Chalabi, Niger, Italy 

Chalabi, Niger, Italy

Kevin Drum is careful to describe this story as unproven, but it's too delicious not to run with. Is it possible that every single piece of the most outrageous crap about Iraq uttered by Bushies came from Chalabi and/or Iran?

[blockquote]The story of Italian military intervention in Iraq begins [in late 2001] when the resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Ledeen, sponsored by Defense Minister Antonio Martin, debarks in Rome with Pentagon men in tow to meet a handful of “Iranian exiles.” The meeting is organized by SISMI in an agency “safe house” near Piazza di Spagna (however other sources told us it was a reserved room in the Parco dei Principi Hotel).[/blockquote]

Twenty men are gathered around a large table, covered by maps of Iraq, Iran and Syria. Those who count are Lawrence Franklin and Harold Rhode of the Office of Special Plans, Michael Ledeen of the AIE, a SISMI station chief accompanied by his assistant (the first is a balding man between 46 and 48 years of age; the second is younger, around 38, with braces on his teeth), and some mysterious Iranians.

[blockquote]Pollari confirms the meeting to La Repubblica: "When [Antonio Martin] asked me to organize the meeting, I became curious. But it was my job and I wasn’t born yesterday. It’s true — my men were also present at the meeting. I wanted to know what was boiling in the pot. It's also true that there were maps of Iraq and Iran on the table. I can tell you those Iranians were not exactly 'exiles'. The went and came from Tehran with their passports with no difficulty whatsoever as if they were transparent to the Pasdaran [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard]."[/blockquote]

[blockquote]...The bogus Italian dossier on the Niger uranium turns up [at the meeting] also — and we don’t know exactly why — because Chalabi is in possession of it.[/blockquote]

Via Atrios.

See CJR, 2005.

An oldie on Chalabi.

How much has Chalabi cost? (Ledeen connection).

A CBS story about Chalabi dealing in secret codes for Iran is still online, here.

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