Friday, July 23, 2004

Atrios found this in the 9/11 Commission Report
Tenet told us that in his world "the system was blinking red." By late July, Tenet said, it could not "get any worse." Not everyone was convinced. Some asked whether all these threats might just be deception. On June 30, the SEIB [Senior Executive Intelligence Brief] contained an article titled "Bin Ladin Threats Are Real." Yet Hadley told Tenet in July that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz questioned the reporting. Perhaps Bin Ladin was trying to study U.S. reactions. Tenet replied that he had already addressed the Defense Department's questions on this point; the reporting was convincing. To give a sense of his anxiety at the time, one senior official in the Counterterrorist Center told us that he and a colleague were considering resigning in order to go public with their concerns.

Where is the lazy corporate press? Huddled with the RNC trying to figure out how to blame President Clinton.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Mark A. R. Kleiman - A Fair and Balanced Weblog has some commentary on the specifics of the legal questions involved in outing Joseph Wilson's wife. The WSJ editorial page apparently puts plenty of Kool-aid in the editorial departments water cooler. Jeez, its like night and day comparing their news coverage to their editorials. Which begs the question: do their columnists read the news or do any fact checking before they write a column; and why aren't the editors cracking down on using the opinion page as a right-wing instrument in smear campaigns.
Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Opinion: New Niger/uranium tale flops (21 July 04) TRUDY RUBIN
Philadelphia Inquirer

We still don't know why the White House included the discredited reference to Iraq and African uranium in the State of the Union. Maybe Iraq would have liked to purchase African uranium, but there's still no solid evidence to back this up. And you won't find new evidence in the Senate report.

The new focus on Joe Wilson is simply a distraction. As for whether Plame recommended him for the Niger mission, news reports last July quoted senior intelligence sources as saying she didn't. Last July, the respected Newsday reporters Tim Phelps and Knut Royce quoted a "senior intelligence officer" as saying it was other CIA officers, not Plame, who recommended Wilson for the job. Maybe the Senate source got it wrong. My point is: who cares?

M's Rubin expects people like Instacracker to read the whole report and explain the unpleasant truths about president Chicken-Little and the unnecessary deaths of 800+ soldiers. Thats just too much to expect from the fake patriots.

Its a part of growing up in america. At least from junior high on, you "don't tell on anyone", "you don't rat". It takes real courage to pause and tell yourself that damn the consequences, there's an injustice that must be put right. Most of us let co-workers slide on the occassional free office supplies or bag of finishing nails, but there's a limit and there should be. When serious wrong doing continues and you're known to be a witness, you're being used and disrespected.Your continued silence is taken as either tacit approval or indifference. Think Abu Ghrib or the abuse in our nursing homes.
Kerry wins praise from whistleblowers organization
A nonpartisan organization that lobbies on behalf of whistleblowers praised Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for his support of legislative proposals to protect employees who reveal abuses or misconduct at work.

National Whistleblower Center

Strange times. White House Helps Block Extension of Tax Cuts

This is Rumor Control. A new blog to keep an eye on. Impressive credentials, but as anonymous posters they leave themselves lots of wiggle room.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

SOCKIN’ IT TO THEM! Juliet Huddy socked it to Sandy—and to the folks who watch Fox:
Lawrence and Hall are professional writers—so why do they write in such an odd way? Of course, we all know why certain “government officials” might want to use this puzzling language; they would speak in this puzzling way to promote an unflattering image of Berger (without technically lying, of course). But why would professional writers, like Lawrence and Hall, put such oddball phrasing in print? Why didn’t they simply ask their sources what they meant by such strange language? The odd language here spreads an unlovely image. Why was such odd language used?

Kind of like some freshman exercise in ethics and semantics; How To Lie Without Your Pants Catching on Fire or How to be a Lazy Journalists and a Republican Tool.

Is Bush an advocate of doublespeak as the standard of political discourse?
Student whose paper on Castro was used in a speech is 'annoyed.' He says the president misconstrued the Cuban leader's stance.
"Castro was merely trying to emphasize some of the successes of the revolution by saying 'even our prostitutes our educated,' " Trumbull said. "Castro was trying to defend his revolution against negative publicity. He was in no way bragging about the opportunities for sex tourism on the island."

On Monday, administration officials acknowledged that they did not have a source for the wording of the president's citation other than Trumbull's paper. A White House spokeswoman defended the inclusion, arguing it expressed an essential truth about Cuba.

Castro is not a nice guy. There are plenty of wrongs that can be contributed to Castro without resorting to lies and distortion. Totally unwarranted hyberbole from Bush that makes him look foolish.

Monday, July 19, 2004

If we take one small step in speculation regarding the "other sources" that is sited by the British intelligence report on Iraq's WMD we may find the French. How convenient . Bush to date has never accepted responsible for anything or admitted that grave erros in judgement were made. Yet in his campaign ads he's asked that we continue his "steady" leadership. Via War and Peace
Though it has not been stated in the four official inquiries into British intelligence, London's source for its claims about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium - widely repeated in the US until discredited - almost certainly came from French intelligence.

from a piece in The Guardian.
Its not just Bush that suffers from cognitive dissonance, but also his devoted followers.

More on uranium from Niger:
According to the Intelligence Committee report, which is filled with back and forth accessments between various branches of the intelligence services:
The CIA's former Associate Deputy Director for Intelligence (ADDI) for Strategic Programs, told Committee staff he was tasked by the Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI) to handle coordination of the speech within the CIA. On October 5, 2002, the ADDI brought together representatives for each of the areas of Iraq that the speech covered and asked the analysts to bring forward any issues that they thought should be addressed with the NSC. The
ADDI said an Iraq nuclear analyst - he could not remember who - raised concerns about the
sourcing and some of the facts of the Niger reporting, specifically that the control of the mines in Niger would have made it very difficult to get yellowcake to Iraq.
(U) Based on the analyst's comments, the ADDI drafted a memo for the NSC outlining the facts that the CIA believed needed to be changed, and faxed it to the Deputy National Security Advisor and the speech writers. Referring to the sentence on uranium from Africa the CIA said, "remove the sentence because the amount is in dispute and it is debatable whether it can be acquired from the source. We told Congress that the Brits have exaggerated this issue.
Finally, the Iraqis already have 550 metric tons of uranium oxide in their inventory."
The ADDI told Committee staff he received the new draft on October 6, 2002 and noticed that the uranium information had "not been addressed," so he alerted the DCI. The DCI called the Deputy National Security Advisor directly to outline the CIA's concerns. On July 16, 2003, the DCI testified before the SSCI that he told the Deputy National Security Advisor that the "President should not be a fact witness on this issue," because his analysts had told him the "reporting was weak." The NSC then removed the uranium reference from the draft of the speech
Although the NSC had already removed the uranium reference from the speech,
later on October 6, 2002 the CIA sent a second fax to the White House which said, "more on why we recommend removing the sentence about procuring uranium oxide from Africa: Three points (1) The evidence is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source as the location of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of the French authorities. (2) The procurement is not particularly significant to Iraq's nuclear ambitions because the Iraqis already have a large stock of uranium oxide in their inventory. And (3) we
have shared points one and two with Congress, telling them that the Africa story is overblown
and telling them this is one of the two issues where we differed with the British."
(U) On December 17, 2002, WINPAC analysts produced a paper, U.S. Analysis of Iraq's
Declaration, 7 December 2002. The paper reviewed Iraq's "Currently Accurate, Full and
Complete Disclosure" to the UN of its WMD programs and made only two points regarding the
nuclear program - one noted Iraq's failure to explain its procurement of aluminum tubes the IC
assessed could be used in a nuclear program, and the other noted that the declaration "does not acknowledge efforts to procure uranium from Niger, one of the points addressed in the U.K.
Dossier." An e-mail from the INR Iraq nuclear analyst to a DOE analyst on December 23, 2002
indicated that the analyst was surprised that INR's well known alternative views on both the
aluminum tubes and the uranium information were not included in the points before they were
transmitted to the NSC. The DOE analyst commented in an e-mail response to INR that, "it is
most disturbing that WINPAC is essentially directing foreign policy in this matter. There are
some very strong points to be made in respect to Iraq's arrogant non-compliance with UN
sanctions. However, when individuals attempt to convert those "strong statements" into the
"knock out" punch, the Administration will ultimately look foolish - i.e. the tubes and Niger!"

and this, note the dates:
On December 24, 2002, the Nigerien Prime Minister declared publicly that Niger had not sold uranium to Iraq and had not been approached since he took office in 2000. Niger's President and Minister of Mines also denied the sale. These comments were passed in a State Department cable on December 27, 2002, which noted that the remarks were in response to questions from local press after the State Department released its fact sheet noting Iraq's declaration to the UNSC "ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger."

On January 27, 2003, a CIA intelligence report ------- indicated
that foreign government service reported that the uranium sodium compound in storage at the warehouse in Cotonou, Benin was destined for France, not Iraq. The same report said that separate foreign government service had information on Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Niger, dating from 1999, but had no further information. The foreign government service also indicated that Niger had been looking to sell an old stock of uranium for years to the highest bidder. According to the foreign government service, other countries had expressed interest.

I think the Benin information is important in that some right-wing sights are using this as a smoking gun; that Iraq was hiding the yellow-cake there. As stated in the report, Iraq already had yellow-cake, that they may have tried to purchase more in 1999 and inserting that into the SOTU is surely a tenuious reason for a pre-emptive invasion.
Bush asserted that Iraq had tried to obtain urainium from Africa between March 2003 and July 2003, creating the impression that this was a new and urgent development.
In the British Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction it says:
From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi
attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:
a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in
b. The British Government had intelligence from several different
sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring
uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of
Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.
c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as
opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government
did not claim this.
d. The forged documents were not available to the British
Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact
of the forgery does not undermine it.

September 2002: CIA warned British intelligence to discontinue use of Niger information, saying its accuracy had been questioned. [Washington Post, 7/11/03; Bush State of the Union Address, 1/28/03]
So the CIA and NSA still have issues with the British. NBC News reported that the reports by the Senate and the British exonerates Bush. This case is far from closed.

There seems to be some confusion over a minor point regarding how Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger.The Bush apologists are falling all over themselves trying to equate Plame having "offered up his name." , as the same as hiring him to make the trip.
According to the L.A. Times:
A senior intelligence official said the CIA supports Wilson's version: "Her bosses say she did not initiate the idea of her husband going…. They asked her if he'd be willing to go, and she said yes," the official said.

As Josh Marshall and others have written before, who or how Wilson came to make the trip to Niger does not in any way excuse someone at the Whitehouse from outing a CIA NOC agent. That is clearly illegal even if everything that ever came out of Joe Wilson's mouth has been a lie.

Debunking '59 Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11'
It was bound to happen that someone would tackle point by point the garbage that has been written about Fahrenheit 9/11. Anton Sirius has almost finished all "59". Its not like Dave Kopel, who wrote up the supposed "deceits" and is research director at The Independence Institute has any credibility with anyone but the wing-nuttery anyway.