary 2003, just before the inva­sion.” (Idem.)

20. “Lead­ing up to the war, then-Secretary of State Colin Pow­ell tried to sell it to the United Nations, while Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney, national secu­rity adviser Con­doleezza Rice, White House spokesman Ari Fleis­cher and Under­sec­re­tary of Defense Dou­glas Feith repeated it breath­lessly for home­land audi­ences. The con worked, and Amer­i­cans came to believe that Hus­sein was asso­ci­ated with the Sept.11, 2001, hijack­ers. Even CIA Direc­tor George Tenet pub­licly fell into line, ignor­ing his own agency’s dis­sent that Libi would not have been m a posi­tion to know what he said he knew. In fact, Libi, accord­ing to the DIA, could not name any Iraqis involved, any chem­i­cal or bio­log­i­cal mate­r­ial used or where the train­ing allegedly occurred. In Jan­u­ary 2004, the pris­oner recanted his story, and the next month the CIA with– drew all intel­li­gence reports based on his false infor­ma­tion.” (Idem.)

21. Note the ref­er­ence here to “Curveball”—the code-name for an infor­mant who chan­neled sig­nif­i­cant ele­ments of the bogus intel­li­gence to the US. As dis­cussed in FTR#502, “Curve­ball” was a pro­tégé of Ahmed Cha­l­abi, hikm­self believed by the NSA to be an agent for the Iran­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists. In addi­tion, “Curve­ball” was at all times in the cus­tody of Ger­man intel­li­gence. The US was never per­mit­ted to inter­view “Curve­ball” until after the start of the war. In FTR#502 we exam­ined the pos­si­bil­ity that the han­dling of “Curve­ball” by the BND–the suc­ces­sor agency to the Rein­hard Gehlen spy outfit—may have been another part of the hypo­thet­i­cal Under­ground Reich “death­trap” being dis­cussed here. “One by one, the exotic intel­li­gence fac­toids Bush’s researchers culled from raw intel­li­gence data files to pub­licly bol­ster their claim of immi­nent threat — the yel­low­cake ura­nium from Niger, the alu­minum tubes for pro­cess­ing ura­nium– the Prague meet­ing with Mohamed Atta, the dis­cred­ited Iraqi infor­mants ‘Curve­ball’ and Ahmad Cha­l­abi — have been exposed as pre­vi­ously known frauds. When it came to sell­ing an inva­sion of Iraq it had wanted to launch before Sept. 11, the Bush White House sys­tem­at­i­cally ignored the best avail­able intel­li­gence from U.S. agen­cies or any other reli­able source. . . .” (Idem.)

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #535 Death Trap, Part III – Italian Fascism, Bogus Intelligence and the Iraq War”

  1. This sort of feels like beat­ing a dead horse at this point, but any­ways....

    Jun 19, 8:40 PM EDT

    CIA releases declas­si­fied doc­u­ments from 9/11 file

    EILEEN SULLIVAN and ADAM GOLDMAN
    Asso­ci­ated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In the months before the ter­ror­ist attacks of Sep­tem­ber 2001, the CIA unit ded­i­cated to hunt­ing for Osama bin Laden com­plained that it was run­ning out of money, and ana­lysts con­sid­ered the like­li­hood of catch­ing the ter­ror leader to be extremely low, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment records pub­lished Tuesday.

    The declas­si­fied doc­u­ments, dated between 1992 and 2004, are heav­ily blacked out and offer lit­tle new infor­ma­tion about what the U.S. knew about the al-Qaida plot before 2001. Many of the files are cited in the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report, pub­lished in 2004. The com­mis­sion deter­mined the fail­ure that led to 9/11 was a lack of imag­i­na­tion, and U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies did not con­nect the dots that could have pre­vented the attacks.

    Though few new details are revealed in the doc­u­ments, the files offer more his­tor­i­cal con­text for the years sur­round­ing the dead­liest ter­ror attack on U.S. soil.

    The National Secu­rity Archive obtained the doc­u­ments through a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act request and pub­lished them on its web­site Tues­day. The archive is a pri­vate group seek­ing trans­parency in government.

    An April 2000 doc­u­ment from the CIA’s bin Laden unit alluded to a bud­getary cash crunch that was cut­ting into the agency’s efforts to track the ter­ror leader.

    At that time, al-Qaida was a major con­cern to U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies because of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bomb­ings in Kenya and Tan­za­nia that killed many, includ­ing two CIA employ­ees. Bin Laden had declared a holy war against the U.S., and the CIA had received mul­ti­ple warn­ings that al-Qaida intended to strike the U.S.

    “Need for­ward move­ment on sup­ple­men­tal soon­est,” said a heav­ily blacked-out doc­u­ment titled “Islamic Extrem­ist Update.” The sup­ple­men­tal bud­get was still being reviewed by the national secu­rity coun­cil and White House Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get. Because of bud­getary con­straints, the bin Laden unit would move from an “offen­sive to defen­sive pos­ture,” the doc­u­ment said. This meant that offi­cials feared they would have to shelve some of their more elab­o­rate pro­pos­als to track al-Qaida and instead rely on exist­ing resources.

    ...

    The newly released files also offer details about the sub­se­quent inves­ti­ga­tions into the attacks.

    In one case, the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­nity inves­ti­gated a link between one of the hijack­ers and the Iraqi Intel­li­gence Ser­vice — a con­nec­tion that was later proved false but that the White House used in its cam­paign to con­nect the attacks to Iraq.

    Accord­ing to a Dec. 8, 2001, CIA report that was sent to the White House Sit­u­a­tion Room, the CIA had already made a pre­lim­i­nary deter­mi­na­tion that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had not in fact trav­eled to Prague in the Czech Repub­lic in May 2000 to ren­dezvous with a senior offi­cial of the Iraqi Intel­li­gence Ser­vice. Atta was an Egypt­ian national who piloted Amer­i­can Air­lines Flight 11 into the World Trade Cen­ter. That he would have met with the IIS was sig­nif­i­cant for intel­li­gence offi­cials look­ing for a con­nec­tion between al-Qaida and Iraq.

    But just one day after the report was sent to the White House, Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney claimed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it had been “pretty con­firmed” that Atta had gone to Prague sev­eral months before the attack. Accord­ing to the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report, it turned out to be a case of mis­taken iden­tity after a Pak­istani with a sim­i­lar name tried to get into the Czech Repub­lic but was turned away. The doc­u­ment was the basis for a foot­note in chap­ter seven of the 9/11 report.

    Even though the infor­ma­tion about Atta meet­ing with the ISS was later dis­proved, it still res­onated with those bent on going to war with Iraq.

    The hun­dreds of pages of CIA files released Tues­day include a chronol­ogy of the agency’s efforts to catch bin Laden.

    A March 2004 CIA report enti­tled, “The Rise of UBL and al-Qaida and the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­nity Response,” dis­cusses the like­li­hood of the CIA cap­tur­ing bin Laden in the late 1990s using Afghans to do the job. Such a plan didn’t seem viable.

    The CIA esti­mated that none of the avail­able Afghan units had more than a 10 per­cent chance of cap­tur­ing the heav­ily guarded bin Laden. Another option was using Ahmed Shah Mas­soud, leader of the North­ern Alliance, who was friendly with the CIA and fight­ing the Tal­iban. “Even if he agreed to do so, his chances of suc­cess against the Tal­iban were judged to be less than 5 per­cent,” the report said. Al-Qaida oper­a­tives killed Mas­soud on Sept. 9, 2001.

    Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton was crit­i­cized for not doing more to catch bin Laden. But the doc­u­ments show it wouldn’t have been an easy task, though some at the CIA were still hope­ful they could get him.

    “The odds of suc­cess are iffy,” Michael Scheuer, who ran the CIA’s bin Laden unit, said in a 1998 secret memo that was among the declas­si­fied doc­u­ments released Tues­day. “And the thing could blow up at any point along the way.”

    It would take the U.S. gov­ern­ment another 13 years to catch and kill bin Laden.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 20, 2012, 10:03 pm
  2. Inter­est­ing:

    The New York Times
    Con­spir­acy Buffs Gain in Court Rul­ing on Crash

    By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO
    Pub­lished: Feb­ru­ary 10, 2013

    ROME — Itavia Flight 870 was enter­ing the final leg of a rou­tine domes­tic trip from Bologna, Italy, to Palermo, Sicily, one clear sum­mer evening when it sud­denly plunged into the Tyrrhen­ian Sea near the small island of Ustica, killing all 81 peo­ple aboard.

    Mechan­i­cal fail­ure was ruled out early on, and almost 33 years later, the causes that led to the crash on June 27, 1980, are still a topic of pas­sion­ate debate in Italy, fueled by three decades of inquiry boards, par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sions, count­less expert reports and one of the longest judi­cial inquiries in recent Ital­ian his­tory. But despite all that, no for­mal charges have ever been filed in con­nec­tion with the crash.

    The crash, known as the Ustica affair, has pro­duced legions of con­spir­acy the­o­ries here, the way the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion — or, on a lesser scale, the crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island in 1996 — have in the United States. But in the Ustica affair, the case for a cover-up is far stronger.

    Last week, when Italy’s high­est court ruled that the country’s Defense and Trans­porta­tion Min­istries had to com­pen­sate the fam­i­lies of some of the vic­tims, the court implic­itly acknowl­edged the most widely accepted the­ory behind the crash: that a mis­sile fired by a war­plane had hit the twin-engine McDon­nell Dou­glas DC-9 on Itavia, a now-defunct domes­tic Ital­ian air­line. But the court did not say where that mis­sile came from.

    To con­spir­acy buffs, it was vin­di­ca­tion — to a point.

    “It’s like the O. J. Simp­son affair, where he got off in crim­i­nal court but was found guilty in a civil pro­ce­dure and had to pay dam­ages,” said Andrea Pur­ga­tori, an inves­tiga­tive reporter whose exhaus­tive book on the dis­as­ter and the pre­sumed cover-up was made into a 1992 film.

    Over the years, sev­eral Air Force offi­cials have been inves­ti­gated for with­hold­ing evi­dence — wip­ing clean flight tracks and radar scans — and four gen­er­als were tried on charges of trea­son and obstruct­ing inves­ti­ga­tions. But no one has been convicted.

    In this hot­house atmos­phere, it is not sur­pris­ing that con­spir­acy the­o­ries have pro­lif­er­ated over the years. The crash has been blamed on U.F.O.’s (sev­eral Web sites sub­scribe to this recon­struc­tion) or domes­tic ter­ror­ism (the Bologna train sta­tion was bombed not five weeks later, killing 85 and wound­ing dozens more). In this sce­nario, the plane went down after a bomb exploded onboard, most likely in the toilet.

    The mis­sile the­ory gained a new impe­tus in 2008 when Francesco Cos­siga, the prime min­is­ter at the time of the Ustica affair, said in an inter­view that the flight had been shot down by French mil­i­tary planes. Mr. Cos­siga did not pro­vide fur­ther details, nor can he. He died in 2010, at age 82.

    Cover-up the­o­ries have been fueled through the years by what news reports have described as a “sus­pi­ciously high mor­tal­ity” among mil­i­tary per­son­nel and oth­ers con­nected to the case. (Mr. Cos­siga is not included among them.)

    Through traf­fic acci­dents, shoot­ing deaths and sui­cides by hang­ing, there were 36 untimely deaths by 2011, accord­ing to a tele­vi­sion report about Ustica. The pro­gram also cited a num­ber of “bizarre acci­dents” that befell Ustica wit­nesses, like being run over by a tri­cy­cle and slip­ping on a banana peel in a Rome sub­way station.

    “What ter­ri­fy­ing truth war­ranted a cover-up at the cost of the lives of all these peo­ple?” asked the show’s host, Adam Kad­mon, who plays a mys­te­ri­ous masked vig­i­lante who inves­ti­gates top­ics like Ustica, under­skin microchip implants and, more recently, Michael Jackson’s prophecy about Sept. 11, and favors the French mis­sile theory.

    At the time, pro­po­nents say, Italy was covertly allow­ing Libyan air­craft to fly through its air­space undis­turbed. They did so by glid­ing in the slip­stream of Ital­ian domes­tic air­craft, where they could not be detected by radar. On the night of June 27, 1980, there were unsub­stan­ti­ated reports that Col. Muam­mar el-Qaddafi was on one of those planes, the the­ory goes, and French forces tried to shoot it down to kill the Libyan leader, but hit the DC-9 by mis­take. Don’t ask why. It has to do with rebels in North Africa and jock­ey­ing for oil con­ces­sions between Italy and France.

    But Colonel Qaddafi had been warned of the plan and never boarded his plane, accord­ing to this recon­struc­tion, which also says the pilot made a suc­cess­ful emer­gency land­ing at sea. There, a British sub­ma­rine reached it and deployed scuba divers to plant explo­sives to sink the plane and to silence poten­tial wit­nesses to the assas­si­na­tion attempt.

    ...

    There’s quite a bit about SISMI’s involve­ment with the Ustica coverup in Philip Willan’s Pup­pet­mas­ters: The Polit­i­cal Use of Ter­ror­ism in Italy (avail­able online via google books).

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 11, 2013, 3:08 pm

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