Monday, 25. January 2010
Our first post on the American Turkish Council’s new chairman, Richard Armitage, focused on his early years and his involvement with Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle. Our second post focused on Armitage’s history in Washington and his involvement with the Iran-Contra Affair. This post will focus on Armitage’s role as the Deputy Secretary of State for the second Bush administration and the 11 September attacks.
In 1999 Richard Armitage joined an “advisory team” put together by Condoleezza Rice for the George W. Bush presidential campaign. Other members of this “advisory team” included Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Zoellick, and Donald Rumsfeld all of whom, along with Armitage, were signatories to the 1998 PNAC letter to President Clinton that advocated regime change in Iraq through the bogus “Weapons of Mass Destruction” argument. It should have been no surprise, therefore, to see where these “advisors” were to lead as soon as they were appointed to key positions in the Bush administration in early 2001.
Armitage was appointed as the number 2 man at the State Department but not without protest from a certain former Republican congressman:
“General Colin Powell has named Richard Armitage to the key position as his deputy secretary of state.
“Mr. Armitage served in the Pentagon back in the 1980s and, in the process, caused so many problems that by 1989 he twice had to withdraw his name from consideration for high-ranking positions in the first Bush administration.
“Simply stated, the U.S. Senate would not confirm him for any job.
“The FBI agent in charge of compiling the ‘file’ on Armitage said at the time, ‘The Armitage file is the thickest file ever for any nominee for any position.’”
“Now, 12 years later, the new Bush administration is again trying to ram Armitage through the confirmation process. Powell wants him because ‘Rich Armitage is my best friend in the world.’”
Both Armitage and Powell had served in Vietnam and it’s worth remembering that prior to his performance at the UN National Security Council in early 2003, Colin Powell was best known for helping to cover up the My Lai Massacre.
Armitage was confirmed by the Senate as the Deputy Secretary of State in late March, 2001, in plenty of time to implement the plan for regime change in Iraq that he had supported in 1998 and which PNAC had argued for in September, 2000:
“Further, the process of [US military] transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”
The “new Pearl Harbor” that was so desired by Armitage and the rest of the PNAC crowd occured on 11 September, 2001. Immediately after 11 September, Armitage threatened to “bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age”:
“During last week’s US media blitz to promote his new book, Musharraf claimed soon after 9/11, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage warned Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, head of ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service, the US would ‘bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age’ if it did not immediately turn against its Afghan ally, Taliban, and allow the US to use military bases in Pakistan to invade Afghanistan.
[ . . . ]
“I’ve heard various versions of Armitage’s exact words. But I know whatever he said put the fear of god into Pakistan’s military leadership.
“ISI sources say the Bush Administration threatened to bomb faithful old ally Pakistan, cut off its oil, collapse its banking system, and call in its loans. More frightening, Washington also threatened to ‘unleash’ India against Pakistan, either allowing India to conquer the Pakistani-held portion of disputed Kashmir, or give Delhi a green light to invade all of Pakistan, possibly with American assistance.”
Such language by Armitage would be consistent with other ultimatums issued by the US government, such as this gem by a Bush administration State Department negotiator to the Taliban in August, 2001, more than a month before the “new Pearl Harbor”:
“At the final meeting with the Taliban, on Aug. 2, 2001, State Department negotiator Christine Rocca, clarified the options: ‘Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold [for 'secure access to the Caspian Basin for American companies'], or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.’ With the futility of negotiations apparent, “President Bush promptly informed Pakistan and India the U.S. would launch a military mission into Afghanistan before the end of October.”
“This was five weeks before the events of 9/11.”
Almost a year later, Armitage was sent by the Bush administration to deliver, perhaps, the same message to the Pakistanis:
“Bush has stopped short of publicly admonishing Pakistan, Washington’s key ally in the war on terror, but he’s dispatching burly Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage to Islamabad next week, and his mission will be to deliver a heavy, private bruising. ‘If anyone can threaten to crack Musharraf in half, it’s Armitage,’ says one State Department source.”
“Bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age”? “Crack Musharraf in half”? It should be no surprise that Armitage was tasked with delivering these messages. He was sent by the Reagan administration to deliver a similar message to Manuel Noriega a year before the US invasion of Panama:
“The Reagan Administration sent a high-ranking Pentagon official on a secret mission to Panama last week to press its strongman, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, to step down and allow free elections in the country, State Department and congressional sources said Thursday.
“The emissary, Richard L. Armitage, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, held what one U.S. official called ‘a lengthy session’ with Noriega early last week to urge him to withdraw from politics.
“Armitage was picked to deliver the Administration’s strongest direct message to date to Noriega because the Panamanian strongman is a ‘military man’ and Washington wanted “the most effective interlocutor possible,” the official said.”
Having arrived in the US a week before 11 September “on a regular visit of consultations”, the ISI’s General Mahmoud Ahmed met with State Department officials, including Armitage, on 12 and 13 September:
“The press reports confirm that Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad had two meetings with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, respectively on the 12th and 13th. After September 11, he also met Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the powerful Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
“Confirmed by several press reports, however, he also had ‘a regular visit of consultations’ with US officials during the week prior to September 11, –i.e. meetings with his US counterparts at the CIA and the Pentagon.
“What was the nature of these routine ‘consultations’? Were they in any way related to the subsequent ‘post-September 11 consultations’ pertaining to Pakistan’s decision to cooperate with Washington, held behind closed doors at the State Department on September 12 and 13? Was the planning of war being discussed between Pakistani and US officials?”
The article continues:
“The meeting behind closed doors at the State Department on September 13 between Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad was shrouded in secrecy. Remember President Bush was not even involved in these crucial negotiations:
“‘Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage handed over [to ISI chief Mahmoud Ahmad] a list of specific steps Washington wanted Pakistan to take’. ‘After a telephone conversation between [Secretary of State Colin] Powell and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Pakistan had promised to cooperate.’ President George W. Bush later confirmed (also on the morning of September 13th) that the Pakistan government had accepted “to cooperate and to participate as we hunt down those people who committed this unbelievable, despicable act on America’.
[ . . . ]
“Armitage was one of the main architects behind US covert support to the Mujahedin and the ‘militant Islamic base’, both during the Afghan-Soviet war as well as in its aftermath. US covert support was financed by the Golden Crescent drug trade.”
We know that Armitage was no stranger to the Golden Crescent drug trade.
General Mahmoud Ahmed met with someone else in those days immediately following 11 September, and that “someone else” worked directly under Richard Armitage. That “someone else” was none other than Marc Grossman:
“ISI Chief Lt-Gen Mahmood’s week-long presence in Washington has triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council. [ . . . ] But the most important meeting was with Mark Grossman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. US sources would not furnish any details beyond saying that the two discussed ‘matters of mutual interests.’”
Or, as Sibel Edmonds stated back in 2005:
“Although Grossman ‘has not been as high profile in the press’ FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds cryptically told me the other day, ‘don’t overlook him – he is very important.’”
Chris Deliso elaborates further:
“Marc Grossman has served in a number of interesting countries and positions over the past 29 years. From 1976-1983, at a pivotal point in the Cold War, he was employed at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan – America’s key regional ally, through which millions of dollars in weapons and other “aid” were delivered by Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service to the mujahedin following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
[ . . . ]
“Grossman’s professional ties with Pakistan apparently long outlived his nine-year tenure there. The Guardian, among others, mentioned the fact that in the days immediately preceding Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistani ISI chief Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed – financier of 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta – paid a visit to senior administration officials, including Grossman, then undersecretary of state for political affairs.”
As The Times reported in January, 2008 (although not mentioning Grossman by name), Grossman was so deeply involved in the sale of nuclear secrets to Pakistan that he was under FBI surveillance. Since Grossman was directly responsible to Armitage, what did Armitage know about Grossman’s dirty dealings?
That question does not stretch the imagination because Armitage became involved in another event that Grossman was also involved with–Plamegate and the exposure of CIA front company Brewster Jennings, and those events will be included in our next post.