Loftus lawsuit temporarily stalled
By Rob Brannon
June 13, 2002
When John Loftus appeared at USF on April 9, he had already become a widely known and controversial figure, both in the Tampa Bay area and nationally.
His fame was not due to the fact that he is a respected author and attorney, or because he is head of the Florida Holocaust Museum. Loftus is known instead as the man who sued USF professor Sami Al-Arian.
But now it seems, at least temporarily, the lawsuit, which accused Al-Arian of providing aid for terrorists, will not see the light of a courtroom.
A Hillsborough County judge ruled on Monday that the lawsuit, which was filed in March, did not prove Al-Arian had caused Loftus harm. Loftus said he is not upset by the ruling.
“It’s not unexpected,” Loftus said. “The judge wanted more detail, which is not a problem.”
Loftus said the judge has given him 20 days to prepare an improved lawsuit. Loftus said preparing the lawsuit will not be a problem because he has a wealth of incriminating evidence on Al-Arian. He said he continues to classify Al-Arian as dangerous to Americans.
“He’s a leader of terrorists,” Loftus said. “He’s one of the founders and leader of what is arguably the second worst terrorist group in the world.”
Loftus said he believes Al-Arian to be one of the founding members of Islamic Jihad. He said Al-Arian is still active in that terrorist organization.
“Sami has been lying to everybody,” Loftus said. “Sami now appears to be the head of Islamic Jihad operations in America.”
Loftus’s accusations against Al-Arian go even further than links with Jihad. Loftus said he believes Al-Arian had a link to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Loftus said Al-Arian was involved with a group called Baraka that he alleges laundered money to support the suicide pilots as they trained at Florida airports. He said the Baraka group folded immediately after the attacks.
“It’s a hell of a lot of coincidences,” Loftus said. “We know Sami’s group has direct links. No one is making this up. Sami has gotten away with a good scam for many years.”
Many of Loftus’s claims are made in conjunction with a book by Meir Hatina. The book, published at Tel Aviv University and titled Islam and Salvation in Palestine, describes Islamic fundamentalist movements.
Information from this book, coupled with investigations Loftus has conducted, will provide the basis for the second version of the lawsuit. Loftus said his goal is to see Al-Arian criminally prosecuted.
“I want to stop the flow of money for terrorism,” Loftus said. “I want to know exactly who he works for and who he laundered money for.”
Loftus said he is disappointed the American Association of University Professors supports Al-Arian and that USF President Judy Genshaft has yet to officially fire him.
“When you leave something off your resume like ‘Oh, by the way, I’m the founder of the world’s second largest terrorist organization,’ that’s grounds for firing, don’t you think?” Loftus said.
Al-Arian, who has been on paid leave from USF since last year, said Loftus is spreading nothing more than lies about him.
“This guy has been saying a lot of things. These things have been fabricated,” Al-Arian said. “I’m not going to dignify any response.”
The Oracle - Loftus lawsuit temporarily stalled
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you BLOG bleed just to know you'r alive
Loftus lawsuit temporarily stalled
Another Top Diary by yours truly. Weee! -- law
God, destiny, Allah, nature (or whatever) must have a sense of humor. The party who redefined TREASON to mean dissent and criticism is now knee deep in real treason
Here's what GOP calls treason
* Being a Democrat (Ann Coulter's book Treason) (1)
* Being a union supporting teacher (Education Secretary Rod Paige (2)
* Disagreeing with Bush's methods (RNC ad, 11/2003) (3)
* Free Speech as Treason (WH says any opposition to Bush policies "at war time" is treason) (5)
* The post 60's culture (Why John Walker Lindh joined Al Qaeda) (6)
* Speaking out against war crimes (Kerry's treason according to Swifties) (4)
* Exercising your right to vote for whom you want as President (Vote for Kerry = Vote for Bin Laden) (7)
Curiously enough, here is what the GOP does not call Treason
* Revealing the ID of a under cover WMD expert
* Revealing the ID of a CIA front company
* Discussing documents marked Top Secret with journalists, for print
* Revealing the name of an Al Qaeda informant
* Revealing the information Churchill allegedly let an entire UK city be bombed to protect: US had the code for Iran's messages
* lawnorder's diary :: ::
Liberalism is treason
GOP's pundits, propaganda masters and administration officials spent the last 4+ years saying that The entire Democratic party is commiting treason
Ann Coulter defending her book on Chris Matthews' Hardball:
.. the Democratic Party, as an entity, has become functionally treasonable, including what you're talking about, turning over documents to the enemy... [it] is not that there are just a few dozen traitors out there. It is that the entire party cannot root for America.
Organized Labor is Treason
Education Secretary Paige calls teachers union ``terrorist organization''
Disagreeing with Bush's methods on the War on Terra is Treason
The ad consists of video clips from Bush's most recent State of the Union address, backed by ominous music and interspersed with on-screen text ... The second scrolling text says, "Some are now attacking the President for attacking the terrorists." Bull. Not one leading Democrat in Congress or in the presidential campaign has criticized Bush for attacking terrorists. They've criticized him for not attacking terrorists. Specifically, they've faulted him for attacking Iraq and pretending that this was a blow against terrorism.. (3)
Denouncing an absurd war and war crimes is Treason
Those betrayed do feel the treason sharply
Free Speech / Dissent as Treason
(I removed the Greenpeace incident due to kossacks feedback below)
Unnamed WH official: The President considers this nation to be at war, and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treasonTreating dissent as treason - SourceWatch
The post 60's cultural revolution
American Prospect Online - ViewPrint: "The Roots of Treason, Explained
From Shelby Steele, writing on American Taliban John Walker on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal (December 10, 2001):
Walker came out of a self-hating stream of American life. Yes, alone in Yemen and later in Pakistan, he may have been seduced by charismatic people. But he was prepared for this seduction not just by the wispy relativism of Marin County, but also by a much broader post-'60s cultural liberalism (more than political liberalism) that gave his every step toward treason a feel of authenticity and authority."
Was being "one of the team" and revealing wrongdoing by some members of the team which played a critical role in creating a climate of silence and shame for our returning Vietnam heroes and aided and abetted our enemies activities
Crucifying the CIA for the WMD lies
Created a climate of silence and shame for our intel agents who risk their life for US, and aided and abetted our enemies activities
Letting a city be burned to protect a code break
Apparently an urban legend, but it demonstrates the point I'm making: How serious it is to blab about US code breaking activities
Winston Churchill and the Bombing of Coventry
It has now become a matter of accepted fact, at least among the British public, that on the night of 14 - 15 November 1940, rather than compromise a decisive source of intelligence, Winston Churchill allowed the city of Coventry to be left to the mercies of the German Air Force.
the Germans sent the order to destroy Coventry in the second week during November. Unlike previous "Ultra" messages, which had always given the name of the target in code, this message gave the name "Coventry" in clear type. Thus, Stevenson says, within minutes of the order being given, it was placed in front of the Prime Minister. Faced with the prospect of leaving the people of the city to die or evacuating them, Churchill turned to Sir William Stephenson ("Intrepid") for advice. What Stephenson advised was that "Ultra" was too valuable a source of intelligence to risk. By evacuating the city, the Prime Minister would be exposing the source and endangering its usefulness in the future. "Intrepid" told Churchill to let the city burn and the people to their fate.
This is much the same story as told by Cave Brown, but the latter fills in a few more details. For a start he says that Churchill had the message a full two days before the raid. Again Churchill decided that "Ultra" was too valuable a source of intelligence to be compromised and so the people were left to die.
Bush WH telling the code break to an Iranian agent
Bush is no Churchill!
CBS News | 'Drunk' American Blabs To Chalabi?
He is alleged to have met in Baghdad with a top Iranian agent and disclosed to him that the U.S. had cracked Iran's secret codes and was eavesdropping on all Iranian intelligence messages.
Chalabi told the Iranians he learned about the code intercepts from an American who was "drunk" when he told him. What followed was a frantic exchange of messages between the Baghdad Iranian agent and his headquarters in Tehran all of which were intercepted and decoded by U.S. agents back here
A vote for Kerry is treason
Ingraham, Rush: Voting for Kerry is "aligning" with Bin Laden
LIMBAUGH: And, you know, whatever the liberals think or say, and the two are not mutually exclusive, a Kerry victory after the bin Laden tape, will accomplish this -- it'll give Osama bin Laden bragging rights all across the Middle East. Stop and think -- and ... and in the -- in the words of the Left, create a whole new generation of terrorists.
Revealing the name of our best source into Al Qaeda intel
Bush Team on Defensive Over al-Qaeda Leak One of the greatest coups in Washington's nearly three-year war against al-Qaeda has suddenly turned sour with reports the White House prematurely exposed the identity of a key source whose contacts and communication with the terrorist group's operational masterminds had yet to be fully exploited. The source, 25-year-old computer wizard Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, had been cooperating with Pakistani police and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since he was quietly detained in Lahore on July 12, until the New York Times published his name last Monday after receiving a "background" briefing by the White House. British and Pakistani intelligence agencies were reportedly furious with the leak, which forced UK police to hurriedly round up 13 al-Qaeda suspects who are alleged to have been in email communication with Khan. Five others who were sought by MI5 reportedly escaped capture, and there is some question that the British had gathered enough evidence
Daily Kos: Redefining TREASON, the GOP way
Ex-Diplomat's Surprise Volley on Iraq Drove White House Into Political Warfare Mode - New York Times
WASHINGTON, July 22 - President Bush was celebrating his 57th birthday at the White House on July 6, 2003, a muggy midsummer Sunday. He had played golf with old friends at Andrews Air Force Base on Saturday, followed by an early birthday party arranged by his wife. The weekend marked a rare lull in the presidential schedule, a welcome break before a grueling trip to Africa that would start on Monday.
But a former diplomat named Joseph C. Wilson IV had just delivered an unwelcome present. In an Op-Ed article for The New York Times, an interview with The Washington Post and an appearance on "Meet the Press" on NBC, Mr. Wilson accused the administration of twisting the facts about Iraqi weapons and leading the nation to war on false pretenses.
In the growing chorus of criticism of the run-up to war, Mr. Wilson's one-man media onslaught stood out as a sort of eyewitness account. He had been dispatched to Niger by the C.I.A. to see whether Iraq was buying uranium there for nuclear weapons. He claimed to have debunked the story in March 2002, only to have it reappear in January 2003, in the president's State of the Union address.
If believed, Mr. Wilson's accusations were poised to add an insider's authority to the cloud of doubt beginning to grow around the Iraq enterprise, as the resistance was proving far more stubborn than anticipated and the search for Saddam Hussein's weapons was coming up empty.
Ten weeks had passed since Mr. Bush's speech aboard an aircraft carrier, before a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished." And the president was being criticized by Democrats as taunting Iraqi insurgents a few days earlier by using the phrase "Bring 'em on." Behind the scenes, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council were skirmishing over who would take the blame for inaccurate intelligence.
The White House response to Mr. Wilson's accusations, as it unfolded over the next eight days, would be aggressive and comprehensive. At home and from the African road trip, in on-the-record briefings and in background tips to reporters, the president's aides sought to rebut Mr. Wilson's statements and undercut his credibility.
It was political trench warfare, Washington-style, an early exchange in what would become an enduring conflict over the administration's use of prewar intelligence.
But in the enthusiasm of the campaign to discredit Mr. Wilson, someone would expose the real job of the diplomat's wife, Valerie, a C.I.A. officer who had worked under cover for two decades, hiding her position from even close friends and relatives.
Whether thoughtless or deliberate, the shattering of Valerie Wilson's cover would prompt the C.I.A. to seek a criminal investigation into the leak. And the investigation would be turned over to a special counsel with a reputation for relentlessly pursuing his quarry.
What had begun as an offensive against a critic would backfire for the White House, setting off a legal and political imbroglio that two years later has engulfed the president's advisers. The leak question has become a cudgel for the president's critics, who have wielded it to attack the credibility of the White House on the fundamental question of why the nation is at war.
If there was a moment that set the whole affair in motion, it came during a morning intelligence briefing for Vice President Dick Cheney in February 2002.
Mr. Cheney, known as a voracious consumer of intelligence, had read a Defense Intelligence Agency report suggesting that Niger had agreed to sell 500 tons a year of yellowcake uranium to Iraq, "probably" for use in a nuclear weapons program.
Intrigued, the vice president, who had long believed that Saddam Hussein posed a threat, asked his briefer for the C.I.A.'s analysis. In response to his query - and to similar questions from State and Defense Departments - the agency convened a meeting of experts, including Mr. Wilson, a former ambassador to Gabon with considerable knowledge of the African uranium trade.
Mr. Wilson's wife, who was working at the C.I.A.'s Langley, Va., headquarters as an operative on weapons of mass destruction, had written a note to a superior describing her husband's qualifications, and she introduced him at the meeting before stepping out.
After a 10-day trip to Niger, Mr. Wilson concluded that there was "nothing to the story" of the uranium sales, as he later told Senate Intelligence Committee investigators. Two C.I.A. officers interviewed him on March 5 after his return home.
Nine months later, by Mr. Wilson's account, he was surprised to hear President Bush's assertion in the State of the Union speech that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Mr. Wilson began to spread the word to reporters that he believed the president's speech had misrepresented the government's knowledge. Identified as "a former U.S. ambassador to Africa," Mr. Wilson spoke with Nicholas Kristof of The Times for a May 6, 2003, column about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. The column quoted an "insider" as saying, "It's disingenuous for the State Department people to say they were bamboozled because they knew about this for a year."
But it was only on that Sunday in July that Mr. Wilson - by then a foreign policy adviser to Democratic Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign - really turned up the volume. His charges in two newspapers and on a television network were instantly rebroadcast around the world.
The president's staff moved swiftly to counter Mr. Wilson's media trifecta, which threatened to undermine Mr. Bush's record as a war leader just 15 months before the election.
The goals were clear: shield President Bush from responsibility for dubious prewar weapons claims, and distance the vice president from Mr. Wilson's journey to Niger, which Mr. Cheney's aides say he knew nothing about.
The president's aides, including Ari Fleischer, his press secretary, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, would attempt to blunt Mr. Wilson's claims in on-the-record briefings, before Air Force Once took off for Senegal and then for the correspondents following the president as he traveled around Africa.
Meanwhile, those left in charge at the White House, including Karl Rove, the president's political guru, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., chief of staff to Mr. Cheney, would spend part of the week trying to defuse the controversy over the State of the Union address.
The White House response began at 9:30 a.m. on July 7, a Monday, as Mr. Fleischer briefed the press at the White House. "There is zero, nada, nothing new here," he said of Mr. Wilson's claims. But under questioning, Mr. Fleischer's account became murkier. He seemed to concede, before backing away, that Mr. Bush's entire statement about Saddam Hussein's search for uranium in Africa might have been flawed.
By evening, as Air Force One lifted off, officials on the plane were calling The Times and The Washington Post to make it clear that they no longer stood behind Mr. Bush's statement about the uranium - the first such official concession on the sensitive issue of the intelligence that led to the war.
Aboard the president's plane was a copy of a State Department memorandum on the Wilson matter faxed in-flight to Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state. Officials who have seen the memorandum say that in a passage marked "S" for "secret," it included a crucial revelation: that Valerie Wilson was a C.I.A. officer who played a role in the agency's decision to send her husband to Africa.
As Mr. Bush appeared with one African leader after another, reporters repeatedly tried to slip in questions on Iraq. On Wednesday, July 9, in South Africa, he was asked if he regretted the uranium reference in the January speech.
"Look," the president replied, "I am confident that Saddam Hussein had a weapons of mass destruction program."
In Uganda, two days later, he was asked whether "somebody should be held accountable" for the inaccurate reference in the State of the Union address. He replied, "I gave a speech to the nation that was cleared by the intelligence services."
Aboard the plane that Friday evening, Ms. Rice spoke at length with reporters, elaborating on the president's point by saying repeatedly that the C.I.A. had approved his text.
"Now, I can tell you," Ms. Rice said, "if the C.I.A., the director of central intelligence, had said, 'Take this out of the speech,' it would have been gone, without question."
Back at the White House, Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby had been at work all week, along with Ms. Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley, helping to craft a statement that was issued on Friday by George Tenet, the C.I.A. director. Mr. Tenet did precisely what the White House needed: he took responsibility for the inclusion of the 16 words on uranium in the president's speech, and he made clear that Mr. Cheney had neither dispatched Mr. Wilson to Niger nor been briefed on what he found there.
Even as they worked on Mr. Tenet's statement, Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby took calls from reporters. On Wednesday, Mr. Rove spoke with Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist; according to a person briefed on the case, Mr. Rove said the columnist informed him that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. and had a role in arranging the trip to Niger. On Friday, Mr. Rove spoke with Matthew Cooper, of Time magazine, who would later testify that Mr. Rove had said Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A.
Mr. Libby, too, spoke with Mr. Cooper and at least three other reporters.
On Monday, July 14, a column by Mr. Novak made public for the first time Ms. Wilson's C.I.A. affiliation, using her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and calling her "an agency operative." He added that "two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger."
The introduction of Ms. Wilson into the story was politically useful to the White House, implying that the Niger trip was a nepotistic sideshow. But it was legally hazardous, as events would soon reveal: a 1982 law criminalized the disclosure of the identity of a C.I.A. officer working under cover.
Though Ms. Wilson had worked at C.I.A. headquarters since 1997, with occasional trips abroad, she had previously worked overseas for many years, posing as a diplomat and as an energy consultant. C.I.A. officials referred the breach to the Justice Department, which eventually turned the matter over to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel.
By several accounts, some government officials initially did not take the case seriously, not bothering to retain lawyers before they were interviewed by F.B.I. agents. One person close to Mr. Powell said he did not have a lawyer when he testified to the grand jury investigating the leak and does not have one now.
The blasé attitude might have been encouraged in part by official statements from Scott McClellan, Mr. Fleischer's replacement as White House press secretary, that Mr. Rove and other officials had played no role in leaking Ms. Wilson's identity.
But the atmosphere surrounding the inquiry has changed. Revelations in recent weeks that Mr. Rove discussed the Wilsons with at least two reporters have called into question the earlier White House denials. And the jailing on July 6 of Judith Miller, a Times reporter, for refusing to reveal confidential sources to the grand jury, has suggested high stakes for the investigation.
Mr. Fitzgerald's actions have been mostly hidden from view, but his public pursuit of Ms. Miller gave a glimpse of a deadly serious prosecutor on the trail of a major case.
When Ms. Miller's lawyers argued that her stance protected a crucial principle for a free press, Mr. Fitzgerald did not flinch.
"We cannot tolerate that," he said in court. "We are trying to get to the bottom of whether a crime was committed and by whom."
Ex-Diplomat's Surprise Volley on Iraq Drove White House Into Political Warfare Mode - New York Times
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 1:08 p.m. EDT
Saudi Prince Bandar Resigns as Ambassador to U.S.
Saudi Arabia's bon vivant ambassador to the United States announced Wednesday he was stepping down, ending more than two decades of unusual Oval Office access - including huddling with presidents at moments of crisis and even once looking over battle plans.
Dean of the diplomatic corps in Washington, the 56-year-old Prince Bandar bin Sultan showed time and time again that he was more than an ordinary ambassador.
"In troubled times, U.S. presidents past and present have relied upon Ambassador Bandar's advice," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in Washington. "In good times, they have enjoyed his wit, charm, and humor. Throughout his tenure, Ambassador Bandar has remained a close, steadfast friend to the United States."
A close friend of the first President Bush, Bandar was at the White House during the 1991 Gulf War, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Ahead of the invasion, Bandar was even called in by the current President Bush to view the attack plans.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said Bandar - who had held the post for 22 years but had been out of Washington for most of the past year - was stepping down for "personal reasons."
He will be replaced by Prince Turki bin al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence and current ambassador to Britain.
"I thank God the Almighty who guided me to serve my religion, my dear king and my generous people over 39 years in the brave Saudi Armed Forces and the diplomatic corps," Bandar, a former air force pilot, said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
He congratulated Prince Turki, saying he is "the right man, in the right place at the right time."
Bandar's resignation coincides with looming changes in Saudi Arabia's ruling hierarchy. King Fahd is seriously ill. Crown Prince Abdullah, who has been de facto ruler during Fahd's long illness and will become king after Fahd's death, is expected to name Prince Sultan - Bandar's father - as the next crown prince.
Sultan is already 76, and how long he might serve is not certain. There are concerns about an eventual fight for the throne among the next generation - the hundreds of grandsons of Saudi founder Abdul Aziz, including Bandar.
Bandar has been rumored to be in line for a top security post in Riyadh.
"What we are seeing is a generational change or the realignment of the family," said Edward S. Walker, president of the Middle East Institute, who has served as American ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel and was assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 1999-2001.
During his years as top diplomat in Washington, the goateed Bandar was known for his high living and charisma. At diplomatic dinners and parties, he regaled fellow guests with vivid stories.
More crucial was his position as the link between the leaderships of the United States and Saudi Arabia in their sometimes rocky relationship. Experts often said U.S.-Saudi relations were made not at the embassy or the State Department, as with other countries, but in direct meetings at the White House.
Three days after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bandar was at the White House, consulting with Bush - even stepping out onto the porch with the president so the ambassador could have a cigar.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bandar toured the United States, holding uncharacteristic face-to-face meetings with Americans in an effort to dispel criticisms that the kingdom - home to 15 of the 19 suicide hijackers - may have been soft on terrorism.
Bandar himself became a focus when his wife, Princess Haifa al-Faisal, was criticized for providing money indirectly to a Saudi man wanted for questioning by U.S. officials about links to two Sept. 11 hijackers, according to a congressional report.
Bandar's influence in Washington seemed to wane somewhat in recent years, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks. Crown Prince Abdullah had his own foreign policy adviser in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, who seemed to speak more directly for the crown prince and has increasingly become the public face of the kingdom in Washington.
Saudi Prince Bandar Resigns as Ambassador to U.S.
Fair Use Notice
Being a small blog in the middle of the blogosphere ocean, I usually quote a lot more from the original than most "pop star" blogs. I do this strictly non-profit: There's no ads in my blog, nor request for personal donations. The idea is to keep readers informed, and be a good article repository, to myself an others: A place where you can find all the stuff liberals like myself care about in a single spot, w/o having to jump all over the net to get the articles..
The articles are here for use in debate and discussion, to educate readers and this humble blogger. Also, I always include a link to the source. I'm hoping this qualifies as fair use of your piece. Nevertheless, if you see your blog post / article here and feel I copied more than I should, just post a comment on it and I will delete the offending post. -- law
Having listened in on a flashback my brother was having during his recovery (thanks to the maximum amount possible of morphine they gave him), the war weighs very heavily on many of those who return home.
Only occassionally do we ever talk about how the war has scarred him. In a moment of complete honesty and self-loathing my brother told me there was no way to redeem his soul. There was nothing he could do to make up for the hundreds of lives he took, though he was pretty sure that 98% of his kills were insurgents. His nightmares are of his buddies re-dying in his arms or his own death and the relief it is. He talked about the terror he feels in being with loved ones and bringing them into his twisted world. He worries that he might snap, like other men have done. The fact that he is concerned about it shows me he retains his soul, no matter how tarnished he believes it to be. But since then he has never spoken of it again. And I wait for him, in case he needs me to listen..... And fear that after his recovery, they will re-deploy him back into a living nightmare.
Like many of the current and returning warriors he has a macho image to maintain. They do not talk about the nightmares, the anquish, and the guilt they have shouldered. It is is not the 'manly' thing to do. So, like my brother, they keep up the facade of normalacy and bravado. And I would guess that even with an annonymous survey, they would be relucant to admit to themselves where they really are mentally. Like refusing to see the elephant under the rug because then you'd have to figure out how to get it out of the front door.
My friend in the Army says "There is NO god here", not the one worshiped by the Muslims or by the Christians. He says it is truly god-forsaken and without hope. I would say that comments such as these are made to friends and family more honestly than to surveyors.....
With soldiers and Marines (my brother loves being a Marine by the way) making statements like this, how high could morale really be?
Common Ground Common Sense
Niger Yellowcake and The Man Who Forged Too Much
by Pen [Subscribe]
Fri Jul 22nd, 2005 at 06:56:03 CDT
They say all roads lead to Rome. Well, this one certainly does. It's a road that starts in Paris, at the door of Iranian arms dealer and Mossad double agent Manucher Ghorbanifar, a man known to the CIA as an "intelligence fabricator". It's a road that runs through Niger uranium mines, past a Genoan fascist organization operating as a parallel Italian intelligence network with ties to Rocco Martino, and down the streets of Milan, where a CIA operative, now considered a fugitive at large by Italian authorities, once operated.
Ultimately, however, it is a road that does not end in Rome. It runs past that ancient icon of Imperial corruption and leads us to Washington D.C., past a Federal Investigation into Israeli espionage and right up to the steps of the White House and Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans.
All signs along this road point to the answer to the question: Who forged the Niger Uranium Documents?
* Pen's diary :: ::
We find ourselves beginning our journey in Paris with Manucher Ghorbanifar.
Back in 1984, Michael Ledeen put forward the idea of using Manucher Ghorbanifar to make illegal arms sales to Iran. The CIA's Deputy Director for Operations, Clair George, deemed Ghorbanifar totally unreliable. He felt that Ghorbanifar, a MOSSAD double agent, had Israel's security as his only priority. But George Bush Sr., having dealt with Ghorbanifar in Paris prior to the infamous "October Surprise" that got Ronald Reagan elected, agreed with Ledeen and so Ghorbanifar became the middleman in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair. In fact, Oliver North testified that the diversion of funds to the Contras was proposed to him by
Ghorbanifar during a meeting in January 1986.
So it should have come as no surprise that Newsweek reported that :
Ghorbanifar, a former Iranian spy who helped launch the Iran-contra affair, says one of the things he discussed with Defense officials Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin at meetings in Rome in December 2001 (and in Paris last June with only Rhode) was regime change in Iran....The Pentagon cut off contact with Ghorbanifar, whom the CIA years ago labeled as a fabricator, after news about the talks broke last summer....But Ghorbanifar says he continued to communicate with Rhode, and sometimes Franklin, by phone and fax five or six times a week until shortly after the Paris meeting last summer (June 2002).
The important points to note in the Newsweek article were this:
1: The two Americans at the meeting were
a) Harold Rhode, a member of the Office of Special Plans, protege of Michael Ledeen and the liason between the administration and Ahmed Chalabi and b) Larry Franklin, formerly of the Office of Special Plans, whom the FBI arrested for giving away secrets to Israel through the organization AIPAC.
2: The two Italian men present were
a) SISMI (Italian Intelligence) Chief Nicolo Pollari. b) Italian Minister of Defense Antonio Martino.
3: The meetings were in Rome in Dec. 2001.
What Newsweek doesn't tell us is that a third American was present at that first meeting and that he was the man who organized the meeting: Michael Ledeen.
But back to Ghorbanifar. A quick look in the Wikipedia shows us that:
Ghorbanifar's suspected duplicity during the Iran-Contra deal led CIA Director William Casey to order three separate lie-detector tests, all of which he failed. Iranian officials also suspected Ghorbanifar of passing them forged American documents. The CIA issued a "burn notice" (or "Fabricator Notice") on Ghorbanifar in 1984, meaning he was regarded as an unreliable source of intelligence. A 1987 congressional report on Iran-Contra cites the CIA warning that Ghorbanifar "should be regarded as an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance" who was known to spread false information to advance his own interests.
In case you missed it, let me repeat: Iranian officials also suspected Ghorbanifar of passing them forged American documents.
Our road now takes us from Paris to Genoa, to the doors of an organization known as Propaganda Due (P2).
On July 4, 2005 the news broke that the Genoan police had arrested two leaders of a Neo-Fascist, unofficial, self-proclaimed "anti-terrorist" network operating parallel to SISMI in Italy. The group recruited police and intelligence agents to their cause. Saya and Sindoca created the Department of Strategic Anti-Terrorism Studies (DSSA), which reportedly had ties to the Bush administration as well as Isreal. One of the two leaders - Gaetano Saya - affirms he is a member of P-2 (Propaganda Due) on the DSSA website. A website which also
The evil which has descended upon us finds in men like George Bush in America and Gaetano Saya in Italy an impregnable bulwark: God-fearing men, harded and pure individuals who, enlightend by God, have descended into the valley of the shadow of death to defend the Judeo-Christian faith and the West. The righteousness which these men represent will defeat the anti-Christ. God is on their side.
The P-2 Lodge, a hotbed of fascism, reportedly maintained close links with Michael Ledeen. A number of SISMI agents and assets have been tied to the group, including Francesco Pazienza, a SISMI agent, and Rocco Martino. In 1981, a raid on the home of Licio Gelli uncovered documents listing all the names of the members of P2.
Italy's current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi was on that list.
The road then takes us to Milan.
The mounting evidence has caused prosecutors in Genoa and Milan to suspect that the neo-Fascist intelligence group may have been involved in the kidnaping of Imam Abu Omar (Moustapha Hassan Nasr) from a street in Milan in 2003. Michael Scheuer told Italy's La Repubblica that the kidnaping of Abu Omar was authorized by SISMI chief Nicolo Pollari. Saya's website seems to indicate that SISMI Chief Nicolo Pollari was affiliated with his organization.
On June 24th, 2005 an Italian judge ordered the arrests of 13 people that an Italian newpaper reported were all American CIA agents, in the purported abduction of Abu Omar.
The judge proclaims that "Wanted for coordinating the kidnaping: Robert Seldon Lady."
Go to the following pdf, click on Italy and scroll down to the Milan station to see Lady was a member of the CIA's Milan station:
Robert Seldon Lady was a Honduran-born CIA agent once in charge of a covert American unit in Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua tasked with infiltrating anti-American groups and turning them over. Italian authorities believe Lady was involved in the initial interrogation of Abu Omar in Egypt. Lady is also accused of trying to influence the investigation. Italian agents went to Lady's home with an arrest warrant. He had fled the country.
So, like Ghorbanifar, Lady seems to have followed the road from Iran-Contra to Italy.
The road that leads us now to Rome and the Niger Embassy.
Enter Rocco Martino. A known felon in Italy, he was an on again off again member of SISMI. At one point he had worked as a consultant for the division within Fort Braschi that was keeping track of weapons of mass destruction.
In early 2000, Rocco Martino, who, as I noted above, was tied to P-2, went back on the SISMI payroll. He was then directed by a SISMI agent to contact a SISMI source, a "lady" who worked at the Niger Embassy in Rome, could provide Martino with information in exchange for which Martino pays the Nigerien "lady" 500 euros/month.
On January 2nd, 2001, police discover that the Nigerien Embassy has been broken into and documents and files were stolen. Italian investigators now believe that the breakin is related to the Niger forgeries.
Then in October 2001, the following occured as described by Joshua Marshall :
You'll remember that most of the papers in the bundle of Niger-uranium documents that arrived at the US Embassy in Rome were actually authentic. It was only a subset of the documents --- those specifically related to the alleged Niger-Iraq transactions and a couple others --- that were bogus.
In late 2001, the SISMI officer[the one who put Martino in contact with the "lady"] brought the Niger Embassy employee a packet of documents --- those later identified as forgeries --- and instructed her to slip them in with the other documents she was providing to the `security consultant' [Rocco Martino] on an on-going basis. She mixed those documents in with authentic documents which she had access to in the course of her work at the embassy. She then passed those documents --- again, a mix of authentic and forged ones --- to the `security consultant'[Rocco Martino].
This was the story that was fed to Joshua Marshall. However, now that the light has been exposed upon the parallel clandestine organization operating within SISMI, an organization that Rocco Martino was a member of, one has to ask themselves if any "lady" from the Nigerien Embassy was ever involved.
If she ever really existed, why haven't investigators already discovered the identity of this "lady"? You'd think, at the least, there'd have been an internal investigation at the Nigerien Embassy to find out who was leaking documents. There couldn't have been that many Nigerien women working in the Embassy. It seems especially unlikely that SISMI doesn't know the identity of the "lady" since the Niger embassy in Rome has been a key listening post for Italian military intelligence since 1983 in addition to the fact it was a SISMI agent that
first sent Martino to the Nigerian Embassy.
Then again, the FBI hasn't questioned Martino either, even after they were informed he was coming to America .
And here's what one analyst said about the forged documents:
the thing that stood out immediately about the documents was that a companion document - a document included with the Niger documents that did not relate to uranium - mentioned some type of military campaign against major world powers. The members of the alleged military campaign included both Iraq and Iran, and was, according to the documents, being orchestrated through the Nigerien Embassy in Rome.
Iraq and Iran, allied, taking on the world in a plan orchestrated through the Nigerien Embassy in Rome?
But it is important here to note the linkage being made by the fabricator of this forgery. This person wants to link Iran with Iraq. He wants us to believe that these two nations are a
threat. More on that later.
Here are the Nigerian forgeries .
So let's sum up what we know so far:
Rocco Martino, Michael Ledeen, Francesco Pazienza, Silvio Berlusconi and Nicolo Pollari are all members of P-2. P-2 is found out to have been running a parallel intelligence network that recruited SISMI agents. Pollari authorized the abduction of Abu Omar. The abduction was allegedly coordinated by Robert Lady. An unknown SISMI agent contacts Martino and puts him in touch with a "lady" who can get him documents about Niger. The Niger Embassy is broken into. The unknown SISMI agent gives the "lady" real Niger documents along with the forgeries. This "lady" gives them to Martino.
And now the road takes us to the office of Panorama.
Panorama is owned by Silvio Berlusconi.
Elisabetta Burba, a journalist for Panorama, receives a telephone call from Rocco Martoni telling her about the Niger documents, offering to sell them to here for ten thousand dollars. She meets with him and he gives her photocopies. She asks how they could be authenticated and he shows her a photocopy of the codebook from the Niger Embassy.
Italian authorities believe the codebook was obtained in the breakin of the Niger Embassy in 2001.
Burba shows the documents to her boss and requests to arrange a visit to Niger. Her boss, editor-in-chief Carlo Rossella, who is known to have ties with the Berlusconi government, insists that she first turn copies over to the U.S. Embassy,, which she did on October 9th. Burba's trip to Niger proved that the documents were fake and even that the companies allegedly
involved were too small to make a transaction of that size. Something the French would have known had they been behind the forgeries.
Martoni was never paid. The article was never published.
The New Yorker published an account of what happened next:
Two former C.I.A. officials provided slightly different accounts of what happened next. "The Embassy was alerted that the papers were coming," the first former official told me, "and it passed them directly to Washington without even vetting them inside the Embassy." Once the documents were in Washington, they were forwarded by the C.I.A. to the Pentagon,
he said. "Everybody knew at every step of the way that they were false--until they got to the Pentagon, where they were believed."
Who would have alerted the Embassy that the papers were coming? The entire statement presupposes that the Embassy knew what papers were coming.
But now, the long and winding road leads us at last to Washington DC and the FBI investigation into the AIPAC spy ring. Here we find the usual suspects.
Keyser Soze aka Michael Ledeen.
Michael Ledeen was one of the founders of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). He holds the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a think tank for AIPAC. He is co-founder of the Coalition for Democracy in Iran. As far back as 1980, the CIA allegedly listed Ledeen as an agent of influence of Israel. Ledeen is the main foreign policy advisor to Karl Rove. Ledeens main obsession seems to be to overthrow Iran.
In 1972 he published the book Universal Fascism, in which he expounds upon "the rightness of the fascist cause." In Universal Fascism, Ledeen first builds his case that fascism was the "20th Century Revolution" and that "people yearn for the real thing - revolution". It's the blueprint for a fascist revolution.
In 1980 he collaborated with Francesco Pazienza of SISMI and P-2 in the "BillyGate" affair. This is the same Pazienze who was recently found out to belong to the parallel intelligence agency in Italy. In 1985 Pazienza was found guilty of political manipulation, forgery, and the protection of terrorists. Ledeen is identified in court documents as an agent of SISMI.
The Pentagon downgraded Ledeen's security clearances from Top Secret-SCI to Secret in the mid-1980s, after the FBI began a probe of Ledeen for passing classified materials to a foreign country, believed to be Israel.
In 2001, Ledeen was hired by Feith to work on contract for the Office of Special Plans.
It was Ledeen who got Israeli spy Jonathon Pollard his job in the Navy.
It was Ledeen who insisted on using Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Mossad double agent, in the Iran-Contra affair.
It was Ledeen who organized the meeting between Rhodes, Franklin and Ghorbanifar on Dec. 1, 2001 in Rome.
On Dec. 12, 2001, U.S. Amb. Sembler has a private dinner with Ledeen and the Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino. Ledeen and Martino begin discussing the previous meeting with Ghorbanifar which they had both attended. Sembler, deeply concerned that a secret meeting had occured with the recipient of two CIA "burn notices", informed the CIA which in turn informed the White House, specifically Stephen Hadley. Hadley told Ledeen and Co. to back off of Ghorbanifar. But that order was ignored and communication between Ghorbanifar and Rhode continued up to their second face to face in June 2003.
Rhode also met with AIPAC lobbyists, Ahmed Chalabi, Israeli agents and SISMI during this time.
Rhode is a member of the Office of Special Plans. He fervently pushes for the invasion of Iran. He's the main liason between the White House and Ahmed Chalabi. He is a 20 year Middle East expert. He has close ties to Michael Ledeen.
"According to one former senior U.S. intelligence official who maintained excellent contacts with serving U.S. intelligence
officials in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, "Rhode practically lived out of (Ahmad) Chalab's office." This same source quoted the intelligence official with the CPA as saying, "Rhode was observed by CIA operatives as being constantly on his cell phone to Israel," and that the information that the intelligence officials overheard him passing to Israel was "mind-boggling," this source said. It dealt with U.S. plans, military deployments, political projects, discussion of Iraq assets, and a host of other sensitive topics, the former senior U.S. intelligence official said." FBI probes DOD office - (United Press International)
Larry Franklin, a Col. in the US Air Force, is considered the Pentagons top Iran analyst. He attended the meeting in Rome with Ghorbanifar. He works for the Office of Special Plans and is a fervent believer in the need to invade Iran. He is now under arrest for allegedly giving state secrets to Isreal through AIPAC.
FBI investigators indicate that they are looking for more than one person. Michael Ledeen and Harold Rhode have to be considered primary suspects.
This flowchart shows how the Office of Special Plans was organized.
Note that many members are also affiliated with AEI and therefore, by extension, with AIPAC. Their names are Wurmser, Rubin, Cheney, Perle and Gingrich. That's in addition, of course, to Keyser Soze, er Michael Ledeen.
One need only look at what espionage operation risked being exposed by Wilson revealing the Niger Yellowcake forgeries to realize why Rove would go so far as to 'out' Valerie Plame to discredit Joe Wilson.
Which takes us down the road to the desk of Bob Novak.
Bob Novaks greatest harm to national security didn't come from outing Valerie Plame and her front company. His greatest harm came when he made the following statement in his July 14, 2003 article:
Wilson's mission was created after an early 2002 report by the Italian intelligence service about attempted uranium purchases from Niger, derived from forged documents prepared by what the CIA calls a "con man." This misinformation, peddled by Italian journalists, spread through the U.S. government. The White House, State Department and Pentagon, and not just Vice President Dick Cheney, asked the CIA to look into it.
Up until that time, the name of the country involved was classified. Check out EmptyWheels great diary.
How could Novak have known SISMI was involved? Either someone with clearance told him, or a conspirator to the forgeries told him.
Who would those conspirators be? Those with links to P-2 and the parallel Italian intelligence network. I think I've pretty much spelled out who's on that list.
So did Manucher Ghorbanifar make the forgeries? Or was it Francesco Pazienza? The signs along the road would point to Ghorbanifar. Remember that the second forgery had the outlandish claim that Iraq and Iran were planning to take on the worlds major powers? Ghorbanifars self interest is the "liberation" of Iran. Isreal wants Iraq and Iran invaded. So does Ledeen, he's done nothing but rant about just that for years. So does Rhodes. So does Franklin. The invasion of Iran is already being planned by the White House.
No, Pazienza was most likely the SISMI agent that put Martino in touch with the "lady" who in turn passed Ghorbanifars forgeries along with the stolen Niger documents onto him.
So why hasn't the FBI questioned Rocco Martoni or the alleged "lady" at the Niger Embassy?
The answers to those questions probably lie somewhere down the road with the trial of Larry Franklin and the investigation into Valerie Plame.
Daily Kos: Niger Yellowcake and The Man Who Forged Too Much
The campaign for Social Security privatization has degenerated into farce. The "global war on terrorism" has been downgraded to the "global struggle against violent extremism" (pronounced gee-save), which is just embarrassing. Baghdad is a nightmare, Basra is a militia-run theocracy, and officials are talking about withdrawing troops from Iraq next year (just in time for the U.S. midterm elections).
Skip to next paragraph
On the other hand, the administration is crowing about its success in passing the long-stalled energy bill, the highway bill and Cafta, the free-trade agreement with Central America. So is the Bush agenda stalled, or is it progressing?
The answer is that the administration is getting nowhere on its grand policy agenda. But it never took policy, as opposed to politics, very seriously anyway. The agenda it has always taken with utmost seriousness - consolidating one-party rule, and rewarding its friends - is moving forward quite nicely.
One of President Bush's great political talents is his ability to convince people who do care passionately about policy that he is one of them. Foreign-policy neoconservatives believe he shares their vision of a world transformed by American power. Economic conservatives believe he shares their dedication to dismantling the welfare state.
But a serious effort either to transform the world or to dismantle the welfare state would require sacrifices Mr. Bush hasn't been willing to make.
On the foreign policy front, the "Bush doctrine" of pre-emption and unilateralism sounded very impressive at first. But Mr. Bush's tough-guy attitude wasn't matched by his willingness to commit resources. His administration sought global dominance on the cheap, with an undermanned, underplanned invasion of Iraq that has, indeed, transformed the balance of power in the Middle East - in favor of Iran.
On the domestic policy front, talk of an "ownership society" appealed to conservatives who dreamed of rolling back the New Deal. But Mr. Bush has expanded, not reduced, middle-class entitlements. Only the poor and powerless have faced cuts. (I don't think those middle-class entitlements should be cut. But Mr. Bush claims to be against big government.)
Social Security privatization was to the crusade against the welfare state what the invasion of Iraq was to G-Save: an attempt to achieve radical goals on the cheap. Rather than openly propose reductions in entitlement spending, the administration tried to sell a phaseout of traditional Social Security benefits in return for the magic of investing. But the public didn't buy it.
So what about those legislative successes? Roy Blunt, the House Republican whip, called the victories "verification that this is a governing party." But governing means more than handing out goodies.
Let's start with the energy bill. Even the bill's supporters barely pretend that it will do anything to reduce America's dependence on imported oil. It's simply an exercise in corporate welfare, full of subsidies and targeted tax breaks.
Then there's the pork-stuffed highway bill. I guess we'll have to stop making fun of Japanese public works spending: now America, too, is building bridges to islands that have almost no inhabitants, but lie in the districts of influential legislators.
Finally, Cafta contains "free trade" in its title, but that's misleading. The administration rammed the bill through the House by, among other things, promising to limit imports of clothing from China; over all, the effect may well be to reduce, not increase, international trade. But pharmaceutical companies got measures that protect and extend their monopoly rights in Central America.
These bills don't have anything to do with governing, if governing means trying to achieve actual policy goals like energy independence or expanded trade. They're just machine politics at work, favors granted in return for favors received.
In fact, you can argue that the administration does a bad job at governing in part because its highest priority is always to reward its friends. Most notably, the Iraq venture would have had a better chance of succeeding if cronyism and corruption hadn't undermined reconstruction.
Still, Republicans should feel good. Those legislative successes show that the political machine can still deliver the goods, even at a time when a majority of Americans disapprove of Mr. Bush's leadership and believe that his administration deliberately misled us into war.
Triumph of the Machine - New York Times
Profile: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Zarqawi's Jordanian roots
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - a man notorious for his alleged ruthlessness - is suspected of direct involvement in the kidnap and beheading of several foreigners in Iraq - even of wielding the knife himself.
Washington has also accused the 37-year-old Jordanian radical of masterminding a string of spectacular suicide bombings in Iraq, and of being linked to al-Qaeda.
After viewing a video of the beheading of American engineer Eugene Armstrong, taken hostage in Baghdad in September 2004 along with a fellow American and a Briton, the CIA believes with a "high degree of confidence" that it was Zarqawi who read out a statement and then carried out the murder.
The video followed a pattern which has become grimly familiar since American contractor Nick Berg was shown being killed in May 2004.
A group of militants clad in black stand in front of the banner of Zarqawi's group, Tawhid and Jihad, with their victim kneeling before them.
After reading a statement, a militant leans over the bound and blindfolded prisoner and cuts off his head with a knife.
Those killed in this fashion include another American, a South Korean and a Bulgarian. A Turkish hostage was shot three times in the head.
Bin Laden rival?
Zarqawi's network is considered the main source of kidnappings, bomb attacks and assassination attempts in Iraq.
Although he is thought to have links with al-Qaeda, experts regard his group as autonomous - perhaps even a rival to Osama Bin Laden's organisation.
The US has put a $25m bounty on his head - the same sum they are offering for Bin Laden himself.
The reward was increased after American authorities intercepted a letter which, they claimed, confirmed he was working with al-Qaeda to drive the US out of Iraq.
In the run-up to the Iraq war in February 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations Zarqawi was an associate of Osama Bin Laden who had sought refuge in Iraq.
A 'wanted' poster for Zarqawi: there is $25m bounty on his head
Intelligence reports indicated he was in Baghdad and - according to Mr Powell - this was a sure sign that Saddam Hussein was courting al-Qaeda, which, in turn, justified an attack on Iraq.
But some analysts contested the claim, pointing to Zarqawi's historical rivalry with Bin Laden.
Both men rose to prominence as "Afghan Arabs" - leading foreign fighters in the "jihad" against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
It was a far cry from Zarqawi's youth as a petty criminal in Jordan, remembered by those who knew him as a simple, quick-tempered, and barely literate gangster.
But after the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan, Zarqawi went back to Jordan with a radical Islamist agenda.
Sentenced to death
He spent seven years in prison there, accused of conspiring to overthrow the monarchy and establish an Islamic caliphate.
Not long after his release, he fled the country.
Jordan tried him in absentia and sentenced him to death for allegedly plotting attacks on American and Israeli tourists.
Western intelligence indicated Zarqawi had sought refuge in Europe.
German security forces later uncovered a militant cell which claimed Zarqawi was its leader.
The cell-members also told their German interrogators their group was "especially for Jordanians who did not want to join al-Qaeda".
According to the German intelligence report, this "conflicts with... information" from America.
The next stop on his itinerary was his old stamping ground - Afghanistan.
He is believed to have set up a training camp in the western city of Herat, near the border with Iran.
Students at his camp supposedly became experts in the manufacture and use of poison gases.
It is during this period that Zarqawi is thought to have renewed his acquaintance with al-Qaeda.
He is believed to have fled to Iraq in 2001 after a US missile strike on his Afghan base, though the report that he lost a leg in the attack has not been verified.
US officials argue that it was at al-Qaeda's behest that he moved to Iraq and established links with Ansar al-Islam - a group of Kurdish Islamists from the north of the country.
He is thought to have remained with them for a while - feeling at home in mountainous northern Iraq.
When US aid official Laurence Foley was gunned down in Amman in October 2002, the Jordanian authorities claimed he had masterminded and financed the attack.
If the intelligence agencies are to be believed, it was just the beginning of a busy year for Zarqawi.
In 2003, he was named as the brains behind a series of lethal bombings - from Casablanca in Morocco to Istanbul in Turkey.
Later Spanish officials were reported to be looking into allegations that he may have been behind the Madrid bombings on 11 March 2004, which killed 191 people.
It is in Iraq, though, that he appears to be most active.
The assassination of the Shia cleric, Ayatollah al-Hakim, at a shrine in the town of Najaf, was one of the bloodiest attacks in Iraq last year - over 50 Shia worshippers died.
US authorities pinned the blame on Zarqawi.
The intercepted "Zarqawi" letter released by the Americans in February 2004 seems to support their claim.
In it, the author appeared to share his plans for igniting sectarian conflict in Iraq as a means of undermining the US presence there. And he claims to have already undertaken 25 successful attacks against the enemy.
Within days of the letter's release, bomb attacks on recruiting centres for the Iraqi security forces had killed nearly 100 people.
Attacks have continued across Iraq almost daily in recent months. Whether or not Zarqawi is behind them all, he is seen by the US as the biggest obstacle to their hopes of progress in Iraq - their most dangerous enemy in the country.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Profile: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
The Zarqawi Phenomenon
By Dahr Jamail
A remarkable proportion of the violence taking place in Iraq is regularly credited to the Jordanian Ahmad al-Khalayleh, better known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and his organization Al Qaeda in Iraq. Sometimes it seems no car bomb goes off, no ambush occurs that isn't claimed in his name or attributed to him by the Bush administration. Bush and his top officials have, in fact, made good use of him, lifting his reputed feats of terrorism to epic, even mythic, proportions (much aided by various mainstream media outlets). Given that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has now been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be based upon administration lies and manipulations, I had begun to wonder if the vaunted Zarqawi even existed.
In Amman, where I was recently based, random interviews with Jordanians only generated more questions and no answers about Zarqawi. As it happens, though, the Jordanian capital is just a short cab ride from Zarqa, the city Zarqawi is said to be from. So I decided to slake my curiosity about him by traveling there and nosing around his old neighborhood.
"Zarqawi, I don't even know if he exists," said a scruffy taxi driver in Amman and his was a typical comment. "He's like Bin Laden, we don't even know if he exists; but if he does, I support that he fights the U.S. occupation of Iraq."
Chatting with a man sipping tea in a small tea stall in downtown Amman, I asked what he thought of Zarqawi. He was convinced that Zarqawi was perfectly real, but the idea that he was responsible for such a wide range of attacks in Iraq had to be "nonsense."
"The Americans are using him for their propaganda," he insisted. "Think about it -- with all of their power and intelligence capabilities -- they cannot find one man?"
Like so many others in neighboring Jordan, he, too, offered verbal support for the armed resistance in Iraq, adding, "Besides, it is any person's right to defend himself if his country is invaded. The American occupation of Iraq has destabilized the entire region."
The Bush administration has regularly claimed that Zarqawi was in -- and then had just barely escaped from -- whatever city or area they were next intent on attacking or cordoning off or launching a campaign against. Last year, he and his organization were reputed to be headquartered in Fallujah, prior to the American assault that flattened the city. At one point, American officials even alleged that he was commanding the defense of Fallujah from elsewhere by telephone. Yet he also allegedly slipped out of Fallujah either just before or just after the beginning of the assault, depending on which media outlet or military press release you read.
He has since turned up, according to American intelligence reports and the U.S. press, in Ramadi, Baghdad, Samarra, and Mosul among other places, along with side trips to Jordan, Iran, Pakistan and/or Syria. His closest "lieutenants" have been captured by the busload, according to American military reports, and yet he always seems to have a bottomless supply of them. In May, a news report on the BBC even called Zarqawi "the leader of the insurgency in Iraq," though more sober analysts of the chaotic Iraqi situation say his group, Jama'at al-Tawhid wal Jihad, while probably modest in size and reach is linked to a global network of jihadists. However, finding any figures as to the exact size of the group remains an elusive task.
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell offered photos before the U.N. in February, 2003 of Zarqawi's "headquarters" in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, also claiming that Zarqawi had links to Al-Qaeda. The collection of small huts was bombed to the ground by U.S. forces in March of that year, prompting one news source to claim that Zarqawi had been killed. Yet seemingly contradicting Powell's claims for Zarqawi's importance was a statement made in October, 2004 by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who conceded that Zarqawi's ties to Al Qaeda may have been far more ambiguous, that he may have been more of a rival than a lieutenant to Osama bin Laden. "Someone could legitimately say he's not Al Qaeda," added Rumsfeld.
The Eternal Netherworld of Zarqawi
For anyone trying to assess the Zarqawi phenomenon from neighboring Jordan, complicating matters further are the contradictory statements Jordanians regularly offer up about almost any aspect of Zarqawi's life, history, present activities, or even his very existence.
"I've met him here in Jordan," claimed Abdulla Hamiz, a 29 year-old merchant in Amman, "Two years ago." However, Hajam Yousef, shining shoes under a date palm in central Amman, insists, "He doesn't exist except in the minds of American policy-makers."
In fact, what little is actually known about Zarqawi sounds like the biography of a troubled but normal man from the industrial section of Zarqa. Thirty-eight years old now, according to the BBC, Zarqawi reportedly grew up a rebellious child who ran with the wrong crowd. He liked to play soccer in the streets as a young boy and dropped out of school when he was 17. According to some reports, his friends claimed that in his teens he started drinking heavily, getting tattoos, and picking fights he could not win. According to Jordanian intelligence reports provided to the Associated Press in Amman, Zarqawi was jailed in the 1980's for sexual assault, though no additional details are available. By the time he was 20 he evidently began looking for direction, and ended up making his way to Afghanistan in the last years of the jihadist war against the Soviets in that country. While some media outlets like the New York Times claim that he did not actually fight in Afghanistan, there are people in Jordan who believe he did.
He is reported to have returned to Jordan in 1992 where he was arrested after Jordanian authorities found weapons in his home. Upon his release in 1999, he left once again for Pakistan. When his Pakistani visa expired, expecting to be arrested as a suspect in a terror plot if he returned to Jordan, he entered Afghanistan instead.
After supposedly running a weapons camp there, he was next sighted by Jordanian authorities, crossing back into Jordan from Syria in September of 2002. Sometime between then and May 11, 2004, when he was reported to have beheaded the kidnapped American, Nick Berg, in Baghdad, Zarqawi entered Iraq. Many news outlets have reported that his goal in Iraq is to generate a sectarian civil war between the Sunni and Shia.
In September, 2004, the BBC, among others, reported, "U.S. officials suspect that Zarqawi…is holed up with followers in the rebellious Iraqi city of Fallujah," though their sources, as is true of more or less all sources in every report on Zarqawi, were nebulous. During the second siege of Fallujah, last November, Newsweek reported that "some U.S. officials say that Zarqawi may actually be directing or instigating events in the town by telephone from elsewhere in Iraq." Though they too cited no specific sources and provided no evidence for this, Newsweek then summed Zarqawi's importance up in this way: "His crucial role in the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, however, cannot be underestimated." Meanwhile, the BBC was reporting that his "network is considered the main source of kidnappings, bomb attacks and assassination attempts in Iraq" -- another statement made without much, if any, solid evidence.
In the end, the vast mass of reportage on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi amounts to countless statements based on anonymous sources hardly less shadowy -- to ordinary readers -- than him. He exists, then, in a kind of eternal netherworld of reportage, rumor, and attribution. It could almost be said that never has a figure been more regularly written about based on less hard information. While we have a rough outline of who he is, where he is from, and where he went until he entered Iraq, evidence that might stand up in a court of law is consistently absent. The question that begs to be answered in this glaring void of hard information is: Who benefits from the ongoing tales of the mysterious Zarqawi?
The Search for Zarqawi's Past
My own little journey only seemed to repeat this larger phenomenon on a more modest scale. It was the sort of story where, from beginning to end, no one I met ever seemed willing to offer his or her real name (or certainly let a real name be used in an article). From second one, Zarqawi and an urge for anonymity were tightly -- and perhaps appropriately -- bound together. Abdulla (not his real name, of course), the man who agreed to drive my translator Aisha and me to Al-Zarqa for this excursion was a Jordanian, by the look of things about 30 years old, who chain-smoked nervously throughout the trip. We decided to go with him after running into him while I was conducting my own informal Zarqawi reality poll in Amman.
"I know him personally because we fought together in Afghanistan in the early ‘90's," insisted Abdulla. "If you like, I can show you where he is from."
When he picked us up on the late afternoon of the next day in his beat-up, rusting taxi, he agreed to a modest fee that was to be paid at the end of our excursion. As we puttered up a hillside on our venture to Zarqawi's hometown of Al-Zarqa, he promptly pulled out a small stack of photos. I flipped through them as we drove towards Zarqawi's neighborhood and noted Abdulla standing in front of the huge Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, a giant beard (no longer present) dominating his flowing dishdasha.
Another picture had him in Peshawar, Pakistan, a city near the Afghan border known as a recruiting and staging area for the Taliban. Others seemed to have him in the Philippines standing amid dense forest with a gun slung over his shoulder. In none of them -- why should I have been surprised -- did he have a companion with the now so globally recognizable Zarqawi sneer.
A little while into our journey, out of nowhere Abdulla suddenly said, "Anyone collaborating with the Americans in Iraq should be killed!"
I took this as a sign that he felt like talking, and asked him what he knew of Zarqawi. According to him, he met the mythic terrorist in Peshawar before being sent with him to a training camp on the border of Afghanistan in 1990. "There are several well known training camps in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan," he explained, "And we were in one of those, along with freedom fighters from Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon."
Only fighters for "jihad" were allowed into the camps, he continued proudly. Only fighters who were identified by other well known mujahideen were granted permission to enter, in an effort to safeguard those camps against spies. After three months of training with machine guns and rocket launchers, Abdulla claims that he and Zarqawi headed for Afghanistan to fight the Russians who remained there.
When I looked at him quizzically -- since the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan in February of 1989 -- he replied, "Many of them stayed after their government announced they had withdrawn -- so we were pushing the rest of them out."
This was already a questionable tale, but he went right on. They were given the choice, he claimed, of where to go in Afghanistan, and Abdulla proudly stated that most of the mujahideen went to the "hot" areas where they expected to find fighting. Our discussion was then interrupted because we had completed the hop to Zarqa and arrived in the neighborhood, so rumor has it, where Zarqawi's brother-in-law lives. We were dropped off near a small mosque where Zarqawi supposedly used to pray.
Abdulla says it isn't safe for him to linger here -- though he doesn't bother to explain why -- and we agree instead that he will call us on my cell phone in an hour to see if we need more time or not.
So Aisha and I begin to walk around the quiet, middle-class neighborhood asking people if they know where the brother-in-law lives. Small children play in the streets. Behind them young men and parents sit eyeing us suspiciously. The wind whips plastic bags along the roads between the usual stone houses of Jordan. Finally, we find an old man with a white, flowing beard and tired eyes sitting in a worn chair at the front of a small grocery stall. He admits to being the Imam of the mosque, but when asked if he remembers Zarqawi he dodges the question artfully.
"It is probably true that he used to pray in my mosque," he responds tiredly, "but I can't say for sure, as my back is to the people whom I lead in prayers."
After this he looks away, down the road. I assume he's wishing we were gone -- undoubtedly like so many Zarqawi seekers before us. So we thank him and walk on.
Next, we find a woman -- no names given -- who assures us that Zarqawi is from the Beni Hassan tribe, the largest tribe in Jordan, before pointing to a two-story white house with a black satellite dish on top.
"That is Ahmed Zarqawi's home," she says softly, referring to one of his brothers before warning, "But don't go there because they will throw rocks on your head. They are sick of the media."
After being sidetracked by being shown his brothers' home, we keep doggedly asking for his brother-in-law, but everyone insists that they simply don't know where he lives, which seems odd. Just up the hill from his brother's home, we stumble upon a middle-aged man who is willing to be interviewed. He's a rare find in this village that has certainly been inundated with media, not to speak of far more threatening visits from the intelligence and police personnel of various countries.
Like our taxi driver, this man agrees to be interviewed on condition of anonymity. These are, it seems, a reasonably media-savvy group of villagers. He tells us that Zarqawi's brother doesn't know much about the mythic legend of the Jordanian jihadi outlaw, due to the fact that he keeps his distance from all the hoopla. He then laughs and adds, "But all the media went to his brother's house anyway to film it, because they thought it was Zarqawi's home!"
He then points across a shallow valley where lines of homes sit bathed in the setting sun. "He [Zarqawi] is from that village, lives near a cemetery, and his father is mayor of that district, which is called al-Ma'assoum quarter."
He claims to have known Abu Musab since he was seven years old, as they went to Prince Talal Primary School together. "He was a trouble maker ever since he was a kid," he explains, "What the media is saying about him is not true, though. Abu Musab is a normal guy. What the Americans are saying is not true. Most of us who know him here and in his neighborhood don't believe any of this media."
He tells us that Zarqawi left the neighborhood in the early 1990's to go to Afghanistan, but that he doesn't believe he is in Iraq. Along with others in the neighborhood, he is convinced that Zarqawi was killed in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan during the U.S. bombings that resulted from the attacks of September 11th.
"His wife and their three children still live over there," he adds. "But don't go talk to them. They won't allow it." He believes Zarqawi was killed, "100%," and then says emphatically, "If he is still alive, why not show a recent photo of him? All of these they show in the media are quite old."
Like so many Jordanians, he supports the Iraqi resistance, "All Muslims should fight this occupation because everyday the Americans are slaughtering innocent Iraqis." Zarqawi, he tells us, wasn't a fighter until he went to Afghanistan. "Then his wife covered herself in black and has worn it ever since." According to this man, Zarqawi has two brothers named Ahmed and Sail. He says with a smile, "Most of the media coming here are westerners because I think most of the Arab media know this is all a myth."
He holds up his hands when one of his sons brings us coffee and asks, "When they show hostages in Iraq, why doesn't he put himself in the film? There is simply no proof he is alive offered by the Americans or the media."
We engage in some small talk while drinking our strong Arabic coffee as we sit under grape vines lacing the terrace over our heads. As the sun begins to set, we thank him for the talk and the coffee, and head off as our taxi driver phones.
I am walking quickly through the streets to meet him when Aisha, whom I've worked with often in Baghdad, reassures me: "You can slow down, Dahr, we are not in danger here. This isn't like Baghdad where we'll be killed after dark."
Shortly thereafter we meet our driver. "They didn't tell you where his brother-in-law is because his home has been raided so many times," he states as a matter of fact. "By both Jordanian and US intelligence."
Our driver insists that Zarqawi is alive and well in Iraq. "I'm certain of it, because if he was dead they would show his picture and make the announcement. He has always been so strong. When we were in Afghanistan, any time we got a new machine to learn or French missiles, he was the first to learn them."
He drives us by another mosque Zarqawi is also supposed to have attended. We are in the al-Ma'assoum quarter now and our driver tells us that a sister of Abu Musab is the head of the Islamic Center of the district. He then adds, somewhat randomly, that he himself has been in different prisons for a total of seven years -- one of those statements you can't decide whether you wished you had never heard or are simply relieved you didn't hear hours earlier just as you were beginning.
"In Afghanistan when we beheaded people it was to show the enemy what their fate was to be. It was to frighten them."
I think to myself grimly: Well, it works.
He adds, "The jihad in Iraq is not just Zarqawi. It is up to Allah if we prevail, not dependent on the hand of Zarqawi. If he is killed, the jihad will continue there."
I ask him about civilian casualties. Does he think Zarqawi cares about the killing of innocent people?
"I have had so many discussions with Iraqis to tell them that Zarqawi doesn't instruct his followers in the killing of innocent people. If he did this, I would be the first to turn against him. He only targets the Americans and collaborators."
He's still chain smoking as we drive through the darkness back to Amman. I pay him as we thank him for taking us to Zarqa, and then his beat up taxi rolls off down the busy street.
The Eerie Blankness of Zarqawi
After discussions with our driver and other Jordanians, the only thing I feel I can say for sure is that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a real person. Whether or not he is alive and fighting in Iraq or not, or what acts he is actually responsible for there, is open to debate. On one point, I'm quite certain, however: Reported American claims that Zarqawi has affiliations with the secular government of Syria make no sense. Just as Saddam Hussein opposed the religious fundamentalism of Osama Bin-Laden, the Syrian government would not be likely to team up with a fundamentalist like Zarqawi.
As Bush administration officials have falsely claimed Saddam Hussein had links to Bin-Laden and to Zarqawi, they have also conveniently linked Zarqawi to a Syrian government they would certainly like to take out. Similarly, Bush officials continue to link Zarqawi to the Iraqi resistance -- undoubtedly another bogus claim in that the resistance in Iraq is primarily composed of Iraqi nationalists and Baathist elements who are fighting to expel the occupiers from their country, not to create a global Islamic jihad.
Thus, even if Zarqawi is involved in carrying out attacks inside Iraq and is killed at some future moment, the effect this would have on the Iraqi resistance would surely be negligible. It would be but another American "turning point" where nothing much turned.
Right now, when you try to track down Zarqawi, a man with a $25 million American bounty on his head, or simply try to track him back to the beginnings of his life's journey, whether you look for him in the tunnels of Tora Bora, the ruined city of Fallujah, the Syrian borderlands, or Ramadi, you're likely to run up against a kind of eerie blankness. Whatever the real Zarqawi may or may not be capable of doing today in Iraq or elsewhere, he is dwarfed by the Zarqawi of legend. He may be the Bush administration's Terrorist of Terrorists (now that Osama Bin-Laden has been dropped into the void), the Iraqi insurgency's unwelcome guest, the fantasy figure in some Jihadi dreamscape, or all of the above. Whatever the case, Zarqawi the man has disappeared into an epic tale that may or may not be of his own partial creation. Even dead, he is unlikely to die; even alive, he is unlikely to be able to live up to anybody's Zarqawi myth.
Whoever he actually may be, the "he" of Jihadist websites and American pronouncements is now linked inextricably with the devolving occupation of Iraq and a Bush administration that, even as it has built him up as a satanic bogeyman, is itself beginning to lose its own mythic qualities, to grow smaller.
I'm sure we'll continue to hear of "him" in Iraq, in Jordan, or elsewhere as his myth, perhaps now beyond anyone's control, continues to transform itself as an inextricable part of the brutal, bloody occupation of Iraq where the Bush Administration finds itself fighting not primarily Zarqawi (or his imitators) but the Iraqis they allegedly came to liberate.
Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has spent 8 months reporting from occupied Iraq, and recently has been reporting from Jordan and Turkey. He regularly reports for Inter Press Service, as well as contributing to The Nation, The Sunday Herald and Asia Times among others. He maintains a website at: dahrjamailiraq.com.
Copyright 2005 Dahr Jamail
TomDispatch - Tomgram: Dahr Jamail on the Zarqawi Phenomenon
In full, frontal nude pandering to being WH shills! -- law
October 16, 2005
The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal
By DON VAN NATTA Jr., ADAM LIPTAK and CLIFFORD J. LEVY
This article is by Don Van Natta Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy.
In a notebook belonging to Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times, amid notations about Iraq and nuclear weapons, appear two small words: "Valerie Flame."
Ms. Miller should have written Valerie Plame. That name is at the core of a federal grand jury investigation that has reached deep into the White House. At issue is whether Bush administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, an undercover C.I.A. operative, to reporters as part of an effort to blunt criticism of the president's justification for the war in Iraq.
Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source, then relented. On Sept. 30, she told the grand jury that her source was I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. But she said he did not reveal Ms. Plame's name.
And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how "Valerie Flame" appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard it from him. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today.
Whether Ms. Miller's testimony will prove valuable to the prosecution remains unclear, as do its ramifications for press freedom. Yet an examination of Ms. Miller's decision not to testify, and then to do so, offers fresh information about her role in the investigation and how The New York Times turned her case into a cause.
The grand jury investigation centers on whether administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, whose husband, a former diplomat named Joseph C. Wilson IV, became a public critic of the Iraq war in July 2003. But Ms. Miller said Mr. Libby first raised questions about the diplomat in an interview with her that June, an account suggesting that Mr. Wilson was on the White House's radar before he went public with his criticisms.
Once Ms. Miller was issued a subpoena in August 2004 to testify about her conversations with Mr. Libby, she and The Times vowed to fight it. Behind the scenes, however, her lawyer made inquiries to see if Mr. Libby would release her from their confidentiality agreement. Ms. Miller said she decided not to testify in part because she thought that Mr. Libby's lawyer might be signaling to keep her quiet unless she would exonerate his client. The lawyer denies that, and Mr. Libby did not respond to requests for an interview.
As Ms. Miller, 57, remained resolute and moved closer to going to jail for her silence, the leadership of The Times stood squarely behind her.
"She'd given her pledge of confidentiality," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher. "She was prepared to honor that. We were going to support her."
But Mr. Sulzberger and the paper's executive editor, Bill Keller, knew few details about Ms. Miller's conversations with her confidential source other than his name. They did not review Ms. Miller's notes. Mr. Keller said he learned about the "Valerie Flame" notation only this month. Mr. Sulzberger was told about it by Times reporters on Thursday.
Interviews show that the paper's leaders, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control.
"This car had her hand on the wheel because she was the one at risk," Mr. Sulzberger said.
Once Ms. Miller was jailed, her lawyers were in open conflict about whether she should stay there. She had refused to reopen communications with Mr. Libby for a year, saying she did not want to pressure a source into waiving confidentiality. But in the end, saying "I owed it to myself" after two months of jail, she had her lawyer reach out to Mr. Libby. This time, hearing directly from her source, she accepted his permission and was set free.
"We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for," Ms. Miller said in an interview Friday.
Neither The Times nor its cause has emerged unbruised. Three courts, including the Supreme Court, declined to back Ms. Miller. Critics said The Times was protecting not a whistle-blower but an administration campaign intended to squelch dissent. The Times's coverage of itself was under assault: While the editorial page had crusaded on Ms. Miller's behalf, the news department had more than once been scooped on the paper's own story, even including the news of Ms. Miller's release from jail.
Asked what she regretted about The Times's handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."
A Divisive Newsroom Figure
In the spring of 2003, Ms. Miller returned from covering the war in Iraq, where she had been embedded with an American military team searching unsuccessfully for evidence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Back in the States, another battle was brewing.
Ms. Miller had written a string of articles before the war - often based on the accounts of Bush administration officials and Iraqi defectors - strongly suggesting that Saddam Hussein was developing these weapons of mass destruction.
When no evidence of them was found, her reporting, along with that of some other journalists, came under fire. She was accused of writing articles that helped the Bush administration make its case for war.
"I told her there was unease, discomfort, unhappiness over some of the coverage," said Roger Cohen, who was the foreign editor at the time. "There was concern that she'd been convinced in an unwarranted way, a way that was not holding up, of the possible existence of W.M.D."
It was a blow to the reputation of Ms. Miller, an investigative reporter who has worked at The Times for three decades. Ms. Miller is known for her expertise in intelligence and security issues and her ability to cultivate relationships with influential sources in government. In 2002, she was part of a team of Times reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize for articles on Al Qaeda.
Inside the newsroom, she was a divisive figure. A few colleagues refused to work with her.
"Judy is a very intelligent, very pushy reporter," said Stephen Engelberg, who was Ms. Miller's editor at The Times for six years and is now a managing editor at The Oregonian in Portland. "Like a lot of investigative reporters, Judy benefits from having an editor who's very interested and involved with what she's doing."
In the year after Mr. Engelberg left the paper in 2002, though, Ms. Miller operated with a degree of autonomy rare at The Times.
Douglas Frantz, who succeeded Mr. Engelberg as the investigative editor, said that Ms. Miller once called herself "Miss Run Amok."
"I said, 'What does that mean?' " said Mr. Frantz, who was recently appointed managing editor at The Los Angeles Times. "And she said, 'I can do whatever I want.' "
Ms. Miller said she remembered the remark only vaguely but must have meant it as a joke, adding, "I have strong elbows, but I'm not a dope."
Ms. Miller said she was proud of her journalism career, including her work on Al Qaeda, biological warfare and Islamic militancy. But she acknowledged serious flaws in her articles on Iraqi weapons.
"W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong," she said. "The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them - we were all wrong. If your sources are wrong, you are wrong. I did the best job that I could."
In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes.
On July 30, 2003, Mr. Keller became executive editor after his predecessor, Howell Raines, was dismissed after a fabrication scandal involving a young reporter named Jayson Blair.
Within a few weeks, in one of his first personnel moves, Mr. Keller told Ms. Miller that she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons issues. Even so, Mr. Keller said, "she kept kind of drifting on her own back into the national security realm."
Although criticism of Ms. Miller's Iraq coverage mounted, Mr. Keller waited until May 26, 2004, to publish an editors' note that criticized some of the paper's coverage of the run-up to the war.
The note said the paper's articles on unconventional weapons were credulous. It did not name any reporters and said the failures were institutional. Five of the six articles called into question were written or co-written by Ms. Miller.
'A Good-Faith Source'
On June 23, 2003, Ms. Miller visited Mr. Libby at the Old Executive Office Building in Washington. Mr. Libby was the vice president's top aide and had played an important role in shaping the argument for going to war in Iraq. He was "a good-faith source who was usually straight with me," Ms. Miller said in an interview.
Her assignment was to write an article about the failure to find unconventional weapons in Iraq. She said Mr. Libby wanted to talk about a diplomat's fact-finding trip in 2002 to the African nation of Niger to determine whether Iraq sought uranium there. The diplomat was Mr. Wilson, and his wife worked for the C.I.A.
Mr. Wilson had already become known among Washington insiders as a fierce Bush critic. He would go public the next month, accusing the White House in an opinion article in The Times of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
But Mr. Libby was already defending Vice President Dick Cheney, saying his boss knew nothing about Mr. Wilson or his findings. Ms. Miller said her notes leave open the possibility that Mr. Libby told her Mr. Wilson's wife might work at the agency.
On July 8, two days after Mr. Wilson's article appeared in The Times, the reporter and her source met again, for breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel, near the White House.
The notebook Ms. Miller used that day includes the reference to "Valerie Flame." But she said the name did not appear in the same portion of her notebook as the interview notes from Mr. Libby.
During the breakfast, Mr. Libby provided a detail about Ms. Wilson, saying she worked in a C.I.A. unit known as Winpac; the name stands for weapons intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control. Ms. Miller said she understood this to mean that Ms. Wilson was an analyst rather than an undercover operative.
Ms. Miller returned to the subject on July 12 in a phone call with Mr. Libby. Another variant on Valerie Wilson's name - "Victoria Wilson" - appears in the notes of that call. Ms. Miller had by then called other sources about Mr. Wilson's wife. In an interview, she would not discuss her sources.
Two days later, on July 14, Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist, wrote that Mr. Wilson's wife had suggested sending him to Niger, citing "two administration sources." He went on to say, without attributing the information, that Mr. Wilson's wife, "Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction."
Ms. Miller's article on the hunt for missing weapons was published on July 20, 2003. It acknowledged that the hunt could turn out to be fruitless but focused largely on the obstacles the searchers faced.
Neither that article nor any in the following months by Ms. Miller discussed Mr. Wilson or his wife.
It is not clear why. Ms. Miller said in an interview that she "made a strong recommendation to my editor" that an article be pursued. "I was told no," she said. She would not identify the editor.
Ms. Abramson, the Washington bureau chief at the time, said Ms. Miller never made any such recommendation.
In the fall of 2003, after The Washington Post reported that "two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists," Philip Taubman, Ms. Abramson's successor as Washington bureau chief, asked Ms. Miller and other Times reporters whether they were among the six. Ms. Miller denied it.
"The answer was generally no," Mr. Taubman said. Ms. Miller said the subject of Mr. Wilson and his wife had come up in casual conversation with government officials, Mr. Taubman said, but Ms. Miller said "she had not been at the receiving end of a concerted effort, a deliberate organized effort to put out information."
Enter a Special Prosecutor
The Novak column prompted a criminal investigation into whether government officials had violated a 1982 law that makes it a crime in some circumstances to disclose the identity of an undercover agent. At the end of December 2003, the United States attorney in Chicago, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was appointed special prosecutor.
Around the same time, F.B.I. investigators working for Mr. Fitzgerald asked officials in the White House, including Mr. Libby, to sign waivers instructing reporters that they could disregard earlier promises of confidentiality and reveal who their sources were.
When Ms. Miller was subpoenaed in the investigation in August 2004, The Times immediately retained Floyd Abrams, who had often represented the paper and is a noted First Amendment lawyer.
The Times said it believes that attempts by prosecutors to force reporters to reveal confidential information must be resisted. Otherwise, it argues, the public would be deprived of important information about the government and other powerful institutions.
The fact that Ms. Miller's judgment had been questioned in the past did not affect its stance. "The default position in a case like that is you support the reporter," Mr. Keller said.
It was in these early days that Mr. Keller and Mr. Sulzberger learned Mr. Libby's identity. Neither man asked Ms. Miller detailed questions about her conversations with him.
Both said they viewed the case as a matter of principle, which made the particulars less important. "I didn't interrogate her about the details of the interview," Mr. Keller said. "I didn't ask to see her notes. And I really didn't feel the need to do that."
Still, Mr. Keller said the case was not ideal: "I wish it had been a clear-cut whistle-blower case. I wish it had been a reporter who came with less public baggage."
Times lawyers warned company executives that they would have trouble persuading a judge to excuse Ms. Miller from testifying. The Supreme Court decided in 1972 that the First Amendment offers reporters no protection from grand jury subpoenas.
Ms. Miller authorized Mr. Abrams to talk to Mr. Libby's lawyer, Joseph A. Tate. The question was whether Mr. Libby really wanted her to testify. Mr. Abrams passed the details of his conversation with Mr. Tate along to Ms. Miller and to Times executives and lawyers, people involved in the internal discussion said.
People present at the meetings said that what they heard about the preliminary negotiations was troubling.
Mr. Abrams told Ms. Miller and the group that Mr. Tate had said she was free to testify. Mr. Abrams said Mr. Tate also passed along some information about Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony: that he had not told Ms. Miller the name or undercover status of Mr. Wilson's wife.
That raised a potential conflict for Ms. Miller. Did the references in her notes to "Valerie Flame" and "Victoria Wilson" suggest that she would have to contradict Mr. Libby's account of their conversations? Ms. Miller said in an interview that she concluded that Mr. Tate was sending her a message that Mr. Libby did not want her to testify.
According to Ms. Miller, this was what Mr. Abrams told her about his conversation with Mr. Tate: "He was pressing about what you would say. When I wouldn't give him an assurance that you would exonerate Libby, if you were to cooperate, he then immediately gave me this, 'Don't go there, or, we don't want you there.' "
Mr. Abrams said: "On more than one occasion, Mr. Tate asked me for a recitation of what Ms. Miller would say. I did not provide one."
In an e-mail message Friday, Mr. Tate called Ms. Miller's interpretation "outrageous."
"I never once suggested that she should not testify," Mr. Tate wrote. "It was just the opposite. I told Mr. Abrams that the waiver was voluntary."
He added: " 'Don't go there' or 'We don't want you there' is not something I said, would say, or ever implied or suggested."
Telling another witness about grand jury testimony is lawful as long as it is not an attempt to influence the other witness's testimony.
"Judy believed Libby was afraid of her testimony," Mr. Keller said, noting that he did not know the basis for the fear. "She thought Libby had reason to be afraid of her testimony."
Ms. Miller and the paper decided at that point not to pursue additional negotiations with Mr. Tate.
The two sides did not talk for a year.
Ms. Miller said in an interview that she was waiting for Mr. Libby to call her, but he never did. "I interpreted the silence as, 'Don't testify,' " Ms. Miller said.
She and her lawyers have also said it was inappropriate for them to hound a source for permission to testify.
Mr. Tate, for his part, said the silence of the Miller side was mystifying.
"You never told me," Mr. Tate wrote to Mr. Abrams recently, "that your client did not accept my representation of voluntariness or that she wanted to speak personally to my client." Mr. Abrams does not dispute that.
Talks between Ms. Miller's lawyer and the prosecutor, Mr. Fitzgerald, were at a dead end, too.
Not long after breaking off communications with Mr. Tate, Mr. Abrams spoke to Mr. Fitzgerald twice in September 2004. Mr. Abrams wanted to narrow the scope of the questions Ms. Miller would be asked if she testified before the grand jury.
Mr. Abrams said he wanted Mr. Fitzgerald to question Ms. Miller only on her conversations with Mr. Libby about Ms. Wilson. And he wanted a promise that Mr. Fitzgerald would not call her back for further questioning after she testified once.
Mr. Fitzgerald said no. His spokesman declined to comment for this article.
With negotiations at an impasse, Ms. Miller and The Times turned to the courts but were rebuffed. In October 2004, Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the Federal District Court in Washington held Ms. Miller in contempt for not testifying. She remained free while she pursued appeals.
A few weeks later on Capitol Hill, in November 2004, Ms. Miller bumped into Robert S. Bennett, the prominent Washington criminal lawyer who represented President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and who is known for his blunt style and deal-making skills.
Ms. Miller recalled Mr. Bennett saying while he signed on to her case: "I don't want to represent a principle. I want to represent Judy Miller."
After the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, Ms. Miller made a final plea to Judge Hogan to stay out of jail: "My motive here is straightforward. A promise of confidentiality once made must be respected, or the journalist will lose all credibility and the public will, in the end, suffer."
Judge Hogan ordered her jailed at Alexandria Detention Center in Northern Virginia until she agreed to testify or the grand jury's term expired on Oct. 28.
"She has the keys to release herself," the judge said. "She has a waiver she chooses not to recognize."
Rising Tensions at Newspaper
While the paper's leaders were rallying around Ms. Miller's cause in public, inside The Times tensions were growing.
Throughout this year, reporters at the paper spent weeks trying to determine the identity of Ms. Miller's source. All the while, Mr. Keller knew it, but declined to tell his own reporters.
Even after reporters learned it from outside sources, The Times did not publish Mr. Libby's name, though other news organizations already had. The Times did not tell its readers that Mr. Libby was Ms. Miller's source until Sept. 30, in an article about Ms. Miller's release from jail.
Mr. Keller said that before Ms. Miller went to jail, Mr. Sulzberger, the publisher, asked him to participate in meetings on legal strategy and public statements. Mr. Keller said he then turned over the supervision of the newspaper's coverage of the case to Ms. Abramson, though he said he did not entirely step aside.
"It was just too awkward," Mr. Keller said, "to have me coming from meetings where they were discussing the company's public posture, then overseeing stories that were trying to deal with the company's public posture."
Ms. Abramson called The Times's coverage of the case "constrained." She said that if Ms. Miller was willing to go to jail to protect her source, it would have been "unconscionable then to out her source in the pages of the paper."
Mr. Keller and Ms. Abramson said this created an almost impossible tension between covering the case and the principle they believed to be at the heart of it.
Some reporters said editors seemed reluctant to publish articles about other aspects of the case as well, like how it was being investigated by Mr. Fitzgerald. In July, Richard W. Stevenson and other reporters in the Washington bureau wrote an article about the role of Mr. Cheney's senior aides, including Mr. Libby, in the leak case. The article, which did not disclose that Mr. Libby was Ms. Miller's source, was not published.
Mr. Stevenson said he was told by his editors that the article did not break enough new ground. "It was taken pretty clearly among us as a signal that we were cutting too close to the bone, that we were getting into an area that could complicate Judy's situation," he said.
In August, Douglas Jehl and David Johnston, two other Washington reporters, sent a memo to the Washington bureau chief, Mr. Taubman, listing ideas for coverage of the case. Mr. Taubman said Mr. Keller did not want them pursued because of the risk of provoking Mr. Fitzgerald or exposing Mr. Libby while Ms. Miller was in jail.
Mr. Taubman said he felt bad for his reporters, but he added that he and other senior editors felt that they had no choice. "No editor wants to be in the position of keeping information out of the newspaper," Mr. Taubman said.
Both Mr. Taubman and Ms. Abramson called the situation "excruciatingly difficult."
One result was that other news organizations broke developments in the case before The Times. Reporters found it especially frustrating when on the day that Ms. Miller left jail, The Times had an article prepared at 2 p.m. but delayed posting it on its Web site until after the news appeared on the Web site of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"We end up being late on our own story," Mr. Johnston said.
There were other awkward moments. On Oct. 7, shortly before Ms. Miller was to conduct a telephone interview with two Times reporters, George Freeman, a Times company lawyer, sent her a four-page memorandum.
Ms. Miller and her outside lawyer, Mr. Bennett, reacted furiously, calling it a "script" and nearly canceling the interview. Mr. Freeman said later that he had prepared and sent what he called a "narrative" of what happened to Ms. Miller. Mr. Freeman said it had been written long before the interview with Ms. Miller had even been contemplated.
"It was not meant to be a script," Mr. Freeman said.
The editorial page, which is run by Mr. Sulzberger and Gail Collins, the editorial page editor, championed Ms. Miller's cause. The Times published more than 15 editorials and called for Congress to pass a shield law that would make it harder for federal prosecutors to compel reporters to testify.
Mr. Sulzberger said he did not personally write the editorials, but regularly urged Ms. Collins to devote space to them. After Ms. Miller was jailed, an editorial acknowledged that "this is far from an ideal case," before saying, "If Ms. Miller testifies, it may be immeasurably harder in the future to persuade a frightened government employee to talk about malfeasance in high places."
Asked in the interview whether he had any regrets about the editorials, given the outcome of the case, Mr. Sulzberger said no.
"I felt strongly that, one, Judy deserved the support of the paper in this cause - and the editorial page is the right place for such support, not the news pages," Mr. Sulzberger said. "And secondly, that this issue of a federal shield law is really important to the nation."
Ms. Miller said the publisher's support was invaluable. "He galvanized the editors, the senior editorial staff," she said. "He metaphorically and literally put his arm around me."
More Thoughts of a Waiver
Inside her cell in the Alexandria Detention Center this summer, Ms. Miller was able to peer through a narrow concrete slit to get an obstructed view of a maple tree and a concrete highway barrier. She was losing weight and struggling to sleep on two thin mats on a concrete slab.
Although she told friends that she was feeling isolated and frustrated, Ms. Miller said she comforted herself with thousands of letters, the supportive editorials in The Times and frequent 30-minute visits from more than 100 friends and colleagues. Among them were Mr. Sulzberger; Tom Brokaw, the former anchor at NBC News; Richard A. Clarke, a former counterterrorism official; and John R. Bolton, the United States ambassador to the United Nations.
Every day, she checked outdated copies of The Times for a news article about her case. Most days she was disappointed.
She said she began thinking about whether she should reach out to Mr. Libby for "a personal, voluntary waiver."
"The longer I was there, the more chance I had to think about it," Ms. Miller said.
On July 20, William Safire, the former longtime columnist at The Times, testified about a federal shield law on Capitol Hill. Ms. Miller read his testimony and found it "inspiring."
While she mulled over her options, Mr. Bennett was urging her to allow him to approach Mr. Tate, Mr. Libby's lawyer, to try to negotiate a deal that would get her out of jail. Mr. Bennett wanted to revive the question of the waivers that Mr. Libby and other administration officials signed the previous year authorizing reporters to disclose their confidential discussions.
The other reporters subpoenaed in the case said such waivers were coerced. They said administration officials signed them only because they feared retribution from the prosecutor or the White House. Reporters for at least three news organizations had then gone back to their sources and obtained additional assurances that convinced them the waivers were genuine.
But Ms. Miller said she had not gotten an assurance that she felt would allow her to testify. And she said she felt that if Mr. Libby had wanted her to testify, he would have contacted her directly.
While Mr. Bennett urged Ms. Miller to test the waters, some of her other lawyers were counseling caution. Mr. Freeman, The Times's company lawyer, and Mr. Abrams worried that if Ms. Miller sought and received permission to testify and was released from jail, people would say that she and the newspaper had simply caved in.
"I was afraid that people would draw the wrong conclusions," Mr. Freeman said.
Mr. Freeman advised Ms. Miller to remain in jail until Oct. 28, when the term of the grand jury would expire and the investigation would presumably end.
Mr. Bennett thought that was a bad strategy; he argued that Mr. Fitzgerald would "almost certainly" empanel a new grand jury, which might mean Ms. Miller would have to spend an additional 18 months behind bars.
Mr. Freeman said he thought Mr. Fitzgerald was bluffing. Mr. Abrams was less sure. But he said Judge Hogan might release Ms. Miller if Mr. Fitzgerald tried to take further action against her.
"At that point," Ms. Miller said, "I realized if and when he did that, objectively things would change, and at that point, I might really be locked in."
After much deliberation, Ms. Miller said, she finally told Mr. Bennett to call Mr. Libby's lawyer. After two months in jail, Ms. Miller said, "I owed it to myself to see whether or not Libby had had a change of heart, the special prosecutor had had a change of heart."
Mr. Bennett called Mr. Tate on Aug. 31. Mr. Tate told Mr. Bennett that Mr. Libby had given permission to Ms. Miller to testify a year earlier. "I called Tate and this guy could not have been clearer - 'Bob, my client has given a waiver,' " Mr. Bennett said.
Mr. Fitzgerald wrote to Mr. Tate on Sept. 12, saying he was concerned that Ms. Miller was still in jail because of a "misunderstanding" between her and Mr. Libby.
Three days later, Ms. Miller heard from Mr. Libby.
In a folksy, conversational two-page letter dated Sept. 15, Mr. Libby assured Ms. Miller that he had wanted her to testify about their conversations all along. "I believed a year ago, as now, that testimony by all will benefit all," he wrote. And he noted that "the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me."
When Ms. Miller testified before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald asked her about the letter. She said she responded that it could be perceived as an effort by Mr. Libby "to suggest that I, too, would say that we had not discussed Ms. Plame's identity." But she added that "my notes suggested that we had discussed her job."
Ms. Miller, though, wanted more than Mr. Libby's letter to feel free to testify. She told her lawyers that she still needed to hear from Mr. Libby in person. When that could not be arranged, she settled for a 10-minute jailhouse conference call on Sept. 19 with Mr. Libby, while two of her lawyers and one of Mr. Libby's listened in.
Ms. Miller said she was persuaded. "I mean, it's like the tone of the voice," she said. "When he talked to me about how unhappy he was that I was in jail, that he hadn't fully understood that I might have been going to jail just to protect him. He had thought there were other people whom I had been protecting. And there was kind of like an expression of genuine concern and sorrow."
Ms. Miller said she then "cross-examined" Mr. Libby. "When I pushed him hard, I said: 'Do you really want me to testify? Are you sure you really want me to testify?' He said something like: 'Absolutely. Believe it. I mean it.' "
At 1 p.m. on Sept. 26, Ms. Miller convened her lawyers in the jailhouse law library. All the lawyers agreed that Mr. Libby had released Ms. Miller from the pledge of confidentiality.
The next day, Mr. Bennett called Mr. Fitzgerald. He informed the prosecutor that Ms. Miller had a voluntary, personal waiver and asked Mr. Fitzgerald to restrict his questions to her conversations with Mr. Libby.
Mr. Bennett, who by now had carefully reviewed Ms. Miller's extensive notes taken from two interviews with Mr. Libby, assured Mr. Fitzgerald that Ms. Miller had only one meaningful source. Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questions to Mr. Libby and the Wilson matter.
Claudia Payne, a Times editor and a close friend of Ms. Miller, said that once Ms. Miller realized that her jail term could be extended, "it changed things a great deal. She said, 'I don't want to spend my life in here.' "
Ms. Payne added, "Her paramount concern was how her actions would be viewed by her colleagues."
On Sept. 29, Ms. Miller was released from jail and whisked by Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown for a massage, a manicure, a martini and a steak dinner. The next morning, she testified before the grand jury for three hours. Afterward, Ms. Miller declared that her ordeal was a victory for journalists and the public.
She testified before the grand jury for a second time on Wednesday about notes from her first meeting with Mr. Libby.
Last week, Mr. Sulzberger said it was impossible to know whether Ms. Miller could have struck a deal a year earlier, as at least four other journalists had done.
"Maybe a deal was possible earlier," Mr. Sulzberger said. "And maybe, in retrospect, looking back, you could say this was a moment you could have jumped on. If so, shame on us. I tend to think not."
A Puzzling Outcome
On Oct. 3, four days after Ms. Miller left jail, she returned to the headquarters of The New York Times on West 43rd Street.
Before entering the building, she called her friend Ms. Payne and asked her to come downstairs and escort her in. "She very felt frightened," Ms. Payne said. "She felt very vulnerable."
At a gathering in the newsroom, she made a speech claiming victories for press freedom. Her colleagues responded with restrained applause, seemingly as mystified by the outcome of her case as the public.
"You could see it in people's faces," Ms. Miller said later. "I'm a reporter. People were confused and perplexed, and I realized then that The Times and I hadn't done a very good job of making people understand what has been accomplished."
In the days since, The Times has been consumed by discussions about how the newspaper handled the case, how Times journalists covered the news of their own paper - and about Ms. Miller herself.
"Everyone admires our paper's willingness to stand behind us and our work, but most people I talk to have been troubled and puzzled by Judy's seeming ability to operate outside of conventional reportorial channels and managerial controls," said Todd S. Purdum, a Washington reporter for The Times. "Partly because of that, many people have worried about whether this was the proper fight to fight."
Diana B. Henriques, a business reporter, said she and others at the paper took "great pride and comfort" in how The Times stood by Ms. Miller. But she said the episode and speculation surrounding it "left a lot of people feeling confused and anxious" about Ms. Miller's role in the investigation.
On Tuesday, Ms. Miller is to receive a First Amendment award from the Society of Professional Journalists. She said she thought she would write a book about her experiences in the leak case, although she added that she did not yet have a book deal. She also plans on taking some time off but says she hopes to return to the newsroom.
She said she hopes to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country."
The Times incurred millions of dollars in legal fees in Ms. Miller's case. It limited its own ability to cover aspects of one of the biggest scandals of the day. Even as the paper asked for the public's support, it was unable to answer its questions.
"It's too early to judge it, and it's probably for other people to judge," said Mr. Keller, the executive editor. "I hope that people will remember that this institution stood behind a reporter, and the principle, when it wasn't easy to do that, or popular to do that."
Janny Scott contributed reporting for this article.
The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal - New York Times