Saturday, November 5

NYT: The Iraq Intelligence was maniplated?

It may not be July, but it doesn't mean it isn't time a bit of Fireworks from the New York Times:

Smoking Gun on Manipulation of Iraq Intelligence? 'NY Times' Cites New Document

Ever since the Democrats briefly closed the U.S. Senate from view earlier this week, to protest alleged Republican foot-dragging in probing Bush administration pre-war manipulation of intelligence, the press has been asking: So what new evidence do the Democrats have in this matter?

Tomorrow, The New York Times starts to answer the question, with reporter Doug Jehl disclosing the contents of a newly declassified memo apparently passed to him by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

It shows that an al-Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to this Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002.

It declared that it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for al-Qaeda's work with illicit weapons, Jehl reports.

"The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi's credibility," Jehl writes. "Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi's information as `credible' evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.

Man, that New York Times really is good at the Investigative Journalism. It's not like we haven't had plenty of previous evidence -- like say from the Secret Service that the Niger/Uranium documents were forged, or that Curveball simply couldn't be trusted, the revelation of the Downing Street Minutes that the "facts were being fixed around the policy", Lawrence Wilkerson going bat-shit postal over the Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal, or from the Dulfer Report -- that pretty much everything that Colin Powel told the UN, was Fuckin-A Wrong!

I'm so glad the Times is on the case.


Friday, November 4

Why Secret Detentions are Neccesary

Crossposted on Dailykos:

Recently, it's been reported that the EU plans to investigate reports of Secret CIA Dentention Centers in Former Eastern Block Countries

EU to Investigate Allegations of CIA Jails

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union and the continent's top human rights group said Thursday they will investigate allegations the CIA set up secret jails in eastern Europe and elsewhere to interrogate terror suspects, and the Red Cross demanded access to any prisoners.

Certainly this Administration has blatant ignored Human Rights issues as they apply to suspected terrorist, but there is also another view -- that the U.S. and other nations actually have a legitimate and valid need to hold some terror suspects incommunicado for Security Reasons.

In his book Imperial Hubris Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Bin Laden Desk addresses the subject of repeated and costly al Qaeda leaks.

Beyond the growing volume of leaks, there has been a sharp increase in leaking data that has no clear purpose in terms of shaping U.S. domestic or foreign policies but rather a form of bragging to the world and the enemy about what we know and how we know it.

... Leaks are a major factor limiting the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to defeat Osama bin Laden, et al. The first serious leak about al Qaeda was in the Washington Times after the 20 August 1998 U.S. cruise missle attack on al Qaeda camps near Khowst, Afghanistan. The attack was in response to the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania thirteen days earlier. In the 24 August Times article, "Senior" U.S. Department of Defense officials revealed that precise U.S. targeting of the camps was based on electronically intercepting bin Laden's conversations.

... Said one U.S. official: "We want to see who is still using the same cell phone numbers,'" Apparently these genius leakers had decided it was time to make sure the terrorist would not use the phone again. Well, as night follows day, the intelligence community lost this priceless advantage when bin Laden and his men stopped using the phones.

... Because of such [sic] leaks, the United States cannot fully exploit its clandestine services's numerous, often astounding captures of senior al Qaeda fighters. From the capture of Abu Zubaydah in March 2002 to that of Khalid bin Attah in March 2003, word of the arrests has been leaked by senior U.S. officials within days,, and often hours of their occurrence.

...I can say with confidence that the most damaging leaks about al Qaeda come from the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the White House. A reliable rule of thumb for the reader is that the federal agencies who have done least to protect America from al Qaeda leak the most to take credit for others' work and disguise their years of failure.

The point that Scheuer makes in an important one - Leaks Are Bad. Very Bad, and quite frequently can have deadly consequences to those trying to protect us. And although it goes against the normal standards of criminal jurisprudence, there are some good reasons to maintain security involving the arrest and capture of critical terrorist personnel and assets - just as the U.S. maintained the secret that we had broken the Japanese codes just prior to the start of World War II.

With secret possession of a high-value target, U.S. and other intelligence agencies have the possibility of spoofing the opposition by sending in either physically or electronic duplicates of that suspect. Al-Qaeda does a great deal of it's communications through secure email and websites. If you've captured a person with the access codes to these sites - we can use those codes to plant our own propoganda and phony operations plans where we set the target, the time-table and flush out the terrorists in a trap. However, as Scheuer points out, all of this type of counter-intelligence work and tradecraft falls apart once the deception is revealed.

Something as seemly insignificant as a phone number for a contact, can be enough of a thread to start unravelling a terrorist cell, but once it becomes known that a person possesing that number has been captured - it can quickly useless become just as Bin Laden's Satellite phones did.

This practice however, should never be a carte-blanch arrangement.

What we need to do is establish a clear policy that may maintain the secrecy of these detainee - while such secrecy is justified - but also ensure that Secrecy is not simply being used as a pretext to allow for their inhumane treatment and torture. Although they may be held incommunicado for a time, that detention can not be allowed to be extended indefinately.

By all reasonable accounts there is a finite window when actionable intelligence may be gained from such suspects, and most importantly a finite window when the fact of their capture can be kept a secret - and you may be able to gleam some real intelligence from their unwitting associate who don't realize that they've been compromised. If at any point "cover is blown" for any such spoofing operation -- there would no longer be any good reason to keep the capture a secret. Therefore there should be some sort of established "request for secure detention" procedure in place, one that list the reasons why this persons capture should not be revealed -- reasons which would be periodically checked and verified on a regular basis.

Clearly, the current policy U.S. is a very long way from this -- the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad has been far from a secret, yet he has become one of "The Disappeared" -- but as we legitimately support the efforts of the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch to shut down these clandestine detention centers, we also have to realize that our goal is not only to better protect both American Citizens, but also protect the rights and humanity of those who may be completely innocent of any wrong doing what-so-ever.

We have to take serious what Sy Hersh stated well over a year ago:

My government has a secret unit that since December of 2001 has been disappearing people just like the Brazilians and the Argentineans did. Rumsfeld decided after 9/11 that he could not wait. The president signed a secret document…There's a team of people, they fly in unmarked planes, they fly in Gulfstreams, they have their own choppers, they don't carry American passports, and they just grab people. And maybe in the beginning I can understand there was some rationale. Right after 9/11 we were frightened, we didn't know what to do …"

If we fail to get control of this - not only will the sad irony of using former Gulags for these detentions will not soon fade, the terrorism will continue to grow intense - stoked by the flames of righteous indignation at the hypocracy of our violation not just of the Geneva Conventions, but the U.S. Constitution (5th, 14th and 8th Amendments - "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted"), U.S. Federal Law (Title 18, Chapter 113C prohibiting Torture) and Uniform Code of Military Justice (Section 893, Article 94 prohibitions against "Cruelty and Maltreatment").


Don't get Fooled Again

Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media ecology at New York University has a brand new book about the 2004 election, Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election, and Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them).

Some of Mark's previous work includes Boxed in: The Culture of TV, The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder, and Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order. He writes regularly on his blog, News From Underground, and just yesterday participated in a question and answer forum on Democratic Underground.

DU News Roundup

Latest set of news snipets from Democratic

Prosecutor Narrows Focus on Rove Role in C.I.A. Leak

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 - The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case has narrowed his investigation of Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, to whether he tried to conceal from the grand jury a conversation with a Time magazine reporter in the week before an intelligence officer's identity was made public more than two years ago, lawyers in the case said Thursday.

The special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has centered on what are believed to be his final inquiries in the matter as to whether Mr. Rove was fully forthcoming about the belated discovery of an internal e-mail message that confirmed his conversation with the Time reporter, Matthew Cooper, to whom Mr. Rove had mentioned the C.I.A. officer.

Mr. Fitzgerald no longer seems to be actively examining some of the more incendiary questions involving Mr. Rove. At one point, he explored whether Mr. Rove misrepresented his role in the leak case to President Bush - an issue that led to discussions between Mr. Fitzgerald and James E. Sharp, a lawyer for Mr. Bush, an associate of Mr. Rove said.


One lawyer with a client in the case said Mr. Fitzgerald could be skeptical of Mr. Rove's account because the message was not discovered until the fall of 2004. It was at about the same time that Mr. Fitzgerald had begun to compel reporters to cooperate with his inquiry, among them Mr. Cooper. Associates of Mr. Rove said the e-mail message was not incriminating and was turned over immediately after it was found at the White House. They said Mr. Rove never intended to withhold details of a conversation with a reporter from Mr. Fitzgerald, noting that Mr. Rove had signed a waiver to allow reporters to reveal to prosecutors their discussions with confidential sources. In addition, they said, Mr. Rove testified fully about his conversation with Mr. Cooper - long before Mr. Cooper did - acknowledging that it was possible that the subject of Mr. Wilson's trip had come up.

Italian Lawmaker Says Country's Secret Service Warned U.S. That Iraq Uranium Documents Were Fake

11-03-2005 12:15 PM
By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer

ROME -- Italian secret services warned the United States months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said Thursday after a briefing by the nation's intelligence chief.

"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after the parliamentary commission was briefed.

Brutti said the warning was given in January 2003, but he did not know whether it was made before or after President Bush's speech.

The United States and Britain used the claim that Saddam was seeking to buy uranium in Niger to bolster their case for the war. The intelligence supporting the claim later was deemed unreliable.


Reid on Fire

The New Republic has more on what I reported last month: that Cheney has intervened with chairman Pat Roberts to obstruct the Senate Select Intelligence committee's investigation of the Bush administration's use of Iraq intelligence. TNR write:

...--More dramatically, Reid also made it clear that he believes the delay in the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of prewar Iraq WMD--the underlying issue behind Tuesday's closed session--is entirely attributable to Vice President Dick Cheney. "Nothing happens regarding intelligence gathering ... unless it's signed off on by the Vice President," he said. " Roberts couldn't do it"--i.e., Roberts couldn't conduct a full investigation without Cheney's approval. When I asked Reid whether he meant to state so flatly that Cheney was personally and directly stalling the Intelligence Committee's work, he didn't pause a beat. In fact he almost stood from his chair. "Yes. I say that without any qualification ... Circle it." ...

I don't understand why we haven't heard Pat Roberts complaining more vociferously about the obstruction he's experienced from the Veep. Why would the Senator stand for the administration bucking oversight and Congressional reporting requirements on Iraq intelligence, torture, black site prisons, etc.? (Via Tapped's Ezra Klein).

Knight Ridder Reporter Warns of Hostile Takeover--with Political Twist?
As reports swirl that KR could or should be sold, under new pressure from what he calls a "pro-GOP" big investor, a longtime Philly Daily News scribe charges that this would be "bad news" for the chain--and all of American media.

By Will Bunch

PHILADELPHIA (November 02, 2005) -- As you probably know if you're a newspaper junkie, and may not know if you're a normal human being, a Florida-based investment group -- with zero fanfare -- has bought up 19% of the stock of Knight Ridder, Inc., the owners of the Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer, not to mention the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury News, and a bunch of other big names in the dead-tree world.

And now, apparently unaware that newspaper readership has been dropping steadily for a half-decade and that advertisers are starting to follow readers to this new-fangled Internet thingee, the investors -- named Private Capital Management -- are shocked, shocked to learn that they aren't getting the greatest return on their investment.

And so their solution: They want to sell the company.

This is probably very bad news, for a couple of reasons. And even if you're one of the many people who thinks that newspapers are dinosaurs and believe it doesn't matter whether they live or die, you should pay attention to this.

No. 1: Are you concerned about pro-GOP Big Business taking over America's media business? Then you should be concerned about this deal.


Breaking tradition, Carter rips Bush's policies

WASHINGTON — Former President Jimmy Carter said Thursday that "fundamentalism" under George W. Bush has resulted in a "dramatic and profound and unprecedented change" in American policy that threatens the United States at home and abroad.
Carter, who is promoting a new book critical of Bush, faulted the Bush administration for "an unprecedented and overt ... merger of the church and state, of religion and politics."

At a breakfast with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Carter, 81, diverged from a time-honored practice in which ex-presidents refrain from criticizing those currently holding the office. He acknowledged making mistakes when he was president from 1977-81, and at one point declared: "I can't deny that I am a better ex-president than I was a president."

But he said Bush has made such significant changes to U.S. foreign policy and human rights doctrine, resulting in precipitous declines in the country's standing abroad, that he felt compelled to write "Our Endangered Values." It is Carter's 20th book since he was defeated for re-election by Ronald Reagan in 1980.


He said the natural "arrogance" of second-term presidents is exacerbated by a fundamentalism under Bush that causes many of his supporters and those who work in his administration to believe that "I am right because I am close to God (and) anybody who disagrees with me is inherently wrong, and therefore inferior."
Even though many ex-Presidents including both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have already broken with the so-called tradition of not criticizing the sitting President - this last story about President Carter is especially interesting because Carter was one of the very first politicians to public admit to being a "Born-Again Christian" in a Playboy interview.


Thursday, November 3

EU to investigate Secret CIA detention centers

As I've stated here, I do believe there are legitamate security reasons for keeping information about captured terrorist subjects secret. Particularly the increased value of being able to "Spoof" to opposition into believe the one or more of your own agents are the captured invidual. A situation where you can gain access to their own internal network and websites and possibly even plant your own "disinformation" in order to lead the opposition into a trap. But I don't believe that holding someone in secret for a temporary period where their capture secrecy afford a strategic advantage, neccesarily means that their capture should remain a permentent secret - or that normal efforts to prosecute and ensure their guilt, or humane quality of their treatment should be abandonded.

EU to Investigate Allegations of CIA Jails

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union and the continent's top human rights group said Thursday they will investigate allegations the CIA set up secret jails in eastern Europe and elsewhere to interrogate terror suspects, and the Red Cross demanded access to any prisoners.

Human Rights Watch said it has evidence, based on flight logs, that indicate the CIA transported suspects captured in
Afghanistan to Poland and Romania. But the two countries — and others in the former Soviet bloc — denied the allegations. U.S. officials have refused to confirm or deny the claims.

Such prisons, European officials say, would violate the continent's human rights principles. At work may be a complex web of global politics, in which eastern European countries face choices between the views of the European Union and their interest in close ties with the United States.

The International Committee of the Red Cross expressed strong interest in the claims, first reported Wednesday in the Washington Post, that the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al-Qaida captives at Soviet-era compounds.

Red Cross chief spokeswoman Antonella Notari said the agency asked Washington about the allegations and requested access to the prisons if they exist. The Red Cross, which has exclusive rights to visit terror suspects detained at a U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, long has been concerned about reports U.S. officials were hiding detainees from ICRC delegates.

Europe's top human rights organization, the Council of Europe, said it, too, would investigate.

Notari said the Red Cross, which also monitors conditions at U.S. detention centers in Afghanistan and
Iraq, has been unable to find some people who reportedly were detained. She said the Red Cross was "concerned about the fate of an unknown number of persons detained as part of what is called the 'global war on terror' and held in undisclosed places of detention."

In implicating Poland and Romania, Human Rights Watch examined flight logs of CIA aircraft from 2001 to 2004, said Mark Garlasco, a senior military analyst with the New York-based organization. He said the group matched the flight patterns with testimony from some of the hundreds of detainees in the war on terrorism who have been released by the United States.

"The indications are that prisoners in Afghanistan are being (taken) to facilities in Europe and other countries in the world," Garlasco, a former civilian intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Associated Press.

Hollywood Republicans

Almost exactly one year ago, I broke ranks with anything having to do with the Republican Party. For many years I considered myself a centrist, I felt there was good in the view of both parties - and that the greatest danger was to believe either of them blindly and without reservation.

I still believe that.

But on that day the depths of my deep sadness and worry about the future of this nation and this world with the likes of those who currently control the Republican Party, were boundless. I was in a band with other members who were Right Wing and Republican. I could never do that again. I could never again deal with such people because the core of the Republican Party has become to exist in a constant state of cognative dissonance, where the most obvious facts of reality were subject of speculation and endless debate and arguement. At one point of time I could respect an honest debate with a person who simply held different beliefs, now I know that those who continue to support this President and this Republican Regime certainly do not do so from the basis of any honestly held moral conviction or belief. They do so simply because of self-interest and fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of terrorism, fear of gays and fear of minorities.

Sorry, but no cooperative entity can effectively function in such an environment, and that certainly includes both Hollywood and the Music Business - both of whom I still hold a great affection for. With this in mind I publish this... a list of Hollywood and Entertainment Republicans. Some of these people may indeed be very talent, but some things are actually more important. I for one know that I'll never watch or support anything done by these people ever again. You can make up your own mind.

From Wikipedia.

Republican officeholders

Self described Republicans

Just for comparison - here are the Hollywood Dems.


The Gun is Smoking: Ohio Exit Poll Data Provides Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount

By the National Election Data Archive (NEDA)

Summary: New analysis of the precinct-level Ohio exit poll data provides virtually irrefutable evidence of large scale vote miscounts in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election. 6% of Ohio's exit-polled precincts had impossible vote counts and 57% had significant discrepancies (a less than 5% chance of occurring in any one precinct). The pattern of Ohio's exit poll results is not consistent with any exit poll error hypothesis. However, it is consistent with pro-Bush vote miscounts.The full paper "The Gun is Smoking: Ohio Precinct-level Exit Poll Data Show Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount" is available at

In two Ohio precincts, even if all voters who did not complete exit polls had voted for Bush, the total Bush vote count would have been less than the official count. In a third precinct, all voters who did not complete exit polls would have had to vote for Bush to equal the official count. Unless Bush voters lied much more than Kerry voters on exit polls, or massive exit poll error occurred that was not detected by the pollsters, the results are mathematically impossible.The Ohio exit poll data are a smoking gun for vote miscounts in Ohio. Ohio exit poll results are consistent with earlier findings of similar unexplained and implausible exit poll discrepancies in the national exit poll sample as described in the January 21, 2005 Edison/Mitofsky report.


How to End the War - Use the Constitution

Crossposted on DailyKos.

Many people have called the conflict in Iraq an "Illegal War". Usually they mean that the justifications used to sell this War to Congress were fabricated and have since proven to be incorrect - and that the President had a responsibility under the Iraq War Resolution (HJ. 141) to ensure that the allegations of connections to Al Qaeda, WMD's and Nuclear aspirations were true prior to the beginning of hostilities.

But I've come to wonder, should the President have ever been given such responsiblities and power at all? Essentially The President Declared the War, instead of Congress - and that is Unconstitutional.

Maybe what needs to happen to end the War, is simply overturn the Resolution that authorized it.

HJ 141, the Joint Resolution to Authorize Use of Force Against Iraq, is very cleverly written. The Justifications given for War were the following:

  1. Iraq's noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire

  2. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a "threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region"

  3. Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population"

  4. Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people"

  5. Iraq's hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt of George Bush Sr, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War

  6. Iraq's connection to terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda

  7. Fear that Iraq would provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against the United States.

As we now know, Items #2,4,6 and 7 are all untrue as has been well documented by the Senate Inteligence Report, and the Iraq Survey Group's Dulfer Report. But my point here isn't the issue of the truthfulness and accuracy of pre-war intelligence -- it's whether or not Congress has the power to delegate it's own exclusive authority to declare war - to the Executive.

Persuant to the Above, HJ 141 included the following:


In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and

(2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. [Vyan: Which again, had nothing to do with Iraq]

Essentially this section states that the President has the choice of whether to use force or not based on his determination of the previously listed factors. Sen. John Kerry has long argued that the President needed this authority in order to "toughen" his negotiations with Iraq and force them into compliance with long-standing UN Sactions. He argued, correctly I think, that the resolution did not in and of itself declare War - the resolution was intended for intice Saddam to disarm (which he already had), and that the use force was to only be at the last resort based on the "President's determination" - not that determination of Congress.

Kerry on caution and patience:

Indeed over the course of the last 6 weeks some of the strongest and most thoughtful questioning of our Nation's Iraq policy has come from what some observers would say are unlikely sources: Senators like CHUCK HAGEL and DICK LUGAR, former Bush Administration national security experts including Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, and distinguished military voices including General Shalikashvili. They are asking the tough questions which must be answered before--and not after--you commit a nation to a course that may well lead to war.

Writing in the New York Times in early September, I argued that the American people would never accept the legitimacy of this war or give their consent to it unless the administration first presented detailed evidence of the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and proved that it had exhausted all other options to protect our national security.

The point is further made by the fact that the resolution was passed and signed on October 16, 2002 -- yet the actual War itself didn't begin until March 20 of 2003, five months later. Clearly, Congress did not Declare War, the President did based on his determination, not theirs and this violates the War Powers Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8) which clearly delegates the exclusive authority to declare War to the Congress - not the President.

I fully understand and on principle agree with Kerry's reasoning behind providing the President all the tools he needed in order to protect the country, but this is one tool - the ability to Wage War - is one that the Congress literally did not have the power to give over to him, it is their exclusive responsibilty - but they didn't do it, they punted it five months down the road.

From Wikipedia:

Sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, the United States Constitution, Article One, Section 8, Clause 11, vests in the Congress the exclusive power to declare war.

Five wars have been declared in American history: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. Some historians argue that the legal doctrines and legislation passed during the operations against Pancho Villa constitute a sixth declaration of war.

However, beginning with the Korean War, American presidents have not sought formal declarations of war, instead maintaining that they have the constitutional authority, as commander in chief (Article Two, Section Two) to use the military for "police actions".

In 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to obtain either a declaration of war or a resolution authorizing the use of force from Congress within 60 days of initiating hostilities. [ Vyan: such a declaration in accordance with the WPR is included in HJ 141.] Its constitutionality has never been tested as Congress has always passed the required authorization when requested by the president.

Some legal scholars maintain that all military action taken without a Congressional declaration of war (regardless of the War Powers Resolution) is unconstitutional; however, the Supreme Court has never ruled directly on the matter.

It seems to me that there may be legal means to challenge the legitimacy of HJ 141 on the basis that it's Presidential Determination Section (#3(b) above) directly violates the War Power Clause of the Constitution by shifting Congressional Powers from the Legislative to the Executive branches. IMO what should have happened was that the President should have been given a "Sense of the Congress" Resolution supporting an initial use of force only after presenting his determination to Congress, (or only with a 30-day leash as noted in the War Powers Resolution of 1973). That his determination had to include a full and detailed report to Congress on the status the entire list of grievances against Iraq before being allowed to continue into prolonged War, or else any current action should have been stopped. Congress should have made the determination and declaration of War only after receiving reports from UN Inspectors, IAEA and ISG substantiating the claims against Saddam.

No, President should be granted the sole power to take us to War, yet that is exactly what happened here.

In short, this really is an Illegal an Unconstitutional War. It's high time we started putting some legal muscles behind proving exactly that. The ACLU has already sued Donald Rumsfeld for his use of torture against terrorist detainees, does anyone think they or other likeminded persons (such as Cindy Sheehan and other veterans families) might be interested in taking this issue up?


Wednesday, November 2

Forgery : How to Start a War

This article from the American Conservative properly connects the dots and shows that the Libby coverup goes right back to the Forged Niger Documents - indicating that they were funnelled through the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and then on to Dick Cheney without going through the CIA. (As I recall from the Senate Intelligence Report, it was an analyst in the State Deptments INR who first noted that the documents may have been forged and then had to fax his copies to the CIA for confimation)
Forging the Case for War
Who was behind the Niger uranium documents?

by Philip Giraldi

From the beginning, there has been little doubt in the intelligence community that the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame was part of a bigger story. That she was exposed in an attempt to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, is clear, but the drive to demonize Wilson cannot reasonably be attributed only to revenge. Rather, her identification likely grew out of an attempt to cover up the forging of documents alleging that Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.

What took place and why will not be known with any certainty until the details of the Fitzgerald investigation are revealed. (As we go to press, Fitzgerald has made no public statement.) But recent revelations in the Italian press, most notably in the pages of La Repubblica, along with information already on the public record, suggest a plausible scenario for the evolution of Plamegate.

Information developed by Italian investigators indicates that the documents were produced in Italy with the connivance of the Italian intelligence service. It also reveals that the introduction of the documents into the American intelligence stream was facilitated by Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans (OSP), a parallel intelligence center set up in the Pentagon to develop alternative sources of information in support of war against Iraq.

The first suggestion that Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium to construct a nuclear weapon came on Oct. 15, 2001, shortly after 9/11, when Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his newly appointed chief of the Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare (SISMI), Nicolo Pollari, made an official visit to Washington. Berlusconi was eager to make a good impression and signaled his willingness to support the American effort to implicate Saddam Hussein in 9/11. Pollari, in his position for less than three weeks, was likewise keen to establish himself with his American counterparts and was under pressure from Berlusconi to present the U.S. with information that would be vital to the rapidly accelerating War on Terror. Well aware of the Bush administration’s obsession with Iraq, Pollari used his meeting with top CIA officials to provide a SISMI dossier indicating that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Niger. The same intelligence was passed simultaneously to Britain’s MI-6.

But the Italian information was inconclusive and old, some of it dating from the 1980s. The British, the CIA, and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research analyzed the intelligence and declared that it was “lacking in detail” and “very limited” in scope.

From the Downing Street Minutes - Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, said the case for war was “thin” as “Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran”. Therefore British Intelligence, CIA and State had to be circumvented.

Enter Michael Ledeen, the Office of Special Plans’ man in Rome. Ledeen was paid $30,000 by the Italian Ministry of the Interior in 1978 for a report on terrorism and was well known to senior SISMI officials. Italian sources indicate that Pollari was eager to engage with the Pentagon hardliners, knowing they were at odds with the CIA and the State Department officials who had slighted him. He turned to Ledeen, who quickly established himself as the liaison between SISMI and Feith’s OSP, where he was a consultant. Ledeen, who had personal access to the National Security Council’s Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley and was also a confidant of Vice President Cheney, was well placed to circumvent the obstruction coming from the CIA and State.

The timing, August 2002, was also propitious as the administration was intensifying its efforts to make the case for war. In the same month, the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) was set up to market the war by providing information to friends in the media. It has subsequently been alleged that false information generated by Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress was given to Judith Miller and other journalists through WHIG.

This information of course came from the infamous "Curveball" about whom George Tenet had the following to say in April of 2005 - "It is deeply troubling to me that there was information apparently available within CIA as of late September or October of 2002 indicating that Curveball may have been a fabricator,"

On Sept. 9, 2002, Ledeen set up a secret meeting between Pollari and Deputy National Security Adviser Hadley. Two weeks before the meeting, a group of documents had been offered to journalist Elisabetta Burba of the Italian magazine Panorama for $10,000, but the demand for money was soon dropped and the papers were handed over. The man offering the documents was Rocco Martino, a former SISMI officer who delivered the first WMD dossier to London in October 2002. That Martino quickly dropped his request for money suggests that the approach was a set-up primarily intended to surface the documents.

Panorama, perhaps not coincidentally, is owned by Prime Minister Berlusconi. On Oct. 9, the documents were taken from the magazine to the U.S. Embassy, where they were apparently expected. Instead of going to the CIA Station, which would have been the normal procedure, they were sent straight to Washington where they bypassed the agency’s analysts and went directly to the NSC and the Vice President’s Office.

On Jan. 28, 2003, over the objections of the CIA and State, the famous 16 words about Niger’s uranium were used in President Bush’s State of the Union address justifying an attack on Iraq: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Both the British and American governments had actually obtained the report from the Italians, who had asked that they not be identified as the source. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency also looked at the documents shortly after Bush spoke and pronounced them crude forgeries.

President Bush soon stopped referring to the Niger uranium, but Vice President Cheney continued to insist that Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons.

The question remains: who forged the documents? The available evidence suggests that two candidates had access and motive: SISMI and the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans.

In January 2001, there was a break-in at the Niger Embassy in Rome. Documents were stolen but no valuables. The break-in was subsequently connected to, among others, Rocco Martino, who later provided the dossier to Panorama. Italian investigators now believe that Martino, with SISMI acquiescence, originally created a Niger dossier in an attempt to sell it to the French, who were managing the uranium concession in Niger and were concerned about unauthorized mining. Martino has since admitted to the Financial Times that both the Italian and American governments were behind the eventual forgery of the full Niger dossier as part of a disinformation operation. The authentic documents that were stolen were bunched with the Niger uranium forgeries, using authentic letterhead and Niger Embassy stamps. By mixing the papers, the stolen documents were intended to establish the authenticity of the forgeries.


If indeed the OSP and Vice President were themselvse either the source for the Niger Forgeries or were aware that the documents were in fact fake, while using them to make their case for the War on Iraq -- it gives far more justification, particularly for the Office of the Vice President, for being willing to release classified information in order to discredit his claims.