4/06/2008

Chalabi's Lobby

With the invasion of Iraq still three years in the future, Ahmad Chalabi would step into the lobby of the modern granite office building at 1801 K Street in Washington--the heart of the nation's lobbying corridor. He would walk past the security guard and ride the elevator up to the ninth floor. The ride was, in some sense, one small vertical leg of Chalabi's journey back to Iraq. This particular way point was the office belonging to Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey (BKSH), one of the most powerful lobbying firms in the United States, owned by public relations powerhouse Burson-Marsteller.

No one could have guessed, back in 2000, what would come of Chalabi's efforts in Washington. Few people knew who "neoconservatives" were, and even those who did could not have grasped their remarkable affection for and loyalty to Chalabi, a shrewd Iraqi Arab from a family of Shiite bankers. No one could have predicted that Chalabi's group, the Iraqi National Congress (INC), would go on to push false stories about terror and weapons of mass destruction with such great success as the group campaigned against Saddam Hussein's quite sadistic regime. Nor, certainly, was it possible to foresee that the massive propaganda campaign run by Chalabi to encourage the United States to invade Iraq would be fully paid for with US taxpayer funds.
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