Sunday, June 08, 2003

Douglas Feith is one of the Zionist neo-cons who have taken over the United States. He is currently under secretary of defense for policy in the Bush Administration (even by the low standards of the Bush Administration, Feith is a nasty, nasty ultra-Zionist). On June 4 he gave a briefing in which he attempted to refute allegations that the Bush Administration misused intelligence information in order to create a bogus weapons of mass destruction excuse for the attack on Iraq. Before I start in on Feith, I note two tricks the Bush Administration is trying to pull:

  1. They are trying to shift the blame for their actions onto intelligence agencies by twisting the facts to claim that they were misled by the intelligence they received, when actually it is clear that they ignored any intelligence presented to them that didn't suit their war purposes (if they try to push this too far, the CIA should leak some of what they know about 9-11).

  2. They are trying to claim that once they find WMD in Iraq (at this point, certainly planted), they will be off the hook. This ignores the fact that they lied about knowing that Saddam had such weapons, and lied to Congress, the American people, and the international community. They said they knew about WMD, and they didn't, and finding WMD at this late date can't change that fact.


I have excerpted portions of Feith's briefing (or here), and my childish comments are in square brackets and in italics:

  1. "I think what has become the focus of a lot of the press stories about this is the fact that in the course of its work, this team [referring to a small group he set up in the fall of 2001, and specifically not to the group which jocularly calls themselves the 'the Cabal', the group set up by Rumsfeld to generate intelligence that could be used by him for his war goals when the real intelligence proved to be unhelpful], in reviewing the intelligence that was provided to us by the CIA and the intelligence community [by which he means 'intelligence' created for the purposes of warmongering, definitely not from the CIA, but rather mostly gathered from Iraqi dissident exiles], came up with some interesting observations about the linkages between Iraq and al Qaeda [all reputable experts regard these linkages as complete nonsense]. And when they did, and they brought those to the attention of top-level officials here in the department [is Feith referring to himself here?], and we arranged for a briefing of these items to Secretary Rumsfeld, he looked at that and said, "That's interesting. Let's share it with George Tenet." ['That's interesting. Let's launder out homemade intelligence by passing it by the CIA, so that we can later claim it was reviewed by the CIA.'] And so some members of the team and I went over, I think it was in August of 2002 [a time when the Bush Administration was still floundering to find a saleable rationale for the attack on Iraq], and shared some of these observations. And these were simply observations of this team based on the intelligence that the intelligence community had given to us ['that we made up out of some material supplied to us from Chalabi and his pals'], and it was just in the course of their reading it, this was incidental to the purpose of this group. But since they happened to come up with it and since it was an important subject, we went over, shared it with George and people at the CIA. My impression was it was pretty well received, and that was that [Tenet knew that Rumsfeld could easily have him fired - just look what happened to White, who survived being an Enron crook but was instantly removed by Rumsfeld when he had the bad manners to point out the obvious fact that the occupation of Iraq is going to take hundreds of thousands of American soldiers - and so was eager to appear supportive of the nonsense he had to listen to]. It was one meeting [just enough so we could drag the CIA's reputation in when it appeared that our 'intelligence' was nonsense].


  2. "(Chuckling.) - and the Special Plans Office was called Special Plans, because at the time, calling it Iraq Planning Office might have undercut the - our diplomatic efforts with regard to Iraq and the U.N. and elsewhere [amazingly, Feith here admits that the whole effort of gathering intelligence, and of pretending to negotiate with the United Nations and the international community was a complete, and to Feith at least, funny, sham, with the attack on Iraq inevitable]. We set up an office to address the whole range of issues regarding Iraq planning." [the main point of Feith's whole speech is that the group he set up after September 11, which was supposed to be limited to studying terrorist networks - although Feith later acknowledges also dealt with WMD - was different from the office of special plans, which wasn't set up until October 2002, thus meaning, in Feith's view, that the first group is somehow isolated from the express warmongering goals of the second group]


  3. ". . . there are some press accounts that have tied the team to what is called the intelligence collection program, which was a program for debriefing Iraqi defectors over recent years. And in fact the team had nothing to do with that program [Feith is distancing the 'intelligence collection', which involved the Chalabi information, from his group; it is highly implausible that his group, if it was at all competent, was not aware of the story being created by the Bush Administration using Chalabi's information] or the transfer of the management of that program from the State Department to the Defense HUMINT [Human Intelligence] Service."


  4. ". . . with regard to this intelligence collection program, the reports that were obtained from the debriefings of these Iraq defectors were disseminated in the same way that other intelligence reporting was disseminated, contrary to one particular journalist account [Hersh, who has really been on a roll lately] who suggested that the Special Plans Office became a conduit for intelligence reports from the Iraqi National Congress to the White House. That's just flatly not true [this is probably correct - the real routing was that Chalabi passed the bad information onto someone in the White House, possibly Cheney himself, and then it was combined with Iraqi debriefing information and fed to the office of special plans so that it could be made to look like real intelligence when it was returned to the White House]. And in any event, that was a Defense Intelligence Agency/Defense HUMINT Service function, and not - it was not anything that was run out of the policy organization [irrelevant, as they all would have known what each other was doing; Feith has to acknowledge this in a vague way in answer to one of the questions he is asked when he replies "There were lots [of customers] throughout the building --"]. So again, this is part of the goulash of inaccuracies."


  5. "And then finally there were some accounts that asserted that the team dealt with the weapons of mass destruction issue, and there have been a number of stories in recent days that suggested that this was a team that somehow developed the case on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it didn't - I mean, it - and that is also flatly not true. The team was focused on terrorist networks; it was not focused on weapons of mass destruction." [later, in answer to a question, Feith says: " No, I didn't mean to suggest that they didn't look at WMD at all. I'm saying that the mission that this team was given was not: Look at WMD. The mission that they were given was: Help us understand how these different organizations relate to each other and to their state sponsors."]


  6. Answering a question about whether there was pressure on intelligence analysts in the CIA and elsewhere to endorse the thesis that Iraq had WMD:

    "I know of no pressure. I can't rule out what other people may have perceived. Who knows what people perceive? I know of nobody who pressured anybody." [there was no need for express pressure on other intelligence agencies as the office of special plans was set up to bypass the normal intelligence gatherers, and the office of special plans needed no pressure as they knew exactly what their job was]


  7. ". . . from our perspective, it's pretty clear that the intelligence community's judgments concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction did not undergo a major change between the Clinton and Bush administrations." [a simply bizarre comment, as Bush's thesis was that the United States had to attack Iraq as the United States was in imminent danger of an attack by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and Feith has a great deal of trouble fielding the questions on this issue from incredulous journalists who probably wonder whether they heard right]



Feith's main point is that the unit he set up is different from the office of special plans. There is reason to believe that this is misleading, as we can see from a October 25, 2002 article in the New York Times:

" Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his senior advisers have assigned a small intelligence unit to search for information on Iraq's hostile intentions or links to terrorists that U.S. spy agencies may have overlooked, Pentagon officials said. Some officials say the creation of the team reflects frustration on the part of Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other senior officials that they are not receiving undiluted information on the capabilities of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and his suspected ties to terrorist organizations.

But other officials say that the top civilian policymakers are intent on politicizing intelligence to fit their hawkish views on Iraq."

and

"The intelligence team, comprising four to five members, was established by Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy and a strong advocate for military action against Saddam. It was formed last year, not long after the Sept. 11 attacks, to take on special assignments in the global war on terror."

So it is the same group, and Feith is misleading us (if you read his briefing carefully you will notice that he is vague on when his small group stopped operating - note how he uses the words 'basically' and 'roughly'). His group can't have been disbanded in August because Rumsfeld began using it in October "to search for information on Iraq's hostile intentions or links to terrorists that U.S. spy agencies may have overlooked . . . ." Another source confirms that Feith's small intelligence team was active in the fall, providing input to the office of special plans. It appears that what really happened was that the Defense Department had three policy-planning divisions - one on South Asia, one on the Middle East and one dealing with the Northern Gulf. The only change was that the one dealing with the Northern Gulf was given a new name in October 2002, when it became the Office of Special Plans. It was effectively put on a war footing, and charged with doing whatever had to be done to promote war against Iraq. Feith's group immediately started to aid this newly named Rumsfeld 'intelligence' office, or may have actually been incorporated into this office. Feith's description of the August meeting with Tenet is a red herring, contrived to create the argument that Hersh has confused Feith's small group with Rumsfeld's October 2002 group. Another red herring is for Feith to claim that debriefing of defectors was supposed to be done by the Pentagon's office of Defense Human Service, and therefore was separate from both Feith's small group and Rumsfeld's group. It doesn't matter who did the debriefing - what matters is what was done to use this unfiltered information, most if not all of it incorrect, obtained from the Iraqi defectors. Here is what appears to have happened:

  1. Some group, probably out of the signatories to the PNAC January 26, 1998 letter to Clinton (Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Robert B. Zoellick), along with Cheney, arranged to create a plausible excuse for war against Iraq using materials obtained by massaging information obtained from Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress friends. This is definitely not a CIA operation, which can be seen in the fact that the CIA and the State Department had stopped funding the Iraqi National Congress because they felt it was unreliable and they feared that Chalabi was a crook. For the purposes of the PNAC posse, however, Chalabi's stories were perfect for warmongering. The only question is determining the extent to which the PNAC-ers were taken in by Chalabi, and how much they knew his stories were untrue but decided to use them anyway.

  2. As the stories were created by this PNAC group, they were simultaneously packaged for the purposes of the media, and fed to the world. One of the most important agents of this process was the New York Times in the person of Judith Miller, whose September 8, 2002 article started the heavy promotion of the Iraqi WMD myth with the risible 'aluminum tubes'. To show how this circle works, we have only to consider the fact that Cheney immediately jumped on the 'aluminum tubes' as a reason for war, and added: "There's a story in The New York Times this morning. And I want to attribute the Times." Miller is one of the 'experts' from the ultra-ultra-ultra-Zionist Middle East Forum, along with such worthies as Kristol, and how she does this and write objective articles for a newspaper is one of the great unsolved mysteries of journalism. Miller's problems became completely obvious when she published the now infamous article of April 21, 2003, in which she did all she could to help the Pentagon by trying to produce evidence that Saddam had destroyed the WND just before the attack on Iraq started. This was so clumsily done (described by an insider within the Times as a 'wacky-assed piece'), perhaps betraying the increasing panic in the Bush Administration over the absence of WND, and was such a minefield of journalistic ethics, that the whole operation immediately became apparent. Things became much worse when she admitted that her source for much of her reporting was none other than Chalabi, who is of course the source of the constructed story about Iraq created between the Iraqi National Congress and the Bush Administration PNAC crowd. Miller thus became the witting or unwitting method of providing legitimacy to the Chalabi-Bush Administration tall tales. Raines, in order to hide the problems in the New York Times, in particular the fact that it had become the in-house propaganda organ of the Pentagon, had to gaze across the newsroom until he saw a 'strange fruit', Mr. Blair, who was promptly lynched, with Raines accidentally dying as he got caught up in the same rope. Miller continues to write for the Times, with an article on the Iraqi trailers in which she is unusually careful not to stick to a pure Pentagon line. As Miller herself says, in another telling context: "People have been living in terrible fear here for so long that it's hard to stop being afraid. It's hard to begin telling the truth."

  3. Feith did have a small group set up in the fall of 2001, and this group's main attention may have been to investigate terrorist networks. At the same time however, debriefing of Iraqi National Congress members was producing information that was being massaged by members of the Bush Administration into a cause for war. Feith's August 2002 meeting with the CIA amy have been one of the first attempts to launder this newly-created parcel of lies with the CIA, and the CIA's lack of enthusiasm about the whole idea may very well have prompted Rumsfeld's decision to create his own intelligence agency in the Pentagon. Feith met with the CIA in August, Miller's aluminum tubes article appeared in September, and Rumsfeld's newly renamed office of special plans appeared in October. Contrary to Feith's assertions, his group continued past August, and was advising Rumsfeld's group.

  4. Feith's briefing is an attempt to confuse matters by making it seem that there were many completely separate groups working in the Bush Administration, and that the only time the CIA was confronted with Bush Administration bogus intelligence was in Feith's August meeting. It is obvious that the plot to create an excuse for the Iraq war involved large portions of the Bush Administration and the Pentagon, but they were all working to some central plan, under the direction of some individual Bushite (Rumsfeld?, Cheney?, Wolfowitz?). Feith expressly fudges the issue at the end of the briefing, when he argues that his little group wasn't set up to get around intelligence reports, when the issue is whether the office of special plans was set up with such a purpose (Rumsfeld has set up yet another group, led by scary neo-con Stephen Cambone, to continue his efforts at making an end-run around the CIA; those conspiracy theorists who are so eager to pin 9-11 on the CIA ought to consider how the vampire Bushites treat the CIA like garlic).


The Bush Administration has a real mess on its hands, having lied to everybody about the weapons of mass destruction, but I have every confidence that the disgusting American media will let them off the hook yet again. The Bushites may have even faced a danger of impeachment had they not had the good foresight to murder Wellstone and fix the Georgia Senate voting machines.





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