Published on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
Bush League War Drums
Beating Louder on
It is as though I'm back as
an analyst at the CIA, trying to estimate the chances of an attack on
It is precisely the kind of
work we analysts used to do. And, while it is still a bit jarring
to be turning our analytical tools on the
leadership, it is by no means entirely new. For, of necessity, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been doing that for almost six years now-ever since 9/11, when "everything changed."
Of necessity? Yes, because, with very few exceptions, American journalists put their jobs at grave risk if they expose things like fraudulent wars.
The craft of CIA analysis was designed to be an all-source operation, meaning that we analysts were responsible-and held accountable-for assimilating information from all sources and coming to judgments on what it all meant. We used data of various kinds, from the most sophisticated technical collection platforms, to spies, to-not least-open media.
Here I must reveal a trade secret and risk puncturing the mystique of intelligence analysis. Generally speaking, 80 percent of the information one needs to form judgments on key intelligence targets or issues is available in open media. It helps to have been trained-as my contemporaries and I had the good fortune to be trained-by past masters of the discipline of media analysis, which began in a structured way in targeting Japanese and German media in the 1940s.
But, truth be told, anyone with a high school education can do it. It is not rocket science.
Reporting From Informants
The above is in no way
intended to minimize the value of intelligence collection by CIA case officers
recruiting and running clandestine agents. For, though small in percentage of
the whole nine yards available to be analyzed, information from such sources
can often make a crucial contribution. Consider, for example, the daring
recruitment in mid-2002 of Saddam Hussein's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, who was successfully
"turned" into working for the CIA and quickly established his
credibility. Sabri told us there were no weapons of
mass destruction in
My former colleagues, perhaps a bit naively, were quite sure this would come as a welcome relief to President George W. Bush and his advisers. Instead, they were told that the White House had no further interest in reporting from Sabri; rather, that the issue was not really WMD, it was "regime change." (Don't feel embarrassed if you did not know this; although it is publicly available, our corporate- owned, war profiteering media has largely suppressed this key story.)
One former colleague, operations officer-par-excellence Robert Baer, now reports (in this week's Time) that, according to his sources, the Bush/Cheney administration is winding up for a strike on Iran;" that the administration's plan to put Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the terrorism list points in the direction of such a strike; and that the delusional "neo-conservative" thinking that still guides White House policy concludes that such an attack would lead to the fall of the clerics and the rise of a more friendly Iran.
Hold on, it gets even worse:
Baer's sources tell him that administration officials are thinking "as
long as we have bombers and missiles in the air, we will hit
Rove and Snow: Going Wobbly?
Our VIPS colleague Phil Geraldi, writing in The American Conservative
, earlier noted that in the past Karl Rove has served as a counterweight
to Vice President Dick Cheney, and may have tried to put the brakes on Cheney's
death wish to expand the Middle East quagmire to
In short, it seems possible
that Rove, who is no one's dummy and would not want to be required to
"spin" an unnecessary war on
We now know that it was
because former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld went
wobbly on the
2006 memo to the
president-that Rumsfeld was canned. (That was the day
BEFORE the election.) In that memo, Rumsfeld called
for a "major adjustment" in war policy. And so, Robert Gates, who had
been waiting in the wings, was called to Crawford, given the test for
malleability, hired, and dispatched by the president immediately to
In his memo to the
president, Rumsfeld suggested that
Bush, of course, chose to do just the opposite.
Our domesticated press has not yet been able to put two and two together on this story, so it has been left to investigative reporters like Robert Parry to do so. In his Aug. 17 essay, "Rumsfeld's Mysterious Resignation" ( http://www.consortiumnews.com/Print/2007/081707.html ), Parry closes with this:
"The touchy secret about Rumsfeld's departure seems to have been that Bush didn't want the American people to know that one of the chief Iraq War architects had turned against the idea of an open-ended military commitment - and that Bush had found himself with no choice but to oust Rumsfeld for his loss of faith in the neoconservative cause."
Granted, it is speculative
that similar factors, this time with respect to war planning for
Surgical Strikes First?
With the propaganda buildup
we have seen so far on
Cheerleading in the Domesticated Media
Yes, it is happening again.
The lead editorial in yesterday's
Washington Post regurgitates the allegations that
It's as though Dick Cheney
and friends are again writing the Post's editorials. And not only that: arch
neo-con James Woolsey told Lou Dobbs on Aug. 14 that the US may have no choice
but to bomb Iran in order to halt its nuclear weapons program. As Woolsey puts
it, "I'm afraid within, well, at worst, a few mont
"anchor of the Presbyterian wing of the Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs," has long been out in front plumbing for wars, like
The latest media hype is also rubbish. And Woolsey knows it. And so do reporters for the Washington Post, who are aware of, but have been forbidden to tell, a highly interesting story about waiting for a key National Intelligence Estimate-as if for Godot.
The NIE That Didn't Bark
The latest National
Intelligence Estimate regarding if and when
The conclusion of the most
recent published NIE (early 2005) was that
It is a scandal that the congressional oversight committees have not been briefed on the conclusions of the new estimate, even though it cannot pass Cheney's smell test. For it is a safe bet it would give the lie to the claims of Cheney, Woolsey, and other cheerleaders for war with Iran and provide powerful ammunition to those arguing for a more sensible approach to Iran.
Despite the administration's war-like record, many Americans may still
cling to the belief that attacking
But rationality and common sense have not exactly been the strong suit of this administration. Bush has placed himself in a neoconservative bubble that operates with its own false sense of reality. Worse still:
as psychiatrist Justin Frank pointed out in the July 27 VIPS memo "Dangers of a Cornered Bush," ( http://consortiumnews.com/Print/2007/072707a.html ), updating his book, Bush on the Couch:"
"We are left with a
president who cannot actually govern, because he is incapable of reasoned
thought in coping with events outside his control, like those in the
"This makes it a monumental challenge-as urgent as it is difficult-not only to get him to stop the carnage in the Middle East, but also to prevent him from undertaking a new, perhaps even more disastrous adventure-like going to war with Iran, in order to embellish the image he so proudly created for himself after 9/11 as the commander in chief of `the first war of the 21st century.'"
An earlier, shorter version of this piece appeared on Consortiumnews.com
Ray McGovern works with Tell
the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in