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Thread: Proof Bush Fixed The Facts

  1. #1
    pcteaser Guest

    Proof Bush Fixed The Facts

    Proof Bush Fixed The Facts


    "Intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."



    Ray McGovern
    Ray McGovern served 27 years as a CIA analyst .

    05/04/05 "TomPaine.com" - - Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would see those words
    in black and white—and beneath a SECRET stamp, no less. For three years now, we in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been saying that the CIA and its British counterpart, MI-6, were ordered by their countries' leaders to "fix facts" to "justify" an unprovoked war on Iraq. More often than not, we have been greeted with stares of incredulity.

    It has been a hard learning—that folks tend to believe what they want to believe. As long as our evidence, however abundant and persuasive, remained circumstantial, it could not compel belief. It simply is much easier on the psyche to assent to the White House spin machine blaming the Iraq fiasco on bad intelligence than to entertain the notion that we were sold a bill of goods.

    Well, you can forget circumstantial. Thanks to an unauthorized disclosure by a courageous whistleblower, the evidence now leaps from official documents—this time authentic, not forged. Whether prompted by the open appeal of the international
    Truth-Telling Coalition
    or not, some brave soul has made the most explosive "patriotic leak" of the war by giving London's Sunday Times the official minutes of a briefing by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain's CIA equivalent, MI-6. Fresh back in London from consultations in Washington, Dearlove briefed Prime Minister Blair and his top national security officials on July 23, 2002, on the Bush administration's plans to make war on Iraq.

    Blair does not dispute the authenticity of the document, which immortalizes a discussion that is chillingly amoral. Apparently no one felt free to ask the obvious questions. Or, worse still, the obvious questions did not occur.

    Juggernaut Before The Horse

    In emotionless English, Dearlove tells Blair and the others that President Bush has decided to remove Saddam Hussein by launching a war that is to be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction." Period. What about the intelligence? Dearlove adds matter-of-factly, "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

    At this point, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirms that Bush has decided on war, but notes that stitching together justification would be a challenge, since "the case was thin." Straw noted that Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.

    In the following months, "the case" would be buttressed by a well-honed U.S.-U.K. intelligence-turned-propaganda-machine. The argument would be made "solid" enough to win endorsement from Congress and Parliament by conjuring up:


    • Aluminum artillery tubes misdiagnosed as nuclear related;
    • Forgeries alleging Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium in Africa;
    • Tall tales from a drunken defector about mobile biological weapons laboratories;
    • Bogus warnings that Iraqi forces could fire WMD-tipped missiles within 45 minutes of an order to do so;
    • Dodgy dossiers fabricated in London; and
    • A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate thrown in for good measure.
    All this, as Dearlove notes dryly, despite the fact that "there was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." Another nugget from Dearlove's briefing is his bloodless comment that one of the U.S. military options under discussion involved "a continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli"—the clear implication being that planners of the air campaign would also see to it that an appropriate casus belli was orchestrated.

    The discussion at 10 Downing St. on July 23, 2002 calls to mind the first meeting of George W. Bush's National Security Council (NSC) on Jan. 30, 2001, at which the president made it clear that toppling Saddam Hussein sat atop his to-do list, according to then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil, who was there. O'Neil was taken aback that there was no discussion of why it was necessary to "take out" Saddam. Rather, after CIA Director George Tenet showed a grainy photo of a building in Iraq that he said might be involved in producing chemical or biological agents, the discussion proceeded immediately to which Iraqi targets might be best to bomb. Again, neither O'Neil nor the other participants asked the obvious questions. Another NSC meeting two days later included planning for dividing up Iraq's oil wealth.

    Obedience School

    As for the briefing of Blair, the minutes provide further grist for those who describe the U.K. prime minister as Bush's "poodle." The tone of the conversation bespeaks a foregone conclusion that Blair will wag his tail cheerfully and obey the learned commands. At one point he ventures the thought that, "If the political context were right, people would support regime change." This, after Attorney General Peter Goldsmith has already warned that the desire for regime change "was not a legal base for military action,"—a point Goldsmith made again just 12 days before the attack on Iraq until he was persuaded by a phalanx of Bush administration lawyers to change his mind 10 days later.

    The meeting concludes with a directive to "work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action."

    I cannot quite fathom why I find the account of this meeting so jarring. Surely it is what one might expect, given all else we know. Yet seeing it in bloodless black and white somehow gives it more impact. And the implications are no less jarring.

    One of Dearlove's primary interlocutors in Washington was his American counterpart, CIA director George Tenet. (And there is no closer relationship between two intelligence services than the privileged one between the CIA and MI-6.) Tenet, of course, knew at least as much as Dearlove, but nonetheless played the role of accomplice in serving up to Bush the kind of "slam-dunk intelligence" that he knew would be welcome. If there is one unpardonable sin in intelligence work, it is that kind of politicization. But Tenet decided to be a "team player" and set the tone.

    Politicization: Big Time

    Actually, politicization is far too mild a word for what happened. The intelligence was not simply mistaken; it was manufactured, with the president of the United States awarding foreman George Tenet the Medal of Freedom for his role in helping supervise the deceit. The British documents make clear that this was not a mere case of "leaning forward" in analyzing the intelligence, but rather mass deception—an order of magnitude more serious. No other conclusion is now possible.

    Small wonder, then, to learn from CIA insiders like former case officer Lindsay Moran that Tenet's malleable managers told their minions, "Let's face it. The president wants us to go to war, and our job is to give him a reason to do it."

    Small wonder that, when the only U.S. analyst who met with the alcoholic Iraqi defector appropriately codenamed "Curveball" raised strong doubt about Curveball's reliability before then-Secretary of State Colin Powell used the fabrication about "mobile biological weapons trailers" before the United Nations, the analyst got this e-mail reply from his CIA supervisor:

    "Let's keep in mind the fact that this war's going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn't say, and the powers that be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he's talking about."

    When Tenet's successor, Porter Goss, took over as director late last year, he immediately wrote a memo to all employees explaining the "rules of the road"—first and foremost, "We support the administration and its policies." So much for objective intelligence insulated from policy pressure.

    Tenet and Goss, creatures of the intensely politicized environment of Congress, brought with them a radically new ethos—one much more akin to that of Blair's courtiers than to that of earlier CIA directors who had the courage to speak truth to power.

    Seldom does one have documentary evidence that intelligence chiefs chose to cooperate in both fabricating and "sexing up" (as the British press puts it) intelligence to justify a prior decision for war. There is no word to describe the reaction of honest intelligence professionals to the corruption of our profession on a matter of such consequence. "Outrage" does not come close.

    Hope In Unauthorized Disclosures

    Those of us who care about unprovoked wars owe the patriot who gave this latest British government document to The Sunday Times a debt of gratitude. Unauthorized disclosures are gathering steam. They need to increase quickly on this side of the Atlantic as well—the more so, inasmuch as Congress-controlled by the president's party-cannot be counted on to discharge its constitutional prerogative for oversight.

    In its formal appeal of Sept. 9, 2004 to current U.S. government officials, the Truth-Telling Coalition said this:

    We know how misplaced loyalty to bosses, agencies, and careers can obscure the higher allegiance all government officials owe the Constitution, the sovereign public, and the young men and women put in harm's way. We urge you to act on those higher loyalties...Truth-telling is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking out is now.

    If persons with access to wrongly concealed facts and analyses bring them to light, the chances become less that a president could launch another unprovoked war—against, say, Iran.

    Ray McGovern served 27 years as a CIA analyst and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour.

    © 2005 TomPaine.com

  2. #2
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    Ray used to write the Presidential Daily Briefing as well.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    The secret Downing Street memo

    SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY

    DAVID MANNING
    From: Matthew Rycroft
    Date: 23 July 2002
    S 195 /02

    cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell

    IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY

    Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

    This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

    John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

    C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

    CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

    The two broad US options were:

    (a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

    (b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

    The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

    (i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

    (ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

    (iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

    The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

    The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

    The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

    The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

    On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

    For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

    The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

    John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

    The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

    Conclusions:

    (a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

    (b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

    (c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

    (d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

    He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

    (e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

    (f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

    (I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)

    MATTHEW RYCROFT

    (Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)

    Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #4
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    BTW... thanks PCTeaser for posting this.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Everyone... get your email addresses out...
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  6. #6
    somebigguy Guest
    Dang, I just sent out a bunch of emails yesterday...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by somebigguy
    Dang, I just sent out a bunch of emails yesterday...
    No one cares about the fact that you finally passed the 1st grade.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  8. #8
    somebigguy Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    No one cares about the fact that you finally passed the 1st grade.
    So what if it took me 15 tries at first grade. Do you want it done fast or do you want it done right?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by somebigguy
    So what if it took me 15 tries at first grade. Do you want it done fast or do you want it done right?
    I'm telling everyone about this...
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    A New Memo-gate? Knight Ridder Covers Leaked British Document That Disputes Bush Claims on Iraq

    http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ea..._id=1000912159

    By E&P Staff

    Published: May 06, 2005 4:30 PM ET
    NEW YORK For much of the week, much of the U.S. press paid little attention to the highly classified British memo, leaked to a British newspaper, which seems to reveal that President Bush decided by summer 2002 to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and was determined to ensure that U.S. intelligence data supported his policy.

    That changed on Friday, when Knight Ridder circulated a lengthy report on the memo by Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott.

    The memo was first disclosed earlier this week by the Sunday Times of London. It has not been disavowed by the British government. A White House official told Knight Ridder that the administration wouldn't comment on the leaked document.

    Meanwhile, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has gained 88 signatures on a letter among fellow Democrats asking the White House for an explanation of the memo. Among other things, he wants to know: “Did the Administration lie to the American people about its intentions with respect to Iraq? Did the Administration deliberately manipulate intelligence to deceive the American people about the strength of its case for war?”

    The memo reports on a U.S. visit by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain's MI-6 intelligence service. “The visit took place while the Bush administration was declaring to Americans that no decision had been made to go to war,” Knight Ridder observed today.

    The MI-6 chief's account of his U.S. visit was paraphrased this way: "There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. ... There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

    Strobel and Wolcott noted that the White House has repeatedly denied accusations by top foreign officials that intelligence estimates were manipulated.

    But they report that a former senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called it "an absolutely accurate description of what transpired" during Dearlove's visit to Washington.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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