18 June 2004
Is it conceivable that a core group of people within the US Establishment led by the CIA could, over a period of years, engineer what amounts to a coup d’etat to remove the Bush Gang from the White House? The motivation being that the Bush administration’s policies were threatening the very basis of US capitalism and hence had to go. Such is the proposal advanced by Michael Ruppert and Wayne Madsen in their article “Coup D’etat”. To this end, the CIA fabricated fake documents on Iraq’s WMD and deliberately fed them to the Bush Gang knowing that they would eventually be exposed and open up Bush to impeachment and/or criminal proceedings.
Ruppert claims that:
“[The] Tenet-Pavitt resignations…were directly connected to the criminal investigation of a 2003 White House leak that openly exposed Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA officer.
“The leak was a vindictive retaliation for statements, reports and actions taken by Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, which had deeply embarrassed the Bush administration and exposed it to possible charges for impeachable offenses, including lying to the American people about an alleged (and totally unfounded) nuclear threat posed by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.”
Tenet and Pavitt did this, knowing full well that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were aware of who leaked the information about Plame’s CIA role:
“The June 3rd issue of Capitol Hill Blue, the newspaper published for members of Congress, bore the headline “Bush Knew About Leak of CIA Operative’s Name”. That article virtually guaranteed that the Plame investigation had enough to pursue Bush criminally. The story’s lead sentence described a criminal, prosecutable offense: “Witnesses told a federal grand Jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative’s name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq.”
According to Ruppert it explains why both Tenet and Pavitt resigned, as it enabled them to testify against Bush, Cheney et al in any possible criminal proceedings, proceedings that Ruppert claims could well come before the November elections.
“Why did DCI George Tenet suddenly resign on June 3rd, only to be followed a day later by James Pavitt, the CIA’s Deputy Director of Operations (DDO)?
“The real reasons, contrary to the saturation spin being put out by major news outlets, have nothing to do with Tenet’s role as taking the fall for alleged 9/11 and Iraqi intelligence “failures” before the upcoming presidential election.
“Both resignations, perhaps soon to be followed by resignations from Colin Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage, are about the imminent and extremely messy demise of George W. Bush and his Neocon administration in a coup d’etat being executed by the Central Intelligence Agency. The coup, in the planning for at least two years, has apparently become an urgent priority as a number of deepening crises threaten a global meltdown.”
The Niger fakes are also central to the CIA ‘coup’ hypothesis as Ruppert claims they were planted by the CIA as far back as December 2001, three months after 9/11, a remarkably prescient thing to do as it presumes that the invasion plans – that according to reliable reports predate 9/11 – would come unstuck.
But what of the UK government’s role in backing the Bush Gang over the Niger docs with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s assertion that they had “another source” that substantiated the Iraq/Niger connection. On 14 July 2003, Straw, in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s AM News claimed that these ‘other documents’ had been sent to UNMOVIC but that he had no idea why they had not received them. Straw claimed moreover, that he couldn’t share them with the US as they came from a “foreign source”. He further claimed that he’d shared the ‘real proof’ with the Commons Liaison Committee on Foreign Affairs, yet the committee is on record as saying that:
“it hadn’t seen anything new”.
See ‘A Conspiracy of Silence’ 14/07/03
Were the British government also ‘in’ on the CIA ‘plot’ to get rid of Bush?
The CIA according to Ruppert are working with Big Oil and Wall Street to get rid of the Bush Gang and this is where the Plame ‘outing’ comes in, as Plame’s proprietary, Brewster, Jennings and Associates, is an ARAMCO-linked company, that had for years been used to spy on Saudi Arabia.
And here we see another element of the Ruppert hypothesis come into play, namely that Saudi Arabia’s oil production has peaked but the Saudi’s were hiding the fact. But it’s unclear how this fits into the hypothesis, except to further reinforce the rationale for an invasion of Iraq (and ultimately perhaps Saudi Arabia), for Saudi Arabia and Iraq control perhaps 40% of the world’s known reserves of oil.
The one element that is missing from Ruppert’s article is the role of Israel in determining the Bush Gang’s plans. Ruppert cites Chalabi’s ‘Iranian’ connection as further proof of the CIA’s opposition to Bush, claiming that:
“Madsen reported that the Plame probe comes amid another high-level probe of Pentagon officials for leaking classified National Security Agency cryptologic information to Iran via Iraqi National Congress head Ahmed Chalabi. FBI agents have polygraphed and interviewed a number of civilian political appointees in the Pentagon in relation to the intelligence leak, said to have severely disrupted the National Security Agency’s ability to listen in on encrypted Iranian diplomatic and intelligence communications.
“Chalabi’s leak has once again forced Iran to change equipment, resulting in impaired U.S. intelligence gathering of Iran’s sensitive communications. The probe into the Chalabi leak is centering on Pentagon officials who have been close to Chalabi, including Office of Net Assessment official Harold Rhode, Director of Policy and Plans officials Douglas Feith and William Luti, Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. In addition, some former Pentagon advisers are also targeted in the probe.
“Many press reports throughout 2003 indicated that Chalabi, distrusted and virtually discarded by the CIA, had been resurrected and inserted into the Iraqi political mix on the orders of Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the Other Neocons listed above.”
There are number of problems with this, not the least of which is Chalabi’s close connections to Big Oil:
“In mid-October, Chalabi had a series of meetings with three major U.S. oil firms in Washington. “The oil people are naturally nervous,” says INC spokesman Zaab Sethna, who took part in the meetings between Chalabi and the oil executives. “We’ve had discussions with them, but they’re not in the habit of going around talking about them.” That’s true. In interviews, oil company officials speak cautiously and only on background about Iraq, laughing nervously at the idea of being quoted. They are extremely wary of associating themselves with the INC or with U.S. war plans for fear of angering Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries in the Persian Gulf. Asked about talks with the INC, one U.S. oil executive blanched, saying, “I can’t discuss that, even on background.””
See “Tinker, Banker, NeoCon, Spy” by By Robert Dreyfuss 18/11/02
Chalabi’s INC had actually promised that it could “deliver” Iraq’s oil to the US. Now whether Chalabi could actually do this is neither here not there but the very fact that the INC had such close connections to oil calls into question Ruppert’s thesis. Moreover, there is the issue of Chalabi’s close connections to Israel also closely connected to oil:
“The Washington partisans who want to install Chalabi in Arab Iraq are also those associated with the staunchest backers of Israel, particularly those aligned with the hard-right faction of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Chalabi’s cheerleaders include the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). “Chalabi is the one that we know the best,” says Shoshana Bryen, director of special projects for JINSA, where Chalabi has been a frequent guest at board meetings, symposia and other events since 1997. “He could be Iraq’s national leader,” says Patrick Clawson, deputy director of WINEP, whose board of advisers includes pro-Israeli luminaries such as Perle, Wolfowitz and Martin Peretz of The New Republic.
“In Washington, Team Chalabi is led by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, the neoconservative strategist who heads the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. Chalabi’s partisans run the gamut from far right to extremely far right, with key supporters in most of the Pentagon’s Middle-East policy offices — such as Peter Rodman, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Michael Rubin. Also included are key staffers in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, not to mention Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey.”
“Tinker, Banker, NeoCon, Spy”
Far more likely is the idea that Chalabi has been dumped simply because he failed to deliver Iraq to Big Oil and importantly to Israel, for central to Chalabi’s role had been his promise to resurrect the Iraq to Israel oil pipeline.
I believe the so-called Iranian connection is a red herring designed to discredit Chalabi. Moreover, it is Chalabi’s INC that is the likely source of the fake Niger docs, most probably originating from Israeli intelligence, not the CIA as Ruppert asserts. That the Bush Gang badly miscalculated in backing Chalabi as its ‘man in Baghdad’ is only something that can be seen with the benefit of hindsight. Ruppert’s claim that the CIA had long mistrusted Chalabi is simply not borne out by the facts. Again, I contend the issue is far simpler and down to the fact that backing Chalabi was a bad move and it was simply time to dispose him as he had become an embarrassment.
Assume that the Bush Gang invaded Iraq at the insistence of Israel (a more likely scenario given the close relationship between Bush and the Israeli neo-fascist clique) in a ‘tail wagging the dog’ interpretation of events. The problem with this approach is Ruppert’s assertion that Big Oil and Wall Street are behind the move to unseat the Bush Gang. Is it credible that the most powerful corporations on earth would permit such a policy unless they too, supported it? For to do otherwise assumes two competing centres of power within US capitalism: one composed of a White House/Tel Aviv/Big Oil Axis and the other a CIA/State Department/Wall Street-Big Oil posse. And where does Big Oil fit into this scenario with a foot in both camps?
More feasible is that firstly, US capital under-estimated global opposition to the invasion and second, opposition from rival capitalist powers centred in the EU. This is not to say that with US plans having gone so badly wrong that there aren’t moves to get rid of Bush, but again opposition has only emerged with the benefit of hindsight. The US also assumed (wrongly) that Iraq, once defeated and occupied would be a pushover, hence divisions only emerged after the ‘plan’ failed.
If, as Ruppert asserts, the central issue is that of oil production peaking, then the issue of controlling both Saudi and Iraqi oil is critical to the US economy. The problem however is what is the best way to achieve this objective? Again, it is inconceivable to imagine that Big Capital simply stood by and watched the ultra-right wing of the Republican Party take over foreign policy without their backing. Bush Gang policy didn’t just emerge overnight but one that has its roots in the Nixon/Kissinger government of the early 1970s and that came to fruition with the Reagan/Bush government of the 1980s.
The crisis of the over-accumulation of capital is key to understanding the current dilemma confronting the US, making it desperate enough to launch the Iraq ‘adventure’. That it has failed means that Bush probably has to go and the November presidential elections will take care of that (with a possible threat of impeachment as a back-up, just in case?). However, it will not solve the contradictions of capital, merely alter the tactical approach.
Electing Kerry will enable US capital to seek some kind of rapprochement with the EU in an attempt to bring them back onboard, but again this assumes that Kerry will rein in the Israeli lobby on Pennsylvania Avenue, and the evidence so far is that Kerry is as gung ho on Israel as Bush is.
Key to understanding the situation is that the capitalisms of Europe and that of the US have taken two different routes to try and solve the problem of the over-accumulation of capital. Moreover, the contradictions of US capital are compounded by its total reliance on the petro-dollar (backed up with overwhelming military force) to finance its massive deficit.
In a world with a globalised and inter-linked economy, a policy that has its roots in one that reached its ascendency in the late 19th century, is bound to fail. The problem is, will its failure destroy the world as we know it or will US capital recognise that the world it has created requires that it adopts a realistic position vis á vis its relationship to the rest of the world?
By contrast, the EU, Russia and China are under increasing pressure to switch their oil payments from the dollar to the Euro as the value of the dollar collapses. The problem however is that the rival capitalist powers cannot allow the US economy to collapse as such an event threatens the entire world.
How to solve the dilemma? There is no immediate solution to this without a complete transformation of US capitalism, one that not only renounces the use of force but also one that transforms an economy with its insatiable consumption of oil.
The problem then depends on how the major capitalist powers intend to deal with US capitalism. With Kerry in power will they push for a modified Bush doctrine eg, rein in Sharon’s Israel and reach a compromise over Iraq? Is such a transformation possible without dumping Israel? This is not such a far-fetched possibility and is borne out by US actions with regard to its past ‘allies’ eg Iraq, South Vietnam and Panama.
The issue of CIA ‘plots’ is merely a side issue that has little to do with the central problem of a destabilised world and the crisis of overdue capitalism. And for us here in the UK, the issue is comparable in that we need to get rid of Blair. The question is, not so much who is to replace him but how to sever the links to US capital and to establish our place in Europe. And whilst I recognise that the problems that confront the planet will not be solved by European capitalism, I contend that we have a better chance of controlling the direction and policies of a ‘post-modern‘ European capitalism than that of a reconstituted 19th century imperialism of the kind Bush/Blair are pushing. A position that is borne out by the defeat of another wanna-be imperialist power in Spain and hopefully also in Italy and eventually elsewhere throughout the EU.
For the Left then, the agenda is clear: a Europe-wide movement to alter the direction of capitalism, one that first and foremost advocates a sustainable economy and one that also advocates a new deal for the poor countries of the world for the two are inextricably linked. A policy that the great majority of the populations of Europe will support, as their wholesale opposition to the invasion shows. Investing in a sustainable economy in Europe and also in the developing world, would solve the immediate problem of the crisis of over-accumulation and put us on the correct path toward a socialist future.