NB: These charges were drawn up by a "judge"--Zuhair al-Maliky, a young
lawyer, who lacked the qualifications to be a judge, and who had been
appointed to his position by Paul Bremer.  Maliky has since been suspended
from his post and he himself is under investigation.

Washington Post
Reliable Source
by Richard Leiby
March 24, 2005

Their Outlook In Baghdad: Fair, Clearing

. Off the Wanted List in Baghdad: Two American supporters of Ahmed Chalabi,
the Pentagon's once-beloved Iraqi politician, are celebrating the dismissal
last week of obstruction-of-justice charges brought against them in Iraq
during the reign of U.S. viceroy L. Paul Bremer.

The outspoken pair -- Francis Brooke, who served as Chalabi's top political
aide in Washington for several years, and Margaret Bartel of Alexandria, a
consultant who handled Pentagon funds for Chalabi's political party -- say
the charges were trumped up following a U.S.-backed raid on the
controversial Iraqi's headquarters last year. An Iraqi judge agreed.

"Peg and I are free people in Iraq," Brooke e-mailed us from Baghdad, where
he's still advising Chalabi, the suave ex-banker who lobbied the White House
to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Brooke attached the order throwing out the
charges, which he argued were fomented by occupation officials as part of a
"political vendetta" after Chalabi fell from favor with the Bush

Brooke, 43, and Bartel, 52, were charged with interfering with the
well-publicized raid, which was carried out by Iraqi police, U.S. troops and
police trainers from Reston-based Dyncorp. The defendants not only denied
the allegations but also pointed out that they were in Iraq working on a
Defense Intelligence Agency-funded program to provide intel and documents to
coalition forces.

"The raid was to discredit Chalabi," said Bartel, who braved a trip to
Baghdad to answer the charges. And she remains a loyalist, telling us:
"Chalabi is someone we feel is good for the United States and for Iraq."


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