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06 August 2008

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SharonB

I used to hope in the Hague. I do not think old Europe will have the fortitude to take this administration to task. International Justice is reserved for petty third world criminals.

The first and second world get a pass.

Sigh.

CJ

Even without this letter, if it does turn out to be true, there has been more than enough evidence in the public domain to impeach Cheney and Bush for years for any number of greivous offenses against the Constitution and the American people. The worst crime of all, however, is the failure to impeach, because what the Bush/Cheney regime has done is successfully establish new anti-Constitutional precedents for future administrations, all ratified by the cowardice of the Congress.

Warren Street

I'll never understand this obsession people have with "impeachment."

It is not the preferred remedy for criminal wrongdoing. You could have impeachment proceedings and votes and there simply is not the courage in the House or the Senate to join hands and eject the occupant of the White House from his seat. The House may Impeach, but the Senate shall not remove; The Senate is paralyzed. So much for the remedy.

From our enemies, we learn what patience is. They wait for their justice to be delivered poetically and with finality. There is no conceivable Ceausescu or Mussolini scenario--we are too polite of a country. There will probably be a long, drawn out Pinochet scenario but with more colorful lawyers and its own channel. Yes, we are justifiably outraged. But, with patience, we can wait for the day when the power of the pardon is in the hands of someone who will not grant it, and then and only then can you find your remedy, which is in the courts. I don't want to see another Caspar Weinberger skate free at the last minute. Oh, and make sure you have five Justices who will agree to whatever the verdict is--funny how appeals go in this country.

Impeachment is off the table because the table has been run off its legs. Impeach Bush and you have to put Jay Rockefeller and Jane Harman on trial with him, along with more than a few others. Better to wait and see who can bring the best case when all of the documents are shaken out of someone's private safe. Right now, those safes aren't ready to open.

Buff52

There are some Americans like myself who do not believe in impeaching a President for decisions made in prosecuting a war against a terrorist enemy.

different clue

Even if one of those decisions turns out to have been the issuing of an order to fake and forge evidence designed to trick Congress and the Country into accepting war against a country which had precisely zero involvement with that terrorist enemy (al Quaeda), or its attacks (East African embassies, Cole, Twin Towers)?

fnord

buff52: Are you saying that any and all actions are legal due to the nature of "the enemy"? My goodness, thats an interesting take on the Rule of Law and the concept of judicial oversight. Please, continue and expand your thoughts?

Clifford Kiracofe

All,

Phil Giraldi has a clarification which is interesting:

"My source also notes that Dick Cheney, who was behind the forgery, hated and mistrusted the Agency and would not have used it for such a sensitive assignment. Instead, he went to Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans and asked them to do the job. The Pentagon has its own false documents center, primarily used to produce fake papers for Delta Force and other special ops officers traveling under cover as businessmen. It was Feith’s office that produced the letter and then surfaced it to the media in Iraq."
http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/08/07/suskind-revisited/

Even more consistent with what we have seen....Office of Special Plans/Feith....

Patrick Lang

All

Suskind has posted the transcript of one of his interviews with Richer the head of DO/NE at that time. The story is very specific.

http://www.ronsuskind.com/thewayoftheworld/transcripts/

"Interview Transcript

. . . Ron Suskind: I know we've talked through these things eight ways to Sunday, and hour after hour, but here's what I want you to ask yourself. Prior to me jogging your memory, okay--forget Habbush part one, okay.

Rob Richer: Okay.

Ron: You know, the prewar stuff, cause there's zillions of people in on that part. And there's people in on the second part, too. But here's my question to you: before I, as I said, before I jog your memory on this stuff, what do you--and I think I have a good idea, cause I've asked you this seven different ways, but I just want to make absolutely sure--what do you remember? If I just grabbed you on the street and said what do you remember of the second part, okay--with the letter and all the rest--what would be the high marks in terms of what you--memory's the best editor I think's a line from Tennyson--

Rob: Exactly.

Ron: What were the parts that you remember most vividly?

Rob: You're talking about Habbush himself, correct?

Ron: No, I'm talking about the second part, with the letter being passed from--through George [Tenet] and down the ranks. Cause at one point--and I know we have recollections at the top and that's fine--you have recollections, not from me but from your own memory on that--

Rob: Let me tell you what I know, just so before you color any of it. Is that when you first asked me about it I remember just really telling you that it was a non-event, and if you were to ask me today I would tell you it was a non-event. It came down from the seventh floor. It was part of--as I remember it, it wasn't so much to influence America--that's illegal--but it was kinda like a covert, a way to influence Iraqis.

. . .

Rob: To characterize it right, I would say, right: it came to us, George had a raised eyebrow, and basically we passed it on--it was to--and passed this on into the organization. You know, it was: 'Okay, we gotta do this, but make it go away.' To be honest with you, I don't want to make it sound--I for sure don't want to portray this as George jumping: 'Okay, this has gotta happen.' As I remember it--and, again, it's still vague, so I'll be very straight with you on this--is it wasn't that important. It was: 'This is unbelievable. This is just like all the other garbage we get about . . . I mean Mohammad Atta and links to al Qaeda. 'Rob,' you know, 'do something with this.' I think it was more like that than: 'Get this done.'

Ron: Do something with this, right. Get this, this is like--

Rob: It died a natural death as you know.

Ron: 'This thing stinks, take it.'

Rob: Yeah, kinda like that, yeah. But, you know, we got so much garbage that first couple—that year.

Ron: Were there other things like this where we were creating product?

Rob: You know, I don't remember that.

. . .

Ron: The intent--the basic raison d'etre of this product is to get, is to create, here's a letter with what's in it. Okay, here's what we want on the letter, we want it to be released as essentially a representation of something Habbush says. That's all it says, that's the one paragraph. And then you pass it to whomever to do it. To get it done.

Rob: It probably passed through five or six people. George probably showed it to me, but then passed it probably to Jim Pavitt, the DDO, who then passed it down to his chief of staff who passed it to me. Cause that's how--you know, so I saw the original. I got a copy of it. But it was, there probably was--

Ron: Right. You saw the original with the White House stationery, but you didn't--down the ranks, then it creates other paper.

Rob: Yeah, no, exactly. But I couldn't tell you--again: I remember it happening, I remember a terrible brief kinda joking dialogue about it, but that was it.

. . .

Ron: Now this is from the Vice President's Office is how you remembered it--not from the president?

Rob: No, no, no. What I remember is George saying, 'we got this from'--basically, from what George said was 'downtown.'

Ron: Which is the White House?

Rob: Yes. But he did not--in my memory--never said president, vice president, or NSC. Okay? But now--he may have hinted--just by the way he said it, it would have--cause almost all that stuff came from one place only: Scooter Libby and the shop around the vice president.

Ron: Yeah, right.

Rob: But he didn't say that specifically. I would naturally--I would probably stand on my, basically, my reputation and say it came from the vice president.

Ron: Right, I'm with you, I'm with you. But there wasn't anything in the writing that you remember saying the vice president.

Rob: Nope.

Ron: It just had the White House stationery.

Rob: Exactly right.

Ron: That's fine, White House stationery's fine. Everything's from there. You know, that's the center point. But not OVP's Office. It's just the White House. It comes from the White House. That's plain and simple.

Rob: And you know, if you've ever seen the vice president's stationery, it's on the White House letterhead. It may have said OVP. I don't remember that, so I don't want to mislead you. . . ."

CIA trying to wiggle off the hook?

We will see. Suskind has the tape of that interview. pl

zanzibar

Buff52

There are many Americans including myself who believe that propagandizing the American people based on false premises into an unnecessary war of choice on a sovereign country that had nothing to do with terrorist attacks on our country is treason.

Clifford Kiracofe

<"Rob: But he didn't say that specifically. I would naturally--I would probably stand on my, basically, my reputation and say it came from the vice president.">

OK, so then it would still be consistent were the Vice President's office to have been the locus of the plan for the forgery and/or instructions to create one. This could have been a bright idea from Feith and the Neocons at OSP, for example, sent up to the VPs office. Also, there was a move by Rumsfeld early to set up an office for dezinformatsia and press manipulation.

Interesting case here.

Clifford Kiracofe

From Salon, still more:

"On Dec. 14, 2003, the Sunday Telegraph hyped the phony Habbush memo as a front-page exclusive over the byline of Con Coughlin, the paper's foreign editor and chief Mideast correspondent, who has earned a reputation for promoting neoconservative claptrap. As I explained in a Salon blog post on Dec. 18, the story's sudden appearance in London was the harbinger of a disinformation campaign that quickly blew back to the United States -- where it was cited by William Safire on the New York Times Op-Ed page. Ignoring the bizarre Niger yellowcake reference, which practically screamed bullshit, Safire seized on Coughlin's story as proof of his own cherished theory about Saddam's sponsorship of 9/11.....But the credulous Telegraph coverage is still significant now, because Coughlin identified the source of his amazing scoop as Ayad Allawi. For those who have forgotten the ambitious Allawi, he is a former Baathist who rebelled against Saddam, formed the Iraqi National Accord movement to fight the dictator, and was appointed to Iraq's interim Governing Council by the U.S. occupation authorities after the invasion.

Although Coughlin quoted Allawi at some length, neither he nor his source revealed how the Habbush memo had fallen into the hands of the Iraqi politician. But the Safire column made an allusion that now seems crucial, describing Allawi as "an Iraqi leader long considered reliable by intelligence agencies."
http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2008/08/08/suskind/


Patrick Lang

Clifford

Come now.

You cited Giraldi to say that that "the Pentagon," a favorite formulation of the CIA for DoD as a whole, planned AND executed this crime.

Now, you are saying that "the Pentagon" is still responsible on the basis that the handful of political screwballs in Feith's office MIGHT have dreamed this up? Say what?

Whoever came up with the idea, Richer's transcript makes it clear that EITHER; 1-CIA ROUTINELY accepted and CARRIED OUT the mission without objecting, or 2- Suskind is lying. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

PL,

I said Giraldi's piece was "interesting." Didn't say I believed it to be the final word on the matter. Haven't blamed "The Pentagon."

I said: "This could have been a bright idea from Feith and the Neocons at OSP, for example, sent up to the VPs office."

It seems to me, from what is known about OSP "cherry picking/stovepipe" activities, through Sy Hersh's New Yorker articles for example, that the idea could well have emerged from Feith's shop, gone over to the VPs office, and thence to CIA to execute. This is a reasonable scenario.

If it originated in Feith's shop, would it have passed through Wolfowitz, his boss? Would Rummy have been in the picture?

The phone transcript: 1. clearly points to the VPs office and 2. clearly points to CIA.

The Salon article gives more context for the CIA "active measures" angle and active involvement pointing to Allawi's activities spreading the dezinformatsia. Also interesting is the reference to Safire.

So: Feith's OSP to VP to CIA to Allawi and Con Coughlin/Telegraph and Safire/New York Times seems a fair reconstruction at this point.

Did Neocons like Feith or those inthe VPs shop get some inspiration from Neocon fellow traveler Roy Godson's book on Dezinformatsia?

J

http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2008/08/07/suskind-revisited/

Suskind Revisited
Posted on August 7th, 2008 by Philip Giraldi

An extremely reliable and well placed source in the intelligence community has informed me that Ron Suskind’s revelation that the White House ordered the preparation of a forged letter linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and also to attempts made to obtain yellowcake uranium is correct but that a number of details are wrong.

The Suskind account states that two senior CIA officers Robert Richer and John Maguire supervised the preparation of the document under direct orders coming from Director George Tenet. Not so, says my source. Tenet is for once telling the truth when he states that he would not have undermined himself by preparing such a document while at the same time insisting publicly that there was no connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Richer and Maguire have both denied that they were involved with the forgery and it should also be noted that preparation of such a document to mislead the media is illegal and they could have wound up in jail.

My source also notes that Dick Cheney, who was behind the forgery, hated and mistrusted the Agency and would not have used it for such a sensitive assignment. Instead, he went to Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans and asked them to do the job. The Pentagon has its own false documents center, primarily used to produce fake papers for Delta Force and other special ops officers traveling under cover as businessmen. It was Feith’s office that produced the letter and then surfaced it to the media in Iraq. Unlike the Agency, the Pentagon had no restrictions on it regarding the production of false information to mislead the public. Indeed, one might argue that Doug Feith’s office specialized in such activity.

J

Colonel,

i just posted the giraldi article complete for all to see. my question is, who is the 'source' for giralidi that appears to be trying to 'direct' the angle of view? hmmm...... now did the butler do it in the palor, or was it the maid in the kitchen? hmm..........guess we can expect 'turns' and 'more turns' as the rats run away from any responsiblity/accountability. hmmm.......it would have been better had giraldi cited who his 'well placed source' was. on this level, phil we need names for the record, names give us names.

J

Colonel,

i'll put my money on door #1.

Clifford Kiracofe

S'more "interesting" material:

"The disappearance of all that credible evidence reflected a deliberate decision by Tenet. The White House Iraq Group had just rolled out its new campaign to create a political climate supporting war in early September, and Tenet knew what was expected of him. As an analyst who worked on the NIE told Bob Drogin of the Los Angeles Times, "The going-in assumption was that we were going to war, so this NIE was to be written with that in mind." That means Tenet's account of the CIA's role in the WMD issue in his 2007 memoirs completely ignored the credible evidence from Habbush, Sabri, and the former Iraqi specialists that there was no active program, as well as his own role in suppressing it. ....
Tenet – who was a political operator rather than an intelligence professional – had betrayed the CIA's mission of providing objective analysis, instead choosing to serve the interests of the Bush administration in preparing the way for war. It is not difficult to imagine how he would have meekly carried out whatever was asked of him by the White House – even forging a document and leaking it to the media, to buttress the administration's case for war."
http://www.antiwar.com/porter/?articleid=13273

As far as "The White House" is concerned: What is the relationship of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) to the forged letter we are discussing on this thread? Would it have received the idea through Feith's OSP via VPs office? Would it have been involved in the orders to CIA to execute it? or would the order simply have been straight from the VPs office?

Did Bush know? Or was it simply done under a blanket wink and a nod to the VP so as to keep his fingerprints off it/plausible deniability? How much did Reagan personally know about Iran-Contra...."lessons learned" by Cheney and Rummy for the future?

Clifford Kiracofe

Think I left out link to the Gareth Porter article from which I just posted a quote"

"How Tenet Betrayed the CIA on Iraq WMD", Gareth Porter 9 August http://www.antiwar.com/porter/?articleid=13273

Clifford Kiracofe

Questions for the lawyers at SST, and All:

1. What statutes make it illegal for USG to use propaganda in the US as opposed to circulating it abroad? I think there are several to this effect that came about during the Cold War era????

2. If such activity is illegal under statute(s), then it would be logical for an evildoer (advised say by lawyers like Addington in the VPs office) to float propaganda abroad with the intention that it would blowback to US and get picked up by US press and thereby propagandize the US public.

3. I dimly recall something on the books that makes it illegal for a federal official to knowingly supply false information to another federal official with the intent to deceive???


Other Questions:

Thus, the scenario OVP ("The White House") to CIA to FOREIGN destinations via Allawi etal. FOREIGN press such as Con Coughlin/Telegraph pick it up and a preinformed (or merely sharp eyed) Safire picks it up from the "FOREIGN" source to blowback into US.

Would this method not also apply to the known forgeries from Italians per aluminum tubes and yellow cake?

Or to things floated in Israel by the Herzlya crowd and others and moved into London, thence US and etc.?

different clue

The only way to even begin
unravelling all these threads for real and not just in our minds would have
been to start impeachment proceedings in 2006. Hopefully maybe that would have crippled certain Very Highest Principals enough to
where they would not have been able to stop the subsequent pulling of every thread.

But nooooo. No, our Speaker of the House and Defender of the Constitution
Pelosi took impeachment "off
the table." Thank you ever so much, Madame Speaker, for
all your efforts to "firmly shut and seal (and weld down) this manhole cover."

Tom Griffin

it's interesting that Richer's latest statement seems to accept the accuracy of the transcript that Suskind released:

An order such as the one outlined by Mr. Suskind would have been a huge event – and in my opinion illegal. An order to fabricate such a document would have been rejected out of hand and it is improbable to believe anyone would write such a request. In the edited transcript I am vague on the circumstances of whatever the issue was regarding Habbush. I would have had much clearer recollections of an issue or order of the sensational magnitude outlined by Mr. Suskind," Richer said.

http://www.pubrecord.org/politics/252.html?task=view

So I suppose a lot rests on how damning you think the transcript is:

To characterize it right, I would say, right: it came to us, George had a raised eyebrow, and basically we passed it on--it was to--and passed this on into the organization. You know, it was: 'Okay, we gotta do this, but make it go away.' To be honest with you, I don't want to make it sound--I for sure don't want to portray this as George jumping: 'Okay, this has gotta happen.' As I remember it--and, again, it's still vague, so I'll be very straight with you on this--is it wasn't that important. It was: 'This is unbelievable. This is just like all the other garbage we get about . . . I mean Mohammad Atta and links to al Qaeda. 'Rob,' you know, 'do something with this.' I think it was more like that than: 'Get this done.'
http://www.ronsuskind.com/thewayoftheworld/transcripts/

Where Richer is consistent is in talking about using Habbush against the insurgency rather than against western opinion.

This is exactly the kind of totally disingenuous distinction which facilitates the transnational disinformation networks that David Habakkuk describes above. The apparent chain of events from Ayad Allawi to Conn Coughlin to William Safire would seem to be a good example of this.

As a polite fiction, might a disinformation operation ostensibly aimed at Iraqi opinion have seemed of less 'sensational magnitude' for the CIA than Richer suggests?

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