BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Friday, October 21, 2005

They'll Shoot the Death Star Down


Gonna bring back "Curveball" today, the source for some of the NEO-CONS' most ridiculous claims in the run-up to war.

But first, another take on Darth Cheney. This time - from the L.A. Times:

Cheney, CIA Long at Odds

"I want a piece of paper that includes the words 'Saddam,' 'Bin Laden' and 'mushroom cloud.'"

"Once again, sir, with all due respect, those words do not go together."

"Be creative."
Cheney's skepticism of the CIA dates to the late 1980s, when the agency failed to predict the Soviet Union's breakup, according to a source familiar with Cheney's thinking.


"Libby's basic view of the world is that the CIA has blown it over and over again," said the source, who declined to be identified because he had spoken with Libby confidentially. "Libby and Cheney were [angry] that we had not been prepared for the potential in the first Gulf War."


AFTER President George W. Bush's 2001 inauguration, CHENEY immediately ESTABLISHED the vice president's office as a SEOND BASE OF FOREIGN POLICY AND INTELLIGENCE inside the White House, in addition to the National Security Council.
One more time:
After...Bush's inauguration...CHENEY immediately ESTABLISHED the vice president's office as a SEOND BASE OF FOREIGN POLICY AND INTELLIGENCE inside the White House.
Cheney not only received a daily briefing from the CIA, he frequently sat in on the president's briefing and the "principals' meetings" held to assess serious foreign policy and national security issues.

Leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, CHENEY WORKED WITH Defense Secretary Donald H. RUMSFELD and Rumsfeld's then-deputy, Paul D. WOLFOWITZ, TO CHALLENGE CIA FINDINGS THAT COUNTERED THEIR EXPECTATIONS or that disagreed with information they had received through their own intelligence channels.
TRANSLATION: The NEO-CONS were going to invade Iraq...come hell or high water.

(Remember the Downing Street Memo?)
Cheney traveled from the White House to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., a dozen times, most often to discuss Iraq's possible links to nuclear weapons and terrorism.

Agency veterans have said that Cheney's visits were more frequent than those of any other president or vice president, including the first president Bush, a former director of the agency.

When Cheney visited the CIA, IRAQ WAS HIS MAIN FOCUS, particularly in the months BEFORE THE WAR.

Unlike Libby and others working with the vice president, Cheney was reportedly always polite.
Good cop, bad cop.
But in his quiet way, he was insistent, sometimes asking the same question again and again as if he hoped the answer would change, according to people familiar with his contacts with the CIA.
"Saddam has WMD's?"

"No, he doesn't. He's, if you will."

"So, Saddam has WMD's?"

"Sir, he got rid of most of the weapons we sold him after -- ."

"So, Saddam has WMD's?"

"Sir -- "

"Great. Next."

Another key bit of info:
Cheney's visits perked up agency analysts who often worked anonymously, said one former official.

Many reportedly enjoyed the challenge of a smart questioner and appreciated his interest.

But Cheney's visits and his clinging to certain views became noticeable and drew expressions of concern, according to the former official.

For example, CIA officials repeatedly told Cheney and others in his circle that they did not think Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met with Iraqi agents in Prague, Czech Republic, before the attacks.

Nonetheless, the agency continued to receive dozens of inquiries on the topic from top officials — several times from Cheney himself.
"When did he meet with them?"

"He didn't."


"He didn't meet with them."


"Stop that!"
Despite the agency warnings, Cheney made reference to the Atta meeting as if it were a sure thing.

"It's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack," Cheney said Dec. 9, 2001, on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The allegation was not backed up with reliable intelligence, as Cheney and his staff had been repeatedly told, according to a former CIA official.


Nonetheless, the tensions between the vice president's office and the CIA increased as investigators failed to find weapons of mass destruction. White House staffers feared they would be blamed by the CIA for encouraging misleading intelligence estimates, one former official said.
Which brings us back to Plame-gate.


We know now that during the run-up to the invasion the NEO-CONS were pushing Atta, Niger, and mushroom clouds.

Anything else?

How from Ahmed Chalabi and "Curveball."

From the UK's Guardian, dateline April 3, 2005:

US relied on 'drunken liar' to justify war

"'Crazy' Iraqi spy was full of misinformation, says report"

Here we go:
An alcoholic cousin of an aide to Ahmed Chalabi has emerged as the key source in the US rationale for going to war in Iraq.

According to a US presidential commission looking into pre-war intelligence failures, the basis for pivotal intelligence on Iraq's alleged biological weapons programmes and fleet of mobile labs was a spy described as 'crazy' by his intelligence handlers and a 'congenital liar' by his friends.

The defector, given the code-name CURVEBALL by the CIA, has emerged as the central figure in the corruption of US intelligence estimates on Iraq.

Despite considerable doubts over Curveball's credibility, his CLAIMS WERE INCLUDED in the administration's case for war without caveat.

According to the report, the failure of US spy agencies to scrutinise his claims are the 'primary reason' that they 'fundamentally misjudged the status of Iraq's [biological weapons] programs'.

The catalogue of failures and the gullibility of US intelligence make for darkly comic reading, even by the standards of failure detailed in previous investigations. Of all the disproven pre-war weapons claims, from aluminium centrifuge tubes to yellow cake uranium from Niger, none points to greater levels of incompetence than those found within the misadventures of Curveball.

The Americans never had direct access to Curveball - he was controlled by the German intelligence services who passed his reports on to the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's spy agency.
That would be Darth Rumsfeld.
The commission concluded that Curveball's information was worse than none at all. 'Worse than having no human sources,' it said, 'is being seduced by a human source who is telling lies.'

Although the defector has never been formally identified, it appears he was an Iraqi chemical engineer who defected after UN inspectors left the country in 1998.
Like so many other stories that have been connected to Iraq, the story of "Curveball" has simply vanished from the discourse.

I bring it up again - because it seems to be a decent example of the way the NEO-CONS "used" any claim that fit their plan.

Again, according to the Downing Street Memo, "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

And sometimes facts were, uh, not facts.



More later...


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