Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nukes to Iran

CBS confirms that Valerie Plame Wilson, during her CIA days, was trying to stem the illicit flow of nuclear technology to Iran (and, as we shall see, other states). This confirms Raw Story's scoop from last year. From Larisa Alexandrovna's blog:
CBS states further that Plame "was involved in one highly classified mission to deliver fake nuclear weapons blueprints to Tehran. It was called Operation Merlin, and it was first revealed in a book by investigative reporter James Risen."

Risen's book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, was published in October 2006, eight months after Alexandrovna's initial reporting. Risen discussed Project Merlin in the book but did not mention that Plame had been part of it.

Reached on Saturday morning, Alexandrovna said she had known of Project Merlin when she wrote her 2006 article but was not allowed to discuss the operation, as per her agreement with sources, just the country involved. "I cannot confirm or deny that Plame was connected with Project Merlin, only that I was aware of it," Alexandrovna told Raw.
So why did the Office of the Vice President target Valerie? The standard theory holds that they were angry at her husband Joe Wilson for his exposure of the Niger fraud. An alternative theory holds that they wanted to shut down Brewster-Jennings, the CIA front company used by Valerie Plame as she and her team attempted to track what has been called the "nuclear Wal-Mart."

Consider these four facts from an earlier post:
1. Plame worked for a CIA unit tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction and the A.Q. Khan network, which sold nuclear secrets and materials to "rogue" nations.

2. Cheney knew all about Khan in 1989 and did nothing to stop him.

3. Cheney's company, Haliburton, received a hefty fine in 1995 for selling dual-use nuclear equipment to Libya, then considered the most roguish of rogue nations. This scam would have brought Haliburton into close contact with the Khan network.

4. A Khan associate named B.S.A. Tahir, based in Dubai, was helping to supply centrifuge equipment to Libya. (Dubai front companies are used to ship American goods to "forbidden" countries.) Tahir works for a business concern called the Scomi Group. Scomi links up with Haliburton via a German concern called Cognis. The exact nature of these linkages are complex. (If you really must know all the details, go here and re-read the middle section until your eyes explode.)
Last year, the blog Anything They Say published a terrific piece which deserves a revisit:
But the speculation goes further than just Plame's Iranian work, with connections spanning large swaths of the Middle East. Chris Deliso relates that the Turkish paper, Hurriyet, reported that Plame had been in Turkey on several occasions, where she conducted meetings with various dignitaries and with scientists in Turkey. Disenfranchised FBI translator and 9/11 whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds, confirmed that Plame, working under her CIA front company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was very active in Turkey up through the time of her outing, tracking a multinational network of nuclear technology trafficking that involved not only Turkey but Pakistan, Dubai, Spain, South Africa and others.
In the year 2001, 104 attempts to smuggle nuclear materials into Turkey were recorded by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority. It was this network, centered in Turkey, that Plame was investigating.
The notion that Iran would be a target of White House aggression has always been "on the table" ever since Bush declared Iran to be part of the "axis of evil" in 2002. The problem here was that not only was the CIA tracking nuclear materials through Turkey under Plame's CIA front, the FBI was investigating this as well, as one of the players, Gizi Technologies, was based in Secaucus, N.J.. But this investigation would cause havoc because it was suspected that the US ambassador to Turkey, Marc Grossman, was deeply involved in this nuclear arms network, possibly with a direction of covertly or passively arming Turkey with nuclear weapons while providing diplomatic cover as an incentive to join with the US in support of the nascent efforts against Iran.
(Side note: Anything They Say recently ceased operations. I wish I had done more to help promote that site.)

I realize that we've just painted a very complex picture. Let's reduce it to a few strokes of the brush: Turkey was a key hub of underground nuclear smuggling. That's why Valerie was there. A.Q. Khan, Pakistan's nuke expert, was a leading figure within this trade. Cheney knew all about Khan -- in fact, he may well have been financially involved with the nuclear Wal-mart.

None of this proves that the OVP wanted Iran to start building nukes in order to provide a casus belli for war. But the possibility exists.

It is also possible that Brewster-Jennings had inconvenienced another sanctioned operation to smuggle nuke stuff. Perhaps to Libya, where Haliburton is major player. Perhaps to Turkey. Perhaps even to Iraq -- where weapons of mass destruction were not found, despite the administration's confident predictions, and despite the cynics' suspicion that they would be planted.

Another fun fact: Valerie Plame was outed just a few days before British WMD expert David Kelly was found dead. A Member of Parliament named Norman Baker says that he has developed sources who confirm that the death was an assassination.


Anonymous said...

tracking a multinational network of nuclear technology trafficking that involved not only Turkey but Pakistan, Dubai, Spain, South Africa and others.

Would the part of Spain involved be Marbella, known residence of Kassar, and frequent haunt of Russian organized crime?

Have you followed the case of Bob Levinson,former FBI agent turned private investigator, who has been detained in Iran for several months? Supposedly he went over there on private business, but his expertise while at the FBI was on Russian organized crime.

Something about the Levinson story doesn't fit. His wife says he has still has small children at home. What would possess someone to go to Iran by himself, given the current international circumstances?

Anonymous said...

Cannon I wrote long ago about CIA officers " getting scattered" as a result of this outing. I want to add another country missing from your piece here, North Korea..... From what little I understand, every network globe wide was " disturbed". To classify it as minimal is a tremendous understatement. High crimes is much more appropriate, I promise.
Many human beings were scattered on the drop of " this name"..... Entire networks disrupted and ended. It's not to be minimized along with Valerie Plame Wilson's life, and also that of her family.
It is truly disgusting to the Americans that understand and know about it. Absolutely traitorous.

Anonymous said...

Read this article.

Its about another CIA guy who was punished by Cheney's crew and made a scapegoat because he was on to the silent accomodation of the Khan network. Its wow stuff, and he's getting his day in court after years in the wilderness.,,2188777,00.html

Anonymous said...,,2188777,00.html

Anonymous said...,,2188777,00.html

that address ends 00.html, which got cut off for some reason.