Tag Archives: David Petraeus

Ex-general, CIA chief Petraeus gets probation, $100,000 fine in leak case

 Former CIA director David Petraeus leaves the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 23, 2015.

Former CIA director David Petraeus leaves the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 23, 2015.

Former U.S. military commander and CIA director David Petraeus was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a$100,000 fine but was spared prison time on Thursday after pleading guilty to mishandling classified information.

The retired four-star general apologized as he admitted in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, to giving the information to his mistress, who was writing his biography. He agreed under a plea deal to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler raised the fine from the $40,000 that had been recommended to the maximum possible financial penalty for that charge, noting it needed to be higher to be punitive and reflect the gravity of the offense.

“This constitutes a serious lapse of judgment,” Keesler said during the hour-long hearing.

The guilty plea ended an embarrassing chapter for a man described in letters to the court as one of the finest military leaders of his generation. Petraeus, 62, a counter-insurgency expert with a Princeton University doctorate, served stints as the top U.S. commander in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was once considered a possible vice presidential or presidential candidate.

He resigned from the CIA in 2012 after it was revealed that he was having an affair with the biographer, Army Reserve officer Paula Broadwell.

Dressed in a dark suit and blue tie, he showed no emotion as he read from a prepared statement in court.

“Today marks the end of a two-and-a-half year ordeal that resulted from mistakes that I made,” he told reporters after the sentencing. “As I did in the past, I apologize to those closest to me and many others.”

Petraeus was accompanied at the hearing by three attorneys, but it did not appear that his family members attended, nor did Broadwell, who lives in Charlotte.

Keesler said the heads of state, senators and high-ranking U.S. military officials who wrote letters submitted by defense attorneys in support of Petraeus agreed he had “committed a grave but very uncharacteristic error in judgment.”

The judge said the retired Army general’s actions stood in stark contrast to his nearly four decades of public service.

Petraeus now serves as chairman for the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts‘ captive economic and geopolitical think tank, the KKR Global Institute. The White House also has continued to consult him on occasion for advice on national security matters.

Civil liberties and government transparency advocates had questioned the plea deal, saying the government’s lenient treatment of Petraeus suggested prosecutors maintain double standards. Defendants in other leak cases have received harsher punishments, including prison.

“A slap on the wrist is the most one could say about what can barely be called a sentence for what could have been treated as serious crimes including espionage,” said Michael Ratner, a U.S. lawyer who represents WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

But Petraeus’ attorney, David Kendall, said in court it would have been unprecedented to incarcerate him for the charge he faced, which carries a maximum prison term of one year.

“This is not a case about the dissemination to the public of classified information,” Kendall said. “No classified information appeared in the biography. Not a single syllable.”

A court document signed by Petraeus and prosecutors says that in 2011, just before he became the CIA director, the general illegally gave Broadwell access to official binders.

Known as “black books,” the binders contained classified information including identities of covert officers, code word information, war strategy, intelligence capabilities, diplomatic talks and information from high-level White House National Security Council meetings, according to court records.

Petraeus also was accused of improperly storing classified materials at his Virginia residence and falsely telling the FBI in October 2012 that he had not shared any classified information with Broadwell.

U.S. prosecutor James Melendres noted that Petraeus had been entrusted with the government’s highest secrets.

“The defendant betrayed that trust,” he said.

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​ISIS in Iraq stinks of CIA/NATO ‘dirty war’ op

Iraqi Kurdish forces take position near Taza Khormato as they fight jihadist militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positioned five kilometers away in Bashir, 20 kms south of Kirkuk

by – William Engdahl

For days now, since their dramatic June 10 taking of Mosul, Western mainstream media have been filled with horror stories of the military conquests in Iraq of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with the curious acronym ISIS.

ISIS, as in the ancient Egyptian cult of the goddess of fertility and magic. The media picture being presented adds up less and less.

Details leaking out suggest that ISIS and the major military ‘surge’ in Iraq – and less so in neighboring Syria – is being shaped and controlled out of Langley, Virginia, and other CIA and Pentagon outposts as the next stage in spreading chaos in the world’s second-largest oil state, Iraq, as well as weakening the recent Syrian stabilization efforts.

Strange facts

The very details of the ISIS military success in the key Iraqi oil center, Mosul, are suspect. According to well-informed Iraqi journalists, ISIS overran the strategic Mosul region, site of some of the world’s most prolific oilfields, with barely a shot fired in resistance. According to one report, residents of Tikrit reported remarkable displays of “soldiers handing over their weapons and uniforms peacefully to militants who ordinarily would have been expected to kill government soldiers on the spot.”

We are told that ISIS masked psychopaths captured “arms and ammunition from the fleeing security forces” – arms and ammunition supplied by the American government. The offensive coincides with a successful campaign by ISIS in eastern Syria. According to Iraqi journalists, Sunni tribal chiefs in the region had been convinced to side with ISIS against the Shiite Al-Maliki government in Baghdad. They were promised a better deal under ISIS Sunni Sharia than with Baghdad anti-Sunni rule.

According to the New York Times, the mastermind behind the ISIS military success is former Baath Party head and Saddam Hussein successor, General Ibrahim al-Douri. Douri is reportedly the head of the Iraqi rebel group Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order as well as the Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation based on his longstanding positions of leadership in the Naqshbandi sect in Iraq.

In 2009, US ‘Iraqi surge’ General David Petraeus, at the time heading the US Central Command, claimed to reporters that Douri was in Syria. Iraqi parliamentarians claimed he was in Qatar. The curious fact is that despite being on the US most wanted list since 2003, Douri has miraculously managed to avoid capture and now to return with a vengeance to retake huge parts of Sunni Iraq. Luck or well-placed friends in Washington?

The financial backing for ISIS jihadists reportedly also comes from three of the closest US allies in the Sunni world—Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

US passports?

Key members of ISIS it now emerges were trained by US CIA and Special Forces command at a secret camp in Jordan in 2012, according to informed Jordanian officials. The US, Turkish and Jordanian intelligence were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region, conveniently near the borders to both Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two Gulf monarchies most involved in funding the war against Syria’s Assad, financed the Jordan ISIS training.

Advertised publicly as training of ‘non-extremist’ Muslim jihadists to wage war against the Syrian Bashar Assad regime, the secret US training camps in Jordan and elsewhere have trained perhaps several thousand Muslim fighters in techniques of irregular warfare, sabotage and general terror. The claims by Washington that they took special care not to train ‘Salafist’ or jihadist extremists, is a joke. How do you test if a recruit is not a jihadist? Is there a special jihad DNA that the CIA doctors have discovered?

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) parading with an Iraqi army vehicle in the northern city of Baiji in the in Salaheddin province.

Jordanian government officials are revealing the details, in fear that the same ISIS terrorists that today are slashing heads of ‘infidels’ alongside the roadways of Mosul by the dozens, or hundreds if we believe their own propaganda, might turn their swords towards Jordan’s King Abdullah soon, to extend their budding Caliphate empire.

Former US State Department official Andrew Doran wrote in the conservative National Review magazine that some ISIS warriors also hold US passports. Now, of course that doesn’t demonstrate and support by the Obama Administration. Hmm…

Iranian journalist Sabah Zanganeh notes, “ISIS did not have the power to occupy and conquer Mosul by itself. What has happened is the result of security-intelligence collaborations of some regional countries with some extremist groups inside the Iraqi government.”

Iraq’s Chechen commander

The next bizarre part of the ISIS puzzle involves the Jihadist credited with being the ‘military mastermind’ of the recent ISIS victories, Tarkhan Batirashvili. If his name doesn’t sound very Arabic, it’s because it’s not. Tarkhan Batrashvili is a Russian – actually an ethnic Chechen from near the Chechen border to Georgia. But to give himself a more Arabic flair, he also goes by the name Emir (what else?) Umar al Shishani. The problem is he doesn’t look at all Arabic. No dark swarthy black beard: rather a long red beard, a kind of Chechen Barbarossa.

According to a November, 2013 report in The Wall Street Journal, Emir Umar or Batrashvili as you prefer, has made the wars in Syria and Iraq “into a geopolitical struggle between the US and Russia.”

That has been the objective of leading neo-conservatives in the CIA, Pentagon and State Department all along. The CIA transported hundreds of Mujahideen Saudis and other foreign veterans of the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviets in Afghanistan into Chechnya to disrupt the struggling Russia in the early 1990s, particularly to sabotage the Russian oil pipeline running directly from Baku on the Caspian Sea into Russia. James Baker III and his friends in Anglo-American Big Oil had other plans. It was called the BTC pipeline, owned by a BP-US oil consortium and running through Tbilisi into NATO-member Turkey, free of Russian territory.

Batrashvili is not renowned for taking care. Last year he was forced to apologize when he ordered his men to behead a wounded ‘enemy’ soldier who turned out to be an allied rebel commander. More than 8,000 foreign Jihadist mercenaries are reportedly in ISIS including at least 1,000 Chechens as well as Jihadists Saudi, Kuwait, Egypt and reportedly Chinese Uyghur from Xinjiang Province.

Jeffrey Silverman, Georgia Bureau Chief for the US-based Veterans Today (VT) website, told me that Batrashvili “is a product of a joint program of the US through a front NGO called Jvari, which was set up by US Intelligence and the Georgian National Security Council, dating back to the early days of the Pankisi Gorge.”

Jvari is the name as well of a famous Georgian Orthodox monastery of the 6th century. According to Silverman, David J. Smith—head of something in Tbilisi called the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, as well as the Potomac Institute in Washington where he is listed as Director of the Potomac Institute Cyber Centerr—played a role in setting up the Jvari NGO.

Silverman maintains that Jvari in Rustavi, near the capital, Tbilisi, gathered together Afghan Mujahideen war veterans, Chechens, Georgians and sundry Arab Jihadists. They were sent to the infamous Pankisi Gorge region, a kind-of no-man’s lawless area, for later deployment, including Iraq and Syria.

Batrashvili and other Georgian and Chechen Russian-speaking Jihadists, Silverman notes, are typically smuggled, with the assistance of Georgia’s Counterintelligence Department and the approval of the US embassy, across the Georgia border to Turkey at the Vale crossing point, near Georgia’s Akhaltsikhe and the Turkish village of Türkgözü on the Turkish side of the Georgian border. From there it’s very little problem getting them through Turkey to either Mosul in Iraq or northeast Syria.

Silverman believes that events in Northern Iraq relate to “wanting to have a Kurdish Republic separate from the Central government and this is all part of the New Great Game. It will serve US interests in both Turkey and Iraq, not to mention Syria.”

Very revealing is the fact that almost two weeks after the dramatic fall of Mosul and the ‘capture’ by ISIS forces of the huge weapons and military vehicle resources provided by the US to the Iraqi army. Washington has done virtually nothing but make a few silly speeches about their ‘concern’ and dispatch 275 US special forces to allegedly protect US personnel in Iraq.

Whatever the final details that emerge, what is clear in the days since the fall of Mosul is that some of the world’s largest oilfields in Iraq are suddenly held by Jihadists and no longer by an Iraqi government determined to increase the oil export significantly.