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The Raid On Iraq

The Raid On Iraq

By Douglas Valentine

American military forces have cut a swath of righteous savagery through Iraq, and guided by MOSSAD agents (the most efficient terrorists in the world), CIA agents have kidnapped, detained, tortured and murdered every Iraqi associated with “the resistance.” Thanks to the overwhelming support of the American public, which prefers SUVs over peace, they have done so with impunity.

The illegal conquest and occupation of Iraq, and the forthcoming attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, should remind us of a similar situation 24 years earlier when Saddam and Iraq were thought to pose an imminent threat to world peace.

It was 1981 and Saddam was building a nuclear reactor outside Baghdad in a town named Osirak. The reactor was the type that was able to spin off nuclear weapons. Few nations were anxious to see Saddam lobbing A-bombs at Israel, so no one blinked an eye when the Israelis bombed the reactor. What very few people know, however, is that the CIA organized the Israeli raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor.

Through the perfidy of history, Iraq (like Osama bin Laden) was our ally at the time, and it's nuclear capability was not a palpable enough pretext for America, all by its lonesome, to start dropping bombs. So, at the time, the preemptive raid was portrayed as having been launched by Israel for its own security, in defiance of American interests. But that isn't true. The raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor was a textbook case of sub contracting a dirty job to a beholden proxy for reasons of plausible denial.

A CIA agent named Larry Paulson told the details of the operation to me. I present it to you now because Our Lord High Executioner has wrapped his reasons for invading Iraq in crowdpleasing lies not unlike those presented 22 years ago. But there is a lot more at stake now: As Bush stands on the brink of world dominance, with only His amoral compulsions – I mean, moral compunctions – restraining Him from unleashing A-bombs around the world, this lesson in how the CIA operates is more relevant than ever before. It is a picture of things to come.

Cover Central

Larry Paulson's story began in South Vietnam in 1966, where as a gung-ho Marine he earned a number of medals for valor, and was noticed by a CIA "talent scout". The interested CIA officer ran a background check, which revealed that Paulson was the child of a broken marriage. Paulson was what you might call an emotional orphan. He was looking for something to latch onto, and he chose the ultraconservative route. In high school his favorite activities were tending the local Lutheran church and participating in the Rotary Club’s debate team. His dream was to become a "crusader" and follow in the footsteps of his hero, John Wayne.

Paulson unabashedly describes himself as being "for freedom, the American way of life, and free enterprise". Having faced the Viet Cong in mortal combat, he was also avidly anti Communist. All of which made him even more attractive to the CIA.

Strange things happened to Paulson in South Vietnam. He was selected for special training in scuba diving, skydiving, demolition, and martial arts. No one told him why he was being groomed and, being a good soldier, he didn’t ask. It was not until he was wounded and sent to Okinawa to recover that his questions were answered. It was there, on Okinawa, that he was inducted into the CIA.

This is where we learn how the CIA works. Based on Paulson's psychological profile, the CIA decided to turn him into a “deep cover” agent. An elaborate cover story was concocted by the CIA’s Central Cover staff, which manages a worldwide network of deep cover agents and freestanding proprietary companies. Existing outside the regular CIA bureaucracy, the Central Cover staff has been used by every President since Truman to sidestep Congress, so the president can do the sorts of things the public would normally disapprove os – such as making secret deals with America's enemies. The Central Cover staff is the guts of the CIA.

Only a few Central Cover staff officers, and his case officer, knew Paulson’s cover story. The story went like this: His father was an Australian soldier who, during a tour in the Philippines in the Second World War, had an affair with a woman whose maiden name was Velesco. She was half Spanish, half Filipino, and from the upper class. The necessary documents were forged to prove that his mother had been a lawyer working in Samboaga. But she and the Aussie were never legally married, so Larry Paulson – now Larry Velesco – automatically became a Philippine citizen.

Abandoned by the Aussie soldier, Larry’s mother succumbed to remorse and depression, and like a Southern belle in a Tennessee Williams play, never recovered. Her son was put up for adoption, and at the age of three, Larry Velesco, the specter, was taken to the United States, where he had the good fortune to be adopted by a loving foster family. His affluent parents raised him as their own son, never mentioning that he was not their natural child. He blossomed. He was popular and smart, with an aptitude for mechanics. Documents were forged by the CIA to show that he had received a scholarship to the General Motors Institute for automotive engineering, and had attended the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

Remember, this is his cover story. According to his cover story, he enlisted in the Marines and, based on his mechanical apptitude, was selected during basic training for the helicopter pilot training. During the standard security check, the military discovered that he was a Filipino citizen, not an American! This came as a "shock" to him, but it was also a pretext for a visit to the Philippines "to discover his past,” which he made immediately upon leaving the Marines.

As outlined in the Central Cover staff's script, and as actually happened, Larry learned the Filipino language and decided to settle in the land of his birth. By 1968, he had gotten a job as a manager and translator with a Japanese mining company. He did well and rose through the ranks. When the company folded, Shell Oil (which had supplied the mining company with gasoline and related services) offered him a service station franchise on the island of Leyte. In 1970, students who were angry over gasoline price hikes burned the service station to the ground. But Velesco had outsanding credentials, and there was always another employer waiting to hire him.

Over the next ten years, Velesco held management positions with BF Goodrich; an American building and supply contractor to Clark Air Force Base; General Motors; VISA Card; and Westinghouse – which, coincidentally, built the first nuclear reactor in the Philippines.

As is true of most American multinationals, Velesco's employers all knowingly provided cover for CIA agents, as a way of maintaining their influence and sxelf-interests overseas as well as in Washington.

By 1980, Velesco had established himself as an upright Filipino citizen. His cover was impeccable, and his time had come. One day in December 1980, while employed as an executive with Reason Marketing, his case officer contacted him in the usual way. An envelope was sent to his box at the Manila Post Office; inside on a piece of paper were a date, a time, and a telephone number. Velesco called the number from a pay phone. The voice on the other end said, "Hello." Larry asked to speak to "Mama san" about his date. "Which date?" replied the woman. "Kelly," Velesco answered. When the voice said, "Kelly is an Irish girl," he knew he was about to receive instructions. Just to be sure, he used a confirmation code: he asked for the number he had reached, and the woman responded by repeating his military ID number.

Larry's instructions were to meet “Sammi”, a Palestinian lawyer and private business man, at the plush Manila Hotel. Sammi had an interesting story to tell, too. Like so many of his downtrodden race, Sammi was a refugee of the Palestinian Diaspora. He had lived in the United States since 1948. He had two brothers, one in Saudi Arabia, the other in Jordan. In 1980, both brothers were active in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The brother in Jordan was also a member of the Palestinian Congress.

Sammi, of course, was CIA. His college education had been paid for by the CIA, and subsequently it had arranged "ghost" employment for him with one of its proprietary companies. When he graduated law school, Sammi was given the finances he needed to establish his own law firm. Through its interlocking network of foreign and domestic proprietary companies, the CIA assured Sammi of powerful clients and financial success. In the process, the Agency also won his undying (in the Mafia sense of the word) loyalty.

Financed by the CIA, Sammi was set up as a business partner and advisor to the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Within a few short years he was a trusted confidant. But all the time he was secretly funneling information to the CIA from his contacts in Kuwait and from his brothers in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The information was invaluable, and Sammi was well rewarded. But he was tormented by a guilty conscience – and remember this well, dear readers – that torment was the button the CIA used to turn him on and off.

"He had turned on his brothers and he had sold his soul to the CIA," Larry explains. “And no matter how good a lawyer he was, that was one contract he could not undo.”

Eventually, the CIA decided that Sammi should enlarge his personal holdings. It was arranged for one of his companies to receive the exclusive franchise for trucks that General Motors manufactured in South Korea and sold in the Middle East. Sammi gradually built a transportation empire in the Middle East, and that transportation empire is what served as a launching pad for the Israeli raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq.


As a result of its invasion of Iran in 1981, Iraq was a landlocked nation. Iran had shut down the port of Basara (which America, Great Britain and Israel now own), which until then had serviced the entire country of Iraq. As an alternative, the governments of Jordan and Iraq formed a joint trucking company, the Iraqi Jordanian Land Transportation Company (IJLTC), to transport goods from the Jordanian port of Aqaba to Bagdad. Sammi was retained by IJLTC as its legal counsel and management consultant. Then he traveled to the Philippines to hire the right management and labor consultant.

Just like George Bush lost the vote but won the election, and just like the terror attacks of September 11, Sammi’s movemenets were preordained: and while Sammi was staying at the Manila Hotel, he crossed paths with Larry Velesco, our deep cover CIA officer.

According to Velesco recalls, "Sammi arranged for me to be employed as a managing consultant of the Filipino company providing labor and management for the project. Steyr Daimler Puch and Mercedes were to provide the trucks; Freuhaf of France the trailers; and our Filipino company the labor and management."

Plans were finalized at the meeting in the Manila Hotel and Velesco was prepared for his assignment. CIA transportation experts were flown in from Langley headquarters and joined him at a special training camp; as Larry describes it, "a nice beach property in northern Luzon. My physical trainer had a daily regimen to put me into top physical condition, and my tutors turned me into an expert on transportation, Jordan, Iraq and the characters who would be involved in the plot.

"When I arrived in Jordan:' Velesco said, "I was appointed as project manager by the consortium. My job was simple. I was to computerize all bills of lading for incoming goods. This information was to be passed on to the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan. In this way the CIA could effectively keep track of all goods, war and non war, entering Iraq, as well as those being transported to Osirak, to build the nuclear reactor."

The project was going smoothly and Larry's cover was fully developed. He was contacted by his case officer and told to meet with a State Department Consul, call her Jo An Powell, from a nearby “third country”. A veteran Foreign Service officer, Powell’s father had been a diplomat in the Middle East. She spoke fluent Arabic and, not surprisingly, as Larry says, "She was CIA, too.

“I was to go to Austria for a special meeting, the purpose of which I didn’t know at the time. The State Department Consul issued me a diplomatic passport on May 27, 1981, good for six months. The meeting took place in August, and three things came out of it. First, my case officer asked me to stay in the Middle East. Second, because IJLTC was too time-consuming, he decided that I would start a VISA franchise in Jordan for another Agency man, a fellow who owned Petra Bank.

"Third, I was told to return to Jordan, where I was contacted again by the same State Department Consul. She gave me my instructions, which were to meet with CIA and Israeli agents in Petra, which is an Israeli tourist spot in Jordan. It was at that meeting that I learned of the CIA’s plans to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor. It was also at that meeting that I was handed a diplomatic pouch filled with electronic transmitters. The Israeli F 16s were to take off from Elat and follow our IJLTC truck route to Bagdad. To assure their navigation, I was to place the transmitters on my trucks, so their jets could follow my trucks to the target."

Velesco returned to his IJLTC office in Aqaba and, when the moment was right, attached the transmitters underneath trucks heading to Osirak with building supplies. The mission was successful. When the trucks returned, Velesco removed the transmitters and tossed them into the Gulf of Aqaba.

It's that simple, if simple is the word. In any event, no one ever knew.

Post Script

Two years prior to the raid, Iranian revolutionaries had deposed the Shah of Iran and seized the U.S. Embassy in Teheran. The American public was subjected to the humiliating ordeal of watching Foreign Service officers being bound, gagged, blindfolded, beaten, and put on public display. President Jimmy Carter tried to rescue the hostages but the Special Forces commando raid turned into a disaster: the helicopters crashed in the desert, soldiers died, and the Republicans stifled a laugh. President Carter tried desperately to negotiate a settlement, but the hostage crisis dragged on through the 1980 campaign, costing him the election. It was not until ebullient Ronald Reagan took the oath of office that the hostages were released.

Some people believe there had been an “October Surprise;” that Reagan's campaign manager, William J. Casey, and Reagan's vice presidential candidate George H. W. Bush, had made a deal with Ayatollah Khomeini and his Fundamentalist regime, that in return for holding the hostages through the election, and making Carter lose face, the forthcoming (illegitimate) Reagan régime promised to support Iran in its war with Iraq.

As it is now, it was a convoluted situation: CIA and Israeli spies were operating throughout the region, working with the Kurds and recruiting fundamentalist Muslims like Osama bin Laden to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, while Reagan was dropping bombs on Khadafi’s children in Libya, and Ariel Sharon was plotting the bloody invasion of Lebanon. America and Israel were doing everything possible to pit Iran against Iraq, in hopes that they would destroy one another, destabilize the region, and ensure Israel security.

Twenty-four years later, Iraq continues to dominate US foreign policy. And while seizing Iraq’s oilfields, and protecting Israel, seem to be major objectives of the Occupation, these issues are not discussed by the media for patriotic purposes, while the resistance is being exterminated. Many Americans still believe the invasion of Iraq was designed to eliminate Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Or that Hussein (rather than the CIA or MOSSAD) was responsible for 9/11— terror attacks that freed the unPresident from the ball and chain of having stolen the 2000 presidential election. Under the ageis of waging “war on terror”, thes myths have allowed him to gut our Civil Liberties, impose de facto martial law, and entirely reorganize American society in a way that will guarantee his clique political dominance well into the future.

At a tremendous cost to American taxpayer, His Lord High Executioner has struck Iraq with only a fraction of America's overwhelming military might. He could obliterate any nation with preemptive atomic strikes. Many nations are repulsed at that prospect, but like the American public, they remain silent. To this day, much of the American public supports Bush. Why?

Everyone wants to know what will happen next? Obviously, Israel and America have turned their sights on Iran and Syria – in the short term – and, in the long term, any Muslim state that remotely poses a threat to Israel,or sits on vast oil reserves, or other precious natural resources. Larry Paulson’s crusade is forever.

When God is President, it is preordained.


Douglas Valentine is the author of four books: The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, TDY and The Strength of the Wolf. His fifth book, The Strength of the Pack is forthcoming from University Press of Kansas. and


  • Click here: The 1981 US-Israeli Raid On Iraq By Douglas Valentine
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