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  • C Hamilton
    Last night, Colin Powell was on Larry King. King failed to ask two important questions: 1. The UN inspectors had free access to all parts of Iraq during the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2007
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      Last night, Colin Powell was on Larry King. King failed to ask two
      important questions:

      1. The UN inspectors had free access to all parts of Iraq during the
      four months prior to the invasion of Iraq, using all the intelligence
      furnished by the USA. They reported finding no WMD, no stockpiles or
      active weapons programs. Why did the Bush administration keep talking
      about the imminent threat from Iraq WMD knowing there were none?

      2. There was a National Intelligence Estimate going around, the public
      version was not supported by the classified version. People who saw
      both concluded there was no imminent threat from Iraq. How do you
      explain your UN presentation in light of the classified report which
      showed no imminent threat?

      Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law, as is war for regime
      change. Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter,
      says Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
      September 16, 2004

      **What I Knew Before the Invasion (Iraq was no imminent threat)**
      By Sen. Bob Graham, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
      (who saw the classified and un-classified intelligence)
      The un-classified intelligence was NOT supported by the classified
      November 20, 2005

      All the reasons given for the war on Iraq have proven false
      or illegal. What noble purpose is served by those who die for Bush's
      folly? The USA and Iraq were both much better off before the
      unnecessary war. We have destroyed a stable secular country, and
      created a religious civil war. Do you feel safer yet? Bush lied,
      thousands have died. Iraq has no connection to the response to 9-11,
      the "global war on terror" which should have been directed against a
      small group in Afghanistan/Pakistan. There is no evidence that the
      government of Afghanistan had any knowledge or responsibility for 9-11.
      Collective punishment of the people of Afghanistan is a war crime.
      Criminal terrorist attacks by civilians are best treated by law
      enforcement, extradition, negotiations and the courts. War against
      innocent populations is the wrong answer and creates more terrorists
      than it
      --C Hamilton

      The best way to support our troops

      There is a lot of research in the four links below to document the
      subject lines.
      Bush response to 9-11: two illegal immoral unnecessary wars
      The Bush/Cheney Holocaust in Iraq: The Mother of all Hoaxes (part 4)

      Bush lied...thousands have died

      Olbermann: The entire government has failed us on Iraq
      May 23, 2007
      video link

      Part I | Cheney: A Different Understanding With the President
      Part II | Cheney: Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power
      Part III | Cheney: The Unseen Hand Pushing Behind the Scenes
      Part IV | Cheney: Leaving No Tracks


      The UN inspectors on the ground for four months, with free access to all
      parts of Iraq, using all the intelligence furnished by the US, reported
      finding no WMD, no stockpiles and no active weapons programs. They
      pulled out so Bush could start the "shock and awe" bombing against Iraq
      which was clearly no threat. It was known that there were no WMD,
      stockpiles or active weapons programs, and that the classified
      intelligence estimate did not support the case for immediate war. What
      were the real reasons Bush/Cheney started an illegal immoral unnecessary
      war in violation of US and International laws?

      "Between late November and mid-March 2003, Blix reports, the UN
      inspectors made seven hundred separate visits to five hundred sites.
      About three dozen of those sites had been suggested by intelligence
      services, many by Tenet's CIA, which insisted that these were "the best"
      in the agency's database. Blix was shocked. "If this was the best, what
      was the rest?" he asked himself. "Could there be 100-percent certainty
      about the existence of weapons of mass destruction but zero-percent
      knowledge about their location?"

      Told You So, UN Iraq Arms Inspectors' Report
      "In a voluminous report detailing the history of Iraq's banned weapons
      programs and UN efforts to dismantle them, it said the episode had shown
      that on-the-ground inspections were better than intelligence assessments
      by individual countries," writes Patrick Worsnip for Reuters.


      What Tenet Knew: Unanswered Questions
      By Thomas Powers
      28 June 2007

      This essay, which considers At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the
      CIA by George Tenet with Bill Harlow (HarperCollins, 549 pp., $30.00)
      appears in the July 19th, 2007 issue of the New York Review of Books and
      is posted here with the kind permission of the editors of that magazine.

      How we got into Iraq is the great open question of the decade but George
      Tenet in his memoir of his seven years running the Central Intelligence
      Agency takes his sweet time working his way around to it. He hesitates
      because he has much to explain: the claims made by Tenet's CIA with
      "high confidence" that Iraq was dangerously armed all proved false. But
      mistakes are one thing, excusable even when serious; inexcusable would
      be charges of collusion in deceiving Congress and the public to make war
      possible. Tenet's overriding goal in his carefully written book is to
      deny "that we somehow cooked the books" about Iraq's weapons of mass
      destruction. If he says it once he says it a dozen times. "We told the
      president what we did on Iraq WMD because we believed it."

      But repetition is not enough. Tenet's problem is that the intelligence
      and the war proceeded in lockstep: no intelligence, no war. Since Tenet
      delivered the (shockingly exaggerated) intelligence, and the President
      used it to go to war, how is Tenet to convince the world that he wasn't
      simply giving the boss what he wanted? Tenet naturally dislikes this
      question but it is evident that the American public and Congress dislike
      it just as much. Down that road lie painful truths about the character
      and motives of the President and the men and women around him. But
      getting out of Iraq will not be easy, and the necessary first step is to
      find the civic courage to insist on knowing how we got in. Tenet's
      memoir is an excellent place to begin; some of what he tells us and much
      that he leaves out point unmistakably to the genesis of the war in the
      White House - the very last thing Tenet wants to address clearly. He
      sidles up to the question at last on page 301: "One of the great
      mysteries to me," he writes, "is exactly when the war in Iraq became

      Hans Blix, director of the United Nations weapons inspection team, did
      not believe that war was inevitable until the shooting started. In
      Blix's view, reported in his memoir Disarming Iraq, the failure of his
      inspectors to find Saddam Hussein's WMD meant that a US invasion of Iraq
      could certainly be put off, perhaps avoided altogether. For Blix it was
      all about the weapons. Tenet's version of events makes it clear that
      WMD, despite all the ballyhoo, were in fact secondary; something else
      was driving events.


      Ron Suskind tells the same story but quotes Tenet differently on the
      phone to Hadley: "It is fucking over. Do you hear me! And don't you ever
      fucking treat my people this way again. Ever!" Even that was not the
      end. In mid-March 2003, less than a week before the U.S. launched its
      attack, Cheney sent a speech over to the CIA for review making all the
      old arguments that there was a "link." Tenet tells us that he telephoned
      Bush to say, "The vice president wants to make a speech about Iraq and
      al-Qa'ida that goes way beyond what the intelligence shows. We cannot
      support the speech, and it should not be given."

      Why did Cheney press this point so relentlessly? Tenet tells a story
      that helps to explain the motives behind the struggle over
      "intelligence" between September 11 and the day American cruise missiles
      began to land on Baghdad, eighteen months later. Only a few days after
      September 11, Tenet writes, a CIA analyst attended a White House meeting
      where he was told that Bush wanted to remove Saddam. The analyst's
      response, according to Tenet:

      "If you want to go after that son of a bitch to settle old scores, be my
      guest. But don't tell us he is connected to 9/11 or to terrorism because
      there is no evidence to support that. You will have to have a better

      The better reason eventually settled on by President Bush was Saddam
      Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. The evidence for WMD turned out
      to be even weaker than the evidence for "the link," but Cheney, with the
      full backing of the White House and the National Security Council,
      hammered without let-up on the horrific consequences of error -
      discovering too late that Iraq had nuclear weapons meant that the
      smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud. It was vaguely believed at the
      time, by the public and foreign intelligence services alike, that the
      CIA must have learned something new; why else in early 2002 had Saddam
      Hussein suddenly become a threat to the world?

      In fact only one thing had changed - the American frame of mind,
      something clearly understood by advisers to Britain's Tony Blair, who
      had decided immediately after September 11 that he was going to back the
      American response, whatever it was. David Manning's hope, expressed at
      his dinner with Tenet, that the Americans would settle for the invasion
      of Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taliban was soon dashed. A week
      later Tony Blair himself was at the White House. Bush took him
      immediately by the elbow, according to the British ambassador,
      Christopher Meyer, and moved the prime minister off into a corner of the

      Don't get distracted, Blair told the President; Taliban first.

      "I agree with you, Tony," Bush replied. "We must deal with this first.
      But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq."

      The Taliban were in retreat by the end of the year; on March
      1, Robert Einhorn, an assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation,
      testified in Congress that Bush had come back to Iraq: "A consensus
      seems to be developing in Washington in favor of 'regime change' in
      Iraq, if necessary through the use of military force."

      As it happened, it took a year to get from point A to point B - from
      developing consensus to war. During that year George Tenet's CIA played
      an indispensable part in raising fears of Saddam Hussein's weapons of
      mass destruction, but in his memoir Tenet is reluctant to approach the
      Iraq problem. He writes proudly of the agency's success in removing the
      Taliban - which was in fact a marvel of the light touch, especially in
      retrospect - and insists he was slow to recognize that Iraq was next:

      "My many sleepless nights back then didn't center on Saddam Hussein.
      Al-Qa'ida occupied my nightmares.... Looking back, I wish I could have
      devoted equal energy and attention to Iraq.... Iraq deserved more of my
      time. But the simple fact is that I didn't see that freight train coming
      as early as I should have."

      When did war become inevitable? When did Tenet see the freight train
      coming? Does he really hope to convince us that it took him longer than
      the British, who signed on for war at a meeting with Bush at his Texas
      ranch in April 2002?


      But the decision had already been made. Blair was also present at Camp
      David that day. He had been urging a UN resolution for months and had
      not crossed the ocean to be told no. According to Bob Woodward's book
      Plan of Attack, Bush told Blair that the United States would bring the
      question of Saddam's WMD to the UN one more time before going to war,
      but war would probably still follow in the end. Thus the stage was set
      for a UN melodrama starring a defiant Saddam before armies crossed
      borders, but nothing worked as the British had imagined. Saddam accepted
      unconditionally the Security Council's demand on November 8 for
      intrusive new inspections. While the report he submitted on Iraq's
      destruction of its WMD was rejected as obfuscating, the UN was able to
      resume inspections at the end of November. Hans Blix's inspectors
      scoured the country inspecting hundreds of sites but found nothing, and
      Blix infuriated the White House by refusing to declare Iraq in material
      breach of Resolution 1441 demanding that he disarm.

      As a ploy for war, "wrongfooting" Saddam was a bust. With each passing
      week he seemed less of a threat. Cheney's clock was ticking; American
      military plans, hoping to avoid the brutal Iraqi summer, called for
      fighting to begin in March at the latest. Bush was determined and Blair
      was willing to go forward with war, but since the UN gambit had
      generated no just cause for war, the Americans were compelled to make
      the case before the UN themselves. The date was set for February 5, and
      Colin Powell was chosen to present the evidence - the fruits of many
      months of work by the collectors and analysts of George Tenet's CIA.
      Everything seemed to rest on the strength of Powell's argument - the
      onset of war, the Bush policy to remake the Middle East, the American
      reputation in the world. This was the moment when the intelligence and
      the war fell completely into lockstep; no intelligence, no war. If Tenet
      is to be vindicated as an honest man this is where he must convince us
      the intelligence was genuinely believed and honestly presented.

      "My colleagues," Powell said in the speech, "every statement I make
      today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions.
      What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid
      intelligence." Visible behind Powell as he placed his public reputation
      on the line was George Tenet, arms folded and filling his seat with
      bearlike bulk. Tenet had personally guaranteed Powell that every claim
      he made was on firm ground.

      "It was a great presentation," Tenet writes of Powell's speech, "but
      unfortunately the substance didn't hold up."

      The substance, in fact, was wrong in every particular, as is now well
      known. Tenet does not linger on that. He argues instead that it didn't
      matter: Bush didn't go to war because the CIA told him Saddam Hussein
      had WMD - the dead-certain "slam dunk" he used to describe the evidence
      in a White House meeting in December 2002. And maybe the WMD claims in
      the agency's National Intelligence Estimate "were flawed," he writes,
      but didn't Congress have an obligation at the very least to read the
      whole of the ninety-page paper before voting to authorize war? Should
      their negligence be blamed on him? "The intelligence process was not
      disingenuous," he insists, "nor was it influenced by politics." This is
      the whole of his defense: we were wrong, but it was an honest error.


      The yellowcake story would have appeared in Powell's UN speech as well
      if Powell had not drawn the line and tossed it out. That left the
      secretary of state with a lot of atmospheric intelligence rigmarole and
      two factual claims - the aluminum tubes proved that Saddam was going for
      nuclear weapons and the mobile biological weapons labs proved that he
      was a threat to the region and possibly the world. Powell's speech was
      all smoke and mirrors, but it was enough. Bush turned his back on the UN
      and prepared to go to war.

      Hans Blix, meanwhile, had been undergoing a kind of slow awakening. Blix
      never answered reporters' questions about his "gut feelings" on WMD, but
      he had them, and in the beginning they were roughly what everybody else
      believed - despite Saddam Hussein's cease-fire pledge to give up WMD at
      the end of the 1991 Gulf War, Blix believed that he retained some and
      was trying to build more. But gradually the failure to find anything
      eroded Blix's confidence that his gut was correct. When the inspections
      resumed in November 2002, American experts suggested to Blix that the
      inspectors begin with Iraqi government ministries, seize computers, and
      look for names and addresses on the hard drives. Blix thought this a
      lame idea; the inspectors had tried it before, but the Iraqis were too
      sophisticated to leave incriminating clues in such an obvious place. "I
      drew the conclusion," Blix writes in Disarming Iraq, "that the US did
      not itself know where things were."

      Between late November and mid-March 2003, Blix reports, the UN
      inspectors made seven hundred separate visits to five hundred sites.
      About three dozen of those sites had been suggested by intelligence
      services, many by Tenet's CIA, which insisted that these were "the best"
      in the agency's database. Blix was shocked. "If this was the best, what
      was the rest?" he asked himself. "Could there be 100-percent certainty
      about the existence of weapons of mass destruction but zero-percent
      knowledge about their location?"

      By this time Blix was firmly opposed to the evident American preference
      for disarmament by war. "It was, in my view, too early to give up now,"
      he writes. Tony Blair in late February tried to convince Blix that
      Saddam had WMD even if Blix couldn't find them - the French, German, and
      Egyptian intelligence services were all sure of it, Blair said. Blix
      told Blair that to him they seemed not so sure, and adds as an aside,
      "My faith in intelligence had been shaken." On March 5, Blix on the
      phone with Rice asked her point-blank if the United States knew where
      Iraq's WMD were hidden. "No, she said, but interviews after liberation
      would reveal it."

      Two days later, Mohammed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic
      Energy Agency, in a report to the Security Council, decisively
      undermined the two principal American arguments that Saddam was
      illicitly pursuing nuclear weapons: the aluminum tubes which the CIA
      insisted were for use in a centrifuge to manufacture fissionable
      material were actually for conventional rockets, ElBaradei said, and the
      documents used to "prove" that Saddam was trying to buy uranium
      yellowcake in Niger were, in ElBaradei's diplomatic words, "not
      authentic." Only people paying close attention to the details understood
      at once that he meant the documents were fakes, fabrications, forgeries.
      ElBaradei's experts had reached this conclusion in one day.

      In that meeting of the Security Council both ElBaradei and Blix reported
      their continuing plans for further inspections, and both said that
      outstanding issues might be resolved within a few months. This was not
      what the United States wanted to hear. In mid-February, President Bush
      had derided efforts to give Iraq "another, 'nother, 'nother last
      chance." Blix had pleaded in a phone call about the same time to
      Secretary of State Colin Powell for a free hand at least until April 15.
      "He said it was too late."

      But three weeks later Blix soberly argued in his report to the Security
      Council for more time. "It would not take years, nor weeks, but months,"
      he said. France, Russia, China, and other council members favored the
      idea and proposed a new resolution which the Americans agreed to discuss
      but loaded with difficulties. "Nevertheless, I thought, here on March 7
      there was something new," Blix wrote in his memoir, "a theoretical
      possibility to avoid war. Saddam could make a speech; Iraq could hand
      over prohibited items."

      The resolution went nowhere but Blix did not give up hope even when
      President Bush flew to the Azores on March 16 to talk war with his
      allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister
      José María Aznar López. "Most observers felt the war was now a
      certainty," Blix wrote, "and, indeed, it came. Although I thought the
      probability was very high, I was also, even at this very late date,
      aware that unexpected things can happen."

      Three years later, in a speech to the Arms Control Association, Blix
      reflected on that moment in his office at the UN - the afternoon of
      March 16 - when the State Department's John Wolf called to say that the
      time had come to pull the inspectors out of Iraq. "My belief is that if
      we had been allowed to continue with inspections for a couple of months
      more, we would then have been able to go to all of the sites which were
      given by intelligence," he said. "And since there were not any weapons
      of massive destruction, we would have reported there were not any." An
      invasion might have taken place anyway, Blix concedes; the Americans and
      British had sent several hundred thousand troops to Kuwait and could not
      leave them sitting in the desert indefinitely. "But it would have been
      certainly more difficult," Blix said. Even so, in Blix's view, something
      important had been achieved. "The UN and the world had succeeded in
      disarming Iraq without knowing it." Blix guessed that Saddam hid his
      compliance so Iran wouldn't think him weak, but it was the Americans who
      were deceived.

      That in outline is how we got into Iraq. When Tony Blair's UN gambit
      failed to provide an excuse for war, Colin Powell made the American
      case, putting in the scary stuff - the "product" of Tenet's CIA - which
      Hans Blix's inspectors had failed to find. No one paying serious
      attention was convinced. The French, German, and Canadian intelligence
      services were appalled by the weakness of Powell's case - what could the
      Americans be thinking? Periodically over the following year Powell would
      tell his assistant, Larry Wilkerson, that George Tenet had telephoned to
      say that the agency was formally withdrawing another pillar from his UN
      speech. "He took it like a soldier," said Wilkerson, "but it was a

      Tenet in his memoirs says almost nothing about UN inspections. The names
      of Hans Blix and Mohammed ElBaradei do not appear in his book. Tenet
      nowhere betrays genuine surprise that the CIA got everything wrong;
      maybe, he concedes, "reports and analysis...were flawed, but the
      intelligence process was not disingenuous." What shocked Tenet was the
      brutal manner in which the White House blamed him for the infamous
      "sixteen words," and even for the war itself, which never would have
      happened, the President's men implied, if Tenet had not assured them
      that the case for Saddam's WMD was a "slam dunk." When Tenet read the
      phrase in The Washington Post he seethed for a day and then called
      Andrew Card at the White House to say that leaking the "slam dunk"
      phrase to reporter Bob Woodward was "about the most despicable thing I
      have ever seen in my life." Card said nothing.

      Thus George Tenet broods about his hurt feelings. In the flood of his
      many parting thoughts he never returns to his original question about
      the moment when war became inevitable, which was in any case rhetorical.
      More to the point would have been answerable questions, the kind any
      fair historian would put to him: When did Tenet first hear the President
      talk about "regime change"? When did he realize that Iraq was next on
      the President's agenda? When did he understand that WMD were to be the
      heart of the argument for war? And when did he know that without
      Curveball and without the aluminum tubes, Colin Powell would have been
      left standing in front of the UN with nothing?

      The footnotes that accompany this piece can be found in the July 19th
      issue of the New York Review of Books.

      Thomas Powers is the author most recently of Intelligence Wars: American
      Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda. He would like to thank the
      American Academy in Berlin, where this essay, in the latest New York
      Review of Books, was written.

      This article appears in the July 19th issue of the New York Review of


      Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who
      could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known
      better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that
      has made it possible for evil to triumph:
      --Haile Selassie

      "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the
      people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything
      about it."
      -- Albert Einstein

      NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security
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      and placed in your file without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do
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      You may not review your file which is secret. The President reserves the
      right to use "signing statements" to give himself permission to ignore
      the law, as he is above accountability. As Nixon said, "If the president
      does it, it is not illegal." If you are not with us, you are for the
      terrorists; be aware that dissent is considered sedition: resistance to
      lawful authority. It may be considered treason to question authority; as
      it is un-American and unpatriotic to criticize the actions of your
      President. You could be designated as giving material support to the
      enemy, subject to indefinite incarceration without charges or trial,
      under Republican law, the Military Commissions Act.

      "The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without
      formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him
      the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the
      foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist".
      --Winston Churchill (On the Military Commissions Act)

      "If a man does not keep silent it does not mean he hopes necessarily to
      achieve something. These are not the same question. He may hope for
      nothing but nonetheless speak because he cannot, simply cannot remain
      --A. D. Sakharov

      Note: a Federal court has ordered the Bush administration to stop the
      illegal warrentless spying, handing down 30 felony convictions. The
      illegal activity continues during an appeal, Bush says he has the right
      to ignore US and International laws. Note: The Supreme Court has ruled
      that Bush policies violated US and International laws. That could mean
      a trial for war crimes if justice follows that verdict. Note: the
      Republican Congress has passed a law to allow torture, and retroactively
      clear Bush of war crimes. The Congress has not held Bush accountable
      for starting and losing two illegal unnecessary wars.
      --C Hamilton

      Under the Bush administration, dissent is unpatriotic.
      Dissent may give aid and comfort to the enemy, and
      dissenters can be labeled "enemy combatants"

      In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted
      work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit
      or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in
      receiving the included information for non-profit research and
      educational or criticism purposes only.
      C Hamilton
      a moderator of
      adult humor/opinion/pictures

      If you want to change what your government is doing,
      contact those who are acting in your name:
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