Monday, June 06, 2016

February 1, 2006, Fox News, Transcript: Hispanic Democrats Respond,

February 1, 2006, Fox News, Transcript: Hispanic Democrats Respond,

WASHINGTON —  The following is a translated transcript of a Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address given by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who spoke in Spanish.


Good evening. My name is Antonio Villaraigosa. I'm Mayor of the City of Los Angeles. And I'm a Democrat. But I'm not just here tonight as a spokesman for my party.

I'm here as a concerned father and as a proud American.

I'm here tonight to talk about a future in which more Americans have the same opportunity that my family had.

I'm here to say that our country's best days are ahead of us.

But I'm also talking to you tonight because I'm concerned about the direction our country is headed in.

I'm worried that too many hardworking Americans are earning less and losing faith.

And I'm concerned that we're not investing enough in our children and in our economic future.

In the end, it really doesn't matter whether you're a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. It doesn't matter what part of this country you come from, or what language your family speaks at home. It doesn't matter whether you get to work in a fancy car or on the bus.

We are all part of one American family.

This is a great country. And we've always been strongest when we've fought hardest for one another.

Democrats are committed to bringing our country back together as the family that we should be.

We had hoped to hear the same from the President tonight.

Instead we heard the same defense of the very policies that have divided this country over the last five years.

So, let's talk about the real state of the union.

Next month, because of the reckless policies of this administration, America's national debt will rise to nearly $8.2 trillion dollars. I am here tonight to say: we are mortgaging our children's futures, and it is morally wrong.

Today, 46 million Americans and 39 percent of Latinos, many of whom work full-time at the hardest jobs, don't have access to health insurance. We can't be a healthy nation if we don't face this challenge once and for all.

Today, 6 million children are on the verge of failing out of school; and eleven million Americans can't read a bus schedule or fill out a job application. It is time to put the issue of fixing our public schools to the front and center of the national debate.

Under this administration, 4 million people have fallen from the working class into the ranks of the poor. And the new jobs that are being created pay less than the ones we've lost. We need an aggressive national strategy to build the skills of our workforce and to promote America's competitiveness in the global economy.

Our troops are serving bravely in the Middle East, but Americans are increasingly divided and doubtful about the objectives of this mission. We owe it to our men and women in uniform and to the families awaiting their safe return to present a clear and credible plan to complete the job and bring them home.

The truth is that together, America can do better. And it starts with restoring our sense of national community.

My mother, Natalia, taught me this. A women of indomitable spirit. A single mother who raised four kids in East Los Angeles. Who rode the bus nearly every day of her life. Who worked two jobs just to put me and my siblings through college.

In her quiet way and in her infinite grace, she taught us all the things worth knowing. She taught us about working hard. About the obligation we all have to create a better life for our kids. And about a set of values that says that there is nothing — nothing in the world — as important as family.

And as we grew up, we came to understand that the obligations that she talked about extend beyond our doorsteps. And beyond our neighborhoods. That the child who doesn't finish high school, that the small business owner trying to make their dreams come true, that the mother looking to provide affordable quality health care for her children-they are our family too.

Democrats want to end the Culture of Corruption and bring honesty and integrity back in government.

Democrats want a health care system that will cover everybody.

Democrats want a strong public education system.

Democrats want to create jobs and make America energy independent.

Democrats want comprehensive immigration reform that respects our neighbors, makes America safer and stronger, and that gives hardworking people who play by the rules a greater opportunity to realize the American Dream.

Democrats want a strong national security based on telling the truth to our citizens, our soldiers, and our allies.

Above all, Democrats want to unite this country again.

We need your voices and your vision. And above all, we need your participation.

We are all in this together. And as Coretta Scott King reminded us, God bless her soul, we are all Americans. Thank you. God bless America. God bless you all.

May 19, 2011, New York Times, Court Filings Assert Iran Had Link to 9/11 Attacks,  by Benjamin Weiser and Scott Shane,

Two defectors from Iran’s intelligence service have testified that Iranian officials had “foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks,” according to a court filing Thursday in a federal lawsuit in Manhattan that seeks damages for Iran’s “direct support for, and sponsorship of, the most deadly act of terrorism in American history.”

One of the defectors also claimed that Iran was involved in planning the attacks, the filing said. The defectors’ identities and testimony were not revealed in the filing but were being submitted to a judge under seal, said lawyers who brought the original suit against Iran on behalf of families of dozens of 9/11 victims.

The suit’s allegation that Iran had foreknowledge of the attacks is hard to assess fully, given that the defectors’ testimony is being filed under seal.

The suit contends that Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant organization with close ties to Tehran, helped Al Qaeda in planning the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and in facilitating the hijackers’ training and travel. After the attacks, the suit contends, Iran and Hezbollah helped Qaeda operatives escape, providing some with a safe haven in Iran.

The question of an Iranian connection to 9/11 was raised by the national 9/11 commission and has long been debated. Al Qaeda, which adheres to a radical Sunni theology, routinely denounces the Shiite sect that holds power in Iran, and the terrorist network’s branch in Iraq has often made Shiites targets of bombings. But intelligence officials have long believed there has been limited, wary cooperation between Al Qaeda and Iran against the United States as a common enemy.

The lawsuit also names as defendants Iranian officials and ministries, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, among others. The families’ lawyers have asked for a default judgment against the defendants, which have not mounted a defense. Even if there were such a judgment, legal experts say it would not be easy to collect monetary damages.

In their court papers, the lawyers assert that Imad Mugniyah, as the military chief of Hezbollah, was a terrorist agent for Iran, and that he traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2000 to help with preparations for the 9/11 attacks.

Imad Mugniyah, the Hezbollah leader killed in 2008, also was accused of a role in 9/11. Credit Hussein Malla/Associated Press

Imad Mugniyah, the Hezbollah leader killed in 2008, also was accused of a role in 9/11. Credit Hussein Malla/Associated Press
Mr. Mugniyah, who was killed in 2008, had been accused by American officials of planning a series of major terrorist attacks and kidnappings, including the 1983 bombings of the United States Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

The 9/11 commission report said there was “strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of Al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.” The report also said there was circumstantial evidence that senior Hezbollah operatives were closely tracking the travel of some of the hijackers into Iran in November 2000.

But the commission said that it had “found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack,” and that the “topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government.”

Thomas E. Mellon Jr., a lawyer for the families, said the suit, first brought in Washington in 2002 and later moved to Manhattan, sought to do that investigation.

Ellen Saracini, whose husband, the United Airlines pilot Victor J. Saracini, was killed when his plane was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, said she became involved with the suit because she wanted answers. “We now know,” she said, “who assisted Al Qaeda — Iran did — and we want our American justice system to find Iran accountable.”

The lawyers’ filing included reports of 10 specialists on Iran and terrorism, including former 9/11 commission staff members and ex-C.I.A. officers. “These experts make it clear that 9/11 depended upon Iranian assistance to Al Qaeda in acquiring clean passports and visas to enter the United States,” Mr. Mellon said.

But the expert reports do not in most cases seem to go as far as the defectors in contending Iran had foreknowledge of the attacks.

The filing says the defectors worked in Iran’s Ministry of Information and Security “in positions that gave them access to sensitive information regarding Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.” It says they have reason to fear for the safety of themselves and their families “should their identities and the content of their testimony be revealed publicly.”

Benjamin Weiser reported from New York, and Scott Shane from Washington.

July 19, 2004, Sydney Morning Herald, We can't prove Iran-Sept 11 link: CIA,

May 21, 2011, New York Times - Sydney Morning Herald, Iran accused if September 11 role, by Benjamin Weiser and Scott Shane,

December 21, 2001,, THE SECRET WAR; Pre-9/11, we fought a covert war on American soil – against Israel, , by Justin Raimondo,

December 21, 2001,, THE SECRET WAR; Pre-9/11, we fought a covert war on American soil – against Israel, , by Justin Raimondo,

THE SECRET WAR Pre-9/11, we fought a covert war on American soil – against Israel

You really have to hand it to the Israelis: they are nothing if not blatant. Their response to Fox News reporter Carl Cameron's devastating exposé of Israel's massive spy operation in the US can hardly be repeated with a straight face. Mark Regev, a spokesman at the Israeli embassy in Washington is quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying:
"The report on Fox News contains no quoted source, it has in no way demonstrated anything more than anonymous innuendo, and should be regarded accordingly. Israel does not spy on the United States of America."
Gee, Mark, does the name Jonathan Pollard ring a bell?


Naturally, the law enforcement sources who utilized Cameron's investigation to voice their concerns didn't dare allow their names to be used: as Cameron related in his report, any question regarding the possibility of Israeli spying in the US is "career suicide" for those who dare raise it. Question: is it also career suicide for journalists to raise it?

I have seen a few news items reporting on the Cameron exposé, but, given the implications and scope of what we're talking about here, the answer is, apparently, yes. For Cameron and Fox News are not merely saying that the Israelis have been conducting a "sprawling" spy operation in the US, involving the massive penetration of our communications systems and government agencies. As Cameron so diplomatically put it in the first segment of his four-part investigation:

"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it."


In other words: Israel's passive complicity made the worst terrorist attack in American history possible. One would think that the sheer enormity of such a charge would provoke a storm of outrage from Israel's many defenders in the media: the columnists, the think-tankers, the publicists who dote on Ariel Sharon's every word. But, no: instead, there is an ominous, one might almost say a guilty silence.


It's frightening, really, when you think about it. Here, after all, is a reporter's dream: a heretofore-undiscovered angle on the biggest story of our time. Yet no one will touch it. Why? It couldn't be because you'd need an army of researchers: you don't. All that's necessary is internet access, and, of course, the miracle of Google: anyone can go to and type in the appropriate words and phrases, such as "Israelis detained," or, better yet, "Israeli art students" along with the word "detained." Go ahead: do it, and see what happens….


Okay, so you did it and came up with a whole slewof news stories, published mostly in local newspapers, telling different variations on a single, very bizarre story: In locations as diverse as DallasSaint Louis,Kansas, Atlanta, New York, and Findley, Ohio, groups of young people describing themselves as Israeli art students suddenly descended on federal office buildings and no less than 36 Department of Defense facilities. They seemed particularly active in the state of Texas: in Dallas, one "student" was found wandering the halls of a federal facility with a floor plan in his hands. Say, what?

Starting in the third week of January, reports began to pour in to the National Counterintelligence Center (NCC) about "suspicious visitors to federal facilities." The NCC's bimonthly report for March 2001 states:
"In the past six weeks, employees in federal office buildings located throughout the United States have reported suspicious activities connected with individuals representing themselves as foreign students selling or delivering artwork. Employees have observed both males and females attempting to bypass facility security and enter federal buildings."


The NCC described these people -- supposedly working for an outfit known as "Universal Art, Inc." -- as "aggressive" in attempting to gain access to federal facilities, and reported that two had been arrested for having counterfeit work visas and green cards. Then this stunner: "These individuals have also gone to the private residences of senior federal officials under the guise of selling art." Now wait just a friggin' minute, dude – stop right there!


Okay, so we're talking about some nine months before The Day, and mysterious "art students" are following high government officials home – that is, when they aren't trying to break in to Defense Department facilities, staking out DEA offices, and hanging around the federal prosecutor's office in Dallas. We've already had numerous terrorist scares, at this point: remember the New Year's hysteria, and there were all those frantic warnings by various "anti-terrorist" commissions and study groups. The NCC report posits the existence of two groups of "art students":
"One group has an apparently legitimate money-making goal while the second, perhaps a non-Israeli group, may have ties to a Middle Eastern Islamic fundamentalist group."

So, this was the first ominous sign of the terrorist onslaught to come – or was it? The NCC's speculation that these "art students" were Bin Laden's boys turns out not to have been correct. They were Israelis, alright, except for a few Latin Americans. Not only did they carry forged immigration papers, in some cases, but also at least one we know about failed a polygraph test when he denied spying for Israel.


With some 140 picked up before 9/11, and some 60-plus afterward, we have no idea how many of these "art students" were sent back to Israel to pursue their "studies." All we know is that those let go were kept for months, and others – according to Fox News, those identified as Israeli agents – are still in custody, perhaps sharing a nice cozy cell with detainees from Arab countries. I'm sure they have a lot to talk about….


The Arab detainees, as we have seen, have been the subjects of a national controversy between civil libertarians and the Bush administration. We have John Ashcroft denouncing those who would spread the "false fear" of a police state as "aiding the terrorists," while on the other hand Arab-Americans and the ACLU are rallying opposition to the round-up. But when it comes to the Israeli detainees, there is no controversy, virtually no mention of it in the national media, no nothing. Jewish groups are not rallying to the defense of these poor defenseless "art students," held without bail and without lawyers, for the most part, in very uncomfortable and worrisome circumstances. Doesn't anybody find this odd?


What's significant about this story is, first, that it amounts to the biggest spy operation in the US since the days of the Cold War, and, secondly, that it provides some context for understanding the mystery of 9/11. To most of us, that horrific event was a bolt out of the blue, with no prelude, no precedent, and no way to anticipate that the best days of our lives could turn into the worst. But the view from inside the US Government must have looked a whole lot different, i.e. far more threatening. Yet the threat seemed to be coming, not from Bin Laden, but – incredibly – from the Israelis, who, not content with having gained access to our phone system and federal wiretaps, were penetrating American military and government targets. Law enforcement authorities were in the midst of a massive crackdown on the Israelis, when, suddenly, they were hit – from the other direction.


We are being kept in the dark about so many things, these days, but this, it seems, is too important to be kept secret for long. If we are going to be asked to give up our liberties, our peace of mind, and even our lives in an apparently eternal "war on terrorism," then Americans at least have a right to know who their enemies are. Yes, we know the evil Bin Laden is responsible for the murder of 3000 innocent people – but we still don't know how they managed to pull off such a well-organized and spectacular display of murderous skill, unassisted by any state sponsor.


Much has been said – but nothing proved – about the alleged role of Iraq in all this. But to anyone who has seen or read through parts one, two, three and four of the Fox News investigative report, it seems clear that the most active state intelligence agency in the US prior to the twin towers attack was not the Iraqis, but the Mossad. Carl Cameron informs us that a North Carolina Israeli spy coven is suspected of renting an apartment in California "to spy on a group of Arabs who the United States is also investigating for links to terrorism." What were they doing – and, most importantly, what did they know about the planning and execution of the 9/11 atrocity?


In the months preceding 9/11, a secret war was being waged on American soil, a silent struggle from coast to coast – not an undercover battle between us and Muslim terrorists, but one pitting US law enforcement agencies against one of our closest allies.Make of that what you will. For until the US government comes clean, and Congress investigates, we'll never even have a chance to start asking the right questions.

PA Radio Implies Israel Behind Jerusalem Bombing Date: 4 September, 1997

September 4, 1997,, PA Radio Implies Israel Behind Jerusalem Bombing; What the Palestinian Authority is telling it's own people about the latest murders, by Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)

PA Radio Implies Israel Behind Jerusalem Bombing

Date: 4 September, 1997

The following is IMRA's English translation of part of intelligence expert Yigal Carmon's
"Palestinian Media Review":

Radio PA 16:30 September 4:

Response of the Secretary of the Presidency of the PA, Tayeb Abdul Rahim to the attack in Jerusalem:

"The President himself is following after the details along with all his advisors and senior people... We still haven't received information from the Israeli side regarding the incident. We are waiting for information."

"In my opinion, the one who carried out this incident, or the terrorist attack, doesn't want Mr. Albright coming to the region and doesn't want the diplomatic process to succeed..."

"As I said, I have many questions, many suspicions, since this action and its results achieve the goals of those who do not want the peace process to continue and do not want to fulfill the obligations of the interim stage and renew the negotiations on the permanent solution."

January/February 2001, Washington Report, Congress Watch; A Conservative Total for U.S. Aid to Israel: $91 Billion—and Counting, by Shirl McArthur,

January/February 2001, Washington Report, Congress Watch; A Conservative Total for U.S. Aid to Israel: $91 Billion—and Counting, by Shirl McArthur,

Pages 15-16

Congress Watch

A Conservative Total for U.S. Aid to Israel: $91 Billion—and Counting

By Shirl McArthur

With the turmoil surrounding the presidential election essentially freezing Congress into inaction, this is probably a good time to take another look at aid to Israel. The common figure given for U.S. aid to Israel is $3 billion per year—$1.2 billion in economic aid and $1.8 billion in military aid. As impressive as this figure is, however, since it represents about one-sixth of total U.S. foreign aid, the true figure is even more remarkable. It is difficult, however, to arrive at an exact number. Much of the money the U.S. gives Israel is buried in the budgets of other government agencies, primarily the Defense Department (DOD). Other subsidies come in a form that isn’t easily quantifiable, such as the early disbursement of aid, which allows Israel to gain (and the U.S. taxpayer to lose) the interest on the unspent money.

This year’s appropriations bills for FY 2001, which began Oct. 1, 2000, include, in addition to the $2.82 billion in economic and military foreign aid to Israel, an additional $60 million in so-called refugee resettlement and $250 million in the DOD budget, plus $85 million imputed interest, for a total of at least $3.215 billion. In addition, on Nov. 14, 2000, President William Clinton sent a special request to Congress for an additional $450 million in military aid to Israel in FY 2001, plus $350 million for FY 2002.

The package also included $225 million in military aid for Egypt and $75 million in security assistance for Jordan. The $450 million for Israel is not included in these calculations, because it is unclear at this writing whether Congress will approve the package in the current political climate.

Calculating Total U.S. Aid

Unquestionably, Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid since World War II. Estimates for total U.S. aid to Israel vary, however, because of the uncertainties and ambiguities described above. An Oct. 27, 2000 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, using available and verifiable numbers, gives cumulative aid to Israel from 1949 through FY 2000 (which ended Sept. 30, 2000) at $81.38 billion. On the other hand, last year the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs estimated total aid to Israel through FY 2000 at $91.82 billion.

The CRS number surely is too low, because, although it does include such things as the old food-for-peace program, the $1.2 billion from the Wye agreement, and the current subsidy for “refugee resettlement,” it does not include money from the DOD budget, on the grounds that those funds are for joint research and development projects. Nor does the CRS figure include estimated interest on the early disbursement of aid funds. Last year’s Washington Report estimate imputes an amount for “other aid” (including the DOD) that may no longer be valid, based as it is on a thorough study of three representative years. While this year’s estimate is more conservative, the results are still shockingly high.

To the CRS number of $81.38 billion through FY 2000 can be added (with details to follow):

• $4.28 billion from the DOD; and

• $1.72 billion in interest from early disbursement of aid, for a total of $87.38 billion through Sept. 30, 2000. To that can be added the $3.22 billion detailed above, giving a grand total of $90.6 billion total aid to Israel through FY 2001. Approval of Clinton’s special request for $450 million more in military aid would push the number over $91 billion.

Defense Department Funds

A search going back several years was able to identify $3.423 billion in specific DOD line items appropriated to Israel. Since that figure includes only the programs that were uncovered, it is reasonable to add 25 percent, or $856 million, to account for what was not found. The largest items in the DOD budget were $1.3 billion for the cancelled Lavi attack fighter project; $628 million for the ongoing Arrow anti-missile missile project; and $200 million for the completed Merkava tank. The fact that the U.S. military was not interested in the Lavi or the Merkava for its own use and has said the same thing about the Arrow would seem to invalidate the argument that these are “joint defense projects.”


Israel began receiving early disbursement of U.S. economic aid in 1982, and of military aid in 1991. It would be inaccurate to simply apply the rate of interest to the amount of aid, because it has to be assumed that the aid monies were drawn down over the course of the year. In 1991 it was reported that Israel earned $86 million in interest on the economic aid money deposited in the U.S. Treasury. Since the period from 1982 to 1991 was a time of relatively high interest rates, the figure of $860 million (86 x 10) seems a reasonably conservative estimate for those 10 years. For the nine years since 1991, a 6 percent rate was applied to one-half of the economic aid, for a total of $324 million over the past decade.

On the military aid, the 6 percent rate was applied to one-half of the military aid for the 10 years it has been disbursed early, for a total of $540 million.

Some Comparisons

The impressive numbers for U.S. aid to Israel become even more so when they, and the attached conditions, are compared with other Middle East countries. The roughly $3.3 billion in annual aid compares with some $2 billion for Egypt, $225 million for Jordan, and $35 million for Lebanon. Aid for the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not earmarked, but has been running at about $100 million. Furthermore, aid to the PA is strictly controlled by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and goes for specific projects, mostly civil infrastructure projects such as water and sewers.

On the other hand, the U.S. gives Israel all of its economic aid directly in cash, with no accounting of how the funds are used. The military aid from the DOD budget is mostly for specific projects. Significantly however, considering current events, one of those projects was the development of the Merkava tank, which has been encircling and firing on Palestinian towns in the West Bank and Gaza.

The only condition the congressional foreign aid bill places on military aid to Israel is that about 75 percent of it has to be spent in the U.S. In contrast with other countries receiving military aid, however, who purchase through the DOD, Israel deals directly with U.S. companies, with no DOD review.

Special mention should also be made of the details of the Wye agreement. All of the $400 million going to the PA under the agreement is economic aid, whereas all of the $1.2 billion for Israel is for military projects and programs. These include $40 million for armored personnel carriers and $360 million for Apache helicopters, again significant considering current events.

Loans, The “Cranston Amendment,” and Loan Guarantees

Currently, Israel owes the U.S. government almost $3 billion in economic and military loans. Direct government-to-government loans are included in the above numbers for total aid, because repayment of several loans has been “waived” by the U.S. Israeli officials are fond of saying that Israel has never defaulted on a loan from the U.S. Technically, this is true. The CRS report, however, notes that from FY 1994 through FY 1998 $29 billion in U.S. loans have been waived for Israel. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider all loans to Israel the same as grants.

There seems to be much confusion about the so-called “Cranston Amendment,” named after the California senator who sponsored it in 1984. The amendment said, simply, that it is “the policy and intention” of the U.S. to give Israel economic aid “not less than” the amount Israel owes the U.S. in annual debt interest and principal payments.

Since official economic aid to Israel has always been considerably higher than the annual debt repayments, this is something of a non-issue. Furthermore, since the amendment is simply a statement of policy and intent, it may not be legally binding. In any event, although the amendment was included in every aid appropriations bill through FY 1998, it has not been repeated in the FY 1999, 2000, and 2001 appropriations bills.

The amount of U.S. government loan guarantees to Israel was not included in the above numbers, because they have not cost the U.S. any money (yet), although they are listed as “contingent liabilities” (that is, they would become liabilities to the U.S. should Israel default). Nevertheless, they unquestionably have been of tangible financial benefit to Israel. The major loan guarantees issued by Washington have been $600 million for housing between 1972 and 1990; the much publicized $10 billion for Soviet Jewish resettlement between 1992 and 1997; and some $5 billion for refinancing military loans commercially. Currently, the total U.S. contingent liability for Israeli loans is about $10 billion.

The Neeman Agreement

After Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Congress in 1996 that he wanted to reduce the level of U.S. economic aid to Israel, Israeli Finance Minister Yaacov Neeman met with members of Congress in January 1998 to negotiate the details. After much backing and forthing, they reached agreement that Israel’s then-$1.2 billion in economic aid would be decreased annually, beginning FY 1999, by $120 million, and the $1.8 billion in military aid would be increased by half that, or $60 million.

As a little-reported part of the deal, the amount of military aid that Israel was allowed to spend in Israel would be increased by $15 million per year. From FY 1988 through 1990 Israel was allowed to use $400 million of its $1.8 billion U.S. military aid in Israel. Beginning in FY 1991 that was increased to $475 million. As a result of the Neeman agreement, beginning in FY 1999 the aid appropriations bill gave the amount to be spent in Israel as a percentage of the total, rather than a stated amount. This maneuver helped hide from U.S. defense contractors the fact that the U.S. direct subsidy to their Israeli competitors was being increased by $15 million per year. For FY 2001 the stated percentage works out to $520 million. None of this is included in the above figures, because it does not represent a direct cost to the U.S. taxpayers. It is clearly an indirect cost, however, in terms of lost tax revenue and lost business for American companies. X

Shirl McArthur, a retired foreign service officer, is a consultant in the Washington, DC area.


Arab Americans Lose Ground in Congress

While Arab-American candidates broke even in the 2000 elections for the House of Representatives, a major loss was suffered in the Senate, where the only Arab-American senator, Michigan Republican Spencer Abraham, was narrowly and unexpectedly defeated by former Rep. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Stabenow had a neutral score in this magazine’s Congressional Report Card (August/September issue), with one positive and one negative mark, although she did sign the letter to President Clinton urging the delinking of the economic sanctions against Iraq from the military sanctions.

In the House, Arab-American Reps. John Baldacci (D-ME), Chris John (D-LA), Ray LaHood (R-IL), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and John Sununu (R-NH) all were re-elected. In addition, Republican newcomer Darrell Issa was easily elected in California. Issa’s victory offset the narrow defeat of Democrat Steve Danner in Missouri for the seat previously held by retiring Rep. Pat Danner (D-MO).

Other re-elected representatives sympathetic to issues important to Arab Americans include Reps. David Bonior (D-MI), John Conyers (D-MI), Tom Davis (R-VA), John Dingell (D-MI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Bob Ney (R-OH), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Unfortunately, a champion of Arab-American issues was lost when Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA) failed in his bid to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Other congressional election news included the surprise defeat of Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT), who was the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee. Although he was widely considered a good friend of Israel, Gejdenson’s report card was only slightly negative, with no positive and one negative mark. He is expected to be replaced as ranking Democrat on the committee by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), also considered a strong friend of Israel. A Holocaust survivor, Lantos might be expected to be sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians living under the heel of a brutal occupying power, but his report card showed one positive and two negative marks. Lantos also signed the letter to Clinton urging the president to “stand firm” in keeping the economic sanctions on Iraq. —S.M.

November 24, 2001, The Baltimore Sun, Israelis may have planted fatal bomb; Commandos behind 'grave mishap' that killed boys, sources say,

November 24, 2001, The Baltimore Sun, Israelis may have planted fatal bomb; Commandos behind 'grave mishap' that killed boys, sources say,

JERUSALEM - An explosive that killed five Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip on Thursday had probably been planted there by Israeli army commandos to target militants who launch mortars into Jewish settlements, Israeli military sources said yesterday.

A senior army commander called the incident a "grave mishap" and said that such tactics are being re-evaluated. The source said investigators have found "serious fault" with the undercover unit that placed the device along a path near a school.

Israeli government officials declined to accept responsibility publicly but did order an investigation. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed his "regret over the human tragedy" and "the loss of innocent lives."

The dead children were all part of the extended Astal family, one of the largest clans in the Khan Younis refugee camp, an impoverished and volatile community in the southern Gaza Strip that abuts the army-patrolled fence-lines guarding two groups of settlements.

Israeli politicians protested yesterday in unusually harsh terms how the army targets suspected militants, methods that include assassinations and leaving live bombs along paths.

"It's a residential area," said parliament member Yossi Sarid, head of the opposition Meretz Party. "What kind of bombs do you place in an area where school children walk by?"

Tensions ran high in Khan Younis yesterday as thousands of people marched in a funeral procession, holding up the five bodies draped with red-and-green Palestinian flags and shooting volleys of gunshots into the air.

Clashes broke out later, during which Palestinian police said a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier outside a local cemetery. In retaliation, a Palestinian militant fired a mortar into the Jewish settlement of Gush Katif, damaging a home.

The deaths come just days before U.S. envoys are scheduled to arrive to push both sides into a cease-fire, and Thursday's incident will probably be brought up by Palestinian officials.

"It's unbelievable how insensitive it is to leave devices to explode on a road," said Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator who said he plans to meet with the U.S. delegation Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "What kind of commanders do they have? What kind of anger allows them to do such a thing? It's all the more reason that we need the Americans here. We don't want to talk. Let them come and see for themselves what the Israelis are doing."

The five children - two pairs of brothers and a distant cousin - were killed as they walked to their boys school, which is sponsored by the United Nations. One of the youths apparently kicked the device, which was hidden under a bush in a tomato field.

The powerful explosion blew a crater into the ground and sent shards of clothing and books hundreds of feet. At first, Israeli and Palestinian officials thought the child had kicked an Israeli tank shell that had been fired by the army days earlier, but did not initially detonate.

But yesterday, Israeli officials conceded that an elite undercover unit had recently infiltrated the area, which is under Palestinian control, and planted a bomb along a dirt path that is used by militants to attack two nearby Jewish communities.

The Gush Katif settlement comes under daily gunfire and mortar attacks, launched from a field near the Abdullah Siam boys school, in the Khan Younis refugee camp. Ben-Eliezer said that the explosion "occurred in an open, uninhabited area from which firing had frequently been directed at Israeli communities and army positions."

But the children were killed about 200 yards from the school, along what they said is a path used by students every day, and within sight of an army watchtower that looms over the field and guards the Jewish settlers.

The dead children were identified as Mohammed Na'im Astal, 14; his brother, Akram Na'im Astal, 7; Aniz Idris Astal, 11; his brother Omar Idris Astal, 14; and Mohammad Sultan Astal, 12, a distant cousin.

The placing of such explosive devices is not a new tactic for the Israeli army, but it is not something members of the army typically discuss publicly. Sources said the devices are often equipped with triggers and set off by remote control to avoid killing unintended targets.

Israeli army sources said it is still possible that the device was a Palestinian mortar round left behind by militants, but they also admitted that that was unlikely.

Although the army has said it fired numerous tank shells into the area during clashes over the past two weeks, officials discounted that theory as well yesterday. They said that the shells are designed to explode upon impact and that if one failed to detonate when it hit the ground, it could not go off from being kicked.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Dan Meridor, from the Center Party, called the deaths "appalling and horrible" and added that if Israel is indeed responsible, "it cannot be accepted, and should be regretted even more. If it turns out a mistake was made, then the truth should be told and an apology should be made."

Israeli state-run radio, in an unusual move, urged yesterday that the nation's top rabbinical leaders send letters of apology and condolences to the families of the five children. The radio statement was read against a backdrop of sorrowful music.

Copyright © 2001, The Baltimore Sun

November 24, 2001

Friday, February 05, 2016

July 9, 2003, The American Reporter, An AR Editorial, Sen. Carl Levin 'Bowels' 'Em Over, by Joe Shea, American Reporter Editor-in-Chief,

July 9, 2003, Vol. 21, No. 5,312 - The American Reporter, An AR Editorial, Sen. Carl Levin 'Bowels' 'Em Over, by Joe Shea, American Reporter Editor-in-Chief,
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Vol. 21, No. 5,312 - The American Reporter - December 1, 2015

by Joe Shea
American Reporter Editor-in-Chief
Hollywood, Calif.
July 9, 2003, An AR Editorial,


HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- As of July 9, 2003, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is chairing a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee investigation - and a cover-up, we suspect - of the origins of the lie about Iraq's search for uranium that was contained in the live, televised State of the Union speech President George W. Bush gave to a joint session of Congress in late January.

The White House admitted on July 7 that the information used by the President to gain support for the war against Iraq was not credible and should not have been used because it was based on forged documents. That admission only comes after we learned the lie was debunked by the intelligence community and by a U.S. Ambassador at least five months before the President's speech.

Frankly, we fear the Sen. Levin, a strong supporter of Israel, may prevent disclosures that would reveal the true nature of the President's lie. Israel's chief lobbyists for the war - Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and defense analyst Richard Perle - have not been implicated in the forgery so far, and we fear they may be at the core of the dirty secret that Sen. Levin has set out to hide.

As Israel's key spokesmen in the U.S. political establishment, these two men very much wanted the Iraq war, both on Israel's behalf and possibly - according to an article in The New Yorker - because it would also make money for a company Perle is associated with. When Israel made a big deal of saying it took no position on the war - which, had it not been fought, might have left them vulnerable to more Scud attacks by Saddam - the insiders laughed. But it was no joke.

You may not recall that Perle, a longtime Defense Dept. policy-maker, was embarassed into resigning as head of the influential Defense Policy Board when his business dealings with notorious Saudi arms broker Adnan Khashoggi were disclosed on March 17 in The New Yorker.  Perle had lunch with Khashoggi in January, reporter Seymour Hersh revealed; we think the take-out carton included a set of forged documents that probably originated in Israel.

Sen. Levin should take note of when these forged documents about an alleged Iraqi effort to purchase uranium from the small African nation of Niger appeared in the mix of lies, assertions and policy ideas that later formed the President's Jan. 27 speech. We suspect they went from Khashoggi to Perle at their lunch in January, to Wolfowitz, and from there to the CIA by one route, and to someone at the White House by another. Now, the bull is in Levin's court, if you'll pardon a modest pun.

The CIA dismissed the documents as fakes, but that same information came to the White House through another channel and was fleshed out in the President's speech to the nation in order to spur us all to war. What Sen. Levin wants us to believe is that the information all came through U.S. intelligence agencies, and that essentially, they dismissed it as fake while at the same time offering it to the resident for his speech.

But, as the New York Times reports today, National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton said Tuesday that "the documents alleging a transaction between Iraq and Niger were not the sole basis for the line in the president's State of the Union speech that referred to recent Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Africa."

According to the paper, at the time a "national intelligence estimate" - a wider, more inclusive document that is a fundamental assessment of a given issue and is provided to elected and appointed policy makers - noted "attempts by Iraq to acquire uranium from several countries" in Africa. "We now know that documents alleging a transaction between Iraq and Niger had been forge," Anton said. The other information was not solid enough to get used by the President, Anton explained - only the forgery made the grade.

Now, according to a letter released yesterday by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing, it is revealed that a Feb. 4 letter from the U.S. State Dept. to the International Atomic Energy Agency just seven days after the President's speech warned the IAEA - which had begun to look into the charge - that the information might be tainted. Waxman is the congressman who exposed the tobacco industry's lies about cancer - and a fervent supporter of Israel who represents the largely Jewish voters of Los Angeles' Westside.

The uranium lie is almost equal to the lie about an alleged attack on a U.S. patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin that President Johnson told a joint session of Congress in 1964, which started the Vietnam War. It is certainly the equal of the false report in the Hearst newspapers about the alleged attack on the U.S.S. Maine that started the Spanish-American War in 1898. President Johnson was at least honest enough to reveal in his published personal papers released earlier this year that he had suspected the Gulf of Tonkin attack never happened. Don't look for a similar admission in the George W. Bush Presidential Library, though.

But why the concern that Sen. Levin will cover up the chain of events that led to one of the most critical falsehoods in American history? Because, talking on July 8 to a female stand-in for CNN's Lou Dobbs - who, to her credit, seemed to be holding her nose as the senator talked - Levin flatly alleged that the information was known in the "bowels" of U.S. intelligence but not to the President well before the State of the Union speech. He twice referred to those "bowels," using that powerful noun to link documents and intelligence agencies with taboo topics and thus distract viewers from thinking about the White House, where the "solid" information actually emerged.

The problem, of course, is that Sen. Levin has yet to hold a single second of hearings on the uranium lie, and is already assigning blame, substantially damaging the President's support and potentially hurting his chances for re-election. Israel is not anxious to be a key player in this bathroom debacle. That's why a Michigan Democrat is supporting the President on an issue that could otherwise put Democrats in the White House (and probably will, anyway).

Yet, even Bill Keller, a pro-war writer in the New York Times who said in a June 20 OpEd that Wolfowitz led the attack on the CIA's supposed underestimate of Soviet strength in 1976, suggested in a column entitled "The Boys Who Cried Wolfowitz" that the Deputy Defense Secretary's "Team B" inserted the documents into the intelligence mix separately from the national intelligence estimate.

"Mr. Wolfowitz was part of a famous 1976 Team B that attacked the C.I.A. for underestimating the Soviet threat," Keller wrote. "These days the top leadership of the Defense Department is Team B. Mr. Wolfowitz and his associates have assembled their own trusted analysts to help them challenge the established intelligence consensus." We read that comment about information from "their own trusted analysts" as: "lies cooked up by Israeli disinformation experts." (Please note the colon.)

Keller continues, "While the C.I.A. may say that we have insufficient evidence to conclude that Saddam has reconstituted his nuclear program, Team B starts from the premise that it is just the kind of thing Saddam would do, and it is dangerous to assume he didn't. Then," Keller writes, "Team B dips into the raw intelligence and fishes out information that supports its case, tidbits that the A Team may have rejected as unreliable [emphasis added]. The Pentagon takes this ammo to an interagency review, where it is used to beat the A Team..." Keller's article ( appears to be an attempt to ameliorate the growing anger in America about the President's use of lies to justify a war that Israel wanted us to fight.

And then there is the racial angle. Tonight, Sen. Levin twice quoted "Leeza" - referring to National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice - as his source for the White House's ignorance of the truth. If Wolfowitz gave the forged documents to Rice or an underling of hers on the National Security Council, that will place the burden of failing to properly verify the President's information on a popular black woman who may be pushing Israel a little too to its liking towards a fair and relatively impartial solution to the deadly Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Note that the fall guy in the Waxman letter is also the State Dept., the province of a black man, Secretary of State Colin Powell. That letter would also help clear Wolfowitz, or at least get him out of the direct line of fire. And that would be as Leezy as it gets, to risk a second pun.

As they often do, elected officials who have failed miserably in their jobs of protecting American interests are once again blaming the intelligence agencies for the sins of politicians, knowing it is an easy way to hide the truth. We have little doubt that it will work once again for Sen. Levin, who peers so warmly at us over his spectacles as he sends the Big Lie off to a good start. We see a concerted effort by Israel's supporters to in Congress and the Senate to shift the blame away from Wolfowitz and Israel to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, who because they are black are probably the most expendable members of President Bush's White House team.

Israel had the President spinning like a top just days after he criticized one of its attacks on Palestinians as "not helpful," and it needs him to spin the lies about Iraq their way, too. They should be more concerned about the growing ability of the American people to perceive that our politics and our public policy have been profoundly insulted by Israel's interference in our sovereign decisions. We remain firm supporters of Israel's right to exist and mindful of the hate spewed against it, but we must refuse to take up a cudgel of lies on its behalf. We believe Sen. Levin knows the real truth about the uranium lie deep in his own bowels and yet will allow it to fester there unsaid. Shame, shame on him.

Copyright 2015 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

March 17, 2003, The New Yorker, Annals of National Security; Lunch With the Chairman; Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?,

March 17, 2003, The New Yorker, Annals of National Security; Lunch With the Chairman; Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?, by Seymour M. Hersh

Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi?

Issue of 2003-03-17
Posted 2003-03-10

At the peak of his deal-making activities, in the nineteen-seventies, the Saudi-born businessman Adnan Khashoggi brokered billions of dollars in arms and aircraft sales for the Saudi royal family, earning hundreds of millions in commissions and fees. Though never convicted of wrongdoing, he was repeatedly involved in disputes with federal prosecutors and with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in recent years he has been in litigation in Thailand and Los Angeles, among other places, concerning allegations of stock manipulation and fraud. During the Reagan Administration, Khashoggi was one of the middlemen between Oliver North, in the White House, and the mullahs in Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. Khashoggi subsequently claimed that he lost ten million dollars that he had put up to obtain embargoed weapons for Iran which were to be bartered (with Presidential approval) for American hostages. The scandals of those times seemed to feed off each other: a congressional investigation revealed that Khashoggi had borrowed much of the money for the weapons from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I.), whose collapse, in 1991, defrauded thousands of depositors and led to years of inquiry and litigation.

Khashoggi is still brokering. In January of this year, he arranged a private lunch, in France, to bring together Harb Saleh al-Zuhair, a Saudi industrialist whose family fortune includes extensive holdings in construction, electronics, and engineering companies throughout the Middle East, and Richard N. Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is one of the most outspoken and influential American advocates of war with Iraq.

The Defense Policy Board is a Defense Department advisory group composed primarily of highly respected former government officials, retired military officers, and academics. Its members, who serve without pay, include former national-security advisers, Secretaries of Defense, and heads of the C.I.A. The board meets several times a year at the Pentagon to review and assess the country’s strategic defense policies.

Perle is also a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P., which was registered in November, 2001, in Delaware. Trireme’s main business, according to a two-page letter that one of its representatives sent to Khashoggi last November, is to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. The letter argued that the fear of terrorism would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The letter mentioned the firm's government connections prominently: "Three of Trireme's Management Group members currently advise the U.S. Secretary of Defense by serving on the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and one of Trireme's principals, Richard Perle, is chairman of that Board." The two other policy-board members associated with Trireme are Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State (who is, in fact, only a member of Trireme's advisory group and is not involved in its management), and Gerald Hillman, an investor and a close business associate of Perle's who handles matters in Trireme's New York office. The letter said that forty-five million dollars had already been raised, including twenty million dollars from Boeing; the purpose, clearly, was to attract more investors, such as Khashoggi and Zuhair.

Perle served as a foreign-policy adviser in George W. Bush's Presidential campaign—he had been an Assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan—but he chose not to take a senior position in the Administration. In mid-2001, however, he accepted an offer from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to chair the Defense Policy Board, a then obscure group that had been created by the Defense Department in 1985. Its members (there are around thirty of them) may be outside the government, but they have access to classified information and to senior policymakers, and give advice not only on strategic policy but also on such matters as weapons procurement. Most of the board's proceedings are confidential.

As chairman of the board, Perle is considered to be a special government employee and therefore subject to a federal Code of Conduct. Those rules bar a special employee from participating in an official capacity in any matter in which he has a financial interest. "One of the general rules is that you don't take advantage of your federal position to help yourself financially in any way," a former government attorney who helped formulate the Code of Conduct told me. The point, the attorney added, is to "protect government processes from actual or apparent conflicts."

Advisory groups like the Defense Policy Board enable knowledgeable people outside government to bring their skills and expertise to bear, in confidence, on key policy issues. Because such experts are often tied to the defense industry, however, there are inevitable conflicts. One board member told me that most members are active in finance and business, and on at least one occasion a member has left a meeting when a military or an intelligence product in which he has an active interest has come under discussion.

Four members of the Defense Policy Board told me that the board, which met most recently on February 27th and 28th, had not been informed of Perle's involvement in Trireme. One board member, upon being told of Trireme and Perle's meeting with Khashoggi, exclaimed, "Oh, get out of here. He's the chairman! If you had a story about me setting up a company for homeland security, and I've put people on the board with whom I'm doing that business, I'd be had"—a reference to Gerald Hillman, who had almost no senior policy or military experience in government before being offered a post on the policy board. "Seems to me this is at the edge of or off the ethical charts. I think it would stink to high heaven."

Hillman, a former McKinsey consultant, stunned at least one board member at the February meeting when he raised questions about the validity of Iraq's existing oil contracts. "Hillman said the old contracts are bad news; he said we should kick out the Russians and the French," the board member told me. "This was a serious conversation. We'd become the brokers. Then we'd be selling futures in the Iraqi oil company. I said to myself, 'Oh, man. Don't go down that road.'" Hillman denies making such statements at the meeting.

Larry Noble, the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research organization, said of Perle's Trireme involvement, "It's not illegal, but it presents an appearance of a conflict. It's enough to raise questions about the advice he's giving to the Pentagon and why people in business are dealing with him." Noble added, "The question is whether he's trading off his advisory-committee relationship. If it's a selling point for the firm he's involved with, that means he's a closer—the guy you bring in who doesn't have to talk about money, but he's the reason you're doing the deal."

Perle's association with Trireme was not his first exposure to the link between high finance and high-level politics. He was born in New York City, graduated from the University of Southern California in 1964, and spent a decade in Senate-staff jobs before leaving government in 1980, to work for a military-consulting firm. The next year, he was back in government, as Assistant Secretary of Defense. In 1983, he was the subject of a New York Times investigation into an allegation that he recommended that the Army buy weapons from an Israeli company from whose owners he had, two years earlier, accepted a fifty-thousand-dollar fee. Perle later acknowledged that he had accepted the fee, but vigorously denied any wrongdoing. He had not recused himself in the matter, he explained, because the fee was for work he had done before he took the Defense Department job. He added, "The ultimate issue, of course, was a question of procurement, and I am not a procurement officer." He was never officially accused of any ethical violations in the matter. Perle served in the Pentagon until 1987 and then became deeply involved in the lobbying and business worlds. Among other corporate commitments, he now serves as a director of a company doing business with the federal government: the Autonomy Corporation, a British firm that recently won a major federal contract in homeland security. When I asked him about that contract, Perle told me that there was no possible conflict, because the contract was obtained through competitive bidding, and "I never talked to anybody about it."

Under Perle's leadership, the policy board has become increasingly influential. He has used it as a bully pulpit, from which to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the use of preëmptive military action to combat terrorism. Perle had many allies for this approach, such as Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, but there was intense resistance throughout the bureaucracy—most notably at the State Department. Preëmption has since emerged as the overriding idea behind the Administration's foreign policy. One former high-level intelligence official spoke with awe of Perle's ability to "radically change government policy" even though he is a private citizen. "It's an impressive achievement that an outsider can have so much influence, and has even been given an institutional base for his influence."

Perle's authority in the Bush Administration is buttressed by close association, politically and personally, with many important Administration figures, including Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is the Pentagon's third-ranking civilian official. In 1989, Feith created International Advisors Incorporated, a lobbying firm whose main client was the government of Turkey. The firm retained Perle as an adviser between 1989 and 1994. Feith got his current position, according to a former high-level Defense Department official, only after Perle personally intervened with Rumsfeld, who was skeptical about him. Feith was directly involved in the strategic planning and conduct of the military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan; he now runs various aspects of the planning of the Iraqi war and its aftermath. He and Perle share the same views on many foreign-policy issues. Both have been calling for Saddam Hussein's removal for years, long before September 11th. They also worked together, in 1996, to prepare a list of policy initiatives for Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after his election as the Israeli Prime Minister. The suggestions included working toward regime change in Iraq. Feith and Perle were energetic supporters of Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial leader of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congresss, and have struggled with officials at the State Department and the C.I.A. about the future of Iraq.

Perle has also been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, and Americans who are in its pay. He has often publicly rebuked former American government officials who are connected to research centers and foundations that are funded by the Saudis, and told the National Review last summer, "I think it's a disgrace. They're the people who appear on television, they write op-ed pieces. The Saudis are a major source of the problem we face with terrorism. That would be far more obvious to people if it weren't for this community of former diplomats effectively working for this foreign government." In August, the Saudi government was dismayed when the Washington Post revealed that the Defense Policy Board had received a briefing on July 10th from a Rand Corporation analyst named Laurent Murawiec, who depicted Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States, and recommended that the Bush Administration give the Saudi government an ultimatum to stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its financial assets in the United States and its oil fields. Murawiec, it was later found, is a former editor of the Executive Intelligence Review, a magazine controlled by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., the perennial Presidential candidate, conspiracy theorist, and felon. According to Time, it was Perle himself who had invited Murawiec to make his presentation.

Perle's hostility to the politics of the Saudi government did not stop him from meeting with potential Saudi investors for Trireme. Khashoggi and Zuhair told me that they understood that one of Trireme's objectives was to seek the help of influential Saudis to win homeland-security contracts with the Saudi royal family for the businesses it financed. The profits for such contracts could be substantial. Saudi Arabia has spent nearly a billion dollars to survey and demarcate its eight-hundred-and-fifty-mile border with Yemen, and the second stage of that process will require billions more. Trireme apparently turned to Adnan Khashoggi for help.

Last month, I spoke with Khashoggi, who is sixty-seven and is recovering from open-heart surgery, at his penthouse apartment, overlooking the Mediterranean in Cannes. "I was the intermediary," he said. According to Khashoggi, he was first approached by a Trireme official named Christopher Harriman. Khashoggi said that Harriman, an American businessman whom he knew from his jet-set days, when both men were fixtures on the European social scene, sent him the Trireme pitch letter. (Harriman has not answered my calls.) Khashoggi explained that before Christmas he and Harb Zuhair, the Saudi industrialist, had met with Harriman and Gerald Hillman in Paris and had discussed the possibility of a large investment in Trireme.

Zuhair was interested in more than the financial side; he also wanted to share his views on war and peace with someone who had influence with the Bush Administration. Though a Saudi, he had been born in Iraq, and he hoped that a negotiated, "step by step" solution could be found to avoid war. Zuhair recalls telling Harriman and Hillman, "If we have peace, it would be easy to raise a hundred million. We will bring development to the region." Zuhair's hope, Khashoggi told me, was to combine opportunities for peace with opportunities for investment. According to Khashoggi, Hillman and Harriman said that such a meeting could be arranged. Perle emerged, by virtue of his position on the policy board, as a natural catch; he was "the hook," Khashoggi said, for obtaining the investment from Zuhair. Khashoggi said that he agreed to try to assemble potential investors for a private lunch with Perle.

The lunch took place on January 3rd at a seaside restaurant in Marseilles. (Perle has a vacation home in the South of France.) Those who attended the lunch differ about its purpose. According to both Khashoggi and Zuhair, there were two items on the agenda. The first was to give Zuhair a chance to propose a peaceful alternative to war with Iraq; Khashoggi said that he and Perle knew that such an alternative was far-fetched, but Zuhair had recently returned from a visit to Baghdad, and was eager to talk about it. The second, more important item, according to Khashoggi and Zuhair, was to pave the way for Zuhair to put together a group of ten Saudi businessmen who would invest ten million dollars each in Trireme.

"It was normal for us to see Perle," Khashoggi told me. "We in the Middle East are accustomed to politicians who use their offices for whatever business they want. I organized the lunch for the purpose of Harb Zuhair to put his language to Perle. Perle politely listened, and the lunch was over." Zuhair, in a telephone conversation with me, recalled that Perle had made it clear at the lunch that "he was above the money. He said he was more involved in politics, and the business is through the company"—Trireme. Perle, throughout the lunch, "stuck to his idea that 'we have to get rid of Saddam,'" Zuhair said. As of early March, to the knowledge of Zuhair, no Saudi money had yet been invested in Trireme.

In my first telephone conversation with Gerald Hillman, in mid-February, before I knew of the involvement of Khashoggi and Zuhair, he assured me that Trireme had "nothing to do" with the Saudis. "I don't know what you can do with them," he said. "What we saw on September 11th was a grotesque manifestation of their ideology. Americans believe that the Saudis are supporting terrorism. We have no investment from them, or with them." (Last week, he acknowledged that he had met with Khashoggi and Zuhair, but said that the meeting had been arranged by Harriman and that he hadn't known that Zuhair would be there.) Perle, he insisted in February, "is not a financial creature. He doesn't have any desire for financial gain.'

Perle, in a series of telephone interviews, acknowledged that he had met with two Saudis at the lunch in Marseilles, but he did not divulge their identities. (At that time, I still didn't know who they were.) "There were two Saudis there," he said. "But there was no discussion of Trireme. It was never mentioned and never discussed." He firmly stated, "The lunch was not about money. It just would never have occurred to me to discuss investments, given the circumstances." Perle added that one of the Saudis had information that Saddam was ready to surrender. "His message was a plea to negotiate with Saddam."

When I asked Perle whether the Saudi businessmen at the lunch were being considered as possible investors in Trireme, he replied, "I don't want Saudis as such, but the fund is open to any investor, and our European partners said that, through investment banks, they had had Saudis as investors." Both Perle and Hillman stated categorically that there were currently no Saudi investments.

Khashoggi professes to be amused by the activities of Perle and Hillman as members of the policy board. As Khashoggi saw it, Trireme's business potential depended on a war in Iraq taking place. "If there is no war," he told me, "why is there a need for security? If there is a war, of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent." He commented, "You Americans blind yourself with your high integrity and your democratic morality against peddling influence, but they were peddling influence."

When Perle's lunch with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and his connection to Trireme, became known to a few ranking members of the Saudi royal family, they reacted with anger and astonishment. The meeting in Marseilles left Perle, one of the kingdom's most vehement critics, exposed to a ferocious counterattack.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who has served as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States for twenty years, told me that he had got wind of Perle's involvement with Trireme and the lunch in Marseilles. Bandar, who is in his early fifties, is a prominent member of the royal family (his father is the defense minister). He said that he was told that the contacts between Perle and Trireme and the Saudis were purely business, on all sides. After the 1991 Gulf War, Bandar told me, Perle had been involved in an unsuccessful attempt to sell security systems to the Saudi government, "and this company does security systems." (Perle confirmed that he had been on the board of a company that attempted to make such a sale but said he was not directly involved in the project.)

"There is a split personality to Perle," Bandar said. "Here he is, on the one hand, trying to make a hundred-million-dollar deal, and, on the other hand, there were elements of the appearance of blackmail—'If we get in business, he'll back off on Saudi Arabia'—as I have been informed by participants in the meeting."

As for Perle's meeting with Khashoggi and Zuhair, and the assertion that its purpose was to discuss politics, Bandar said, "There has to be deniability, and a cover story—a possible peace initiative in Iraq—is needed. I believe the Iraqi events are irrelevant. A business meeting took place."

Zuhair, however, was apparently convinced that, thanks to his discussions with Trireme, he would have a chance to enter into a serious discussion with Perle about peace. A few days after the meeting in Paris, Hillman had sent Khashoggi a twelve-point memorandum, dated December 26, 2002, setting the conditions that Iraq would have to meet. "It is my belief," the memorandum stated, "that if the United States obtained the following results it would not go to war against Iraq." Saddam would have to admit that "Iraq has developed, and possesses, weapons of mass destruction." He then would be allowed to resign and leave Iraq immediately, with his sons and some of his ministers.

Hillman sent Khashoggi a second memorandum a week later, the day before the lunch with Perle in Marseilles. "Following our recent discussions," it said, "we have been thinking about an immediate test to ascertain that Iraq is sincere in its desire to surrender." Five more steps were outlined, and an ambitious final request was made: that Khashoggi and Zuhair arrange a meeting with Prince Nawaf Abdul Aziz, the Saudi intelligence chief, "so that we can assist in Washington."

Both Khashoggi and Zuhair were skeptical of the memorandums. Zuhair found them "absurd," and Khashoggi told me that he thought they were amusing, and almost silly. "This was their thinking?" he recalled asking himself. "There was nothing to react to. While Harb was lobbying for Iraq, they were lobbying for Perle."

In my initial conversation with Hillman, he said, "Richard had nothing to do with the writing of those letters. I informed him of it afterward, and he never said one word, even after I sent them to him. I thought my ideas were pretty clear, but I didn't think Saddam would resign and I didn't think he'd go into exile. I'm positive Richard does not believe that any of those things would happen." Hillman said that he had drafted the memorandums with the help of his daughter, a college student. Perle, for his part, told me, "I didn't write them and didn't supply any content to them. I didn't know about them until after they were drafted."

The views set forth in the memorandums were, indeed, very different from those held by Perle, who has said publicly that Saddam will leave office only if he is forced out, and from those of his fellow hard-liners in the Bush Administration. Given Perle's importance in American decision-making, and the risks of relying on a deal-maker with Adnan Khashoggi's history, questions remain about Hillman's drafting of such an amateurish peace proposal for Zuhair. Prince Bandar's assertion—that the talk of peace was merely a pretext for some hard selling—is difficult to dismiss.

Hillman's proposals, meanwhile, took on an unlikely life of their own. A month after the lunch, the proposals made their way to Al Hayat, a Saudi-owned newspaper published in London. If Perle had ever intended to dissociate himself from them, he did not succeed. The newspaper, in a dispatch headlined "WASHINGTON OFFERS TO AVERT WAR IN RETURN FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT TO EXILE SADDAM," characterized Hillman's memorandums as "American" documents and said that the new proposals bore Perle's imprimatur. The paper said that Perle and others had attended a series of "secret meetings" in an effort to avoid the pending war with Iraq, and "a scenario was discussed whereby Saddam Hussein would personally admit that his country was attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction and he would agree to stop trying to acquire these weapons while he awaits exile."

A few days later, the Beirut daily Al Safir published Arabic translations of the memorandums themselves, attributing them to Richard Perle. The proposals were said to have been submitted by Perle, and to "outline Washington's future visions of Iraq." Perle's lunch with two Saudi businessmen was now elevated by Al Safir to a series of "recent American-Saudi negotiations" in which "the American side was represented by Richard Perle." The newspaper added, "Publishing these documents is important because they shed light on the story of how war could have been avoided." The documents, of course, did nothing of the kind.

When Perle was asked whether his dealings with Trireme might present the appearance of a conflict of interest, he said that anyone who saw such a conflict would be thinking "maliciously." But Perle, in crisscrossing between the public and the private sectors, has put himself in a difficult position—one not uncommon to public men. He is credited with being the intellectual force behind a war that not everyone wants and that many suspect, however unfairly, of being driven by American business interests. There is no question that Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war. In doing so, he has given ammunition not only to the Saudis but to his other ideological opponents as well.