Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Michael Ledeen’s Fingers in the Niger Yellowcake

Some of us, those who pay attention, have suspected for some time the fraudulent Niger yellowcake documents—so crudely slapped together as to be laughable—are tied to Michael Ledeen, the neocon’s neocon, who is connected to the neofascist Italian military intelligence agency, SISMI. Ledeen’s role in dispensing these bogus documents—a puzzle piece fitting into the larger scam used as a pretext by Bush and Crew to invade a helpless Iraq—is so well-known it has made it into the Wikipedia entry on the yellowcake forgery:

In an interview published April 7, 2005, [Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of counterterrorism operations at the CIA and the intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan] was asked by Ian Masters what he would say if it was asserted that the source of the forgery was former National Security Council and State Department consultant Michael Ledeen. (Ledeen had also allegedly been a liaison between the American Intelligence Community and SISMI two decades earlier.) Cannistraro answered by saying: “you’d be very close.”

Ledeen’s connection to SISMI goes way back—all the way back to Ledeen fingering the late and pathetic brother of Jimmy Carter, Billy, for allegedly hanging out with Yasser Arafat and George Habash, a PLO military leader, in Libya in October of 1978. Ledeen accused Carter of taking loans and expense money from the Libyans. (Obviously, this an old trick, used over and over, as the neocons now accuse British MP George Galloway of taking money from Saddam).

“‘SISMI was the architect of the scandal over Billy Carter,’ and that the material in this case was gathered mostly by Pazienza [a SISMI agent] and by his American friend Michael Ledeen,” Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead write in their book, The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection (Sheridan Square Publications, 1986). As it turns out, Francesco Pazienza “was ultimately indicted in an Italian court (with Ledeen as an unindicted co-conspirator) for luring President Carter’s brother Billy into a compromising relationship with Qaddafi during the 1980 presidential campaign,” explain Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter (The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in Reagan Era,1987). In short, Ledeen is a dirty trickster, having cavorted with fascist elements in SISMI to undermine a presidential election in the United States. (see the Wikipeadia entry on Ledeen.)

As usual, though, when dealing with all things neocon, it gets worse. “Negroponte. Ledeen. Boykin. North. Kerek. If these figures make you uneasy, they should. An Italian investigation has uncovered an underground, parallel police network with possible links to the CIA which may be involved in the slaying of Niccola Calipari and Il Diario reporter Enzo Baldoni, the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar and Nigergate,” the Daily Kos wrote in July.

Abu Omar (aka Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr) was the CIA asset (according to the Chicago Tribune) kidnapped off the streets of Milan (subsequently to disappear, a not uncommon fate for CIA assets). Niccola Calipari was a SISMI agent shot and killed while escorting the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena out of Iraq after she was released from kidnappers. Both Sgrena and Enzo Baldoni were working on Fallujah stories when they were abducted (Baldoni was executed).

I noted the following:

As Wayne Madsen writes, it wasn’t the CIA who kidnapped Nasr but rather “a covert team of U.S. Defense Department Special Forces, mercenaries, and intelligence agents who are now the subject of international arrest warrants.” It now appears members of this Pentagon-based (not the CIA) covert team were in cahoots with Gaetano Saya and Riccardo Sindoca, two neofascists “who reportedly have close ties to both the P-2 (Propaganda Due) Masonic lodge and a secret Cold War network known as Gladio,” according to Madsen. Saya and Sindoca set up something dubbed “the Department of Strategic Anti-Terrorism Studies, which reportedly had links to both the Bush administration and Ariel Sharon’s Likud government in Israel.”

I also wrote:

Checking out the easily researched background of SISMI we learn the spook organization “has long been notorious for far right, even neo-fascist, leanings. According to Italian judicial investigators, SISMI was deeply involved in numerous plots against Italy’s democratic government, including the 1980 Bologna train station terrorist bombing that left 85 dead and 200 injured,” Canadian journalist Eric S. Margolis reported last summer. “Senior SISMI officers were in cahoots with celebrated swindler Roberto Calvi, the neo-fascist P2 Masonic Lodge, other extreme rightist groups trying to destabilize Italy, the Washington neocon operative, Michael Ledeen, and the Iran-Contra conspirators.” In short, SISMI is neck-deep in Gladio operations. As Margolis reports, the American liaison is none other than Michael Ledeen, an “influential” neocon with direct input into the Bush administration.

Mark Zepezauer adds:

Many members of Operation Gladio were also in a shadowy organization known as P-2; it too was financed by the CIA. P-2 had connections with the Vatican and the Mafia, and eventually with an international fascist umbrella organization called the World Anti-Communist League…. One of P-2’s specialties was the art of provocation. Leftist organizations like the Red Brigades were infiltrated, financed and / or created, and the resulting acts of terrorism, like the assassination of Italy’s premier in 1978 and the bombing of the railway station in Bologna in 1980, were blamed on the left. The goal of this “strategy of tension” was to convince Italian voters that the left was violent and dangerous-by helping make it so.

It appears Michael Ledeen, the “influential” neocon, was involved in Gladio operations past and is also linked to the faux Niger yellowcake documents cooked up by Italian intelligence, as noted above.

Now we have Laura Rozen, citing a scoop from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, telling us Nicolo Pollari, chief of the fascist SISMI, “brought the Niger yellowcake story directly to the White House after his insistent overtures had been rejected by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2001 and 2002. Sismi had reported to the CIA on October 15, 2001, that Iraq had sought yellowcake in Niger, a report it also plied on British intelligence, creating an echo that the Niger forgeries themselves purported to amplify before they were exposed as a hoax.” Pollari met with none other than Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. “Their secret meeting came at a critical moment in the White House campaign to convince Congress and the American public that war in Iraq was necessary to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing nuclear weapons…. La Repubblica also quotes a Bush administration official saying, ‘I can confirm that on September 9, 2002, General Nicolo Pollari met Stephen Hadley.’”

Let’s review: Ledeen is suspected of working on the forged Niger yellowcake documents and Nicolo Pollari, chief of the fascist SISMI, passed these off to the highest levels of the Bush administration, and these documents played a big part in the invasion of Iraq and the mass murder of more than a 100,000 Iraqis.

Sounds like the stuff of impeachment to me.

I might as well wish for a pony.

Ledeen is apparently sensitive about his role in the creation of the fake Niger documents. “When I posted a rumor pointing in the direction of the best-known SISMI-connected neocon player, Michael Ledeen, who was a big wheel in Iran-contra, Ledeen emailed me to deny that he had any involvement with the forgeries,” writes blogger Steve Sailer.

Meanwhile, blogger Scott Horton has called for Fitzgerald to indict Ledeen.

Horton writes:

As far as Ledeen and the Niger uranium forgeries, [former CIA and DIA agent Philip Giraldi] explained in [interviews with Horton] that the “couple of CIA agents” were paid in foreign accounts and that Fitzgerald had “already found the money trail.” Ledeen’s connections to the Office of Special Plans and Sismi are well documented, he attended a number of meetings in Italy with Harold Rhode, who “practically lived out of (Iranian spy) Ahmad Chalabi’s office,” Manucher Ghorbanifar and guilty Israeli spy Larry Franklin, around the time the Italians began passing on the (already debunked) story back to the US.

Thus, as Horton contends, Michael Ledeen should be indicted. Of course, that would shed an immense amount of light on the whole neocon operation and send the neocon rats scurrying to cut deals with Fitzgerald.

It would be heavenly music.

But it ain’t gonna happen.

Unfortunately, in Bushzarro world, this scenario is against the laws of physics. Hadley or Scooter Libby or on the outside Rove (certainly not Cheney) will have the tender sides of their wrists slapped, maybe even be indicted and prosecuted, only to be pardoned by Bush on the day he leaves office—if he ever leaves office. It’s just too much to expect Fitzgerald to be a Samson and bring down the whole sordid house of cards.

Plamegate will be a taint. It will not be the beginning of the end of the Bushcons.

After all, the neocons have a couple more countries to invade.

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