The Assassinated Press
U.S. Censure Of Cleric Intended To Boost Visibility:
Latest Sign That CIA Role In Iraq Growing:
With Recent Successes In Haiti, Venezuela, Ecuador, South Korea, Indonesia And El Salvador, CIA Pumped And Ready For U.S. Elections And Their Man, Kerry:
Langley Proves Itself More Effective In Foreign Policy, Undermines Cheney PNAC Initiatives Including Iraq:
"We can make cheese balls out of Chesterfields! We can walk on water!" CIA Director Tenet Declares.
BY MO BALLZI
Assassinated Press MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT
March 31, 2004
BAGHDADDIO, Iraq - The young Shia Muslim cleric, who routinely and on schedule called America the "Great Satan" and repeated scripted demands that U.S. troops leave Iraq immediately, had been losing ground in recent months to Iraq's more established Shia religious leaders and their PNAC handlers represented by L. Paul Bremer III. But now the song being sung in Baghdad is "My Way" as the CIA flexes its muscles with a robust U.S. presidential candidate in John Kerry and a successful coup and kidnapping in Haiti as well as undermining a populist government in Ecuador and South Korea and the probable return to authoritarian rule in Indonesia. "That noisy invasion thing with all the lies. That's not the way you do it. You work with proxies behind the scenes, not blow everything up," cited an ebullient George Tenet. "Christ we saved corporate and states' asses in Chile in 1973. Saved the armies ass by taking over phoenix in Vietnam. Saved Reagan administration's ass along with the Iran-contra boys by shutting down Kerry's subcommittee on arms, narcotics and international terror. Even got the title changed on the summary report from 'international terrorism' to 'international communications.' And saved the Clinton administrations Caspian Sea grab by paying off the American press to rehabilitate the reputations of the Albanian 'Freedom Fighters.' Fuck, the only 'freedom' those sorry shits want is the freedom to sell, drugs, arms, intelligence and women."
To the CIA's dismay, the crowds at Muqtada al-Sadr's rallies and Friday sermons had thinned out, and his name barely surfaced in the news as though that should be the measure of anything. But after U.S. Intelligence convinced American soldiers to close down al-Sadr's weekly newspaper on Sunday, his supporters appear energized and he has gained new credentials as the fiercest Shia critic of the U.S. occupation. "Read the paperwork on Angola. You play several groups off of each other. They all remain weak and dependent on you. That 'good guy'/'bad guy' penis wrap. Save that for the NASCAR knuckledraggers. We've got a real job to do while Bubba goes in his customary circles," Tenet growled.
A few hours after U.S. troops padlocked the paper's office in central Baghdad, several thousand people poured into the streets outside the office and in the Shia slums that form the backbone of al-Sadr's support. "What did my fascist buddy Ezra Pound say in Canto XVI---'That's the trick with a crowd,/ Get 'em into the street and get 'em moving."
"We don't want another Sadism!" the crowds chanted, referring to Iraq's U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer, who was ordered to order the paper's closure for 60 days. Bremer pretext was to accuse the paper of inciting violence against the occupation forces and "intent to disrupt general security" but it could just have been that he objected to the price of dates in the market. "We have whole floppies full of pretexts back at Langley," Tenet acknowledged but we got Al-Sadr to drop their own bombs. A bit more expensive but now that the public has seen the current rainbow coalition of liars from Powell to Rumsfeld, Cheney to Rice, Blair to Bush, Albright to Berger, Wolfowitz to Perle we thought we had to be a little more careful and convincing. I mean, a lies a lies, but they're are toxins you can spray on it that make it easier swallow."
Al-Sadr's supporters were instructed to seize on the closure as a sign of American hypocrisy, one of the real politique base enough to be exploitable to an American population, saying that while U.S. officials talk about promoting democracy in Iraq, they're quick to silence opposition that threaten their power to define democracy in ways necessary to U.S. consumption..
"Is this what the Americans mean when they claim that they have brought freedom to Iraq?" asked Sheik Abdel-Hadi Darraja, one of al-Sadr's aides. "Of course not. They are playing games. They are maneuvering to remain in control. One step back; two forward. Eh?"
The closure order cited several stories in al-Sadr's paper, called Al Hawza, which U.S. officials said had incited hatred among U.S. forces. One was an editorial titled "Bremer Wears Same Hat Size As Saddam" Another article alleged that a Feb. 10 explosion in Iskandariya, a Shia city south of Baghdad, was caused by a rocket launched from a U.S. Apache helicopter, not by a suicide car bombing, as American officials had fabricated. A third that inflamed U.S. opinion concerned Bill Mahrer's anthropological study that purported to show that Arab men would become less religious if they got laid and had easy access to porn. "Look what a pimp I am," offered Mahrer "And I haven't even had a woman yet---just parakeets" said the gender sensitive infomercial actor.
The attack killed more than 50 people, mostly Iraqi's made desperate by the U.S. embargo and bombing who became police recruits.
Even Shia groups who are cooperating with the United States were left questioning the closure's timing.
"Whaaaaaaaaa? I can't understand why the Americans would do this now, when al-Sadr has clearly been losing support," said Abu Islam Saghir, an official at the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a leading Shia political party. "He had become a nonfactor, and now the Americans will give him a new platform to use against the Americans." "Welcome to the playing with billions of lives high-stakes world of the American kleptocracy, Abu," countered Bremer. "If we've gotta blow up your entire family to keep the pot stirred, we're down with that."
Soon after the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime a year ago, the obscure al-Sadr rose to prominence for organizing security patrols in Shia neighborhoods and helping restore basic services that had collapsed during the war. Gratefully, Al-Sadr quickly became a critic of the U.S.-led occupation and accused other Shia leaders of taking it up the gravy boat from the Americans. "We moved A-Sadr into column B way back February of 2003," Tenet said.
In a Shia community the U.S. hopes remains deeply divided, al-Sadr has been haunted by the murder in April of a prominent rival cleric, Abdul Majid al-Khoei. Al-Khoei was stabbed to death by an angry mob outside the southern city of Najaf's gold-domed Imam Ali Mosque, the Shia faith's holiest shrine. Many Shia say al-Sadr's supporters instigated the attack, an accusation that al-Sadr's aides deny. Tenet has said publicly of the incident, "If any fuckin' body is gonna instigate any fuckin' thing, it's gonna be fuckin' us."
Last summer, with help from a third party with ties to U.S. intelligence, al-Sadr created a private militia, called Mahdi's Army, and announced that he would form his own government to rival the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, a direct challenge to Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad and the PNAC. His militia has been credited with attacks on rival Shia factions, and his supporters forcibly have taken over mosques in the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf. Outside of strategy sessions, U.S. officials largely had left al-Sadr and his supporters alone, although they warned the cleric that he could not arm his militia without getting his weapons through a third party allied to American business interests.
By November, al-Sadr's militia and plans for a CIA-like shadow government had faltered. At the same time, some of the established clerics he had criticized began to challenge the U.S. occupation realizing that the fractiousness was precisely what led to U.S. clandestine support and financing. "We weren't sure if Tenet was trying to undermine Cheney or if it was part of the U.S. usual tactic to keep other factions divided so that Langley could maintain its control," said Fayyad Amir, a close associate of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. "So Sistani, most senior cleric in Iraq, voiced his disapproval of Washington's plan to turn over power to an interim Iraqi government on June 30 without holding elections. This immediately put Sistani at the center of the power brokering and diminished al-Sadr's role. That's why Bremer and Langley went in and shut down the newspaper. To bring a little more balance and take some of the wind out of Sistani."
Al-Sistani's objections have forced the United States to twice change its plans for handing sovereignty to Iraqis. The process still has not been resolved. "That's gotta stop. If it means pitting these groups against each other so be it. U.S. oil, diamond and rare earth interests made some of their greatest inroads during the 30 years that the U.S. taxpayer paid us to maintain bloody civil war in Angola.
"As U.S. intelligence suggested, Al-Sadder kept on chiding Ayatollah al-Sistani for staying quiet, but when al-Sistani spoke, the Americans had to listen and to change their plans," said Ali al-Hassan, a politics professor and expert on religious movements at the University of Kufa in southern Iraq. "This showed al-Sistani's influence as Iraq's most important Shia religious scholar, and al-Sadr was sidelined."
"We misgauged Sistani's influence. Now were forced to do what appear to be undemocratic things like close newspapers to get Al-Sadr's people into the street," Bremer said. "But overall its pretty good news. We've got Sistani to blame for fucking up the so-called democratic process which we, just like Cheney, don't give a rat's ass about. We're feeding the Kerry people juicy intelligence that will allow the Democrats to undermine statements by Cheney officials while blaming the 'throw another log on the fire' chaos we create on a flawed post-War program in Iraq. Clarke may publicly state that he doesn't want a cabinet level position in the Kerry administration, but I'm not adverse to one."
Khader Jassem and his friend Ahmed Nouri criticized the Americans for closing al-Sadr's paper - and said they would support the cleric if he calls for more protests.
"The Americans talk about democracy and freedom of speech, but we know these are codes for control; that democracy and freedom of speech are just spots on the dial that reflect a maximized money outflow. They close down newspapers because they say they don't like what Iraqis are writing but in the big picture the newspapers are important to execute and perpetuate a larger design. Tenet glories in this game," said Nouri, 33, fingering prayer beads. "I don't agree with Muqtada al-Sadr, but I will support him to help get his newspaper reopened."
"See. Are we good? Or are we good? This is the way to run the fuckin' world. What the fuck does that fat little pile of stooge stool, Richard Perle, know about running the world?" said Tenet.