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on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2002
US State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001
really misinformed the President about Iraq?
IT ON INTELLIGENCE
appointing a committee to take a long-term look at alleged intelligence
failures, the administration neatly sidesteps a debate over the decision
to go to war with Iraq until after the election. What happened to the
intelligence reporting in Washington is hardly a secret, and in fact,
everything that the committee is likely to discover has already been lucidly
explained by Seymour
Hersh in the New Yorker.
It is hard to imagine finding anyone in Washington who does not know about
the neo-conservative "cabal" that ran its own intelligence operation--the
Office for Special Plans--from the Pentagon or that it "stovepiped"
information--bypassing the orthodox procedures for review and evaluation
by professionals--in order to bolster the case for pushing ahead with
a war that former treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil noted in his recent book
had already been decided on in the first days of the administration. The
real question is not whether Saddam was a bad person or presented a long
term danger to the U.S. and world peace, but whether the threat was deadly
enough to rush into a costly war without taking time to evaluate the real
risks to national security.
reports on Washington and London
Cheney's office change the CIA's version?
Washington Post reports on an alleged rewrite of Powell's speech to the
U.N.(Glenn Kessler, Walter Pincus, Washington Post, February 1, 2004)
Hersh's New Yorker article on intelligence "stovepiping"
Washington Post on setting up the committee to look into what happened.
Powell wavers on the war (Washington Post, Feb 3, 2004)
assesses where the process went wrong
(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 2004)
skepticism in the Middle East (BBC monitoring service)
Kay: No weapons found;the process needs fixing. David Kay's entire
testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee can be watched in streaming
video via C-Span. Check "Most Watched Videos." The hearing runs
2 hours and 42 minutes.
ISN'T THE ONLY PROBLEM
A U.S. Army study of operations in Iraq reports that logistical breakdowns
were much worse than Army officers initially reported. At one point, U.S.
artillerymen were forced to cannibalize Iraqi parts to keep going, while
tank engines remained in Kuwait because no truck drivers could be found
to deliver them. The logics operations were part of LOGCAP, a program
run by Halliburton's subsidiary, Kellog Brown and Root. Halliburton has
also been investigated for allegedly overcharging on fuel sold to the
U.S. Army in Iraq, and more recently for billing three times the cost
of delivering food to troops. (Eric Schmidt, New York Times, February
3, 2004) Also, The
GAO reports on logistics foul-ups in Iraq,(GAO, Dec. 18, 2004)
MUCH WILL IT COST?
The Center for Defense Information's Winslow T. Wheeler notes that
the new Department of Defense budget calls for $380 billion, or $400 billion
or $462 billion, depending on your perspective. What is most disturbing
about the half- trillion dollar deficit the administration has run up
so far is that it doesn't include the runaway costs of the war in Iraq.
That will be added in later. (Winslow T. Wheeler, Defense Week, February
IN IRAQ COULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON FUTURE U.S. ENERGY DEMANDS
The Center for Strategic and International Studies' Anthony Cordesman
updates the role the Persian Gulf is likely to play in the near future.
Latest estimates are that the Persian Gulf will account for 66% of petroleum
exports by 2025 and the U.S. will find itself competing in an increasingly
cut-throat world energy market. (Anthony Cordesman et al. CSIS, January
AN ISLAMIC BOMB
The father of Pakistan's atomic bomb is a hero at home, or he was until
his ouster from official functions and the publication of his alleged
confession this weekend. Khan is accused of selling nuclear secrets to
Iran, Libya and other potential rogue states--a charge that is not likely
to carry much credibility in the third world since it is common knowledge
that Pakistan was getting support for its nuclear efforts from countries
like Libya from the beginning. Khan's downfall is more likely to be seen
as another sign that Pakistan's President Musharraf is kowtowing to the
U.S., and that may further weaken Musharraf's already shaky hold on power.(Peter
Grier, Faye Bowers, and Owais Tohid in the Christian Science Monitor,
February 2, 2004)
•Comment by Lt.
General (Ret.) Talat Massood in Pakistan's Dawn Newspaper
Track to Humiliation?
Abid Ullah Jan notes in Paknews.com that Khan's downfall may mean
that Pakistan is ready to succumb to U.S. pressure to cede control over
its nuclear deterrence.
WEEKEND FOR THE BBC
by the Chairman and Director General of the BBC over the weekend were
followed by the resignation of BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan, who had accused
the government of Tony Blair of "sexing up" intelligence on
Iraq. An inquiry by Lord Hutton looking into the death of British weapons
expert David Kelly focused mostly on errors that Gilligan had made in
an unscripted television interview. To a certain extent the report uses
hindsight and access to previously secret information to criticize a reporter's
efforts to get at the facts in a hostile environment. It does provide
interesting insights. Hutton notes that the government confirmed David
Kelly's name to reporters as a source for critical comments about handling
Iraq intelligence because it felt obliged to avoid casting suspicion on
other possible sources. Hutton admits that not informing Kelly may have
been a mistake. Hutton also noted that the term "sexed up" might
have several meanings. If it meant that the government had actually falsified
intelligence, then Hutton felt that there was no evidence. If Gilligan
meant that the government had emphasized certain aspects of the intelligence,
then a case could be argued. Hutton also reported that a claim that Saddam
might launch weapons of mass destruction on only 45 minutes notice actually
came from Britain's Secret Intelligence Service(BBC comments with links
Spectator comments on the controversy over the BBC and the Hutton Report
Gilligan's incautious remarks on the Today Show
BBC Director General Greg Dyke's letter to Tony Blair last March concerning
independent reporting on BBC.
War at the BBC (The Independent, February 1, 2004)
Independent on documents which hold the answer to Iraq's weapons under
guard in a Qatar warehouse.
TERRORISTS VS BAD: RICHARD PERLE SPEAKS TO A CONTROVERSIAL GATHERING
Perle claimed that his paid-speaking engagement for a charity benefit
for earthquake victims in Iran was at the behest of the Red Cross. Unfortunately
the Red Cross had already backed out, and the Justice Department was considering
closing in. The problem: some of the charity organizers allegedly had
connections to the Mujaheddin e-Khalq, a guerrilla organization classified
as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. The Mujaheddin e-Khalq
is not only devoted to the overthrow of the Iranian government but it
also enjoyed full support of Saddam Hussein. It participated in the kidnapping
of American hostages in Teheran after the Iranian Revolution, and it killed
a number of Americans in passing. (Glenn Kessler,The Washington Post,
January 29, 2004)
in The Hill magazine
HAPPENS WHEN THE CIA AND SPECIAL FORCES BLEND TOGETHER FOR COMBINED OPS?
ethical confusion. Kathryn Stone analyzes the implications for the U.S.
Army War College. (Spring 2003)
TRIP TO NORTH KOREA
Los Alamos National Laboratory's Siegfried Hecker testifies to the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his unexpected visit to a North
Korean nuclear facility. (FAS, January 2004)
None of the groups in Iraq has a firm understanding of the concept,
yet federalism may offer the only possibility for a democratic government
that still offers autonomy to competing ethnic minorities. (Kamal Ali,
Institute for War, Peace Reporting, 27 January 2004)
Rashid reports in the New York Review of Books that the U.S. has been
playing one game in Kabul and quite another in the hinterlands where human
rights violations at the hands of war lords is disturbingly commonplace.
(New York Review of Books, February 2004)
KAY'S CONCERNS ABOUT THE LACK OF RELIABLE INTELLIGENCE ON IRAQ
there may be obvious political advantages to blaming the rush to invade
Iraq on faulty intelligence, former arms inspector David Kay sees a genuine
systemic problem in Washington's costly exaggerated estimation of the
threat from Saddam. Here is an excerpt of Kay's report to the Senate Armed
I had innumerable analysts who came to me in apology that the world that
we were finding was not the world that they had thought existed and that
they had estimated. Reality on the ground differed in advance.
And never -- not in a single case -- was the explanation, "I was
pressured to do this." The explanation was very often, "The
limited data we had led one to reasonably conclude this. I now see that
there's another explanation for it."
And each case was different, but the conversations were sufficiently in
depth and our relationship was sufficiently frank that I'm convinced that,
at least to the analysts I dealt with, I did not come across a single
one that felt it had been, in the military term, "inappropriate command
influence" that led them to take that position.
It was not that. It was the honest difficulty based on the intelligence
that had -- the information that had been collected that led the analysts
to that conclusion.
And you know, almost in a perverse way, I wish it had been undue influence
because we know how to correct that.
We get rid of the people who, in fact, were exercising that.
The fact that it wasn't tells me that we've got a much more fundamental
problem of understanding what went wrong, and we've got to figure out
what was there. And that's what I call fundamental fault analysis.
And like I say, I think we've got other cases other than Iraq. I do not
think the problem of global proliferation of weapons technology of mass
destruction is going to go away, and that's why I think it is an urgent
issue." (DAVID KAY, CNN
transcript, January 28, 2004)
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