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1 5th July 15:37
gandalf grey
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default Digging for Dirt (respect right-wing)


http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EG11Ak02.html

Digging for dirt
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - The administration of President George W Bush is finding itself
increasingly beleaguered by growing charges by retired intelligence and
foreign service officers that administration hawks exaggerated the threat
posed by Iraq in order to press Washington into war.

The White House was forced to admit earlier this week that Bush's assertion
during his State of the Union address in late January regarding Saddam
Hussein's alleged attempts to buy uranium in Africa for a supposed nuclear
arms program was based on flawed intelligence and should have been omitted
from the speech.

But a growing number of lawmakers and independent ****ysts are suggesting
that the uranium report - which was actually based on crudely forged
do***ents supposedly provided by an Italian intelligence agency - may be
just the tip of the iceberg of an effort by neo-conservative and right-wing
hawks centered primarily in the Pentagon and around Vice President ****
Cheney to skew the intelligence to make their case for war.

"The Bush administration did not provide an accurate picture of the military
threat with respect to Iraq," according to Gregory Thielmann, who served as
the director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office in
the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), until last
September.

Contrary to the repeated assertion by Bush and other top officials, he said,
"As of March, 2003, Iraq posed no major military threat to the United
States," Thielmann, a 25-year foreign service veteran, told a standing-room
only press conference at the National Press Club.

He added that the administration's public statements about Iraq's biological
and chemical weapons capabilities, stockpile of Scud missiles, and ties to
al-Qaeda were also misleading and often based on distortions of what the
intelligence community itself was saying.

His charges and the growing attention being paid to them come on the heels
of similar charges by another retired foreign service officer, ambassador
Joseph Wilson, who had been sent by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to
Niger to check out the reports of Iraq's purchase of uranium "yellowcake".

In a television interview, Wilson, who was Washington's highest-ranking
diplomat in Baghdad during the first Gulf War in 1991, said that he was
stunned when Bush referred to it in his State of the Union address and
concluded that its mention was part of a broader effort to influence public
opinion. "It really comes down to the administration misrepresenting the
facts on an issue that was a fundamental justification for going to war," he
told the Washington Post. "It begs the question, what else are they lying
about?"

These questions - which have been echoed by other retired intelligence
officers, such as the CIA's former top counter-terrorism ****yst, Vincent
Cannistraro - are clearly beginning to worry the administration,
particularly because of growing doubts as well about the duration and
dangers posed by the US occupation of Iraq.

After the administration's assurances that US troops would be greeted by
Iraqis as liberators, armed resistance to their presence appears to be
rising steadily, with the US Central Command reporting an average of 13
armed attacks against forces each day. Some 30 US soldiers have been killed
since May 1, when Bush declared the war over, and officials are actively
studying the possibility of adding to the 145,000 troops there.

According to a new survey of public opinion released on Wednesday, just 23
percent of Americans say that the military effort in Iraq is going very
well, down from 61 percent in late April. Doubts about the occupation
naturally feed into concerns about how the US got there.

"If the American people conclude that American soldiers have died because
the administration has lied, it will be extremely serious," according to
Joseph Cirincione, an arms control specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace. "American public opinion is clearly shifting on this
issue." He said that he didn't see how the Republicans and the
administration could avert a major investigation.

Bush, who had hoped that his "victory lap" around sub-Saharan Africa this
week would highlight his "compassionate conservatism" for the folks back
home, has been dogged by questions from reporters about his State of the
Union allegations since he arrived at his first stop in Senegal.

At a joint press conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki in
Pretoria, he deflected a question about it. "There is no doubt in my mind
that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world peace and there is no doubt in
my mind the United States along with our allies and friends did the right
thing in removing him from power," he said, adding, "I'm confident that
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

As several Democratic lawmakers called for a full-scale Congressional
investigation, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld was also asked at a hearing of
the Senate Armed Services Committee whether the administration exaggerated
the threat. "The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered
dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit [of weapons of mass destruction, or
WMD]," he said. "We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new
light - through the prism of our experience on 9-11 [September 11]."

But Rumsfeld's statement only raised new questions for ****ysts who have
do***ented the administration's claims about Baghdad's WMD capabilities.
Cirincione described Rumsfeld's latest assertion as "shocking".
"Administration officials repeatedly said that they had new evidence [in the
run-up to the war]."

Indeed, when he heard Bush's uranium reference, Thielmann said he "wondered
what new evidence had come into the administration". But, when he realized
that it was based on the already-discredited Niger report, he said he felt a
"combination of surprise and disgust". "This administration has a
faith-based attitude to intelligence," he said, which, simply stated,
consisted of, "We know the answers. Give us the evidence the support those
answers."

Thielmann was particularly dismissive of some Republican attempts to defend
the administration. The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Tom
DeLay, told reporters on Tuesday in response to the White House admission
that the uranium story was false that it was "very easy to pick one little
flaw here and one little flaw there". "A little flaw here, a little flaw
there," said Thielmann, "and pretty soon you've fostered a fundamentally
flawed view of reality".

Cirincione said that the administration's failure to find any evidence of
WMD or Scud missiles despite scouring more than 200 priority sites over the
past three months made it clear that the UN weapons inspectors, whose work
was often mocked by administration officials, actually fulfilled their
intended purpose quite well.

The administration, including even Secretary of State Colin Powell - who,
according to Thielmann shielded INR from political influence - made
increasingly specific claims about the intelligence it said it had about
Iraq's WMD in the immediate approach to the war - in what Cirincione
described as a "conscious effort to discredit the inspectors". "They had to
eliminate the viable alternative to going to war," he said.

Thielmann said that in working-level discussions between ****ysts from
different agencies, consensus about the intelligence would generally be
achieved. But, as the ****yses made their way to higher levels, the
consensus would drop away, with the CIA and DIA tending to demur. "I can
only assume this was in response to [political] pressure," he said.

(Inter Press Service)


--
--
FAIR USE NOTICE: This post contains copyrighted material the use of which
has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am
making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of
environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and
social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any
such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so
long as I'm the dictator." - GW Bush 12/18/2000.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic
and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
---Theodore Roosevelt

"Feels Good!"
---George W. Bush on the Brink of Declaring War on Iraq.
  Reply With Quote


  sponsored links


2 11th July 09:48
gandalf grey
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default Digging for Dirt (respect right-wing)


http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EG11Ak02.html

Digging for dirt
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - The administration of President George W Bush is finding itself
increasingly beleaguered by growing charges by retired intelligence and
foreign service officers that administration hawks exaggerated the threat
posed by Iraq in order to press Washington into war.

The White House was forced to admit earlier this week that Bush's assertion
during his State of the Union address in late January regarding Saddam
Hussein's alleged attempts to buy uranium in Africa for a supposed nuclear
arms program was based on flawed intelligence and should have been omitted
from the speech.

But a growing number of lawmakers and independent ****ysts are suggesting
that the uranium report - which was actually based on crudely forged
do***ents supposedly provided by an Italian intelligence agency - may be
just the tip of the iceberg of an effort by neo-conservative and right-wing
hawks centered primarily in the Pentagon and around Vice President ****
Cheney to skew the intelligence to make their case for war.

"The Bush administration did not provide an accurate picture of the military
threat with respect to Iraq," according to Gregory Thielmann, who served as
the director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office in
the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), until last
September.

Contrary to the repeated assertion by Bush and other top officials, he said,
"As of March, 2003, Iraq posed no major military threat to the United
States," Thielmann, a 25-year foreign service veteran, told a standing-room
only press conference at the National Press Club.

He added that the administration's public statements about Iraq's biological
and chemical weapons capabilities, stockpile of Scud missiles, and ties to
al-Qaeda were also misleading and often based on distortions of what the
intelligence community itself was saying.

His charges and the growing attention being paid to them come on the heels
of similar charges by another retired foreign service officer, ambassador
Joseph Wilson, who had been sent by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to
Niger to check out the reports of Iraq's purchase of uranium "yellowcake".

In a television interview, Wilson, who was Washington's highest-ranking
diplomat in Baghdad during the first Gulf War in 1991, said that he was
stunned when Bush referred to it in his State of the Union address and
concluded that its mention was part of a broader effort to influence public
opinion. "It really comes down to the administration misrepresenting the
facts on an issue that was a fundamental justification for going to war," he
told the Washington Post. "It begs the question, what else are they lying
about?"

These questions - which have been echoed by other retired intelligence
officers, such as the CIA's former top counter-terrorism ****yst, Vincent
Cannistraro - are clearly beginning to worry the administration,
particularly because of growing doubts as well about the duration and
dangers posed by the US occupation of Iraq.

After the administration's assurances that US troops would be greeted by
Iraqis as liberators, armed resistance to their presence appears to be
rising steadily, with the US Central Command reporting an average of 13
armed attacks against forces each day. Some 30 US soldiers have been killed
since May 1, when Bush declared the war over, and officials are actively
studying the possibility of adding to the 145,000 troops there.

According to a new survey of public opinion released on Wednesday, just 23
percent of Americans say that the military effort in Iraq is going very
well, down from 61 percent in late April. Doubts about the occupation
naturally feed into concerns about how the US got there.

"If the American people conclude that American soldiers have died because
the administration has lied, it will be extremely serious," according to
Joseph Cirincione, an arms control specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace. "American public opinion is clearly shifting on this
issue." He said that he didn't see how the Republicans and the
administration could avert a major investigation.

Bush, who had hoped that his "victory lap" around sub-Saharan Africa this
week would highlight his "compassionate conservatism" for the folks back
home, has been dogged by questions from reporters about his State of the
Union allegations since he arrived at his first stop in Senegal.

At a joint press conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki in
Pretoria, he deflected a question about it. "There is no doubt in my mind
that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world peace and there is no doubt in
my mind the United States along with our allies and friends did the right
thing in removing him from power," he said, adding, "I'm confident that
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

As several Democratic lawmakers called for a full-scale Congressional
investigation, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld was also asked at a hearing of
the Senate Armed Services Committee whether the administration exaggerated
the threat. "The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered
dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit [of weapons of mass destruction, or
WMD]," he said. "We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new
light - through the prism of our experience on 9-11 [September 11]."

But Rumsfeld's statement only raised new questions for ****ysts who have
do***ented the administration's claims about Baghdad's WMD capabilities.
Cirincione described Rumsfeld's latest assertion as "shocking".
"Administration officials repeatedly said that they had new evidence [in the
run-up to the war]."

Indeed, when he heard Bush's uranium reference, Thielmann said he "wondered
what new evidence had come into the administration". But, when he realized
that it was based on the already-discredited Niger report, he said he felt a
"combination of surprise and disgust". "This administration has a
faith-based attitude to intelligence," he said, which, simply stated,
consisted of, "We know the answers. Give us the evidence the support those
answers."

Thielmann was particularly dismissive of some Republican attempts to defend
the administration. The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Tom
DeLay, told reporters on Tuesday in response to the White House admission
that the uranium story was false that it was "very easy to pick one little
flaw here and one little flaw there". "A little flaw here, a little flaw
there," said Thielmann, "and pretty soon you've fostered a fundamentally
flawed view of reality".

Cirincione said that the administration's failure to find any evidence of
WMD or Scud missiles despite scouring more than 200 priority sites over the
past three months made it clear that the UN weapons inspectors, whose work
was often mocked by administration officials, actually fulfilled their
intended purpose quite well.

The administration, including even Secretary of State Colin Powell - who,
according to Thielmann shielded INR from political influence - made
increasingly specific claims about the intelligence it said it had about
Iraq's WMD in the immediate approach to the war - in what Cirincione
described as a "conscious effort to discredit the inspectors". "They had to
eliminate the viable alternative to going to war," he said.

Thielmann said that in working-level discussions between ****ysts from
different agencies, consensus about the intelligence would generally be
achieved. But, as the ****yses made their way to higher levels, the
consensus would drop away, with the CIA and DIA tending to demur. "I can
only assume this was in response to [political] pressure," he said.

(Inter Press Service)


--
--
FAIR USE NOTICE: This post contains copyrighted material the use of which
has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am
making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of
environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and
social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any
such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so
long as I'm the dictator." - GW Bush 12/18/2000.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic
and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
---Theodore Roosevelt

"Feels Good!"
---George W. Bush on the Brink of Declaring War on Iraq.
  Reply With Quote


  sponsored links


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