'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Something is Happening ... 

Josh Marshall and Laura Rozen's piece about the Israeli spy story is now up on WashingtonMonthly.com and, wouldn't you know it, it focuses on the Larry Franklin/Manucher Ghorbanifar connection. Marshall et al. assert that "the investigation of Franklin is now shining a bright light on a shadowy struggle within the Bush administration over the direction of U.S. policy toward Iran.":

The FBI is looking with renewed interest at an unauthorized back-channel between Iranian dissidents and advisers in Feith's office, which more-senior administration officials first tried in vain to shut down and then later attempted to cover up.

Franklin, along with another colleague from Feith's office, a polyglot Middle East expert named Harold Rhode, were the two officials involved in the back-channel, which involved on-going meetings and contacts with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and other Iranian exiles, dissidents and government officials. Ghorbanifar is a storied figure who played a key role in embroiling the Reagan administration in the Iran-Contra affair. The meetings were both a conduit for intelligence about Iran and Iraq and part of a bitter administration power-struggle pitting officials at DoD who have been pushing for a hard-line policy of "regime change" in Iran, against other officials at the State Department and the CIA who have been counseling a more cautious approach.

You heard it here first...

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