Sunday, April 10, 2011
Why Is Curt Weldon Meddling in Libya?
Former Congressman, political gadfly and apparent arms dealer Curt Weldon was in Libya last week.
That's right; in the middle of what looks like a civil war, Weldon was trying to meet with Col. Momar Gaddafi:
"Weldon, whose trip was paid for by two oil lobbyists from Houston, says he was invited to Libya by Gaddafi's chief of staff, Dr. Bashir Saleh, adding that his message to government officials he met in Tripoli "was in direct support of the state public positions of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."
"In the statement, Weldon says he also met with Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of the Libyan strongman, to urge the release of American journalist Clare Morgana Gillis, who writes for TheAtlantic.com, and three others. Also in custody are James Foley, a U.S. journalist with GlobalPost.com; Manu Brabo, a Spanish photographer; and Anton Hammerl, a South African photographer.
Weldon's flight to Libya was paid for by Houston attorney Brian Ettinger and former Bush aide Steve Payne, who accompanied him on the trip."
Read this link for more information on the complex nature of the individuals involved.
Curt Weldon is no stranger to political intrigue. I first learned about Weldon in the late 1990's when I was in contact with Gary Eitel. Eitel was a former CIA contract pilot that was blowing the whistle on a corrupt scheme to launder military C-130 aircraft. Originally destined to be converted to airtankers for Forest service fire-fighting use, the C-130 aircraft were diverted to use on covert operations for the CIA. A complete article I wrote in 1997 describes the details of the scheme at this link.
Weldon oversaw the Congressional investigation that Eitel testified before, eventually resulting in jail time for some of the various brokers involved.
Weldon was no stranger to covert operations at the time; His nephew Robert Weldon died in the crash of a C-130 in Angola on a mission for the CIA. (link)
"The Hercules C-130 was owned by Caribbean Air Transport company. It was heading for Cafunfo in the diamond-mining region of Lunda in north-eastern Angola.
The Angolan news agency ANGOP monitored in Lisbon, named the three dead Americans as Flight Captain Robert Snellgrave, mechanic Robert Weldon and load master Chuck Henrichs. The pilot was Stefan Paoletti, an Italian."
"The problem between Curt Weldon and the CIA arose because of the connections between Roy Reagan and St. Lucia Airlines. It seems Curt's nephew was flying, as a mechanic, into Angola on secret CIA missions using aircraft that belonged to (or should have belonged to) the U.S. Forestry Service. U.S. Forestry planes were forbidden by statute from operating outside the United States. Weldon, understandably, wanted to understand the nature of his nephew's trip, but the CIA gave him the run-around. Weldon, a sitting Congressman then as now, took that as a personal insult. St. Lucia airlines is famous for its role in the Iran-Contra affair."
As the layers of CIA onion were peeled back, Weldon appears to have become obsessed with covert operations, perhaps even drawn to them as an insider or agent himself.
Reports from 2008 describe how Weldon became involved in brokering arms deals between the Russians, Iraq and Libya:
"Even though both Libya and the Russian arms export agency are on official U.S. blacklists, government officials and analysts involved in weapons sales say the rules have become unclear as the push to equip allies in the global war on terror has blazed new but uncertain legal ground.
Eagerly stepping into that virgin territory is Defense Solutions, a Pennsylvania-based company that is carving out a small but lucrative niche in a new international arms bazaar. The firm boasts as its advisors a number of influential Washington insiders, such as retired General Barry McCaffrey, the former White House drug czar.
Helping the firm make key connections is Curt Weldon, a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania at the center of an FBI investigation into alleged conflicts of interest during his time in office. Weldon, now a key executive at Defense Solutions, is working with the company to set up these weapons deals."
Weldon was investigated by the FBI for such dealing, and eventually lost his long-held Congressional seat to former Navy Admiral Joe Sestack.
Weldon's deepest plunge into the covert rabbit-hole centers around the obvious yet highly denied claims that the Bush administration knew exactly what Mohammad Atta and the 9-11 hijackers were planning:
In his "Able Danger" investigation, Weldon produced witnesses that were involved in tracking and documenting the actions of the 9-11 hijackers.
Here is a snip from a press conference Weldon held regarding the "Able Danger" program and how 9-11 hijacking warnings were swept under the rug:
"The Pentagon has acknowledged now, publicly, that they have identified five defense employees who either vividly remember identifying Mohammed Atta prior to 9/11 or seeing his name linked with a Brooklyn cell prior to 9/11.
"We have Scott Philpott (ph), a Navy commanding officer, who's commanded one of our naval warships, an Annapolis graduate, who has come out publicly and risked his entire career to say what he'll say next Wednesday under oath: that he specifically remembers identifying Mohammed Atta in January and February of 2000, specifically; that he would stake his career on it. And that he was the leader of Able Danger.
We have Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer -- who's outside in the hallway, who I couldn't bring into the House Gallery because of House rules, but who's available for you to talk to, outside -- who will testify under oath on Wednesday before the Senate that as a DIA liaison to Special Forces Command for Able Danger, he attempted to present information to the FBI on three occasions in September of 2000 about the Brooklyn cell and Mohammed Atta."
(Full text at this link)
While Weldon is considered a crackpot by the mainstream press, I suggest he is extremely well positioned to function as an intelligence asset for the Government.
For example; Brewster Jennings & Associates was the front company set up by the CIA to trawl for rogue governments and agents seeking nuclear and other weapons. Valerie Plame was the CIA agent in Brewster Jennings that was (in an act of possible treason) outed by Vice President Dick Cheney in the run-up to the Iraq war. Fronts like Brewster-Jennings and insiders like former Congressman Curt Weldon tread a fine line in the global arms business. I personally interviewed a similar individual, Dr. Richard Fuisz, who was regularly debriefed after business dealings in the middle east.
Here is where the stories have a possible intersection:
Dr. Richard Fuisz and former associate Susan Lindauer claim to have proof that the bombing of a Pan-Am flight over Lockerbie Scotland was not the work of Libyan agents, but was instead a Syrian plot that involved Oliver North's Iran-Contra arms and drug smuggling network. (See B.P., Libyan Oil and the Lockerbie Bombing)
Lindauer had met with agents of both Libya and Iraq before the Iraq war.
It is very likely that Weldon is aware of this and because he was previously involved in Libyan arms deals he was well positioned to attempt to negotiate a back-channel route for Gaddafi to step down and leave Libya. You can bet he has been de-briefed about his trip, where he apparently only met with one of Gadaffi's sons. He was, none-the-less, "boots on the ground" and had his eyes on the inner workings of the Gaddafi camp.
Rather than an obsessed crank or unprincipled arms dealer, I suggest Weldon is in possession of the dark knowledge of spy craft - a player with one foot in the arms bazaar and one foot in U.S. Intelligence networks.
As far as Gaddafi, I'm sure he is well protected by his his cadre of 40 "virgin" women bodyguards.