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Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by BROWNer, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. BROWNer

    BROWNer Guest

    Beware of “Credible Intelligence”
    by Ray McGovern
    Last Wednesday it was Attorney General John Ashcroft—joined Friday by me-too Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge—claiming that “credible intelligence from multiple sources indicates that al-Qaeda plans to attempt an attack on the United States” between now and the November election.

    If “credible intelligence” sounds to you like protesting too much, there is ample reason to be skeptical. Overshadowing Ashcroft’s dramatic warning that al-Qaeda planned to “hit the United States hard” was the headline-grabbing, specific claim that “an al-Qaeda spokesman announced that 90 per cent of the arrangements for an attack on the United States were complete.”

    Had Ashcroft thought to check this out with the CIA—or even NBC—he would have learned that the “al-Qaeda spokesman” was actually “Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades”—a fact later conceded with some embarrassment by the FBI. According to a senior US intelligence official, this “group” may consist of no more than one person with a fax machine. The “Brigades” have nonetheless claimed responsibility for the power blackout in the Northeast last year, a power outage in London, and the March 11 train bombings in Madrid. NBC news analyst Roger Cressey, a former deputy to counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, notes, “The only thing they haven’t claimed credit for recently is the cicada invasion of Washington.”

    What’s going on?

    “Intelligence” is being conjured up once again to serve the political purposes of the Bush administration. Merely recall the litany of spurious claims against Iraq, all said to have been based on “solid sources,” that Secretary of State Colin Powell dwelled on in his UN speech of February 5, 2003.

    But what purposes are served in the current political context? Fanning further fear of terror is the only remaining ploy to boost the president’s sinking poll numbers. The struggle against terrorism is the issue on which George W. Bush still gets relatively good marks. Small wonder that he used “terror/terrorist/terrorism” no less than nineteen times in his speech at the Army War College on May 24. But is that all that is afoot here?

    I believe there may be considerably more. With only five months before the election, the president’s men are getting desperate. Iraq is going from bad to worse and the prospect of substantial improvement before November is virtually nil. Worse still, revelations of the past few weeks strongly suggest that the president, Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, et al. have deeply personal incentive to make four more years for Bush a sure thing.

    The Nettle of the Geneva Conventions

    Put yourself in their position. Addressing whether or not Washington should honor the Geneva Conventions on Prisoners of War, the president’s chief legal counsel, Alberto Gonzales, warned him in a memorandum of January 25, 2002 that US law—the War Crimes Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. 2441)—prohibits “war crimes” defined to include any grave breach of the Geneva Conventions on Prisoners of War. Gonzales made it clear that this prohibition applies to US officials and noted that punishments for violations of Section 2441 include the death penalty.

    Gonzales advised the president that, in the opinion of Ashcroft’s Justice Department, the Geneva Conventions do not apply to al-Qaeda and that the president had the authority to determine that they also do not apply to the Taliban. (This would not be the first time that forces branded “terrorists” were declared exempt from the Geneva Conventions. In World War II when armed, uniformed Allied troops landed behind German lines, Hitler ordered them to be executed for “terrorist activities,” as Professor Frederick Sweet noted in a recent article in Intervention magazine.)

    Gonzales described Ashcroft’s opinion as “definitive,” but added that the State Department had expressed “a different view.” Buried in the legalese is thinly disguised nervousness that others, too, might have a different view. Under the “positives,” Gonzales notes:

    “It is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441. Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that Section 2441 does not apply, which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution.”

    The president’s lawyer concluded that a determination by President Bush that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to the Taliban “substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441).”

    “A reasonable basis in law?” “Substantially reduces” the threat of prosecution? If I were President Bush I would not find these phrases altogether reassuring. And neither, one would assume, does Attorney General Ashcroft.

    And if this were not worrisome enough, Gonzales adds an eerily prophetic statement in listing the “negatives:”

    “A determination that the Geneva Convention does not apply to al-Qaeda and the Taliban could undermine US military culture which emphasizes maintaining the highest standards of conduct in combat, and could introduce an element of uncertainty in the status of adversaries.”

    Then there was Abu Graib.

    There is nothing in the Geneva Conventions that gives anyone the right to make a unilateral decision to exempt opposing forces. And the Conventions hold the “Detaining Power”—not individual soldiers—responsible for maltreatment of detainees.

    From the catbird seat of the “sole remaining superpower,” however, the Bush administration has shown considerable disdain for international law. On occasion it has stretched it well beyond the breaking point—as in claiming that the invasion of Iraq was authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1441. Section 2441 of the War Crimes Act of 1996 is different. This is US law, in which the strictures of the Geneva Conventions are embedded.


    For the Bush administration, the nightmare is losing the November election—a prospect believed to be unlikely until just recently. For many of us citizens, the nightmare is the president and his associates resorting to extra-legal measures to ensure that there is no “regime change” in Washington for four more years. Logic and human nature would suggest that possible liability to prosecution under the War Crimes Act are among the more weighty factors they take into account.

    Bush administration leaders may even look on the prospect of a terrorist event in the US in the coming months as a possible opportunity as well as a risk. I do not suggest they would perverse enough to allow one to happen, or—still less—to orchestrate one. But there is ample reason to believe that they would take full political advantage of a terrorist attack—or even just the threat of one. Ashcroft’s remarks last week might be regarded as the opening salvo in a campaign to condition the country for this.

    No less a figure than Gen. Tommy Franks, who led the war on Iraq, went so far as to predict publicly last November that if terrorists attacked the US with “weapons of mass destruction,” the Constitution would probably be discarded in favor of a military form of government.

    But, you say, that would mean a constitutional crisis without parallel in the history of our country. Perhaps. But was there not a good warm-up in the fall of 2002? Did we not then experience a constitutional crisis when Congress was duped into ceding to the president its constitutional power to declare war? And it was all accomplished by spreading the myth that Saddam Hussein was close to exploding a “mushroom cloud” over us—a myth based on a known forgery alleging that Iraq was acquiring uranium from Africa.

    In a recent op-ed in a newspaper in Maine, Charles Cutter poses the key question for the next five months. Cutter asks:

    “How far would they go? With blood on their hands and God on their side, what actions would Bush & Co. consider too extreme—when the goal is to extend their control over the financial and military power of the American presidency?”

    An elevated threat level justifying martial law and postponement of the election? No doubt such suggestions will seem too alarmist to those trusting that there is a moral line, somewhere, that the president and his senior advisers would not cross. I regret very much to say that their behavior over the past three years leaves me doubtful that there is such a line. If my doubts are justified, the sooner we all come to grips with this parlous situation the better.

    Meanwhile, don’t be taken in by “credible intelligence.”

    Ray McGovern ([email protected]school.org) was a CIA analyst for 27 years from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

    so...what are we thinking about this?
    i've seen mcgovern on a few things, and heard him speak and he is probably in my
    op one of the more credible voices out there. the fact he is considering these things and is concerned over the election is kind of alarming..
    this is something i've been mulling over lately as well..ever since i read a newsbyte in USNews awhile ago, that quoted an official stating that washington is operating on the premise that another attack is inevitable before the election and
    that the american people will not behave as the spaniards had(electing a new officials)..in effect, stating that the current admin. has no plans on upholding democracy if another attack occurs and that they probably have some pretty disturbing contingency plans drawn up for an event as such. hard to fathom, but entirely plausible?

    ERIZENO Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 30, 2003 Messages: 1,999 Likes Received: 28
    this scares the shit out of me.

    the possibility that so many of the "sleeping"(couldnt think of a better term) Americans would fall blindly in support behind this crook following an attack is one of my biggest fears these days.

    The fleeting sense of unity and brotherhood we all shared in the first few hours/days following 9/11 showed how beautiful we can be as a people. the fleeting aspect, is what made it a sad thing.

    Then our star cowboy got up on his soapbox of death and somehow managed to march us off to war twice abusing that feeling of trust and unity.

    with the apparent profiteering via waging war by our VP & friends down in Texas I am floored when i hear of people still in favor of re-electing Bush & CO.

    my god do these people ever look at any source of news other than CNN & the NY times ????
  3. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    Martial law and police state. That's probably what they are thinking. Fuckers are going to get us into WW3.
  4. BROWNer

    BROWNer Guest

    okay, it seems there is an increased
    concern that another attack is in the works on or around
    election time..take this concern and correlate it to asscroft's
    recent statements that it will happen, and that the gov't has
    contingency plans for this event and that 'we won't be like spain'
    in the event of another attack..then correlate that to mcgovern's
    now, in addition to former 27year CIA veteran mcgovern, comes
    another major intel player with similar concerns and criticisms..
    check this:

    here's a bit more, from http://talkingpointsmemo.com/, with the
    same 'anonymous' intel figure:

  5. High Priest

    High Priest Elite Member

    Joined: Jan 1, 2002 Messages: 4,928 Likes Received: 4
    I wish i could read.
  6. im not witty

    im not witty Guest

    oh jeez.
    its too late to write a whole big thing, but i just want you to know browner i always read every word of every thing you cut and paste here, despite how terrifying and overwhelming it may be.

    how could hell be any worse?