Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Friday, January 28, 2005

Jerusalem Post | Feith resigns for 'personal reasons' (Is David Szady a personal reason)

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World:

In light of the AIPAC Spy Scandal, Franklin's Cooperation, and David Szady I have to wonder about what the personal reasons were. JBOC

"Feith resigns for 'personal reasons'

Douglas Feith, a senior Pentagon official who was instrumental in crafting the rationales for an invasion of Iraq and has been one of Israel's most ardent supporters in the administration, has submitted his resignation.

Feith, who serves as undersecretary of defense for policy, announced Wednesday he would leave his position this summer.

He told Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld he was leaving for "personal and family reasons." Sources close to Feith said he was in fact leaving for personal reasons and was not asked to leave by the administration.

"Doug Feith has contributed to the security of the country. He is creative, well organized and energetic, and he has earned the respect of civilian and military leaders across the government. Regrettably, he has decided to depart and he will be missed," Rumsfeld said in a statement.

Not everyone, however, will lament Feith's departure. He made enemies throughout the military and the administration with his hawkish views and also for his efforts pre-war to illustrate a link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida. The special unit Feith helped set up within the Pentagon to search for the link was heavily criticized by American intelligence personnel.

In his memoir, former commander-in-chief of the US central command, Tommy Franks, described Feith as a "theorist whose ideas were often impractical; among some uniformed officers in the building he had a reputation for confusing abstract memoranda with results in the field.

"My dealings with him had left me ambivalent: I liked him personally, but I wasn't convinced that Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was always well-served by his advice," Franks added.

"Feith was a master of the off-the-wall question that rarely had relevance to operational problems. It was obvious that Don Rumsfeld trusted him, and I wanted to use the products of his intellect. But I had little time – or inclination – to answer Feith's 'mind teasers.' So I generally ignored his contributions, and focused on what the secretary had to say. And Rumsfeld never allowed Feith to interfere with my business. I was always thankful for that," he wrote.

During a press briefing Wednesday, Rumsfeld disclosed that Feith approached him after President George W. Bush's victory and said that he would like to move back into the private sector by next summer. Rumsfeld said he had asked Feith to remain in his post until a replacement is found. It is still unclear whether Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, or Rumsfeld himself, will remain through the end of the year. Some commentators have suggested that the departure of the key Iraq War advocates could be interpreted as an acknowledgement of failure. Others say a course change is necessary and that a personnel change could be an important first step in making changes to the Iraq policy."

The Village Voice: Feith Advised Netanyahu to Oppose Peace

The Village Voice: The Bush Beat: "As an adviser for the right-wing Netanyahu government in Israel, Feith argued against following the Oslo peace accords.

There's so much commentary, criticism, analysis, and furor about the bombastic Feith that you hardly know where to start. But there's this Disinfopedia entry. Arab American lobbyist James Zogby connects the dots between Chalabi and Feith in this piece. In March, Tim Noah skillfully argued in Slate, using Feith as a minor character example, "why Bush is worse than Reagan." Jim Lobe, of Inter-Press Service, frequently writes about Feith.

USATODAY.com - Israelis Acknowledge DougFeith's "CLOSE" ties to Israel

USATODAY.com - Israelis hotly deny Pentagon spy allegations: "Israelis hotly deny Pentagon spy allegations
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli officials predicted Sunday that allegations the government spied on the Pentagon would prove false, but analysts said damage had already been done to the Jewish state's image and that of its lobbying ally in Washington.
American officials said Saturday that the FBI had spent more than a year investigating whether a Pentagon analyst funneled highly classified material to Israel.

The material described White House policy toward Iran. Israel says Iran — and its nuclear ambitions — pose the greatest single threat to the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office issued a denial late Saturday, saying "Israel does not engage in intelligence activities in the U.S."

The scandal dominated Israeli newspapers and radio reports Sunday. In interviews, both current and former Israeli intelligence officials said it was highly unlikely that Israel would have to spy on the U.S. government.

They pointed to close ties between the U.S. and American intelligence communities. They also said there had been a strict ban on espionage against U.S. targets since the 1985 arrest of American naval analyst Jonathan Pollard for passing on secrets to Israel. Pollard is serving a life sentence.

Israeli legislator Ehud Yatom, chairman of the parliamentary subcommittee on covert intelligence, said he expected the allegations to be withdrawn.

"I imagine that within a few days the United States will come out with an announcement that Israel has no connection whatsoever with the supposed spy and his activities," he told the radio.

The U.S. investigation centers on whether a Pentagon analyst passed classified material about Iran to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential main Israeli lobbying organization in Washington, and whether that group in turn passed the material to Israel. Both AIPAC and Israel deny the allegations.

U.S. officials identified the analyst as Larry Franklin, an Iran specialist working under Douglas Feith, a top Pentagon official with close ties to Israel. Franklin did not respond to a message left at his office. On Sunday, ABC TV's This Week said that Franklin had reportedly served as a U.S. Air Force reservist in Israel.

Commentators feared the reports would revive allegations that American Jewish groups may have put Israel's interests above those of the United States, and whether Israel's allies in Washington may have excessive influence in the White House.

"It breathes new life into the assertion that Israeli, and not American, interests led to the war in Iraq," wrote Nathan Guttman in the Haaretz daily. "It revives the old charge that Israel is not an ally but a treacherous country, and the old saw that American Jews have a 'divided loyalty' problem."

Eitan Gilboa, professor of political science at Tel Aviv's Bar Ilan University, questioned the timing of the reports. Writing in the Yediot Ahronot daily, he said the reports might be an attempt to embarrass President Bush before the Republican convention and presidential election.

Uzi Arad, a former senior official in the Mossad spy agency, said the allegations were leaked to hurt the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.

"They way it was reported, they pointed out in which office (Franklin) worked," Arad told Israel Radio. "They pointed at people like Doug Feith or other defense officials who have long been under attack within the American bureaucracy."

Feith is an influential aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld whose previous work included prewar intelligence on Iraq, including purported ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda terrorism network.

In Jerusalem, an observer of U.S.-Israel relations familiar with AIPAC's operations said it was quite possible the organization had legitimate professional contacts with Franklin, but said it was unlikely it took part in any wrongdoing.

"This would be clearly suicidal to a Washington lobbyist organization," he said on condition of anonymity. Nonetheless, he said AIPAC was taking the matter "totally seriously" and feared the allegations could damage the group's standing in Washington.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. "

Chalabi, Feith and Company: A Sordid Tale

Chalabi, Feith and Company: A Sordid Tale: "Washington Watch
May 31, 2004
Chalabi, Feith and Company: A Sordid Tale
Dr. James J. Zogby ©
Arab American Institute

There's a story behind the story. And it is a messy tale of deceit, cronyism and corruption.
Ahmad Chalabi's apparent falling out with the U.S., and some recent reports indicating that U.S. Undersecretary of Defense, Douglas Feith may be losing influence in the Administration, represent only the latest chapter in their sordid histories and relationship.

Back in 2001, when Feith's name was first mentioned for the number three position in the Pentagon, I wrote two lengthy articles on his business dealings and his ideology. Part of the Reagan-era Defense Department neo-conservative group, Feith left government service and trading off of his political contacts, he became a lobbyist and foreign agent, representing Turkey and some Israeli interests as well. In 1996, Feith, a supporter of the Likud in Israel, co-authored a paper for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advising him to end the Oslo peace process. When Netanyahu signed the Wye Agreement, Feith broke with him, accusing the Israeli leader of compromising away his values.

Chalabi has a long and well-known history of shady business dealings. His active courting of pro-Israel and neo-conservative groups leading to the passage by Congress of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (ILA), is also quite well-known.

So much for their separate histories.
Their relationship blossomed after Feith was confirmed by the Senate and assumed his post at the Pentagon. Early on, he began, in earnest, to lay out the justification for a war with Iraq. The funds that Congress mandated in the ILA, had been frozen during the Clinton years. Early in the Bush term, they were freed up to help finance Chalabi's activities. For his part, the Iraqi and his group began to supply Feith's newly reorganized Defense Department with "intelligence" on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction progress, and later on, with "information" linking the Baghdad regime to al-Qaeda.

Both men were willing and eager accomplices of each other's missions. Both wanted a U.S. war to topple the hated dictator and would, apparently, go to any length to make that happen.

It was Chalabi, among others, who also sold Feith both on the ease with which the regime could be removed and the uprising of support for the U.S. that would immediately follow. It was assessments such as these that provided Feith's planning office with logic that justified their fatally flawed post-war calculations.

But Chalabi's fabrications didn't stop there. Even during the 1990s, it is now known, he was promising the war's supporters that his post-Saddam Iraq would establish diplomatic and trade relations with Israel and the U.S. He and his supporters were, at one point, quoted in the U.S., to the effect that after Saddam, the Russians and French would be out, replaced by U.S. companies who would be contracted to exploit Iraq's bountiful oil resources. More quietly, Chalabi was even promising both Israelis and their U.S. supporters that not only would the new Iraq trade with Israel, but it would resurrect the Iraq-Israel pipeline for oil export. This, of course, was music to their ears.

Shortly after the war began, Chalabi, despite strenuous objection from the State Department and the CIA, was airlifted with his supporters into Iraq. He immediately began plans to establish a power base in his newly liberated country.

Appointed by the U.S. to a position on the Iraqi Governing Council, Chalabi assumed the role of director of its economics and finance committee. He was able to place his close relatives and other allies in key ministries and directorships of institutions dealing with Iraq's banking, finance and oil resources.

The spoils of war were now within his reach.
One of his nephews, Salem Chalabi, chose not to hold a government position. Instead, he established the Iraq International Law Group (IILG), which describes itself as "your professional gateway to the new Iraq." Assisting Salem in setting up the IILG was a partner Marc Zell (the IILG's website has been registered in Zell's name). Zell is an Israeli settler of the Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) stripe. Here the plot thickens.

Zell had for many years been Feith's partner in their Washington-Tel Aviv law firm, Feith and Zell (FANDZ). FANDZ had been set up when Feith left government to pursue the work of a "foreign agent" representing Turkey and some Israeli interests.

Following the Baghdad opening of the IILG, Zell soon opened, in the U.S., an office for Zell, Goldberg & Co., which promises to assist "American companies in their relations with the U.S. government in connection with Iraq's reconstruction projects." It is interesting to note that Zell, Goldberg still uses the website FANDZ, the site of the old Feith and Zell firm. So when Zell boasts his connections to government, businesses know exactly what is meant.

In the relatively short period of time since the fall of the Ba`ath Party regime, IILG and Zell, Goldberg have facilitated contracts in the tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars.

Salem Chalabi incidentally has also been appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority to head the Iraqi tribunal that will investigate and prosecute the crimes Saddam and his cohorts committed against the Iraqi people. His uncle is meanwhile railing against the former regime's corruption and demanding the right to investigate profiteering and kick-backs he alleges occurred in the UN's food for oil program.

Surely Saddam should be tried for his crimes and the people of Iraq have a right to have lost revenues restored. But for this effort to have credibility, surely the Iraqi people deserve to be represented by judges and investigators who themselves are credible.

In any case, for reasons unrelated to this sordid web of corruption and cronyism, it appears that Feith and his friend and co-conspirator Ahmad Chalabi have fallen on hard times.

Feith, for example, has been implicated in the Abu Ghraib debacle. It was his office that had general oversight over post-war planning (and pre-war propaganda). And it was apparently his office that dismissed the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to the detained of Iraqi prisoners. Growing displeasure with his work in this regard (Gen. Tommy Franks has been quoted as calling Feith "the. . .stupidest guy on the face of the earth.") has caused him to be sidelined. There are also hints he may soon step down from his post.

For his part, Chalabi recently caused some irritation by proudly boasting that it didn't matter that the intelligence he provided the Pentagon was faulty, because it got the job done. He has also angered his neo-con and pro-Israeli supporters by apparently turning his back on commitments he made to them. He is also now in trouble, having been accused of providing important secrets to Iranian intelligence. His home was recently raided by U.S. and Iraqi forces.

What is intriguing is that in all the recent U.S. media coverage of the changing fortunes of both Feith and Chalabi, there is very little mention made of the questionable business dealings by those closely connected to them. Only a handful of reporters have actually dug deeply into this story.

Both Feith and Chalabi may be facing some difficulties, but don't count them out quite yet. Feith may leave government, but the last time he left the Pentagon, he turned his departure into business connections and a handsome profit. And Chalabi, the wily manipulator, also has a record of rebounding from set-backs that have marked his past.

With Zell and Salem in business, both Feith and Ahmad have a place to go. The final chapter in this sordid tale has yet to be written.

For comments or information, contact jzogby@aaiusa.org or http://www.aaiusa.org "

The Lion's Tale: News: Feith speaks, gives Pentagon tour to juniors

The Lion's Tale: News: "Feith speaks, gives Pentago tour to juniors
by Michal Bornstein

A group of 18 juniors and five teachers visited the Pentagon and were given a tour by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and JDS parent Douglas Feith, who led the group into the Secretary of Defense’s private office, among other areas, and answered student questions regarding Pentagon policy, on May 16.

“The trip was a great opportunity to see the work and opinions of the administration and their policy workers,” said History teacher Jane Michael.

photo by Julie Brinn Siegel
Undersecretary of Defense Douglas feith points towards special tinting on the windows of his E-ring Pentagon office.

“The highlight of the trip was going to all of the special offices and rooms that are not typically open to the public,” said junior Sarah Ifft.

The group stopped for question-and-answer sessions in Feith’s office and in the conference room used by the Pentagon’s leadership to meet with military commanders around the world via video teleconference.

According to Michael, “the students asked all sorts of questions, even about the Iraqi abuse scandal” adding that “we also addressed many other topics including the United States handing over power to the Iraqi government on June 30, and the possibility of more terrorist attacks.”

The group was also able to visit the Press Room and greatly enjoyed the visit to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s private office.

“Visiting Rumsfeld’s office gave everyone the sense of him as a person, not just as a policy maker,” said Michael.

The majority of the students on the trip are considering enrolling in a foreign policy course next year, according to Michael. Because of the students’ interest in foreign policy, many interesting discussions took place regarding the current state of affairs, she explained.

“For many of these students, Feith put a personal face on the Pentagon,” she said."

aljazeerah.com: Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith Broke The Law

The Neocons: Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith, Richard H. Curtiss: "The Neocons: Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith
Richard H. Curtiss

Special to Arab News
Arab News
As the third-ranking member of the Defense Department, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith is one of the most important members of the Bush administration. Interestingly, he not only is an extreme hard-line Zionist, but he comes by it honestly.

His Austrian-born father, Dalck Feith, was a member of Betar in the 1930s, in Poland. Betar was the youth movement founded by Vladimir Jabotinsky, whom Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, had denounced as “Vladimir Hitler.” When Jabotinsky died in 1940 he was replaced by Menachem Begin.

Dalck Feith later joined the Zionist underground in British mandate Palestine, where he became one of Betar’s fiercest combatants in the year before Israeli independence. He moved to the United States during World War II, and joined the US Merchant Marine.

His son Douglas, born and raised in Philadelphia, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard before earning a law degree (also magna cum laude) from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Feith initially worked for the government in 1981, when, during the first Reagan administration, he served on the White House National Security staff under Richard Allen. Shortly thereafter, Allen was forced to resign, and was replaced by William Clark. Feith was promptly fired from his post, allegedly on charges of bias toward and involvement with Israel.

During Reagan’s second term, Feith resurfaced as part of Richard Perle’s team at the Pentagon. Perle is a notorious Cold War hawk and a pro-Israel neoconservative hard-liner, widely known as the “Prince of Darkness” by friend and foe alike. Another colleague at the time was Steven Bryen, who later had to resign on charges that he had leaked classified material to Israel. The FBI was prepared to indict Bryen on charges of espionage, but Bryan’s cohorts in the Justice Department delayed the indictment until the statute of limitations had expired.

In the George Herbert Walker Bush administration, Feith was a member of the National Security Council (NSC), before shifting to the Department of Defense, where he was deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy, as well as special counsel to Richard Perle.

When the elder Bush was not re-elected, Feith set up his own law practice, Feith & Zell. According to James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, in 1989 Feith registered International Advisers Inc. (IAI) as a foreign agent representing the government of Turkey. IAI’s purpose was to “promote the objective of US-Turkish defense industrial cooperation.”

In official documents filed with the US Department of Justice, Feith is listed as IAI’s chief executive officer and its only stockholder. Perle was listed as the group’s single highest paid consultant, earning $48,000 a year. Feith himself earned $60,000 yearly, and his law firm, Feith and Zell, received hundreds of thousands of dollars from IAI.

During the six years that Feith and IAI were registered as foreign agents for the government of Turkey, Feith and a number of individuals serving as staff and receiving payments from IAI were making tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to both pro-Israel PACs and to pro-Israel senators and congressmen.

One pro-Israel PAC, the Washington Political Action Committee — to which Feith contributed $3,500 — just happened to be headed by Morris Amitay, former AIPAC official and one of the earliest members of IAI. Two of the largest recipients of the PAC’s largesse were Sen. Robert Packwood (R-OR) and Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN).

Perle and Feith later teamed up to represent another foreign entity, the government of Bosnia. According to Richard Holbrooke, the principal US negotiator at the Dayton peace talks, the two men worked for and advised the Bosnians during the talks — but did not register with the Department of Justice as foreign agents are required to do. Feith and Perle lobbied on behalf of Bosnia and against the Greek-American and Armenian-American lobbies.

In the mid-1990s Feith represented 41 members of Congress in a suit against then-President Bill Clinton. Feith argued that Clinton was violating a 1995 law requiring increased funding for missile defense programs. Interestingly, Feith refused to reveal the sources of funding for the suit.

As a member of the inner circles of the George W. Bush administration, Feith, along with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, are receiving strong criticism for their performance in postwar Iraq.

The troika currently is being blamed for making no serious preparations to assume important postwar duties such as maintaining security and providing water, electricity and Iraq’s other infrastructure needs. In addition, there even seems to be deliberate sabotage. The Financial Times predicted on June 26 that at least one Defense Department player will have to take the blame for the Iraqi chaos, and guessed Feith would take the fall.

Feith can be bitingly sarcastic. Following one of his lengthy and contemptuous statements during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) cut off the exchange by saying, “That is a smart-ass comment.”

Both Dalck and Douglas Feith have been heaped with honors over the years, both in Philadelphia and in American Jewish circles. Dalck Feith, for example, was given the Zionist Organization of America’s centennial award for his lifetime of service to Israel and to the Jewish people. The right-wing ZOA, which opposes any peace in Palestine and Israel also gave Douglas J. Feith the prestigious Lewis J. Brandeis award at the same 1997 awards dinner.

Dalck Feith, who became a distinguished business leader and philanthropist in Philadelphia, has served as general chairman of the Federation Allied Jewish Appeal of Philadelphia and a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He has been honored for his good works by numerous prominent institutions and organizations, including Brandeis University, Hebrew University and Israel Bonds. He and his wife, Rose, the parents of three children, reside in Elkins Park, PA.

Their son Douglas has received the Department of Defense’s highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Award. A prolific author, he has written essays on Israel and other subjects which have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, Commentary and elsewhere. An essay on Winston Churchill, Zionism and Palestine (1904-1922) has just been published in the book Churchill as Peacemaker, Cambridge University Press/Woodrow Wilson Center Press.

Douglas Feith is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also is a director of the Center for Security Policy, an officer of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, and a director of the Foundation for Jewish Studies. He and his wife, Yana, reside in Maryland with their four children.

(Richard H. Curtiss is executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.)"