Democrats Okay Funds for Covert Ops
"Finding" Widens War on
By ANDREW COCKBURN
Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, "unprecedented in its scope."
Bush's secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials. This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department's list of terrorist groups.
Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or "army of god," the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan – just across the Afghan border -- whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law's throat.
Other elements that will
All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees.
That has not proved a
problem. An initial outlay of $300
million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with
bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current
war and the perilous condition of the
Until recently, the
administration faced a serious obstacle to action against
was close to war. He desisted only when Fallon personally and
explicitly ordered him not to shoot. The White House, according to the staff officers, was "absolutely furious" with Fallon for defusing the incident.
Fallon has since
departed. His abrupt resignation in
early March followed the publication of his unvarnished views on our policy of
is not due to take formal command at Centcom until
late summer, there
are abundant signs that something may happen before then. A Marine amphibious force, originally due to
leave San Diego for the Persian Gulf in mid June, has had its sailing date
abruptly moved up to May 4. A scheduled
meeting in Europe between French diplomats acting as intermediaries for the
Petraeus is said to be at work on a
master briefing for congress to demonstrate conclusively that the Iranians are
the source of our current troubles in
Interestingly, despite the
bellicose complaints, Petraeus has made little effort
to seal the Iran-Iraq border, and in any case two thirds of
Even without the covert initiatives described above, the huge and growing armada currently on station in the Gulf is an impressive symbol of American power.
Armed Might of US Marred By Begging Bowl to Arabs
Sometime in the next two weeks, fleet radar operator may notice a blip on their screens that represents something rather more profound:
Rubin's responsibility these days is to help keep Citigroup afloat despite a balance sheet still waterlogged, despite frantic bail out efforts by the Federal Reserve and others, by staggering losses in mortgage bonds. The Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund injected $7.5 billion last November (albeit at a sub-prime interest rate of eleven
percent,) but the bank's urgent
need for fresh capital persists, and
Even if those radar
operators pay no attention to Mr. Rubin's flight, and the ironic contrast it
illustrates between American military power and financial weakness, others
will, and not just in
Andrew Cockburn is a regular
CounterPunch contributor. He lives in