Saturday, June 11, 2005


Laura Rozen writes about Curt Weldon's new book on Iranian terrorism, and in particular about Weldon's main source, Fereidoun Mahdavi, who:

". . . said he was stunned and perplexed to learn that Weldon had used his information to write a book, emphasizing that Weldon never even told him about the book.

Mahdavi also said that the bulk of the information that he had provided to Weldon was originally sourced from none other than Ghorbanifar, the subject of a rare CIA 'burn notice' after the agency found him to be a 'fabricator' more than two decades ago during the Iran-Contra affair.

'Many information that I have given to Weldon is coming from Ghorbanifar,' said Mahdavi, who was reached in Paris by telephone on June 6. 'Because Ghorbanifar used me, in fact, to pass that stuff because I know he has problems in Washington.'"

Ghorbanifar is using Fereidoun Mahdavi as a cutout to spread the stories about Iran in Washington, as he knows his own reputation is so bad that no one would believe them if it was known where they really came from. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Ghorbanifar was himself a cutout, being used to disguise the real source of the stories, his good friend Michael Ledeen.

The most recent Ledeen-Ghorbanifar controversy is the series of meetings held between Ledeen and Ledeen's people from Feith's Pentagon office (specifically, the Office of Special Plans created to create the lies required for the attack on Iraq without having to worry about any inconvenient factual objections raised by the CIA), and Ghorbanifar and his associates (of course, the original Ledeen-Ghorbanifar controversy was a little thing we now know as Iran-Contra). These meetings went on despite the efforts of the State Department and the CIA to stop them. The first such meeting was held in Rome in December 2001, and by amazing coincidence the forged Niger yellowcake documents surfaced, in Rome, in October 2002 (the man who claims to be the source of the documents, Rocco Martino, is a man the FBI is remarkably uninterested in talking to). Rozen points out that included with the yellowcake documents was a completely over-the-top memo in which all the countries under sanctions conspired together to have the sanctions lifted (in my opinion, not the kind of document that somebody like Ghorbanifar or Chalabi would produce, but right up Ledeen's alley). Vincent Cannistaro has said that if you said the forger was Michael Ledeen, you'd be 'very close'.

One of the people attending these meetings was neocon Harold Rhode. Another was Larry Franklin, who currently is in a bit of trouble for allegedly providing Israel and its American agents with American classified material. None other than John Bolton - a guy who we know was involved in the improper removal of UN official Jose Bustani, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, in order to stop Bustani from sending chemical weapons inspectors to Iraq and thus undermining Bush Administration lies about Iraq's possession of such weapons - was used to begin to spread the yellowcake lies (the State Department tried to hide Bolton's involvement). I think it is fair to say that our knowledge of the neocon conspiracy against Iraq - and the United States - is starting to come together.

All these characters got away with this stuff in order to provoke the attack on Iraq. It would be nice if they were not allowed to get away with it again and cause an attack on Iran based on the literary efforts of Ghorbanifar and his friend Michael Ledeen.