BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thursday

More stuff to put "Downing Street Memo" in perspective.

Let's get in the time machine - so we can go back Richard Clarke's appearance on "60 Minutes" in April of 2004. (Clarke was once Bush's top advisor on int'l terrorism, and a current critic of the Bush Administration's "War on Terror"):
(CBS) In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush ordered his then top anti-terrorism adviser to look for a link between Iraq and the attacks, despite being told there didn't seem to be one.

The charge comes from the adviser, Richard Clarke, in an exclusive interview on 60 Minutes.

*

After the president returned to the White House on SEPT. 11, he and his top advisers, including Clarke, began holding meetings about how to respond and retaliate. As Clarke writes in his book, he expected the administration to focus its military response on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. HE SAYS HE WAS SURPRISED THAT THE TALK QUICKLY TURNED TO IRAQ.

"RUMSFELD WAS SAYING THAT WE NEEDED TO BOMB IRAQ," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said THERE AREN'T ANY GOOD TARGETS in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.

"Initially, I thought when he said, 'There aren't enough targets in-- in Afghanistan,' I thought he was joking.

"I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection, but the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there saying we've looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked and there's just no connection."

Clarke says he and CIA Director George Tenet told that to Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Clarke then tells Stahl of BEING PRESSURED BY MR. BUSH.

"The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that GEORGE BUSH WANTED ME TO COME BACK WITH A REPORT THAT SAID IRAQ DID THIS.
"Did these dudes come into office wanting to invade Iraq?"

Gee. Ya think?
"I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.'

"He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report."

Clarke continued, "It was a serious look. We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. We wrote the report. We sent the report out to CIA and found FBI and said, 'Will you sign this report?' They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.'

"I have no idea, to this day, if the president saw it, because after we did it again, it came to the same conclusion. And frankly, I don't think the people around the president show him memos like that."

"I don't think he sees memos that he doesn't-- wouldn't like the answer."
Obviously.

"Liberal media crazy talk!"

Sure.

Remember, one of the big questions behind the "Downing Street Memo" thing is this: Did the Bushies "fix the facts" to fit their policy?

And if they came into office wanting to remove Saddam...but knew an invasion would be a tough sell (at home and abroad)...how'd they do it?

Greg Palast has put together a nice little timeline to show SOME of the moves to do so.
Here is a small timeline of confidential skullduggery dug up and broadcast by my own team for BBC Television and Harper's on the secret plans to seize Iraq's assets and oil.

February 2001 - Only one month after the first Bush-Cheney inauguration, the State Department's Pam Quanrud organizes a secret confab in California to make plans for the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam. US oil industry advisor Falah Aljibury and others are asked to interview would-be replacements for a new US-installed dictator.

On BBC Television's Newsnight, Aljibury himself explained, "It is an invasion, but it will act like a coup. The original plan was to liberate Iraq from the Saddamists and from the regime."

March 2001 - Vice-President Dick Cheney meets with oil company executives and reviews oil field maps of Iraq. Cheney refuses to release the names of those attending or their purpose. Harper's has since learned their plan and purpose -- see below.
I'm gonna add 9/11. Right here.
October/November 2001 - An EASY military victory in Afghanistan emboldens then-Dep. Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to convince the Administration to junk the State Department "coup" plan in favor of an invasion and occupation that could remake the economy of Iraq. An elaborate plan, ultimately summarized in a 101-page document, scopes out the "sale of all state enterprises" -- that is, most of the nation's assets, "… especially in the oil and supporting industries."
Which follows Naomi Klein's claim that the NEO-CONS wanted to create a fully privatized country. for their big money buddies.

And if you lost your factory job during the summer of '03 - you're still pissed about it in the summer of '05.
2002 - Grover Norquist and other corporate lobbyists meet secretly with Defense, State and Treasury officials to ensure the invasion plans for Iraq include plans for protecting "property rights." The result was a pre-invasion scheme to sell off Iraq's oil fields, banks, electric systems, and even change the country's copyright laws to the benefit of the lobbyists' clients. Occupation chief Paul Bremer would later order these giveaways into Iraq law.

Fall 2002 - Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, is brought in by the Pentagon to plan the management of Iraq's oil fields. He works directly with Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. "There were plans," says Carroll, "maybe even too many plans" -- but none disclosed to the public nor even the US Congress.
Add US congressional elections. In an atmosphere dominated by talk of hunting the "evil-doers" and "terrorists." "Wherever they might be."
January 2003 - Robert Ebel, former CIA oil analyst, is sent, BBC learns, to London to meet with Fadhil Chalabi to plan terms for taking over Iraq's oil.

March 2003 - What White House spokesman Ari Fleisher calls "Operations Iraqi Liberation" (OIL) begins. (Invasion is re-christened "OIF" -- Operation Iraqi Freedom.)

March 2003 - Defense Department is told in confidence by US Energy Information Administrator Guy Caruso that Iraq's fields are incapable of a massive increase in output. Despite this intelligence, Dep. Secretary Wolfowitz testifies to Congress that invasion will be a free ride. He swears, "THERE'S A LOT OF MONEY TO PAY FOR THIS that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. …We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon," a deliberate fabrication promoted by the Administration, an insider told BBC, as "part of the sales pitch" for war.
It's now costing the the US TAXPAYER over a BILLION dollars A DAY.
May 2003 - General Jay Garner, appointed by Bush as viceroy over Iraq, is fired by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The general revealed in an interview for BBC that he resisted White House plans to sell off Iraq's oil and national assets.

"That's just one fight you don't want to take on," Garner told me. But apparently, the White House wanted that fight.

The general also disclosed that these invade-and-grab plans were developed long before the US asserted that Saddam still held WDM:

"All I can tell you is the plans were pretty elaborate; they didn't start them in 2002, they were started in 2001."
"But...I thought they didn't have plans to invade Iraq until...they invaded Iraq."

Right.

Read the whole article.

Fast approaching 1,800 US casualties.

Six U.S. Troops Killed in Western Iraq. Today.


More later...

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