Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cheney is running out of time. Let the lies begin.

JJ finds the fact that interrogators in Iraq are being pressured to find information which links Iran to the insurgency a little disturbing.
US military officials are putting huge pressure on interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran, it was claimed last night.Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border, told The Observer that information on Iran is 'gold'.
Is there anything in the Iraq war that isn't done by a private contractor? Jeebus, no wonder they have to keep this a "war without end". It's an employment program for mercenaries. Anyway...
Brose, 30, who extracts information from detainees in Iraq, said: 'They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran. They have pre-categories for us to go through, and by the sheer volume of categories there's clearly a lot more for Iran than there is for other stuff. Of all the recent requests I've had, I'd say 60 to 70 per cent are about Iran.

'It feels a lot like, if you get something and Iran's not involved, it's a let down.' He added: 'I've had people say to me, "They're really pushing the Iran thing. It's like, shit, you know." '

Brose said that reports about Washington's increasingly hawkish stance towards Tehran, including possible military action, chimed with his experience. 'My impression is they're just trying to get every little bit of ammunition possible. If we get something here it fits the overall picture. The engine needs impetus and they're looking for us to find the fuel - a particular type of fuel.

Fuel. To feed the void of evidence to start a war that has no casus belli. And if you think the Bush administration isn't seriously trying to crank things up, hot on the heels of the Guardian report above is this piece by Gareth Porter writing in the Asia Times.

The US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear program. The aim is to make the document more supportive of Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts provided by participants in the NIE process to two former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers.

But this pressure on intelligence analysts, obviously instigated by Cheney himself, has not produced a draft estimate without those dissenting views, these sources say. The White House has now apparently decided to release the "unsatisfactory" draft NIE, but without making its key findings public.

Brace yourself, they're going to lie to you. And if they don't outright lie, they will withhold the full slate of facts, particularly those which do not fit their agenda.
A former CIA intelligence officer who has asked not to be identified told Inter Press Service (IPS) that an official involved in the NIE process says the Iran estimate was ready to be published a year ago but has been delayed because the director of national intelligence wanted a draft reflecting a consensus on key conclusions - particularly on Iran's nuclear program. There is a split in the intelligence community on how much of a threat the Iranian nuclear program poses, according to the intelligence official's account. Some analysts who are less independent are willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the alarmist view coming from Cheney's office, but others have rejected that view.
Hold it. They're willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the view coming from Cheney's office? Does he have a crystal ball providing information nobody else can see? And, what's this with Cheney? If you go through the White House organization chart his job is president pro tem of the US Senate and built-in replacement for whomever occupies the swivel chair in the Oval Office.

He's at it again. Why not just rename Vice-President of the United States to Corporate Vice-President in charge of starting wars?
The draft NIE, first completed a year ago, which had included the dissenting views, was not acceptable to the White House, according to the former intelligence officer. "They refused to come out with a version that had dissenting views in it," he says. As recently as early October, the official involved in the process was said to be unclear about whether a NIE would be circulated and, if so, what it would say. Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi provided a similar account, based on his own sources in the intelligence community. He told IPS that intelligence analysts have had to review and rewrite their findings three times, because of pressure from the White House. "The White House wants a document that it can use as evidence for its Iran policy," says Giraldi. Despite pressures on them to change their dissenting conclusions, however, Giraldi says some analysts have refused to go along with conclusions that they believe are not supported by the evidence.
So while Cheney is busy banging his drum and telling anybody who will listen that we're all minutes away from being vaporized by Iran, the intelligence analysts are shaking their heads asking to be shown some data which actually supports that notion. Further, the linkage between the insurgency in Iraq and Iran, which the interrogators are being pressured to acquire, is also causing a problem with the NIE.
In October 2006, Giraldi wrote in The American Conservative that the NIE on Iran had already been completed, but that Cheney's office had objected to its findings on both the Iranian nuclear program and Iran's role in Iraq. The draft NIE did not conclude that there was confirming evidence that Iran was arming Shi'ite insurgents in Iraq, according to Giraldi.
So squeeze anything you can out of a captive to tell you that he got his AK-47 and that bag of shaped charges from some Iranian. Eventually, if being released is dependent upon coughing up a particular type of information, captive insurgents will happily invent something implicating a Farsi speaking arms supplier with Qods tattooed on his forehead.

So desperate is Cheney to get something going in Iran that others have become casualties.
Cheney's desire for a "clean" NIE that could be used to support his aggressive policy toward Iran was apparently a major factor in the replacement of John Negroponte as director of national intelligence in early 2007. Negroponte had angered neo-conservatives in the administration by telling the press in April 2006 that the intelligence community believed that it would still be "a number of years off" before Iran would be "likely to have enough fissile material to assemble into or to put into a nuclear weapon, perhaps into the next decade".
That prompted the neo-cons to react with more than a little anger.
Richard Perle, complained that Negroponte was "absurdly declaring the Iranian regime to be years away from having nuclear weapons".
So, the Prince of Darkness emerges from his hole and he too must possess a crystal ball, because the conclusion has already been reached without the benefit of professional intelligence analysis.

After the fiasco of an intelligence screw-up that provided the Bush administration an excuse to invade Iraq, Bush declared that summaries of future NIEs key judgments would be declassified and made public. Apparently that has all changed now.
A decision announced in late October indicated, however, that Cheney did not get the consensus findings on the nuclear program and Iran's role in Iraq that he had wanted. On October 27, David Shedd, a deputy to McConnell, told a congressional briefing that McConnell had issued a directive making it more difficult to declassify the key judgments of national intelligence estimates.
Which will make it a lot less difficult to lie to the public.

So,what's Cheney's rush? (We're assuming Bush is waiting to be told why he's in a hurry to attack Iran). Simply put, it is a neo-con imperative.

The neo-cons have always demanded regime change in Iran because in the neo-cons view Iran, since the fall of the Shah, has always been a primary enemy of the United States. The nuclear threat is a convenient excuse to attack a country who's government they intend to replace with something more US friendly. This group, complete with its own variant of corrupt Iraqi scumball, Ahmed Chalabi, has one goal - turn Iran into a US compliant state.

(Manucher Ghorbanifar is an arms dealer who was central in the Iran-Contra affair of the Reagan administration. He has failed four lie detector tests and the CIA has issued two "burn notices" on him describing him as an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance. Despite that, Ghorbanifar keeps surfacing and it was reported in April 2006 that he was back on the US payroll at Cheney's insistence.)

Cheney's rush is the lack of time left in the Bush presidency. If they don't get something going soon, there is a chance that nothing will happen. And then the dream of flattening another South Asian regime will be lost - along with the side benefit of all that oil.

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