Francis Brooke worked in the mid-1990s on the Rendon Group's anti-Iraq campaign in London at a salary of $19,000 a month. He subsequently became the chief assistant in Washington to Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress. Brooke also was principal founder and director of the Iraq Liberation Action Committee, which favored Hussein's ouster.
In January 2001 the New Yorker's Nicholas Lehmann wrote: "THE WASHINGTON headquarters of the Iraq-liberation cause is located in the basement of a brick town house in Georgetown, where a man named Francis Brooke, who constitutes the entire (unpaid) staff of the Iraq Liberation Action Committee, lives with his wife and children. Not long ago, I spent a morning with Brooke, who calls to mind a twenty-years-older Holden Caulfield. He has neatly parted blond hair, round wire-rimmed glasses, and a boy's open face, innocent manner, and undimmed capacity for outrage. In 1992, Brooke got a job in London with a public-relations agency run by a former Carter Administration political operative named John Rendon. He was assigned to publicize atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein, and was given a peculiarly high budget (including compensation for him of nineteen thousand dollars a month); Rendon wouldn't name the client. Brooke soon realized that he was working for the CIA. He then maneuvered himself into the most sensitive part of the operation, assisting the Iraqi National Congress. The congress had just been set up, with blessings and funding from the Bush Administration, which evidently had spent the better part of the year following the Gulf War in the hope that Saddam would fall, and then, realizing that he wouldn't, had settled on supporting an armed opposition. ..."
In December 2001, Bloomberg News reported that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other current Bush advisers had advocated Hussein's overthrow since the Gulf War, when they served then-President George H.W. Bush. "Given the passion with which I have heard them argue this point, I would be surprised, now that they are in power, if they didn't eventually get around to it," Brooke told Bloomberg.
Ha'aretz reported in late March 2003 that Brooke had acted as an unofficial U.S. envoy to Iran. "Iranian reports indicate ... that diplomatic messages have been transmitted between the U.S. and Iran via Francis Brooke, the American public relations assistant to Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, the umbrella organization of the Iraqi opposition. Brooke was warmly welcomed in Iran before the war began, mainly thanks to his connections with Condoleezza Rice and with other senior members of the American administration. Brooke theoretically visited Iran as a participant in the conference of the heads of Iraqi opposition in Iran, but he was the only American to visit Iran recently who was not fingerprinted, as has become customary in Iran following similar U.S. treatment of Iranian citizens visiting America. Brooke met with the Iranian foreign minister and with other important people and clarified that the U.S. has no intentions of targeting Iranian installations," Ha'aretz wrote.
Brooke was on the ground in Nasiriyah in April 2003 as the U.S. military flew Ahmed Chalabi into southern Iraq over the objections of the State Department and CIA. The Age reported that Brooke "said local Iraqi leaders had brought requests for Mr Chalabi to mediate with US military authorities on matters such as power supplies and people held as prisoners of war. 'We have been receiving delegation upon delegation... we are inundated,' Mr Brooke said."
- Francis Brooke, Neocon Europe, accessed May 14, 2009.
- Steven Mufson, "Iraq Opposition to Get More US Funds," Washington Post, June 14, 2001 (via Global Policy Forum website).
- Paul Basken, "Afghanistan War Seen as Model for U.S. Taking on Iraq's Hussein," Bloomberg News, December 13, 2001 (via Global Policy Forum website).
- Zvi Bar'el, "The citizens are currently on standby," Ha'aretz, March 25, 2003.
- Brian Whitaker, "Is this the end?," Guardian, April 9, 2003.
- "Chalabi welcomed," The Age (Australia), April 10, 2003
- Mark Hosenball and Michael Hirsh, "Chalabi: A Questionable Use of U.S. Funding," Newsweek, March 27, 2004.
- Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay, "Exile group crossed line on lobbying, U.S. believes," Knight Ridder, April 23, 2004.
- Jane Mayer, "The Manipulator," The New Yorker, June 7, 2004.