Re: Mike's WebNews Summary, 7/3/05

OK, just a few more:

[CIA-kidnapped Milan] Imam Once Informed on Islamic Militants for CIA
The Associated Press, Jul 2, 2005

The Chicago Tribune, citing the former second-ranking official of the Albanian intelligence service, reported in its Sunday editions that Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was a valuable source of information in the mid-1990s to the CIA about the close-knit community of Islamic fundamentalists living in exile in Albania, a formerly communist county in the Balkans.

The newspaper said evidence gathered by Italian prosecutors "indicates that the abduction was a bold attempt to turn him (Omar) back into the informer he once was."


Genoa police have arrested the two leaders of a neo-Fascist unofficial intelligence and "anti-terrorism" police network in Italy and have conducted searches of homes throughout the country in a major crackdown on a group that recruited police and intelligence agents to their cause. The two neo-Fascist leaders -- Gaetano Saya and Riccardo Sindoca -- who reportedly have close ties to both the P-2 Masonic lodge and a secret Cold War network known as Gladio, were arrested. Some 25 members of the regular state police, the Carabinieri, the Frontier police, and the Prison police were placed under official investigation. Tens of searches, including two houses in Genoa, were conducted by police in nine Italian regions: Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Molise, Sicily and Sardinia. The investigation may soon extend to members of the Italian intelligence service SISMI. In 2004, Saya and Sindoca established the Department of Strategic Anti-Terrorism Studies, which reportedly had links to both the Bush administration and Ariel Sharon's Likud government in Israel([search]).

Some Italian police were tricked into assisting the organization because they thought it was legitimate. Saya and Sindoca were leaders of the Testra Nazionale - Nuovo MSI (an off shoot of the neo-Fascist MSI party represented in the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi). The group is also unofficially known as the Fiamma Tricolore (Tri Color Flame). Police have shut down the web site of Testra Nazionale - Nuovo MSI. There is now a suspicion by prosecutors in Genoa and Milan that the neo-Fascist intelligence group may have been involved with American covert operators in the kidnaping of Imam Abu Omar (Moustapha Hassan Nasr) from a street in Milan in 2003. Omar, a political refugee in Italy, was spirited out of Italy to Egypt by a covert team of U.S. Defense Department Special Forces, mercenaries, and intelligence agents who are now the subject of international arrest warrants (see articles below). There is now mounting evidence that the U.S. team was working with the parallel Italian intelligence network.

The reported CIA station chief in Milan, Honduran-born Robert Seldon Lady (whose name may be an alias and whose CIA connections may be incorrect or overstated) was, prior to his assignment in Milan, in charge of a covert American unit in Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua charged with penetrating anti-American groups and taking them over. It is now believed that Lady was in charge of a similar operation to turn Abu Omar and others into intelligence assets for the Americans.

It is also believed that the late Deputy SISMI chief Nicola Calipari became aware of information in Iraq that linked the control of terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere to a "third level" in "an anti-terrorism country." Calipari was shot to death by U.S. troops while transporting freed Italian hostage and journalist Giuliana Sgrena to Baghdad International Airport.

[from the same website but a different report published Jun 29, 2005]
the entire kidnapping operation is said to have been run out of the Pentagon's Intelligence Directorate with overall control exercised by the National Security Council. Under orders from CIA Directors George Tenet and Porter Goss, some CIA Special Activities Division paramilitary personnel have reportedly been assigned to work with the Pentagon's Task Force 121 covert units under authority of National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Iran-contra felon Elliot Abrams.


Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was said to have been one of the captors of U.S. embassy hostages in Teheran in 1979. Now Ahmadinejad stands accused of being a roving Iranian assassin.

It has been revealed from sources in Teheran that in 1979 Ahmadinejad did not wear a beard and that the person seen in the photo is Taqi Mohammadi, a former militant who committed suicide in jail. The supposed AP photo that surfaced after Ahmadinejad's election victory was shopped around by Iran Focus, an anti-regime group with ties to the US Alliance for Democratic Iran, and the neo-con Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). The still photo has now been supplemented by color video footage showing the Ahmadinejad look-alike Mohammadi. Some of the ex-U.S. hostages who now claim, over 25 years later, that Ahmadinejad was one of their captors, have strong connections to GOP and conservative politics.

FDD's principal players include Newt Gingrich, James Woolsey (the friend and supporter of Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress), Gary Bauer, Richard Perle, Cliff May, Zell Miller, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Tucker Carlson's father, Richard Carlson.

Bush administration's "Ministry of Truth" attacks American journalists who fail to adhere to the official line
By Wayne Madsen, April 18, 2005

Thanks to a recent report by veteran America watcher and journalist Jyri Raivio in Finland's Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, it can now be reported in the United States that the State Department uses taxpayers' money to attack American journalists who refuse to parrot the Bush administration's disinformation and propaganda.

The head of the State Department's "Counter Mis-Information 'Team'" is Todd Leventhal, a long-time neoconservative propaganda operative who once worked for the U.S. Information Agency's (USIA) Bureau of Information to counter Soviet and other disinformation with his own Brand X of American disinformation. Raivio reports that Leventhal was part of the Bush administration's effort to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Leventhal also contends in the Helsingin Sanomat report that any suggestion that false WMD intelligence was cooked up by the Bush administration is merely a conspiracy theory and that the faulty intelligence on Iraqi WMD was merely a huge "mistake."

It should not have come as any surprise that I was singled out by Leventhal for an attack over a story written for Online Journal about the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the involvement in the assassination's planning of two neoconservative Bush administration officials—namely, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl C. Rove—with whom Leventhal is ideologically aligned. Leventhal's operation is part of the State Department's International Information Programs Bureau, now headed by former Bush White House Communications Director and long time gal pal Karen Hughes.

Although he is basically a one-man show (he does have a full-time assistant and one part-timer), Leventhal does not seem to produce much for his work at the State Department. Leventhal was actually laid off by the State Department in 1996 after his Cold War-era counter-disinformation office was disestablished, but he was rehired in October 2003 after the White House decided to resurrect its propaganda effort under the rubric of "strategic influence operations." Leventhal's attacks are narrowly focused on particular stories, sources, and journalists. His web site has an explanation of how to spot disinformation—Leventhal contends that most conspiracy theories are rarely true and that they are spread by ideological extremists, that is liberals, because right-wingers like Leventhal would never be willing to address right-wing extremism (such as Fox News, the National Review, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page) in the media. Leventhal's dismissing conspiracies as often untrue will, nevertheless, come as a great shock to the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, which has put away many a criminal based on violation of criminal conspiracy laws.

Another one of Leventhal's government-funded attack pieces flays ex-U.S. soldier Nadim Abou Rabeh, an Iraqi war veteran who had taken part in Saddam Hussein's capture. Leventhal pillories Rabeh for suggesting Saddam's capture in a "spider hole" was faked. Leventhal also calls fanciful reports that the United States used mustard gas in the siege of Fallujah, contends that the use of depleted uranium weapons by U.S. forces in Iraq is safe, and derides it as a "conspiracy theory" that the United States helped create Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda via its support of the Afghan mujaheddin through Saudi and Pakistani facilitators.

Having never heard of Mr. Leventhal, I decided to do a bit of checking on him as only a "self described investigative journalist" can do.

First, there is Leventhal's association with apartheid South Africa's infamous "Project Babushka." According to a July 16, 1995 story in Newsday, during the 1980s, South Africa's military established a dummy front called the International Freedom Foundation (IFF). The IFF was an influence-peddling organization used to counter critics of the apartheid regime and buy off right-wing American politicians to campaign against economic and military sanctions against the apartheid regime.

According to former South African top spy Craig Williamson, IFF and Project Babushka enrolled such right-wing Republicans as North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, Henry Kissinger, California Republican Representative Robert Dornan, Indiana Republican Representative Dan Burton, Illinois Republican Representative Phil Crane, and right-wing GOP kook Alan Keyes. Helms even served as chairman of the editorial advisory board for the IFF's publication branch—a group that pumped out all sorts of propaganda claiming that the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela were Communists.

Helping to run the IFF's Washington, DC, office at 200 G Street, SE (and next door to the right-wing Free Congress Foundation) was none other than Jack Abramoff, who is now embroiled in a series of kickback and payola allegations involving House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Abramoff, a former Hollywood movie producer, helped the IFF to produce the movie "Red Scorpion," a film about an anti-Communist African guerrilla leader battling Marxist forces with the assistance of South African military advisers. Of course, the film was a propaganda piece aimed at extolling Angolan anti-Communist UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, who was fighting Angola's Marxist government with the overt assistance of South Africa and the covert (and illegal) assistance of the Reagan-Bush administration. As late as 1990 and after Mandela's release from prison, the IFF was running anti-ANC and Mandela ads in American newspapers.

One of the senior South African intelligence agents who used IFF cover was Wim Booyse. When Booyse visited Washington in1987 to attend IFF seminars, which were no more than covers for South African intelligence operations, he said he received specialized disinformation training from an expert at the U.S. Information Agency. And who was this expert on official government lying and distortion of the truth? Well, according to Booyse, it was none other than Todd Leventhal.

In a 1996 letter to The Washington Post, representing himself as an official of the USIA, Leventhal attacked former USIA official Alvin Snyder, who exposed U.S. government propaganda and lies in his excellent book on Reagan administration information warfare, Warriors of Disinformation. Leventhal dismisses Snyder's claims in a previous Post op-ed piece that the Reagan administration faked results of Star Wars tests, that the Soviets actually did mistake the downed Korean Air Lines 007 for a U.S. espionage aircraft, and that the U.S. engaged in blatant propaganda in Chile to support the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

In 1995, Leventhal attacked documentary producer Allan Francovich for his film, The Maltese Double Cross, which provided evidence that Iran and Syria, rather than Libya, were behind the downing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Francovich, who later died while being questioned by U.S. customs and immigration agents at Houston's international airport, determined that the PanAm bombing was the result of a botched U.S. intelligence operation involving drugs and hostages in Lebanon([search]). Leventhal's smears against Francovich resulted in the latter's May 12, 1995 letter to Britain's Guardian newspaper in which Leventhal's job as Program Officer for Countering Disinformation and Misinformation for the USIA is described as "Orwellian."

In 1994, Leventhal took on the Los Angeles Times over its story about the kidnapping of poor children from poverty-ravished Latin American barrios for the purpose of organ harvesting.

Leventhal's small propaganda operation at the State Department is remarkably similar to an aggressive media operation that scans newspapers, television, and radio for stories critical of Israel. CAMERA, or the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, identifies and targets Israeli, American, and other journalists who question or provide alternatives to Israeli government propaganda.

In what is frightening and amusing at the same time, Leventhal makes an offer to those who have questions about the news stories they are reading: "If you wish, ask us. We can't respond to all requests for information, but if a request is reasonable and we have the time, we will do our best to provide accurate, authoritative information." The State Department's website provides Leventhal's phone number for those who wish to have him interpret the news for them: 202-203-7492. Just another friendly service from your taxpayer-funded Ministry of Truth!

Karl Rove the Leaker of Valerie Plame's CIA Identity!
By Greg Mitchell, July 02, 2005

[originally entitled: "Reports Reveal Karl Rove Named in Matt Cooper Documents"]
Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, now claims that at least two authoritative sources have confirmed that one name is top White House mastermind Karl Rove.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, told Newsweek that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA."

MSNBC's O'Donnell first offered the Rove revelation Friday night on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show. Today, he went beyond that, writing a brief entry at the Huffington Post blog:

"I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's e-mails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.

"Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow."

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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