Sunday, December 9, 2007

Behind The NIE

(Political Animal) BEHIND THE NIE.…I don't know if you'd call this backlash or irony or something completely different, but can you guess at the ultimate source of last week's NIE concluding that Iran halted work on its nuclear bomb program in 2003? Turns out it was largely the result of a CIA program called "Brain Drain," which sought to persuade Iranian defections from the ranks of its nuclear program, which in turn was part of a "major intelligence push against Iran" ordered by the White House two years ago. Greg Miller has the story in the LA Times today:

Intelligence gathered as part of that campaign provided much of the basis for a U.S. report released last week that concluded the Islamic Republic had halted its nuclear weapons work in 2003

.....The White House ordered the stepped-up effort in hopes of gathering stronger evidence that Tehran was making progress toward building a nuclear bomb. The Bush administration "wanted better information" on Iran's nuclear programs, said a U.S. official briefed on the expanded collection efforts.

"I can't imagine that they would have ever guessed that the information they got would show that the program was shut down," the official said.

And why did we need a "major intelligence push" in the first place? According to Miller, it's because Bush dismantled the Iran Task Force set up during Bill Clinton's administration in order to focus all his attention on — surprise! — Iraq. "When Bush came in, they were totally disinterested in Iran," said a former CIA official who held a senior position at the time. "It went from being a main focus to everything being switched to Iraq."Great stuff. Still, once "Brain Drain" produced its unexpected (and unwelcome) results, couldn't Bush simply have buried it? Why release it publicly at all? Via Matt Yglesias, former spook Pat Lang provides his take:

The "jungle telegraph" in Washington is booming with news of the Iran NIE. I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that "intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary" if the document's gist were not given to the public. Translation? Someone in that group would have gone to the media "on the record" to disclose its contents.

That would have been quite a sight, wouldn't it?


Gerald said...

Published on Sunday, December 9, 2007 by The Toronto Sun
Final Disgrace for Bush & Co.
New intelligence report a devastating, humiliating blow to U.S. president and his neocons

by Eric Margolis
“Merry Christmas, Mr. President,” hissed the men in cloaks as they plunged a dagger into George Bush’s back.

America’s spooks finally had their revenge. After being forced by the White House in 2002-03 to concoct a farrago of lies about Iraq, and then take the blame for the ensuing fiasco there, the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies struck back this week.

U.S. intelligence chief Mike McConnell made public a bombshell National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report that concluded “with high confidence” Tehran had halted its rudimentary nuclear weapons program in 2003.

If restarted, Iran is unlikely to produce any weapons before 2015.

The new NIE is a devastating, humiliating blow to Bush, Dick Cheney and the neocons who have been fulminating for war against Iran. Only two months ago, Bush warned Americans that Iran’s secret nuclear program threatened to ignite World War III.

A 2005 NIE report that billed Iran as a major nuclear threat was based on fabricated evidence supplied to the CIA, just like the bogus Niger uranium story used to justify war against Iraq. Who, one wonders, is behind this disinformation?

Bush was given the new NIE on Iran last August. But for the past four months, Bush, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice have been beating the war drums over Iran when their own massed intelligence agencies have been telling them there was no danger from that country. The White House hid its own intelligence community’s findings from the public until the spooks threatened to leak the report.


Ironically, Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was telling the truth all along when he said Iran was not working on nuclear arms, while Bush & Company were lying through their teeth, just as they have over Iraq and Afghanistan.

This column has been reporting for two years the growing opposition at the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department to Bush/Cheney’s plans to launch a war against Iran. I repeatedly heard the term “fifth column” used to describe the fanatical neocon ideologues pressing America into a second Mideast war.

Now, America’s national security community is telling the White House to cease and desist before it drags the nation into another foreign catastrophe. While not a coup as in “Seven Days in May,” it was the next closest thing.

At the heart of this drama lies the disturbing fact that Bush/Cheney & Co. were simply ignoring their own $40-billion-plus-a-year intelligence community.


When the White House didn’t get the answers it wanted on Iran, it turned to Israel, whose renowned intelligence agency, Mossad, became a primary source. Mossad still insists Iran will have a nuclear bomb by 2008.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak declared the NIE report a “blow to the groin.” Israel has been straining every sinew to get the U.S. to destroy Iran’s growing nuclear infrastructure. Whether Israel, which has a large nuclear arsenal, will attack Iran on its own is uncertain.

This is the final disgrace for Bush & Cheney. Their war propaganda and efforts to suppress the new NIE should constitute grounds for immediate impeachment.

If Bill Clinton could be impeached for lying about oral sex, shouldn’t Bush and Cheney face trial for attempting to lie and deceive Americans into yet another war of aggression? Alas, Congress, many of whose members also have been howling for war against Iran, lacks the guts for such action.


America’s intelligence has been lousy in the past, and might be wrong again. But UN nuclear inspectors confirm the U.S. findings.

So does SVR, Russia’s intelligence agency. Iran’s civilian nuclear power program eventually could produce highly enriched uranium for weapons, but there is no sign of Iran developing any long-range delivery capability.

The NIE is likely to release Iran from U.S.-imposed isolation, and undermine the anti-Iran coalition the U.S. was assembling.

It should put the kibosh on Bush’s idiotic plans for an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Sanity is slowly returning to Washington.

Eric Margolis writes a regular column for the Toronto Sun.

Gerald said...

Nazi Israel is totally upset

Gerald said...

Until this week, we have been regularly hearing that - any minute now - the Iranians will produce a bomb that threatens our very existence. Nothing less. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the new Hitler of the Middle East, who announces every second day that Israel must disappear from the map, was about to fulfill his own prophecy.

A small nuclear bomb, even a teeny-weeny one like the ones dropped on Japan, would be enough to wipe out the whole Zionist enterprise. If it fell on Tel-Aviv's Rabin Square, the economic, cultural and military center of Israel would be vaporized, together with hundreds of thousands of Jews. A second Holocaust.

And lo and behold - no bomb and no any-minute-now. The wicked Ahmadinejad can threaten us as much as he wants - he just has not got the means to harm us. Isn't that a reason for celebration?

So why does this feel like a national disaster?

capt said...

"Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly and wickedness of the government may engage itself? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty? Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? ... A free government with an uncontrolled power of military conscription is the most ridiculous and abominable contradiction and nonsense that ever entered into the heads of men." -- Daniel Webster- (1782-1852), US Senator Source: Speech in the House of Representatives, January 14, 1814


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Carey said...

The release of this NIE is undeniably interesting. The "whys" of it are just innumerable.

I found another perspective in the Sunday LA Times. It coincides nicely with Gerald's Eric Margolis piece.

Nine Little Words in the NIE

One of the basic laws of intelligence is that no big secret can be kept that can be written on the back of an envelope. No matter who first suggested declassification, it was the president who ultimately decided to release the nine words that reversed the conclusion of a previous intelligence assessment on Iran's bomb program in 2005, and he did it because it was going to come out anyway.

One thing we know, from the document and from the fact of its declassification, is that reform of the intelligence community has apparently worked. The creation of Mike McConnell's job as director of national intelligence has successfully insulated the CIA from pressure by the White House of the sort that played such a big role in the Iraq WMD fiasco. To call the new NIE "inconvenient" is simply another way of saying that it is not politicized. It is free from influence by policymakers. It represents the honest conclusion of the analysts given the job of deciding whether Tehran was trying to build a bomb. The fact that the NIE says what it says, and its release, both show that the White House has lost control over American intelligence. This good news probably needs a lot of hedging and qualification, but it is good all the same.

Gerald said...

We must always follow The Path of Harmlessness

Gerald said...

Christianity must not serve as an excuse to justify suffering. God exhorts those who would conform to His spirit to fight the causes of suffering in this world with all their heart, mind, and spirit. God is ultimate revolutionary struggling even in the souls of those who don't believe in Him. And He may be far more alive in such a one than in the church leader who confuses goodness with slavery to calcified injustice.

To pray sincerely not only leads to direct action against the violence of empire, but is itself a revolutionary act, for it invokes a power that contradicts empire. This is why empire seeks to destroy or absorb Christianity, depending on the political force-fields of the moment. In the past, Christianism was used as a totalizing ideology to justify social and political oppression and the empire may well be preparing a new and more encompassing use of this false ideology, or better, idol, which hides its true nature in Christian trappings.

The fundamental law of peace is that to harm another human being is to harm ourselves. And equally, to cease harming ourselves brings harmony to our relations with others. Every sincere act of peace strikes a blow against empire, so don't despair if you can't join demonstrations or direct actions, but do not neglect them if you can. It may well be that the word of love and reconciliation said to one who drives you mad will do more to end war than the cleverest shouted slogan.


Gerald said...

"Christ, as I mentioned before -- although some bishops get angry, that's not my fault, I am free to say what I believe; here everyone is free to say what she or he thinks -- I believe that Christ was a great socialist, the greatest of our era." - Hugo Chavez

I do not know whether or not Christ was a socialist but I do believe that He was not a Nazi. Christ is synonymous with LOVE, MERCY, JUSTICE, and PEACE.

Gerald said...

Hitler Bush is a total liar

Nazi Israel still wants to attack and possibly nuke Iran. Let Nazi Israel start to be called mass murderers and war criminals!!! Nazi America has too many mass murderers and war criminals at the present time. Nazi America's mass murderers and war criminals need a lull period before they reve up for new rounds of mass murders and war crimes.

Gerald said...

Maybe now is the acceptable time to call Nazi Israel the land of mass murderers and war criminals

Gerald said...


Gerald said...

Mary is the answer to end our worldly problems

Gerald said...

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the God of peace," Mary announces to Elizabeth and the world. "My spirit rejoices in the God of peace, who has done great things for me. God's nonviolence is from age to age. God has dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart, thrown down the rulers from their thrones, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry with good things, sent the rich away empty, and remembered God's mercy to God's faithful ones."

Gerald said...

With one speech, Mary becomes one of the Bible's greatest prophets. In her Advent journey, she lays out a map for us, and for her son. A map of nonviolence in three stages: from contemplation to loving action to prophetic word and deed. The same journey now falls to us.

Gerald said...

WW III is on hold

Gerald said...

Supporters of Evil

Gerald said...

At this terrible moment in history, we must call things by their proper names. Let the world know where you stand: for life, and the possibility of joy and happiness -- or for death, and cruelty, barbarism and the repetition of horrors that the monsters among us insist on reviving when given the opportunity.

If you choose to support evil and to embody evil yourself, I suggest you follow the vile example of the current administration: do so without apology, and brazenly revel in the evil you choose to inflict on the world. It is far more contemptible -- and, to speak personally, it is sickening beyond my capacity to describe accurately, in significant part because of the complex psychological dishonesties that are required -- to enable evil, while claiming you represent the "moral" and "practical" choice. These are the justifications used by those who made possible the cruelest and most unspeakably horrifying regimes in history, as Mayer's witness and many others attest.

Withdraw your support entirely from those who perpetrate and make excuses for evil. If the refusal to support such people were widespread enough, we still might have a chance. I regard it as the very slightest of chances, one that will almost certainly be destroyed by another significant terrorist attack in the United States -- but it is the only one we have.

Gerald said...

Once Upon a Time
by Cindy Sheehan
Once upon a time in a land called California, there was born a beautiful baby named Casey.

Casey’s mom and dad knew from the minute he was born that he was a very special baby. He had dark hazel eyes that seemed to penetrate into the hearts of people who met his intense gaze. He was a cheerful baby that grew into a cheerful, yet shy boy.

Casey loved baseball, video games and playing make believe games with his younger siblings. He was a loving and fun big brother to his sisters and brother. Casey grew close with each sibling in different ways. His bright and mature sister, Carly, was his confidant and closest mischief maker. With his brother, Andy, Casey would wrestle and play endless video games, huddled closely on the floor in front of the TV set. Casey would carry his youngest sister, Janey (the baby) to bed each night and tell her a bedtime story, kiss her goodnight and make sure there were no monsters in her closet.

Casey also loved his faith and was devoted to the Catholic Church. The young boy Casey became an Altar Server when he was eight and continued that ministry until he graduated from high school. Casey never missed mass, and many around him were sure he would someday be a priest.

Although quiet and thoughtful, Casey had a very good sense of humor—long funny stories were not his forte, but he was adept at one-line zingers that would often surprise and delight his mom.

One day in the land of California, an emissary from the Kingdom’s Army knocked on Casey’s door and beguiled him (through a spell of broken promises of riches, adventure and learning,) to join the Army of the Kingdom. One very terrible day, a few years later, the evil Ruler of the Kingdom, George III, sent Casey off to a wicked war and Casey was killed trying to save the lives of fellow members of the Army of the Kingdom.

Casey did not live happily every after.

Casey’s mom and dad and brother and sisters and many other relatives and friends miss him so much and long for his “happily ever afters.”

Once upon the same time in the land of California, there was a Ruler in the Caste of the Democrats named Nancy Pelosi. She told Casey’s mom to her face that she was very sorry for Casey dying and that she was doing everything she could to stop other Casey’s from meeting the same fate. Years later, Casey’s mom found out that this Pelosi wench knew all along what the evil Ruler George III was up to when he threw innocent people into torture chambers. The Pelosi wench knew that torture would lead to the deaths of many Caseys, but she did not use her power to stop this. Casey’s mom finally understood why the Pelosi wench did not use her legal force to stop the evil Ruler George III or his war: she was and is complicit in the crimes of the Kingdom.

This sad tale is told because the Rulers of the Kingdom, in both Castes, misused Casey and thousands of others as pawns in their foul game of global domination.

If the “peasants” in the Kingdom of George and Nancy do not wake up and rise up to stop the oppression and murder by the evil rulers, no one (except the evil Rulers and their consorts) will live happily ever after.

Gerald said...

The Unholy Trinity

Gerald said...

As Naomi Klein and Alfred McCoy have documented in their recent books, these field manuals were compiled using information gathered from CIA-commissioned mind control and electric-shock experiments conducted in the 1950s. Just as the “torture memos” of today’s war on terror parse the difference between “pain” and “severe pain,” “psychological harm” and “lasting psychological harm,” these manuals went to great lengths to regulate the application of suffering. “The threat to inflict pain can trigger fears more damaging than the immediate sensation of pain,” one handbook read.

Gerald said...

"Before all else, you must be efficient,” said U.S. police advisor Dan Mitrione, assassinated by Uruguay’s revolutionary Tupamaros in 1970 for training security forces in the finer points of torture. “You must cause only the damage that is strictly necessary, not a bit more.” Mitrione taught by demonstration, reportedly torturing to death a number of homeless people kidnapped off the streets of Montevideo. “We must control our tempers in any case,” he said. “You have to act with the efficiency and cleanliness of a surgeon and with the perfection of an artist.”

Florencio Caballero, having escaped from Honduras’s notorious Battalion 316 into exile in Canada in 1986, testified that U.S. instructors urged him to inflict psychological, not “physical,” pain “to study the fears and weakness of a prisoner.” Force the victim to “stand up,” the Americans taught Caballero, “don’t let him sleep, keep him naked and in isolation, put rats and cockroaches in his cell, give him bad food, serve him dead animals, throw cold water on him, change the temperature.” Sound familiar?

Yet, as Abu Ghraib demonstrated so clearly and the destroyed CIA interrogation videos would undoubtedly have made no less clear, maintaining a distinction between psychological and physical torture is not always possible. As one manual conceded, if a suspect does not respond, then the threat of direct pain “must be carried out.” One of Caballero’s victims, Inés Murillo, testified that her captors, including at least one CIA agent — his involvement was confirmed in Senate testimony by the CIA’s deputy director — hung her from the ceiling naked, forced her to eat dead birds and rats raw, made her stand for hours without sleep and without being allowed to urinate, poured freezing water over her at regular intervals for extended periods, beat her bloody, and applied electric shocks to her body, including her genitals.

Gerald said...

Nazi Americans love to torture all of God's children. Gerald