Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Bush tells Cheney, 'I'm going to need you at my side at all times, consigliere.

Middle America: "It wasn't supposed to be this way. When Bush first chose him, he was considered a reassuring Number Two. 'His unique talent,' writes James Mann in Rise of the Vulcans, 'was to convey a sense of soothing solemnity; Cheney could make whatever he said so obvious, reasonable and self-evident that listeners often didn't stop to question it.' Moderate in manner if not in essence�his House voting record was to the right of Newt Gingrich's�he developed a mystique as the acme of hard-nosed competence, who could transform an underperforming bureaucracy the way 007 could convert a killer lesbian. Even better, he was reckoned a level-headed adviser, schooled in the catechism of omert�. Think Tom Hagen. (In Showtime's preposterous docudrama D.C. 9/11: Time of Crisis, Bush tells Cheney, 'I'm going to need you at my side at all times, consigliere.' The veep beams.)

Poppy was delighted when Dubya chose Cheney as a running mate. This loyal family retainer would help keep his hotheaded son out of trouble as neatly as Cheney had kept himself out of Vietnam (he's the peregrine falcon of chicken hawks). But having lived a charmed life, the elder Bush didn't know the riptides of thwarted ambition that tear at any politician who devotes years to deference. Cheney himself had once dreamed of running for the White House. Something deep in him rebelled at playing second fiddle to a dabbler like George W. Far from serving as a dutiful �minence grise, he became an intimidating veep who surrounded the president with a praetorian guard that kept out dissenting opinions. 'That's the way Dick likes it,' observed former secretary of the treasury Paul O'Neill. "

Bloomberg.com: Top Worldwide

Bloomberg.com: Top Worldwide: "Iran Denies Links to Sept. 11 Attacks, Criticizes Bush Probe
July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Iran's government denied it had any links to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and criticized President George W. Bush for saying his administration is looking into whether Iran played a role.

Any direct or indirect allegations against Iran over the attacks are fictitious and imaginary, the official Islamic Republic News Agency cited Hamid Reza Asefi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, as saying yesterday in Tehran.

Bush said on Monday the U.S. was looking into whether Iran had any direct role in the attacks. Newsweek magazine reported that a U.S. commission found evidence officials in Iran helped some al-Qaeda terrorists enter the U.S. from Afghanistan. They included eight men who took part in the hijacking of airliners that were crashed into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, the magazine said.

``In dealing with al-Qaeda elements, absolutely, we consider our national interest,'' IRNA cited Asefi as saying. ``It is not surprising that a few individuals may have crossed Iranian porous borders illegally. The ridiculous thing is that the U.S. is making such an allegation whereas is had trained the pilots and saboteurs involved in the September attacks.''

The U.S. allegations against Iran over involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks is demagogy, Asefi said, according to IRNA. The U.S. administration has embarked on a propaganda stunt as part of its campaign for November's presidential election, he said.

Newsweek's report said the commission will say there is no evidence the Iranian government had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 plot. The panel's findings will add to the collection of intelligence suggesting Iran had more ties to al-Qaeda than did Iraq, the magazine said.

Connection

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Acting Director John McLaughlin said there wasn't a direct connection between Iran and the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush said in his comments. ``We will continue to look and see if the Iranians were involved,'' the president said.

Bush said if Iran wants improved relations with the U.S. it must take several steps, including putting an end to harboring al- Qaeda leaders, dismantling its nuclear weapons program and halting funds to ``terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah, that create great dangers in parts of the world.''

The U.S. should know that the period of carrot and stick diplomacy has ended and Iran only accepts relations on equity, mutual respect and in line with national interest, IRNA cited Asefi as saying."

NEWS.com.au | US digs for Iran link to al-Qaeda terrorists (July 21, 2004)

NEWS.com.au | US digs for Iran link to al-Qaeda terrorists (July 21, 2004): "US digs for Iran link to al-Qaeda terrorists
By Roy Eccleston in Washington
July 21, 2004

US President George W. Bush has stepped up his criticism of Iran, warning the US is now hunting for any evidence the Islamic state was directly involved with al-Qaeda in the September 11 attacks.

The US President said yesterday the US was 'digging' to find possible connections after intelligence emerged that some of the al-Qaeda hijackers travelled through Iran before the strikes that killed 2749 people.
Mr Bush admitted the US did not yet know if there was a direct connection between Iran - one of his 'axis of evil' nations - and the attacks on Washington, New York and Pennsylvania in 2001. But he suggested the US was suspicious.
'We want to know all the facts,' he said in Washington ahead of Thursday's release of the final report of the September 11 commission, which is expected to find that up to 10 of the 19 hijackers travelled through Iran in late 2000 to early 2001.
While acting CIA director John McLaughlin said a day earlier that there was no evidence of a direct connection between Tehran and September 11, Mr Bush said: 'We will continue to look and see if the Iranians were involved'. "

IRVAJ English - al Qaeda's Route Through Iran Old Story

IRVAJ English -: "Sunday, September 29, 2002

CIA Undercover Unit in E. Iran

September 26, 2002

DEBKA-Net-Weekly




According to our sources, a CIA undercover unit has entered Iran through Zabul, in the Sistan Baluchistan province. Its assignment is to stir up dissent among the largest population in the area, the Baluchi tribes. This province is of small strategic value per se. Nonetheless, the CIA finds it valuable in two ways:


1. The Baluchis, one of Iran’s impoverished and neglected minorities, control the dope and contraband smuggling routes from Iran to the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf destinations. Â Last December, al Qaeda fugitives, including some 4,000 Saudis, began using these obscure routes on their way from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Lebanon and other points in the Middle East. The CIA’s undercover unit has undertaken the tall order of closing this al Qaeda escape route, while gathering intelligence on its nefarious traffic.


2. Â This American unit is also keeping a close watch on the hundreds of al Qaeda fighters who have set up a base in Iranian Baluchistan with a view to penetrating the base and breaking it up.


Tehran becoming aware of the CIA unit’s penetration hurriedly whisked the most senior 30 al Qaeda operatives and mid-level commanders to hiding places in Tehran and the holy city of Qom. Reporting this, our intelligence sources note that least five of the most high-ranking al Qaeda officers given refuge in Iran were in the group moved out to safe places.


In late May, Arab intelligence sources in the Gulf claimed Iran was harboring no more than two senior al Qaeda operatives: Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian on the FBI's most-wanted list, and Mahfouz Ould Wali, from Mauritania. The two, according to our intelligence sources, turn out to be no more than mid-level operatives. What the Arab sources omitted to mention was the three truly high-ranking al-Qaeda officials given a safe berth in Iran. Their identities Tehran is keeping under wraps and are still unknown to US intelligence. This trio, our sources say, are lodged in separate locations in Qom under the watchful eye of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.


The US administration has been running close-up surveillance of the Iran scene in search of incidents and data useful for destabilizing the Islamic Republican government. A group of 50 ex-Iranians living in California were selected by the Interviewing Service of American, Inc. to run day-long telephone campaigns to private citizens and companies in Iran, in order to solicit real-time information on current events in the Islamic republic."

VOANews.com: Iran Dismisses Bush Talk of Tehran-September 11 Link

VOANews.com: "Iran Dismisses Bush Talk of Tehran-September 11 Link
VOA News
20 Jul 2004, 16:54 UTC


Iran is rejecting President Bush's suggestion that it may have played a role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi says any claim that Iran had a direct or indirect link to the attacks is 'fictitious and imaginary.'
Monday, President Bush said the United States is still investigating whether Iran played any role in the attacks, which killed 3,000 people. He noted the CIA's assertion that some of the September 11 hijackers had passed through Iran.
Mr. Asefi says Iran has porous borders and it would not be strange if a few individuals moved through illegally.
Sunday, CIA acting director John McLaughlin said there is no evidence showing Iran supported the attacks. Media reports say the commission investigating the attacks will reach the same conclusion in its final report on Thursday. "

Iraqi interim Defence Minister Wants War with Iran

Lateline - 20/07/2004: Iran interfering in Iraqi affairs: Minister: "Australian Broadcasting Corporation

TV PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT

LOCATION: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2004/s1158240.htm

Broadcast: 20/07/2004

Iran interfering in Iraqi affairs: Minister
Reporter: Norman Hermant

TONY JONES: Iraq has warned its neighbours it's prepared to retaliate against countries it suspects are supporting insurgents.

In an interview with a London-based Arabic newspaper, the country's interim Defence Minister also accused Iran of blatant interference in Iraqi affairs.

The tough talk comes as the insurgents' campaign of assassination continued and the Philippines celebrated the release of a hostage after pulling its forces out of Iraq.

Norman Hermant reports.

NORMAN HERMANT: Morning, and crowds look on to the latest chapter in Iraq's wave of assassinations.

The target: A local politician in Basra, considered a strong candidate to become the region's governor, shot dead by gunmen at a bogus security checkpoint.

COLONEL DAVID CALLUM, BRITISH ARMY: It would appear that this morning, an illegal checkpoint mounted by some terrorists, some assassins, has stationed itself here and assassinated one of the council members.

NORMAN HERMANT: Along with attacks on police and security forces, insurgents have also stepped up their campaign to spread fear amongst those working with Iraq's interim Government.

Last week, the governor of Mosul was also assassinated and a senior Iraqi defence official was gunned down overnight.

For the Philippines, there is much better news.

Hours after the last of their troops left Iraq, insurgents freed the Filipino truck driver they'd been holding for two weeks.

The Philippines endured harsh criticism from the US and other countries for meeting the demands of kidnappers and withdrawing its small humanitarian force from Iraq early.

But President Gloria Arroyo has defended that decision.

She had been under intense political pressure to secure the release in a country that has millions of overseas foreign workers, or OFWs.

GLORIA ARROYO, PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT: With over one million OFWs in the Middle East, in over 8 million Filipinos the world over, my Government has a deep national interest in their wellbeing, wherever they live and work.

I made a decision to bring our troops home a few days early in order to spare the life of Angelo.

I do not regret that decision.

NORMAN HERMANT: There's no resolution yet for a US Marine, who was believed to be a hostage but eventually wound up at the US Embassy in Beirut.

Lebanese-born Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun has denied speculation that he was actually a deserter.

CORPORAL WASSEF ALI HASSOUN: I did not desert my post.

I was captured and held against my will by anti-coalition forces for 19 days.

Once a marine, always a marine.

Semper Fi.

Thank you.

NORMAN HERMANT: The US military won't say whether it believes his story or not, only that he is still under investigation."

Iran, Tajikistan sign MoU on security, illicit drugs

Iran, Tajikistan sign MoU on security, illicit drugs: "Iran, Tajikistan sign MoU on security, illicit drugs

Tehran, July 20, IRNA -- Minister of Interior Abdolvahed Moussavi Lari and his Tajik counterpart Khumdin Sharipov signed a memorandum of understanding here Monday. The MoU stipulates for the two nations to cooperate in control of illicit drug smuggling, border security, organized crime, and human trafficking. It also envisions three committees of ministers, as well as security affairs experts in various fields to coordinate and implement the provisions of the agreement.

Also, the two ministers decided to consult the Afghan interior minister on drafting a trilateral document on combating illicit drugs and goods trafficking among Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The two states cooperation has reached a satisfactory level and the exchange of visits by the two nations officials is a token of such cordial ties, Lari stated.

Drug trafficking was among the main issues that was dealt with the Tajik interior minister and Iran is hopeful that with the signing of the trilateral agreement to combat drug trafficking and border control, such cooperation will be strengthened in the future, the Iranian interior minister added.

The two nation`s economic cooperation is also at a good level Lari
said adding "Iran`s private sector has a good presence in Tajikistan`s
economy." Iran and Tajikistan have broadened cooperation in various areas and signed a memorandum of understanding on mutual economic and trade
ties.
In a meeting in June, Iran`s Minister of Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadari and his Tajik counterpart Hakim Soliyev were signatories to the MoU, under which the two sides will cooperate in the fields of trade, insurance, tourism and industry. Under the deal, Iran and Tajikistan will cooperate in their free trade zones, set up commercial centers, form joint chamber of commerce, and establish hydroelectric power plants. They are also to cooperate in light industries, mineral exploitation as well as in construction of plants for production of aluminum, plastics, construction materials, wires, cables and leather. Iran is also financing full implementation of a project for construction of Anzab tunnel in Tajikistan. They further plan to exchange commercial delegations, launch joint investment, set up fairs and seminars as well as trade centers and
joint firms."

HoustonChronicle.com - Halliburton's business dealings in Iran prompt grand jury inquiry

HoustonChronicle.com - Halliburton's business dealings in Iran prompt grand jury inquiry

"Grand juries investigate Halliburton subsidiaries
Foreign offices' dealings with Iran draw the attention of local authorities
By DAVID IVANOVICH
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON - A Houston grand jury is investigating Halliburton Co.'s business dealings with Iran.

In a filing Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Halliburton revealed that a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Texas has subpoenaed documents related to Iran, a country long suspected of sponsoring terrorism.

Federal law prohibits U.S. companies from trading directly with Iran. But foreign subsidiaries are allowed to do business with rogue states as long the foreign entity is truly independent of the U.S. operation.

"Halliburton intends to work with the government and assist in any way possible so we can get resolution on this matter," company spokeswoman Wendy Hall said. "We look forward to answering any and all questions."
"