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August 04, 2005


I love the first encounter with Yankee Fan. It reminds me of the scene from Spies Like Us where Chevy Chase hurriedly tells his interrogators, "Uhhhh... I was sent here to assassinate your Premier!"


Great job. Very good read. Thanks for your hard work.

Look forward to #3.

You are brave to write about this topic EW. I recall the endless car radio during Iran Contra playing names of arms dealers and Don Regan's deprecations of their skills in Congressional hearing, how to sell Tomahawk missiles. Then the conflicts in Afghanistan, Russia, Taliban, and same arms dealers traveling hawking their wares. Your writing makes the middle east sound primitive in a verisimilar manner. Maybe this crazy scene keeps pushing Bolton over the edge of civility; makes Judy M turn to her human instinct for survival; and, perhaps, added determination to SCOTUS nominee Roberts' interest in going to work in those early Iran Contra years supporting White House Counsel.
A traveling troupe of drama artists, now two decades play out, same actors, new roles. Yours is a strong contribution to understanding all the filters between the civic realities in that part of the world and ours, through these many years of interference and arms, arms. Misguided ways for people to relate.

I love these installments. In my mind's eye Madeleine Kahn plays Judy and Peter Sellers is everyone else.



Yeah, both your comment and Kagro's are right on. How did these stories ever get taken seriously?

Simple. They served a larger agenda. Remember the article--Columbia Journalism Review?--the one that talked about how easy it was for Chalabi to play these people. Endless, twisted idealism and naivete. What a bunch. And no one ever learns.

Any of us who have followed the ins and outs of the war have seen some or most of these stories before, but it is so enlightening to have them aggregated and dissected in one place. Again, and again, kudos emptywheel.

Judy could have saved herself from some portion of the derision and outrage now being visited upon her if she merely had couched some of her stories in language like: "I was told by my sources at the Pentagon (or wherever) that this person was a scientist, but this could not be independently confirmed." But, of course, such qualifying doesn't fit the insider image she has always enjoyed cultivating, and it would have weakened the message she and those using her as a conduit wanted to present.

I remember well the head-smacking moment I had when first reading Judy's explanation of how she couldn't actually interview the scientist. A good reporter would have stopped right there, of course. But that wasn't her agenda.

+ + +

One comment about a tiny item: Hindawi sent WMD papers in the 1990s to Libya in hopes of getting a U.S. visa? Something about that doesn't quite compute.


Judy seems to have TRIED to do that with Yankee Fan. She does couch it, at least, in "officials say he said." But then, by going on PBS and telling the world he was the silver bullet, while I guess she kissed that effort at couching away.

Yes. Hindawi said he was sending WMD papers to Libya in the 1990s to get a US visa. But then, if you think it about it, Libya is slightly MORE likely than Iraq to be able to get Hindawi a visa, right? Perhaps Hindawi wasn't smart enough to send his WMD papers to the Saudis, who at that point had fast-track visas for terrorists?

I told you he wasn't credible, didn't I? It's all I can do to avoid turning this into one big comedy series, honestly. Just wait until Installment 4.

Somehow Hogan's Heroes comes to mind when reading this installment. Following that thread, Chalabi is probably Hogan. But who are the Germans? The American people? The media? Or is it the Bush administration? Cheney certainly seems like General Burkhalter. Which would make Bush Colonel Klink. I guess that probably leaves the American people as Schultz. And Judy as General Burkhalter's daughter.


I have become an admirer of your analytical work, discovering it after War & Piece pointed to your exhaustive examination of the journalistic record of the Niger forgeries in view of new developments. It's a special skill.

In that context, I wonder what you might think about this document, which you may already have seen:


It's the indictment of Franklin et al. yesterday in the AIPAC case. It contains clues about who it was in the news media whom AIPAC used to launder classified information after AIPAC acquired it from Lawrence Franklin of DOD.

The FBI does not give the name of reportes or news outlets, but it does provide dates and specific themes of stories.

I wonder what someone of your skills might discover from a cross-check of the journalistic record with the new indictments. Could it lead us to a deeper understanding of who in the news media are cooperating with the laundering of classified information for the purpose of widening the war?

Just a thought.


EW, Now about half a day later and the Novak fiasco is boiling over. I wonder if your very clear Judy map somehow took away his wiggle room in the secret agent uranium scandal also simmering. Or was it simply the rare 2003 edition of Who's Who on the sound set desk that rattled Mr. Cool. For some time, I have recognized you and several of the research group here at The Next Hurrah as important researchers in current events. I keep going back to some of the strategies you and your associates have mentioned in allnight memos at dKos as if Rove was trying to use Roberts as a press decoy; but now somehow your publication of this Judy research might have ignited a fuse in the Rovian bunker; he may not be the sort to dive for cover. Novak can afford to retire; excellent plan.
Now you say there is a Judy part 3. That sounds appropriate. Meanwhile if I can avoid the 'tinfoil' and stick to the facts ma'am, just the facts...


I do plan to take a close look at the Franklin indictment, once I finish with this series (and catch up on some real-life billable work). Check back in about 3 days?

Interesting about these Iraqi guys with stuff buried in their backyards... Have you read this Mother Jones article about Dr. Mahdi Obeidi by Kurt Pitzer http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2005/09/armageddon.html (subscribers only).

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